It’s always more interesting to look at how a child sees something. I’ve spent hours/days/months looking online and speaking to friends to find the best way to create Bernie the mini camper out of the Arnold Clark ex-hire van I bought back in August. Some of the builds I’ve seen have been painfully impressive. Young Johnston’s ideas were…..different.
Drawing his plan with him was probably the most fun I’ve had in months. He was articulate, engaged and full of very funny ideas about what would make Bernie the perfect mini camper. The teacher in me liked the giant tick and hoped it wasn’t a blood sucking version. Including a fire to burn me on the bum when I least expected it was a typical Young Johnston thing to say, but in this context it really tickled my funny bone.
I set to work with two competing ideas. The Instagram perfection version, all smooth lines, bright surfaces and usually with a stunning sunset in the background. And the plan I drew, with utmost precision, but probably way beyond my skillset.
With my measurements in hand I bought all the timber and bits that I thought I needed and set to work. I’d seen one film on YouTube that was my guide as I set off, cutting lengths of planed pine and screwing them together to create a basic frame, with added wood glue for extra muscle.
Even by this stage I was proud of my efforts. Size looked good and it seemed fairly strong. Next I had to find out how my storage boxes would best fit underneath. After trying a few options, I plumped for this layout.
And with the storage boxes in situ.
Next up I cut the slats for the solid section. And then created the frame for the pull out section.
And then added the slats for the pull out section.
You’ll notice two slats are missing. My calculations for what I would need were just ever so slightly wonky. Unlike the final frame! Which I’m pretty proud of. The final test was to make sure it would fit in the van, which it did.
I used some braces to screw it to the van floor.
And added these clips to stop the pull out section from moving when on the road.
Finally I had to add the cushions, kindly donated by a friend with an old caravan. My original measurements were made with these cushions in mind. I’m not a fan of the orange, but Kirsty is going to re-cover these for me at some point.
And all set up, ready for the road!
I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved, with a lot of help from others like Kirsty, Young Johnston, The King, Rich and the many bloggers and YouTubers I’ve been stalking. I’m no DIY guy. I think Kirsty might expect a bit more from now on though…. And as for the wee man’s original ideas, there is no room for a police station, but for me, this is definitely worthy of a giant, big, fat tick.
There have been less outdoor adventures lately due to all the insulating, carpeting and bed building. Let the outdoor adventures recommence.