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Old 07-19-2010, 11:20 PM   #221
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

I'm going to start work on the right End Piece. Use the workbench vise to hold the End Piece.


I'll put laminate on the edge first. Prep the surface by sanding with 80 grit sandpaper. Wipe off the surface after sanding.


Earlier in the project when I was gluing the foam to the fiberboard I accidentally bought this can of Original Formula Contact Cement (the flammable kind). I can't use it with the foam but it will be perfect for Formica.


Here is the back side of the edge strip before I start applying the contact cement.


Brush on the contact cement and allow it to dry. This is how it appears after it dries. It has a glossy look and will be tacky.


Apply contact cement to the edge of the End Piece.


Edge pieces require extra adhesion so after the first coat dries add a second.


I don't take any pictures since my hands were full but after everything had reached the proper level of tacky I placed the laminate strip over the end piece and set it down. I started near the center and worked out from there. Once the strip touches the treated wood it will stick but good. You won't get a second chance so you might want to practice how you're going to handle the strip before you start applying the glue.

For the next step I'll be needing a new tool. This is a J-Roller. The contact cement directions advise using 25 pounds per square inch to completely join the laminate to the wood surface.


Use the J-Roller to apply that force to top of the laminate. Start from the center and roll to the edges. Since the J-Roller has a 3 inch wide roller you need to really press down to apply the recommended PSI.


After I was finished with the roller I let the laminate set a couple hours before I started the trimming.


I'll use a router to trim the edge of the laminate. I already have a couple of heavy duty routers but they would be a bit unwieldy for this work. I bought this small router from Harbor Freight. It cost $24.99. In case you're not familiar with Harbor Freight they sell inexpensive foreign made tools (mostly China). Since I won't be doing a lot of trim work the router will only have limited use. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it.


There is a lot of plastic bits. Hopefully I don't break it before I'm done with it.


To trim the Formica I'll be using a flush trim(or cut) router bit. Here's a good description from rockler.com.
"Flush trim router bits are guided by a pilot bearing that is the same size as the bit's cutting radius. They're used to trim the edge of one material flush with the edge of another material. Trimming a veneered surface flush with a substrate, or using a pattern to create multiple identical shapes are examples. The pilot bearing may be on the top of the bit, at the base of the cutting edge, or both."

As you can see the pilot bearing is at the bottom of this bit.


The router will produce a lot of shavings so I moved operations to the garage area.


In lieu of the workbench vise I'm using the edge of the table saw, a clamp and the ubiquitous cat litter bucket to hold the End Piece in position.


Here is a before and after look of what the trim router does.


Here's the router in action.


Mistake #1: I have the router bit extended too far below the edge of the laminate. The bit should just clear the lower edge of the laminate. I corrected this after I figured it out.
Mistake #2: If you were to look at this edging strip from above you'd see that in relation to the End Piece I'm moving the router in a clockwise rotation. THIS IS WRONG. I should be moving the router in a Counterclockwise direction. I found that if you move the router in a clockwise direction the bit will take a more aggressive cut of the laminate (bad) and it wants to move away (outward) from the edge you're trimming. I don't want a aggressive cut because if it takes away too much I've ruined the laminate. I want it to be less aggressive because I can always sand it down if it leaves some laminate behind .

Did I mention the router makes a lot of shavings?


After finishing with the router I used 100 grit sandpaper along the edge of the laminate for a final smoothing.


My first ever Formica edge. Looks really nice.


Unfortunately I'll end up ruining it. But that's tomorrow.

continued -
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:46 PM   #222
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

I've laminated the outside edge of the sofa-bed's right End Piece with Formica. Now to cover it's left side. Since this is the right End Piece the left side faces the interior of the sofa-bed.


Hand sand the surface with 80 grit sandpaper wrapped around a wood block. Remove the sawdust and wipe off the surface to be sure it's dust free. Apply the contact cement. Since the plywood is porous and soaks up the contact cement I apply the first coat to the End Piece then when done move to the Formica and apply a layer. By then the first layer on the End Piece is dry so apply a second layer to the End Piece.


Wait until contact cement on the End Piece and the Formica has dried and is tacky. Place these thin strips of plywood on the tacky surface of the End Piece. All the on-line laminating instructions have you using wooden dowel rods but scrap plywood works just fine. Use enough scrap pieces so when the laminate is placed on top the two glued surfaces won't touch.


Flip the laminate so the glued side is down and place it on the scrap plywood pieces above the End Piece. DON'T LET THE TWO GLUED SURFACES TOUCH!
With the laminate resting on the scrap wood move it around till it's positioned how you want it. Carefully remove the center most wood scrap and press down on the laminate till it makes contact with the End Piece. Hope you had everything lined up because it is now officially too late. Moving from the center out remove the remain wood scraps but Don't press down on the laminate.


Take your J-Roller and start rolling from the center outward. I used something like a ever expanding spiral pattern of concentric circles for the first rolling. If there are any air bubble under the laminate this should force them out. Then roll it some more trying to cover the entire surface at least once. Pay extra attention to the areas close to the edge. If the laminate ever comes loose it will probably be at the edge.


Now to trim the edge of the new laminate. This will be a different than the first trim I did. When I trimmed the first edge piece the surface that the pilot bearing of the router bit rolled against was bare plywood that was going to be covered later. If I made any mistakes they would later be hidden. Now the pilot bearing will be rolling against a piece of laminate I had previously applied. Not much room for error, as I was about to find out.

The laminate instructions I read referred to "burn" and how to prevent it. One way was to spread liquid hand soap on the laminate surface the pilot bearing would contact. So that's just what I did.


Here's the view from underneath after running the trimming bit for a short ways. Everything looks OK. But this was on the straight part of the trim.


Problem is when I got to the curved part of the End Piece I slowed down the forward movement of the hand router. I was attempting to be extra careful while cutting around the curve. BAD MOVE!
I ended up ruining the edge piece I had so carefully applied the day before. Since the contact cement was still fairly new I was able, with the help of a paint scrapper, to remove the damaged edge piece. Here it is. Bummer. Forget about using the liquid hand soap.


When you read about laminate "burn" now you know what it looks like.

While rethinking my strategy for the End Piece I went ahead and laminated the sofa-bed's Kick Board. It's a simple rectangle and no laminated edges to burn so it was easier.




While trimming the Kick Board laminate I learned a few things. I could move the router faster while making a trim. I didn't have to go as slow as I had been moving. Less chance for burn.

After a long cut check the pilot bearing on the router bit. It can become gummed up with glue. Also check the cutting edges.


After cleaning the bit, oil the bearing.


Now had less trouble trimming the Kick Board.


After trimming the edge there will sometimes be some excess glue left over.


You'll need some mineral spirits (paint thinner) and elbow grease to remove it. The mineral spirits doesn't dissolve the glue but makes it easier to rub off the underlying surface. Rub being the operative word.


continued -
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:57 PM   #223
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:

Back to the End Piece.
Glue on a new edge strip to replace the one I had ruined. To prevent a recurrence of the laminate burn while trimming I read that you can use paraffin wax. So that's what I did. Just rub the edge of a block of paraffin along the laminate where the router bit's pilot bearing will make contact. Put it on thick.


As you can see here, the paraffin did the trick. No laminate burn.


I'll use paraffin on the rest of the edge trimming where burn could be a problem. Hopefully as I do more of this I'll get good enough to where it won't be needed.

Flip the right End Piece over so that we're looking at it's right side or exterior side. Need to drill holes through the sheet of Formica laminate that I installed on the opposite side. Use the holes on this side as a guide for the drill.


If you remember from earlier in the build I have extra holes showing. Only drill the holes that I had previously marked before dissembling the sofa-bed.


Here's how it looks on the other side when done.


In the close-up view you can see chipping around the new holes. This isn't going to be a problem since all these holes will be covered by wood blocks, metal angles or hardware sliders.


I was going to cover the opposite side of the End Piece with laminate when I got to thinking. The original plan was to have the bolts that hold everything together extend through the exterior side of the End Pieces. Then use washers and bolts to secure them in place. That is how I've done it so far in this project every time I've assembled/disassembled the sofa-bed.


But two things got me to thinking. First was when I saw how easily Formica cracked. Since I'd not worked with Formica before I hadn't realized that.


Second thing is the amount of deformation that a nut with washer causes on the side of the plywood. When you combine those two I knew I had a problem.



The original plan would most likely cause some nasty looking cracks on the Formica surface. Time for Plan B.

WARNING: I've not had a chance to fully test this out. It seems like it should work but I can't guarantee it yet.

Get a whole bunch of T-Nuts .


The T-nuts will be mounted inside the End Piece and then complete covered with Formica so there shouldn't be a cracking problem. The bolt ends will not extend through the Formica so it should also look a lot cleaner.

I'm using two sizes 1/4" and 5/16".


The 1/4" and 5/16" refer to the inside threads. The T-nut will be countersunk into the End Piece. To do this I need to find what the outside diameter (O.D.) of the T-nut shank is so to know the size of the hole to drill. This is a drill gauge. It's a series of holes with the diameters listed. I'll use it to get the T-nuts O.D.


If you ever want to get one of these gauges just sign up for a woodworking magazine then let the subscription lapse. Thereafter you will periodically get letters offering a "Special Renewal Rate" for the magazine along with a "Free Gift". A drill gauge is often the "Free Gift". For the 1/4" T-nut it looks like I'll need a 19/64 drill bit.


I want to drill the hole just deep enough to seat the T-nut. Use masking tape to mark the bit so I'll know where to stop drilling. I actually have drill collars but masking tape works just fine.


The "T" part of the T-nut also has to be countersunk. Use a spade bit for this. It's fairly easy to eyeball what size spade bit is needed. For the 1/4" T-nut it's a 3/4" spade bit.


Here's how the hole looks after drilling.


I do a test fit of the T-nut upside down so I'll be sure that the "T" head will sit below the level of the wood before installing it.


Use a hammer to install the T-nuts. I use the orange colored punch (with the hammer) to be sure the T-nuts are below the level of the surrounding plywood.


Installed all the 1/4" T-nuts. Now use the 5/16" ones. First get the O.D.
Oh Look. It's different drill gauge. 3/8" drill needed.


Spade bit for a 5/16" T-nut is 7/8".


The exterior side of the right End Piece with all the T-nuts installed.


continued -
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:54 AM   #224
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Re: Hal The Van

How did you get the cats trained to take the pictures that you are in?
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Old 07-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #225
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
How did you get the cats trained to take the pictures that you are in?
We don't like to talk about it outside the family but they both have an addiction problem. It's like living with a crackhead. Training them is easy because they will do ANYTHING for a can of tuna.
We're not talking about the cat food cans that's just some tuna and the rest is chicken lips. No, they're into the hard stuff. The kind that's not been "stepped on". It has to be StarKist Tuna in heavy oil. They make a whole can disappear so fast you'd swear they were inhaling it.
Oh the shame. I don't even put the empty cans out with the recycling because I'm so afraid the neighbors will discover...... that the cats have a fish on their back.
If I ever get my hands on that pusher Charlie Tuna I'm gonna' pop a cap in his dorsal fin. I'll show him "Sorry, Charlie"!
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:29 PM   #226
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Re: Hal The Van

Took some time off this week to go camping.


On Tuesday I'm biking on a gated closed Forest Road through the Cranberry Wilderness when I find my path blocked.


This one's slightly blurry (I was a bit psyched while holding the camera) but you can better see one of the cubs.


After a while the bears ambled off to the right. As soon as I lowered my camera another cub ran across the road. I quickly biked to the spot where the bears had walked into the woods. The land slopped away from the road so I had a pretty good view. I stopped and waited quiet as can be but neither heard nor saw anything. Like they were never there.

By the way I do carry pepper spray with me.
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:00 PM   #227
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Re: Hal The Van

You can ignore this posting. It's just a "Note To Self".



VIN:
1FT - Ford Motor Company, USA, truck, completed vehicle
N - Brake system standard - GVWR Range 6,001 - 10,000 Pounds
E24 - Econoline E-250 (Cargo Van)
2 - 4.2L EFI-OHV, six cylinder
5 - check digit
X - year 1999
H - Assembly Plant: Lorain, Ohio

Door sticker:
EXT PNT: exterior paint - YZ
RC: region code - 86
WB: wheel base - 138
BRK: brake code - B
INT TR: interior trim code - A2 - (A) Hampton vinyl bucket seats - (2) medium graphite
R: radio code - 7 -AM/FM w/clock
AXLE: axle code - 35 - 4.09 gear ratio
TR: transmission code - U - automatic 4R70W-AOD
SPR: spring code - NR - (N) front 5310 spring - (R) rear 5560 spring

Motorcraft part numbers 4.2L V6 engine
Air filter: FA-1634
Battery: BXT-65-650
Fuel filter: FG-872
Oil filter: FL-400-S
PCV valve: EV-152
Spark Plugs: AGSF-34EE (These have been superseded by MOTORCRAFT Part #SP504)
spark plug gap from VECI decal: .052-.056


Capacities:
Oil 5W-30 - 6.0 quarts
coolant - 23.3 quarts
fuel - 35.0 gallons
transmission fluid - 13.9 quarts - MERCON V ATF

Dimensions
Height - 83.4"
Track front/rear - 69.4" / 67"
Wheelbase - 138"
Length - 211.8" (not counting step bumper)

GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating - Maximum total weight of the base vehicle, passengers, optional equipment and cargo.
GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating - Carrying capacity for each axle system.

Tires: 245/75R16 120/116S M&S E rated

Scepter water can

18-3/4" H x 13-1/2" W x 6-1/2" D
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:25 AM   #228
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Re: Hal The Van

I meant to post a picture of the newly made heater fuel tank when it arrived the other day. Having something go from a drawing to reality is such a kick.


I had it delivered to work so I could be sure it wasn't damaged in shipment. When one of my co-workers saw it his first reaction was to ask if it was some type of water cooled smoking device, but in other words.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:54 PM   #229
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued :
I'd hammered the T-nuts into the right side of the Right End Piece. Before covering this side with Formica I used the wax block I had on hand to coat the ends of the T-nuts. This is probably overkill but I didn't want the T-nuts sticking to the Formica when I tighten the bolts.

Apply the glue to the Formica and the End Piece.


Use the same method as before for applying the Formica. Here it is after routing and sanding.


OK. One done.


Start work on the Left End Piece. I'll apply the edge trim first.


I've used up all the Original Formula Contact Cement (flammable) at this point so switching to the Non-flammable Formula.

Here I am applying the non-flammable formula to the edge of the End Piece.


Now here I am scrubbing off the non-flammable formula with a wet rage.


I found out that the non-flammable formula isn't near as sticky as the original formula. With the curved corner causing the laminate edging to spring outward the non-flammable formula wouldn't hold it. I didn't have that problem with the original formula. Back to the hardware store for "the good stuff".

continued -
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:30 PM   #230
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Re: Hal The Van

Sofa-bed continued:
After getting a new can of contact cement I glued on the edge strip.


Apply Formica to the right side.


Install the T-nuts.


There isn't enough Formica on a single 4x8 sheet to cover both sides of the two End Pieces. I was not going to cover the left side of the Left End Piece since the plan is to have it right up against a cabinet. Problem is I'm not sure how deep the cabinet will be so part of the End Piece might be visible.
I lucked out because I had a scrap piece of white Formica I got a few years back from a friend who didn't need it. Sometimes it really does pay off being a pack rat.


I'll use the scrap piece to cover the End Piece. Here I'm cutting the laminate using my table saw. You can see the table saw leaves a chip free edge.


Route the End Piece.


Left End Piece done.


Have to attach the slider hardware to the End Piece. I have to be careful because if the bolt goes to deep I'll crack the Formica.


Use the caliper to get the hole depth.


I'll use the 1" bolts.


To be sure that the 1" bolts would be safe to use I first used a 1-1/4" bolt since I knew it was too long. I slowly tightened the bolt into the End Piece while holding my hand against the Formica on the opposite side. I kept twisting the bolt till I could feel it under the Formica. This way I'd know how it felt if the 1" bolts were going too deep.


Carefully bolt on the hardware. If you remember from earlier in the build the sliders have to be attached in a certain sequence.


This should be the last time I'm attaching the slider hardware so I'm going to make it a bit more permanent. Use two nuts and a lock washer.


Then use a hand saw and cut off the excess machine screw threads.


Screws all done.


Finish up the Left End Piece.


Then the Right.


The sofa-bed parts all stacked in the garage.


This will finish the main construction work on the sofa-bed. I still have to sew together the cushions and come up with a way to bolt the sofa-bed to the van floor.

Once the sofa-bed has been bolted down I won't be able to lift up the wood flooring. There are two projects that must be done before that.

The heater fuel tank must be installed under the van and bolted through the metal floor.


The Undervan Storage Box (AKA "The Box") must also be bolted through the metal floor.


I'll start write ups on those two projects next.
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