I'm converting a (high roof, LWB) panel van into a camper, and want to use ply both for walls/ceiling/floor and for furniture.

What type (hardwood/softwood) and thicknesses should I use for:

  1. The walls
    • 9mm soft (or 12mm so I could hang things off it if I decided to)?
  2. The ceiling
    • Maybe 6mm or 9mm of soft? I really don't know.
  3. The floor
    • 12mm of soft?
  4. A bed
    • 12mm hard? Or is that overkill? Should I have it thicker for the slats than the support?
  5. A kitchen unit (sink & two hobs & maybe a microwave)
    • 6mm? Don't know about type

My guesses might be totally off-base, I'm pretty new to woodworking and really know very little about what sort ply is appropriate for what function. Basically I want to keep cost and weight down without keeping them so far down that the wood will bow or break. If it's relevant, I'm hoping to have a wood burner in there (obviously not sitting directly on ply), so there might be fairly quick temperature variance.

  • I think you'll get the level of input you really need on a forum dedicated to camper vans (although I've never seen one there must be something like that given the interest in the subject!). But I'd say go with hardwood ply for everything if you can, definitely for any thinner boards used. And I wouldn't go thinner than 9mm for anything structural. 6mm can be fine and reasonably robust for dividers, drawer bottoms and such but as you can't use screws it's harder to build into structural elements than thicker stuff so you need to rely on glue block or epoxy fillets to reinforce corners. [contd]
    – Graphus
    Sep 21, 2017 at 5:53
  • Judging from the way I've seen many vans and trucks fitted out you'll probably need or want to use some softwood for latticework construction and strips, to more easily affix the ply to it and build up internal structures such as the bed platform. That kind of thing can be made using plywood only but it's really only needed for the skin, and softwood structural elements are strong enough and lighter, and very easy to fix together (hammer and nails only if required).
    – Graphus
    Sep 21, 2017 at 5:55
  • try cheaprvliving.com/forums
    – Alaska Man
    Oct 3, 2017 at 20:33


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