Floor it!

Today I ordered four sheets of marine grade 3/4″ plywood from Home Depot for my modular floor sections. I’m taking a bit of a risk buying these sight unseen and trusting someone making minimum wage to pre-cut them correctly before pickup, but I only want to drive up to the Columbia River store once. I can’t fit 4×8′ sheets inside my SUV and I don’t have the saw to make those long cuts nice and neat, so I don’t really have any choice and I don’t feel like standing there for hours dodging the toddlers and dogs that usually invade Home Depot on a Portland weekend.The cut sizes are:

  • 60-1/4” x 27-1/8” for the aft section, between the bench bases
  • 57” x 46” for the mid section, from the galley base to the wall
  • 74-3/4” x 26” for the fore section, under the fridge and the helm
  • 78” x 25-1/2” for the cockpit section and step

I’ll probably have to trim these a bit, especially around the various cockpit obstructions. And then waterproof any gaps. Remember, the three cabinet bases I already built have built-in floor sections, which means they’re modular and easily removed or replaced.

These floor sections will give me a level surface throughout, providing important stability by distributing the loads under the two seat pedestals and the table/berth pedestal. The RETROvan’s deck itself is simply a 1/8″ or maybe 3/16″ layer of diamond plate steel. It’s adequately strong, but pretty flexy when you walk across it.

Once positioned, I’ll screw the plywood down and cut out an access panel for the starter battery in the cockpit section.

The next step will be to drill 5/16″ holes through the plywood and steel to bolt down the pedestals and helm. I’ve got the hardware in hand, including some 1-1/2″ fender washers for underneath. And hopefully that’s enough to minimize any wobbliness. If not, then it’s time to add some steel plates belowdecks. Fortunately for the table/berth pedestal, there is already a steel spine running down the center of the RETROvan.

The rubberized black & white ‘puzzle’ tiles will go down later, maybe even at a 45° angle.

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