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Got wood (interior panels)?
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BoneStock67
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:47 am    Post subject: Got wood (interior panels)? Reply with quote

Anyone ever replace their plastic westy interior panels with some nice wood, like the baltic birch (or limba?) used in some of the earlier westies?
If so, how about some pix?
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1986 Wolfsburg Westfalia Weekender 2.1L stock
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vanagonforever
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to see some pics as well. I've thought about replacing my trim panels dozens of times but so far have not done anything about it. My current thinking is that I am just going to get some of that textured vinyl from GoWesty and recover the ones I have. Some really nice inspirational pictures could get me thinking otherwise though.
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fairweather
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am planning on replacing mine with 1/8" amber bamboo, with the economic event my supplier has eliminated me from his route so have to wait till an opportunity comes around to get some. I saw a red van with the natural panel up front and it looked nice.
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Perales
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't do my panels but I did make my tables out of curly maple.

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BoneStock67
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perales,
I've seen that pic of your table before, but let me say now that it is a beautiful piece of work.
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1986 Wolfsburg Westfalia Weekender 2.1L stock
1967 Beetle, now becoming my daily driver again, after a long rest in the garage

"There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. -Enrico Fermi
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offroad.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i`m also in the prosses of recovering all the trim panels in the syncro but finding a suitable product is driving me nuts.

hoping to see some pics too.

lee.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing to consider when changing your interior panels is sound.

I replaced all the panels inside my 71 Bay with marine grade birch plywood, covered with clear coat epoxy. Made for a beautiful look. However the noise levels increased. All those hard surfaces reflect sound!
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If I were to do over I would use the method I used on a Toyota truck; 1/8 inch hardboard covered with 1/4 inch foam and overlay with vinyl fabric.

Not quite as pretty, but a lot quieter!
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GreenMachineVW
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went the Baltic Birch route. I replaced all the panels on my Westfalia, and striped the bottom of the upper bunk as well, to reveal the birch underneath the decrepit contact paper / wall paper. I finished all the wood with as many coats of glossy polyurethane as I could. I had not considered the loudness factor, but for looks and ease of cleaning and maintaining, I like it fine as is.

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kevinbassplayer
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GreenmachineVW,

That looks awesome, I would love to do the headliner in my Westy, what thickness is the headliner and how hard was it to do?
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Phishman068
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually starting the process of making some panels for my GL turned Westy out of Baltic Birch (But now i'm thinking Red Oak...).

My question is, what kind of clips did you end up using to attach say the door panels or the rear tailgate panel? I see you have clips going through the wood which is what i expected would be necessary but i'm not sure where you procure these special pins?
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GreenMachineVW
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@kevinbassplayer:

Cutting it was easy, using a small vibrating sander for the final curves. Getting it in place was a bit of a pain, but two people with various levers and pry-bars got it in place in about a half an hour. Probably scuffed it a little more than I would have liked, but you have to look hard to see where. I think next time I would polyurethane it, and then slowly soak the back side using water from a mist spray bottle every few hours for a couple days.

The Birch was 1/8 inch, which comes to about 3.17 mm. It is slightly thicker than the original, which I assume is 3 mm. Just enough to make it a bit more of a hassle. On the other hand, if your current panel is in good shape, it is quite easy to use a paint stripper (e.g. strip-eze), to remove the contact paper and glue, and then polyurethane that. That is the route I would have taken if I could have, but my headliner was a bit to beat up.

@Phishman068:

I found the clips that VW originally used on the rear hatch unsatisfactory. I used #6 stainless steel screws with finish washers into pre-drilled holes on the hatch. On the doors, I scavanged some of the chanels that VW used for the rest of the panels and rivited that in place for the top. It holds the top of the panel quite well, and I also like that it keeps water from getting behind the panels when you open the doors in the rain. The rest of the door panels are being held in place with the door hardware, but I do plan on adding a few screws along the edges as well, once it warms up and I get off my lazy rusty dusty. I also put a few screws in the slider panels, but need a few more. The screws are not as easy to pop out as the clips, but how often do you really need to remove the panels? A battery operated screw gun removes them quickly, and you don't need to use the brute force method of prying out the clips. Nothing good ever comes from that, especially if you use anything other than the right tool. Besides, I do like the look of the stainless steel on the high gloss polyurethane.
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Ceebers
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my 74 westy, I replaced all the panels with baltic birch. I did a great job jig sawing the kick panels, I was really pleased.

Perales, that's soft maple, right? -looks very good.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job GreenMachineVW !

Yeah, I love that all natural look. And it sure beats plastic.!
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BoneStock67
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

71 and Green:
Those both look great!
The main thing holding me back though (other than time, expense, and just getting off my butt to do it of course) is the fact that many of the panels (at least on my '86 weekender) are not flat. For example, there are big protuberances where the rear bench rests, and small shelves (arm rests?) under the cup holders. I have to admit that I like these various protuberances and wouldn't want to lose them to a vast expanse of wooden flatness.
So what to do? I guess I can cut out small sections of thicker plywood and glue them together into the appropriate shapes but that gets complicated.
Anybody done anything like this or have any advice?
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1967 Beetle, now becoming my daily driver again, after a long rest in the garage

"There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. -Enrico Fermi
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, this has brought back to mind a project I envisioned a while back, and now I think I'll do it.

I've been wanting to replace the original front headliner in my Westy with a piece of nice wood finished in a natural or light shade. Exactly like Greenmachine's picture from above.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


In the middle, I want to place this:


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Start out with the states outlined, and then fill them in with the individual states decals as I check them off by visiting them. Hard to tell in the picture of the map, but it is just the black outlines of the US map, it does not have a white background.
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wcdennis
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't all those hard surfaces make the interior a mini echo chamber?
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Home Team Van
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phishman068 wrote:
I'm actually starting the process of making some panels for my GL turned Westy out of Baltic Birch (But now i'm thinking Red Oak...).

My question is, what kind of clips did you end up using to attach say the door panels or the rear tailgate panel? I see you have clips going through the wood which is what i expected would be necessary but i'm not sure where you procure these special pins?


I just finished wrapping my panels in vinyl and found that these panel clips by Auveco products( item # 17612, head diam 5/8, stem diam 3/8, stem length 3/4) worked perfectly. They are for use on a Ford Explorer. I believe they were $7-$8 for 50. They came in several colors. I'd originally decided to use stainless screws and finishing washers but these ended up being cheaper and quicker. However if you're going with wood then stainless sure does look sharp.
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dumpling
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Cork would be great for a number of reasons.
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BoneStock67
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get the problem with internal reflections.
Doesn't most of the noise come from the engine and road?
And if so, can't any noise problem with wood be compensated by some good sound insulating material under the wood?
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1986 Wolfsburg Westfalia Weekender 2.1L stock
1967 Beetle, now becoming my daily driver again, after a long rest in the garage

"There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. -Enrico Fermi
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GreenMachineVW
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@BoneStock67: The Westfalia panels are all flat, and that makes it nice and easy. I personally would not try to manufacture anything with all those odd ball shapes, unless you are good at sculpting wood. But if you could, it probably would look pretty sharp.

@hiram6: Funny you should mention that map. I was just at Absolute German (the wrecking yard, not the wrecking vodka), and there was a US map outlined on the slider door. Not sure if he was planning on filling in the states: if so, it looks like the wrecking yard was the first stop!

@wcdennis: Between the carpet, curtains, bed, bench seat and front seats, there is little chance of any sounds echoing very far. But the resonance was pretty obvious before I put all that stuff back in.

@newbaby: 1/8th inch cork would be a bit flimsy for those panels with nothing behind them, don't you think?

@BoneStock67: Again, the problem is that the 1/8th inch thickness is already a tad more than the stock material. I did put B-Quiet sound dampener on most of the sheet metal panels.

If anyone is considering creating panels like I did, I would highly recommend stripping the old panels first, and see how they look underneath. Most of mine were OK, but the larger ones were discolored due to the contact paper being missing for many years. Since I was replacing the big pieces, I replaced the small pieces as well for that uniform look. The biggest obstacle I faced was finding suitable stock for the panels. Home Depot, Loew, etc. is out of the question (they have nothing good in 1/8th inch), and even the local marine and specialty lumber shops I tried in Massachusetts had very limited supply. The birch was all I found that did not require special order, and at $40 a sheet, the price was quite reasonable. I believe I used four sheets, and that was enough for everything except the long narrow pieces that run above the windows. There I used the old pieces striped and polyurethaned. One is hard pressed to see the difference.
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