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Old 09-04-2007, 10:54 PM   #1
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Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Probably a question too basic for this group, but after studying a ton of photos, I still can't seem to tell how overhead cabinets are attached to the inside metal walls of the bus.

Mine is going to be a short bus, and over head storage cabinets will be a must. I'm fairly handy and will have no trouble making the cabinets, but mounting them on steel bus walls that will be moving is new territory for me. Any advice for this novies would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

There's a few different methods. You could take metal L brackets and screw them into the ceiling and into the back of your cabinets. Your ceiling is two layers of metal with insulation in between. You could even weld the brackets to the ceiling if you wanted, but I think that would be overkill and hard to repair if you ever wanted to make changes. Or, you could just cut pieces of 2x4's and screw and glue them to the ceiling. Then, screw your cabinet frames to that. It will take time and a lot of careful measurements if you want to make it nice.
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:33 PM   #3
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Mine are pretty straight forward. In the picture below I still have the end caps off the cabinet. I used a 1x3 cleat screwed directly to the ceiling with TEK screws, then used an air stapler with 2" finish nail/staple to attach the oak frame to the 1x3 strip. For additional support, I also drilled some pilot holes through the oak inside the door opening upward to the ceiling, then installed some 3" TEK screws that helped 'pull' the cabinet tight against the ceiling. Those things are up there, if I weighed a little less I could probably do chin-up's on them!!



The inside edge of the cabinet bottom was simply placed on top of the conduit railing at first, then used some 2" TEK screws to 'toe nail' them into the metal, this was done through the door openings. While I'm still in construction phase, I am using these cabinets to store all kinds of things, most of my electrical wiring and stuff I have in one of them, first aid stuff, etc... They worked out very well!!





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Old 09-06-2007, 12:14 AM   #4
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Mine are simular in design to the above (GoneCamping)

I screwed 2x2's to the roof and the wall with a few 2x2's coming away from the wall and coming down and then used a heavier plywood for the bottom and lighter plywood for the front of the cabinet. I used a screw at each roof cross over and at least one in between making sure I didn't come near my 120volt wiring going up and over to the other side and to the A/C.

I would too say with a short bus over head cabinets are almost a must. I would have run out of space to put stuff such as extra blankets and clothing without them in there but I could have managed it just would have been tighter. And my bus isn't the shortest out there.

With one of them little cutaways I would put a cabinet above the driver seat by remodeling the storage box up there for more room basicly extending it. I would do bunkbeds in one and then the top bunk would double for extra storage space while driving and when parked overnight stuff could be moved up to the driver seat. Unless you are very good at packing or finding more storage space. I do know I could find more space for storage but I did want some open floor where I could laydown on the floor if I wanted to or it could be used for a couple extra people to sleep if needed.
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Check out this post...

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=847&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hi lit=cabnits

I like the self drilling or TEK screws. There should be about a 2" gap between the inner and outer panels of your roof - if you want to check just remove one of the 12 volt lights on the ceiling and measure. Then get the correct length screws so you go into the inside panel but not through to the outside one... that would be bad.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Webb
Sorry, but I don't know what TEK screws are? Are they the self-tapping screws?
Yep! (Actually, they're self-DRILLING sheet metal screws available in hex or slotted heads.) You can get them with or without a rubber grommet under the head. Anywhere that sells metal roofing will have the grommeted type and most hardware stores carry the ones without the grommets.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:06 AM   #7
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

I always called them "self tapping screws" until I was corrected on this post...

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2158&p=15999#p15999 <---- More that you'd ever care to know about what these screws are called...

Whatever you want to call em, they're a screw with a little drill tip on the end of them, they work very well. They look like this..



I used these and some glue to put strips along the ceiling and walls then screwed my cabinets to them.



you can kinda see the strips on the rt. cabinet in this picture. This was before I put the end on it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:41 PM   #8
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

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I always called them "self tapping screws" until I was corrected on this post...
I have been using them for years in steel construction. Tek screws, self-tappers or just plain tappers all work as a description. Anyone on a job would know what you were looking for if you asked for them by any of those names. The screws you pictured are hex-head, I use bugle heads points (drywall screws) for cabinet work. I also have been using pan-head tappers and wafer-head tappers while skinning my bus. I will be using lots of bugle headed tappers and points to build the interior.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:56 AM   #9
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Re: Attaching wood to inside of bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Webb
Thanks for the visual! That's the kind of learner I am!
Me too.. that's why I love putting pictures in my posts. I usually gotta look at something to "get it"
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:16 AM   #10
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please tell me how cold you get in colder climates with the metal bus panels still on the ceiling and I imagine the stock insulation in there as well....
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:20 PM   #11
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Not actually sure myself, but I see you're in Colorado.

I figure I'm taking a chance (because I'm still demo'ing) and have to be in bus by September 1st... 20į is pretty extreme lows for my area, I can adapt and have a plan B for the colder than normal temps (staying in the T-Shirt shop I work at) Also, for immediate use I'll insulate and close off the bedroom and hibernate in there mostly, for short term.

I was in a 10x20 insulated (ceiling and walls only) storage building last winter... I survived most times with 1 Quartz heater


On the coldest nights, I kicked on my little milk house heater


One of the things that helped the most was a 10" oscillating fan to circulate the warm air from the ceiling.

I'm probably not much help, just letting you know what worked for me.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:53 AM   #12
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Thank you my friend! I wont Always be plugged into electric and these wonderful little heaters might zap my solar and battery power don't-cha think? :/ I decided Ill have to surrender to using propane when I'm not plugged in somewhere so ill get a propane heater. I just see many buses where the ceiling panels were apparently left intact. I'm hoping I can do the same.....
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Thank you my friend! I wont Always be plugged into electric and these wonderful little heaters might zap my solar and battery power don't-cha think? :/ I decided Ill have to surrender to using propane when I'm not plugged in somewhere so ill get a propane heater. I just see many buses where the ceiling panels were apparently left intact. I'm hoping I can do the same.....
Hi there. I spent a winter in Alaska in my bus (unfinished) and I moved to Hawaii the next year. Not kidding. It was miserable. (I was also living in one of the rainiest of towns, but at least the temps were 20F to 0F, not colder). The darkness was the hardest part, not so much the cold, although the cold was yuck below about 15F. Don't bother with a diesel heater (I wanted to be non-electric). The Dickinson I invested in was a nightmare to keep clean and was extremely fussy. When I finally got the learning curve figured, the little orifices would be clogged again and the settings would be off, basically all or none on the heat and my white fiberglass bus was always covered in soot. I'm going with a Cubic mini wood stove from Canada for the upcoming summer. I'm cutting up oak palettes for wood. Insulate as much as possible! I do not recommend leaving the ceiling bare. I have 3/4" grey foam (like sleeping pads for camping) glued on the entire inside. Now I'm finishing that with glue-on faux tin ceiling tiles to get the ceiling light-colored again. As I build walls, I'm insulating as much as possible. The other problem is my bus is a tour bus, thus mostly windows, but eventually when it's finished, I'll be able to install thick curtains or honeycomb pull-up blinds. Good luck, stay warm! -Catherine
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:54 PM   #14
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A lot of people build buses without removing the interior panels and insulation. Those people do not intend to live in those buses during the winter. The expected use is camping and weekend trips. Basically that's a metal tent. It will work well to keep them dry, but when the weather turns cold all that metal inside conducts the temperatures from outside and it's very difficult to stay warm.

I've also spent a winter in this bus before the interior was removed. I stripped the interior and got insulation last summer. MY heating costs are 25-30% compared to the previous year and the comfort level is dramatically different. Worth it.

If it's a live-in, lay a good foundation by starting with good insulation. There are less expensive ways to accomplish the same thing without using spray foam. It's just that spray foam has coverage similar to paint. It seals the interior and prevents warm air from contacting cold steel surfaces eliminating that pesky tendency for condensation on the inside of your bus.

Propane heat makes a bus rain inside because of the moisture from the propane condensating on any cold metal or glass surfaces. It's a personal choice, but those of us that use our buses during the winter are paid back in reduced heating costs. Foam insulation should pay for itself within two or three years easily. You're only talking about $600 or $800 cost for the kits. Stripping out the bus interior is the worst part for most of us. Removing all those rivets and getting the sheet metal out without damaging anything.

Worth it, again and again. I'm sure I saved at least $300 on heating costs this first year. The comfort level is more like a house now.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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