Sunday, 17 August 2014

New buddy seat fabrication

Having owned my early bay for 3 years now which I use throughout the year, and as Autumn is fast approaching, yes I know it's only August but this is the U.K. I have purchased a propex heater so I can have real hot air heating in my bus. There will be no more travelling to shows and club meets throughout the colder months whilst shivering and getting numb toes and fingers from the cold. I got to thinking about the location of the propex heater and most people put their heater either under the rock and roll bed, or under the buddy seat. As I tend to keep a lot of spares under the bed, I didn't really want to loose storage space and put the heater under there, so under the buddy seat seemed the ideal location, as I only keep my toolbox in there, which I can relocate quite easily.

As you can see from this photo, when the bed
is down there isn't a lot of room with my home
made cooker unit and the original Westfalia
buddy seat.

This photo shows my logic as to where the hot
air blown from the heater would go. If I put the
heater under the bed (to the left) a lot of the hot
would rise and get trapped under the overhang
of the bed. There again if I put the heater in under
the buddy seat (to the right) then it would blow
the hot air under the bed and take ages for the
rest of the bus to get warm, including the cab

What I needed was for the heater to blow hot
air down the centre of the bus towards the
sliding door so it had time to rise before getting
trapped by the rest of the furniture, thus in
theory heating the bus quicker... of course I
could be wrong and my theory could fall flat.
This is my original Westfalia buddy seat with
it's newish upholstery. There was only one way
to get the heat blowing down the centre of the
bus and that was to either modify the existing
seat or make a new seat. As I didn't want to
start cutting up a good westy seat I choose
to start from scratch and make a new seat
whilst retaining my upholstery.

Off to the local D.I.Y. store where I purchased
a sheet of 6mm ply and a pack of 1" x 1.5"
baton. I already had some wood glue and
wood screws.

Not having a garage or workshop all my work
is done outdoors, this of course means I'm at
the mercy of the elements. This is August in
the U.K. and we get frequent showers, normally
just after I have got all set up and ready to start.

The width and depth of the new seat would be
as the original, only it will have a recessed bit
to allow the blown hot air to be blown down
the side of the seat and directed towards the
sliding door.

My buddy seat doesn't get used that much, so
I think 6mm ply that has been glued and
screwed should be plenty strong enough once
fixed into position and it has the base of the
upholstery on it.

The original buddy seat has a handy storage
space in the back, but it does mean that the
seat sits a further 6" into the living area, which
doesn't sound a lot, but when the bed is down
it just takes up precious space.

I made a box up and mounted it directly to the
bulkhead, then attached my upholstery using
poppers, just in case I need to remove it.
Already the space saved in amazing.

This photo shows the original buddy seat and
my new seat. You can see by the chequered
flooring how much space not having the storage
space on the back of the seat has saved me,
and I still retained my lovely colour coded

This before and after photo shows the space
I have gained by making a new seat. The black
directional hot air vent on the new seat can be
directed so I get maximum hot air into the living
area and thus into the cab area.

Seat finished and bolted in position. Not bad
seeing as I'm not a carpenter and have to
work outdoors with only a workmate and
very basic tools.

So that is my new buddy seat ready for the
Propex heater to be installed. This will be
done by my old mate, Stuart who owns
and runs 'Oil Droppers' VW workshop.
This should hopefully be done in the next
fortnight, and I will do a blog write up for
that in the very new future.

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