Seven months ago I thought this whole van conversion process was going to be easy. I thought, how hard could it possibly be? You buy a van, you rip out the trim, and then you build the interior to your liking. Simple.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I’ve had the van for five months. I’ve barely even started building the interior. And, so far, nothing about this experience has been easy. Well, except for the stuff that the pros have done, like having a high top installed, or replacing the pitman and idler arms. I guess that’s why they’re pros. They know what they’re doing.
Jef and I tried to cut our first piece of wood.
It didn’t work.
To be fair, it’s a really intricate jig saw cut. Perhaps we should have started with a straight cut on a 2×4. But no, I wanted to tackle the most difficult cut of the project first. Here’s the time lapse video of the two of us trying to trace a cut line. Credit for this clever method of translating the curves of the van to wood goes to Mr. Simplify. Honestly, I never would have thought of this in a million years.
What you don’t see in the video is the inconsistent scribble that was made by the guide pencil. The cut line looked a lot more like a two-year-old’s drawing of spaghetti than a clean, crisp line. You also don’t see the six times Jef hauled the wood back and forth from the van to the cutting bench so that I could try in vain to clean up the edge that snugs up to the side of the van. And you don’t see how long we stood there scratching our heads wondering what to do next.
The final product doesn’t look too terrible in photos, but trust me, it’s a bad cut. It could probably still work if I didn’t care about the quality of my project, but I do care. Thus, this piece of wood has now been deemed scrap and I’ve decided to redo this piece in a much smarter fashion, using the same clever tracing method, but on cardboard first. I like to think that if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not learning enough. I’m learning a lot.