How I built my Interior units for my '72 Bay. FINISHED!!!

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Well-known member
Nov 21, 2009
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Hi everybody,

My name's Steve and I'm in the process of having my bay restored by Beetle Bank in North Devon. At the moment it's in Etch Primer so not much to see and living in London means I only get to see the camper and it's updates about once a month.

In the mean time I have started making my interior and these photos will show what can be acheived working in a spare bedroom with just a Router, a small bench saw and a bag of hand tools.

I'll start with the overhead locker. I was fortunate enough to have a spare roof cut from a wreck which I cut the back section off so I could use as a template to fit the locker to. I wanted to keep it roughly to an original look with a few twists. My original locker had the table top which slid underneath the locker, this was fine but I decided I would do something different and would fit the table inside the locker so when put away it was completely out of sight.

I started by buying two sheets of 12.5mm oak veneered plywood. All other material is solid oak which is just left overs from hardwood skirting. It's designed in a way where there is no pins, screws or fixings on show in anyway at all.

In the pictures you will see, after I made the locker I made the table top by using a piece of scrap 12mm ply and bonding a piece of 4mm ply to it then laminated in white Formica both sides and finished with the devon trim.

Next was to make the replica Devon Caravette sway away unit. For this I had no sample to look at, so all dimensions had to be taken by looking at pictures in the Volksworld magazine and gauging the scale off the back of my seat. I did manage to see one in the flesh at the Ace Swap meet and the owner very kindly allowed me to measure it and I wasn't too far out with my dimensions which was a great relief. The cooker unit was purchased from Slough swap meet last year.

There will be some pictures added of my seat which I built which incorporates a flat screen t.v.

Hope you like what you see and any questions feel free to ask.

Here are the pictures:


After the initial design is worked out and I was satisfied that everything wass going to work, I produced everything in 12mm MDF and made sure all the edges were cleaned up properly by trimming with a router. This is crucial. After rough cutting the oak ply allowing myself approximately 4mm extra all the way round to allow for splintering. I then clamped this on top of my MDF templates which I then routered using a profile cutter with a bearing. The bearing runs off of the MDF template which is underneath the oak ply which then gives you an absolute perfect machine finish with no splintering.







The front and the bottom board were plough grooved into the front solid oak section paying attention that you do not start the router and run right the way through as you'll show the joint on the ends of the solid oak so I had to plunge in and then plunge out when I got to the other end.

























Note how tight the clearance is between the top of the table top and the front section of the locker where the draw slides out. The back of the drawer had to be relieved to allow for when the draw was fully opened you can push the table top up from underneath the drawer through a 20mm hole and that allows the table top to tilt through the back of the draw and give it enough clearance to get it over the front of the draw. This works perfectly every time. Eventually this draw will be lined in black baize by the trimmer to give it a really nice internal finish.



Hello and welcome, cracking work there Sir! looking forward to the next instalment :mrgreen:
I see a potential new business venture 8)
Very nice work, i agree a solid piece of wood is so much better to look at than laminated MDF (even though i will probably end up with laminated MDF :lol: )
Wow - that is very impressive 8)

Question though, when you want the table out and you have filled the locker with stuff, won't you have to unload it, then put it back once the table is out, then do it again when the table goes in?
Nice bit of router action there looks the business, cant way till i have more time to do mine. :D
Nice built... but i keep other stuff in that particulier interior unit.
Kids toys mostly!
I have my camping table lying in the back (atop the enginebay) together with the chairs.
Thanks for all your kind words. With regards to the question about storing items in the overhead locker with the table in... I don't intend to store too much within the locker, just the odd cardigan and magazines so it won't be too much hassle removing the table and so on.

I mentioned in my first post about the Devon Carravette Sway away replica unit I was making. Here are some pictures of the unit so far. Not the finished article as of yet but I will keep updating. Hope you like what you see.

As I said last night, I had no dimensions to work from for this unit so I had to look through all my Volksworld magazines for pictures of campers with this unit in. I had the height from floor to the top of my passenger seat which I'd taken before the camper went to Beetle Bank, so for height I had to gauge off of pictures in relation to how high it came down back of the seat. I could then work out a scale for how high the doors should be and the size of the draw to bring the whole front into perspective. For the depth and the width I worked it off of my new twin burner and hob unit. I then started to do a drawing which I could work from. From this I could then work out a cutting list for the materials and take all my dimensions.


This is the inside of one of the sides after I set it out and done all the housings to take the top for the unit to sit on, dust panel for the draw, rebates for the front oak frame, oak rails on the top, rebates for the back and the bottom.


I constructed a complete oak front frame from 20mm x 30mm oak which I cut from off cuts of skirting and hand planed. All joints are mortise and tenon by hand. When the front frame was constructed I then laid it face down and routered round the inside so all the sides and the top shelf which was also routered with a rebate on the outside edge so when the front frame went to the sides it all finished flush. I could then start to assemble the unit.



Here you can clearly see the rebates on the inside of the frame.



Here can be seen where I clamped the front frame to the side panels using pieces of scrap timber behind cramps so as not to bruise my work.


This is all assembled by waterproof glue. There are no pins or screws at all.




In this picture I'm ready to put the back on. Also note the dust panel for the drawer and back of the shelves stand proud by 5mm which fits into the plough groves in the back.



Now I've started to run the glue round in preparation for the back.



Here you can see the back dropped into a rebate on the rear of the sides. This can then be pinned and when glue dried the pins could then be punched in. Also oak lipping now pinned on round the bottom. Pins will not be seen as it's underneath the unit on the bottom.




Here you can see how I lost the row of pins which I put in to hold the back on into the rebate on the sides. I did this by rebating again over the top of the section where the pins went in. I then glued on a solid oak lipping approximately 4mm x 12mm and secured after gluing by masking tape over night. I could then clean off the excess oak with a block plane and then sand by hand being ultra careful not to go through my veneer. So you end up with a very strong carcass with no visible fixings what so ever.


Now you can see the front elevation of the constructed unit. I then fitted the three top rails running down both sides and across the back. These are plough groved with a router which then sat on the top of the rebates which I did around the top of the two sides and the back, glued and taped on, all finished and flush from the outside. The next job was to build the inside of the top out where the cooker goes to the same thickness of the oak framing. This was done by applying 6mm ply around the inside with a small packer behind approximately 2mm thick which I ran off through my bench saw so the ply finished on the same line as the front of the cabinet. This then enables me to line out with aluminium all on the same level.



I was lucky enough to have to pull out some aluminium cladding off of an air conditioning trunking at work which was a perfect match to what I required. This was about a year ago which I have saved for this job. To cut this aluminium I first cut a rough size using a jigsaw and then trimmed to the exact size using a profile cutter on the router.


I then lined out the top section with contact adhesive to fit this aluminium liner making sure I covered all finishing edges with masking tape so I didn't get any surplus glue on my oak.



Note housing in the back to take the gas pipe down to my gas bottle which will be located in the bottom cupboard.




This was last weeks project of evening work to construct the doors and also the top flap to go on the front of the unit. This is how it was done; I took three pieces of 12.5mm plywood which was just scrap and then bonded on a piece of 3mm and pining.


When this was done, they was then cleaned up all round with a router with a profile cutter. The way to do this is to just leave the surplus plywood over the top of a straight piece of MDF. Mark either end of where you want to cut off and line this up with the straight piece of MDF you've clamped to. The profile cutter is a straight twin flute cutter which has a bearing on the bottom. The bearing runs on your piece of MDF trimming off your surplus plywood to your exact size you require.



The next stage was to glue round my oak lipping. Got to be really careful now as I'm running out of oak, got to use every scrap. This was run through the bench saw at approximately 20mm x 5mm and then glued on and secured with masking tape and left over night. The following evening I cleaned off with the hand plane being careful that you don't break away any of the lipping as it has to finish flat with the surface of the plywood. Then checked the pins to make sure they were slightly punched in.


This is how it was prior to cleaning off. Excess oak on the ends was carefully trimmed off with a tenon saw leaving approximately 1mm which was then shot off with a block plane being careful not to break out any of the oak.


This was then lightly sanded to check that everything was flat then I could laminate.


This weekend I hung the doors with chrome hinges with approximately 1mm clearance around the edge of all the doors.








Last nights project was to finish off by fitting the flap at the top. This is as far as I've got so far and what you see so far has taken me approximately 5 weeks of spare weekends and evenings. All that's left now is to make the top to go on and to construct the solid oak draw which all I've got is a few scraps of oak left but I'll post plenty of pictures to show how I've put the oak together to give me the sizes I require to do the job and construct the draw which will have hand cut dove tail joints on the front.







Just dropped the hob and cooker unit in to see what it looked like.




That's the unit so far, as I mentioned earlier more to come.

Here are a few pictures of the seat that I made about six months ago but unfortunately I never took any pictures of the construction stage as I didn't think to document on a website.

This seat is entirely built from scrap timber and didn't cost me one penny to build apart from the laminate and devon trim. It then went off to the trimmer who is located in Exeter, Devon. The trimmer is only in his twenties and works for a company which restores vintage Bentleys. His quality of work is unbelievable and is the best I've seen. If you want to see more of the trimmers work then look within the project here:

Without further or do, here are the pictures of the finished product apart from the cushions. The ply panels you see in the pictures are yet to be covered in black vinyl. The vinyl has a leather pig skin look and is hard to tell from the real deal so it will be contrasted against a Shammy coloured vinyl in the same texture. Can't wait to see when he's done the cushions and will update accordingly.

The back panel is removable to expose where the TV will be.


The black background which you can see in the picture (behind the apertures for the tv and the oval shaped one is to put your hand through to load the TV with DVD's) is lined in black baize as will be the bottom storage unit.


Note the black trimming which the trimmer stitched around the edge of the DVD aperture. Also note how neat his staple work is.





This panel which houses the TV can be removed for storage at home complete with the TV and the back panel replaced without the TV.


Complete with the TV in place. If you look closely in the picture at the bottom right corner of the TV there is one staple slightly showing. This occured because there was hardly any cloaking over at this point, only about 3mm and I had the TV at home in London and the unit was in Devon so we took a chance. The trimmer said this was unacceptable and so he will be redoing the whole panel. This goes to show how fussy he is and how much pride he takes in his work.



The seat will be located to the right of the unit which I'm building at the moment which can see above. There will be a full width rock and roll bed opposite which means I'll be able to chill out in the evening on the rock and roll seat and watch a DVD from the seat opposite.
Top job - How do you such good straight (or curved for that matter) just using the jigsaw, or is the secret using the router after?

Very impressive 8)
Gobsmacked would be understatement of the year, mate. Cracking job. Mind if tell me Splitty pals?
This really is amazing stuff hats off to you. Im sure Ive got aload more questions for you but where dod you get the devon trim. Ive never considered trying to replicate a devon interior but your changing my oppinion!

Amazing work fella. I know how hard it is to refurbish the interior of your bus when you've only got a small room in your house to work in. The sight of a whole bus interior in pieces burying the washing machine is all too familiar to me!
Looking forward to seeing the finished interior :D