time to get a bit practical and get a floor put in for a new interior

Floor finish

Although it was love at first sight when I first saw my bus, my wife Lorna was a little more sceptical about buying a bus that had no actual usable interior in the back! Where I was seduced by its amazing patina ‘character’ and originality, she was thinking more practicality about actually being able to use the bus for trips, camping, sleeping and cooking in. Clearly, I had spoiled her with our last camper with its fully functional Canterbury Pitt interior! 😉

great opportunity to test out our awning
great opportunity to test out our awning

However, I had promised her that we would be able to get, or at least make, a usable interior in the back. So in preparation for getting an interior sorted, first thing first it was time to get a base floor put in the rear cargo area.

Ground-up interior

One of my friends had a couple of 8’x4′ (2400mm x 1200mm) 5mm thick sheets of nice Oak faced plywood going spare, great for a top layer finish. I just then needed another couple of sheets of 5mm base hardwood ply to make a two-layer ‘floated’ floor with an overall thickness of 10mm. I know it seems a bit excessive, but the cargo floor area is just a bit bigger than you can cover with a single 8’x4′ sheet without lots of cuts and a few unsightly gaps!

cardboard makes a useful template for working out the cuts required around the heater pipe
cardboard makes a useful template for working out the cuts required around the heater pipe

Making floor templates

To get the ply to fit around the complications of the rear wheel arches and heater tube, I made up a cardboard template. This allowed me to easily trim and adjust the template to get the best fit before transferring the dimensions to the actual plywood! Much easier to cut cardboard with a knife and scissors without worrying too much about making a mistake!

measure twice, check twice and cut once – measurements and cardboard template guide become real
measure twice, check twice and cut once – measurements and cardboard template guide become real

Floor plans in action

Once the template dimensions had been transferred over to the plywood sheet, and checked a couple of times, time to get busy with the saw! Always best to measure twice and cut once! Working outside in Lorna’s studio car park is not ideal, but at least it gave us room to work, and who would have thought that knitting machine tables would make decent work trestles to support the ply!

the base layer of 5mm WBP plywood is trial fitted for checking and any tweaking required
the base layer of 5mm WBP plywood is trial fitted for checking and any tweaking required

The plywood sheets were first cut down to their overall length before the cutout sections were removed. It was then a case of trial fitting the cut sheets into the bus cargo area to check the fit. Fortunately, the fit was pretty good first off, so my time invested in getting the cardboard template right and double-checking all the measurements was time well spent!

cool night-time illumination of the Art Deco Architectural marvel that is Marine Court in St Leonards-on-Sea
cool night-time illumination of the Art Deco Architectural marvel that is Marine Court in St Leonards-on-Sea

Making the most of the light

Unfortunately, as it’s wintertime, the lack of daylight hours got the better of us for the day, but it felt good that we had made a start and got the first 5mm base layer of the plywood floor down and fitted in place! 🙂 Once we had got all the kit packed away, we managed to grab a shot of the illuminated Art Deco Architectural masterpiece that is Marine Court on the way home – so, all in all, a pretty good day!

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