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Old 02-02-2016, 02:07 PM   #1
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Overhead Shelf for T1N - Airstream Interstate 2005

Here it is....finally.....40 hours of engineering, cutting, recutting, etc.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:25 PM   #2
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BEAUTIFUL JOB-----
I wish I had the ability to construct such a fabulous shelf. Any chance you would make another or more for fellow Interstaters??

If you have plans and sources for supporting hardware, and be willing to sell that info I'm a potential buyer.

Best I could do was use fishing net, PVC, snaps, and Velcro. I use the snaps for the original windshield curtain and the screws for the roof trim with Velcro to hang the PVC. Not as pretty as your fabulous built in, the only advantage is there is something that gives when my head hits it. I keep light weight items there (jackets, sleeping bags, blankets, sheets, etc.) up there .

Again a beautiful addition that should have been there from the start. AEW
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:57 PM   #3
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Holy wow! Now there is a mod that I bet no other T1N owner has attempted!

Tucson... depending on where you travel and in what weather conditions, that's going to help you with cab cooling as well as storage, particularly by reducing the effective open air volume. We added insulation above our cab liner to cut down on the Texas heat.

And welcome to Air Forums, BTW.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:20 PM   #4
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Hi -

Thanks for your feedback. In answer to some of the comments:

This cost us less than $75.00 to build - but took about 40 hours and a ton of cussing and arguing!

1) We don't want make another one - it's so customized (cut, recut, fit, etc.) we aren't convinced it would fit in another vehicle....However...
2) We would be happy give you the general measurements along with our supply list:

The shelf ended up measuring about 57 x 26 at its largest place.

1 - 4 x8 piece of 1/4" plywood - $10.00
1 - small piece of wood block to shim the box so that it goes above the "L" bracket - we used 3/4" pine blocks that we pained silver.
1 - 6 foot steel "L" bracket (from Home Depot) $25.00
1 - 9" x 9" x 3" - or any size you like o form up the driver side bracket against the installed cabinets - I got this at Michaels for 1.99 and painted it silver.
4 - 2"long 1/2 inch bolts washers and nuts to attach box to shelf and side cabinet - $3.00
8 - 1 1/2" 1/4 bolts, nuts and washers to attach "L" bracket to shelf - $3.00
1 - 12 foot roll of soft door weather stripping to put around the shelf and protect tat expensive headliner - $5.00
1 quart pecan Minwax high gloss polyurethane stain (3 coats on each side matched our cabinets almost perfectly) $10.00
1 pint Minwax Helmsman satin polyurethane for final coat and match to cabinets $5.0
Sandpaper - 60 grit and 220 grit
Paint brush for stain
1 large (58 x 30) piece of cardboard to make your template.

Tools:
Jigsaw
Sander with sandpaper
Drill with metal bit
The usual wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. to tighten bolts, etc.

Please NOTE that we installed the swinging sun visor kit before we made this shelf. The brackets for that were perfect for the tabs to "jam" into and rest on in the front.

From here you can see the progression of the project in the pics. But general instructions are:

ENGINEER THE SUPPORT STRUCTURE.

Figure out how you will support the front - if you have the swinging sun visors then the tabs we cut will work perfectly.

Confirm where/how your box will butt up to the shelf and the cabinet to support the drivers side - we shimmed ours on the bottom to keep from having to slot it for the "L" bracket

Make sure your coat hook will support the passenger side.

MAKE THE TEMPLATE

Our general measurements: 57 x 26 - but start bigger and trim it down to fit.

We made our template by measuring all the distances left to right and forward to backward and adding 1/2 deep by 2 3/4 " tabs on the front for support. we used a straight edge to get the sides and front square and straight and trimmed from there.

Cut out your cardboard template and fit it perfectly before going further - and even then expect to trim your wooden shelf as it will fit tighter than your cardboard. Note these critical items:
A. The tabs on the front have to be long enough to rest on your visor brackets - our are about 1/2" by 2 3/4" - we have after market pivoting visors - you may not have these so your support structure may be different.
B. The passenger side coat hook will have a "slot" that will fit over it to support that side. You can't do this on the drivers side because there isn't enough "give to get it up an over the moulding. In retrospect we might have considered moving the plastic trip pieces and then putting them back after the shelf was in, but we chose to attach each side differently.

CUT THE WOOD SHELF

Once your template is done and fits the way you want it to (practice putting it in and out to get used to it before you do it with the wood - which can damage the headliner) - cut out your plywood shelf. Note:

TO make the slot for the passenger coat hook we used a drill and put the holes in then used a wood file to make it smooth.

CUSTOMIZE THE WOOD SHELF
This is where the patience came in. The shelf needs to be snug and rest solidly on the front visors. But it can't be so snug that it will eat your headliner going down the road. It also needs to rest nicely on the coat hook and be supportable on the drivers side with the box and cabinet combination.

CUT THE SUPPORTING "L" bracket.
This bracket should rest on the side supports - we decided to cut our shorter to accommodate putting it in...in retrospect we should have cut it length from wall to wall so that it rested on each pillar behind the coat hook - but it works as is.

CUT THE HOLES IN THE "L" bracket for the "L" bracket bolts - DON'T drill the wood - you will do this AFTER you do the final install to insure a match up.

FINISH THE SHELF - THIS IS A 2 DAY PROCESS
With Minwax - we used 3 coats of pecan and a final satin coat of helmsman to get a match to our cabinets.

ATTACH THE WEATHERSTRIPPING

INSTALL THE WOOD SHELF
You need a buddy to hold his while you are doing the next step.

INSTALL THE "L" BRACKET
DRILL THE HOLES IN THE SHELF O MATCH THE "L" BRACKET HOLES
INSTALL THE BOLTS IN THE "L" BRACKET
SHIM THE BOX AND ATTACH IT TO THE SHELF WITH THE 1/2 BOLTS - you need clamps and buddy to line it all up properly
ATTACH THE BOX TO THE CABINET WITH 1/2" BOLTS

ALL done........

We can send more detailed pics of areas if you want...

GOOD LUCK!!!!
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:21 PM   #5
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EXCELLENT POINT ON THE COOLING! Thanks!
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:24 PM   #6
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Upholstering the underside of the shelf might cut down on noise, which is one reason automobiles have fabric headliners.

Though it would be a shame to cover the wood grain…
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:30 PM   #7
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Okay, Protagonist has a good idea here. We are 1 week into the new shelf, hoping to get used to it, but/and as Unifreck pointed out....I have smacked my head into the metal "L" bracket about 4 times and we haven't even been out on the road with it yet!

Again, we don't want to make another one, but this one may have to come down and be upholstered...we will see how it goes.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizt1011 View Post
I have smacked my head into the metal "L" bracket about 4 times and we haven't even been out on the road with it yet!
Incorporating a padded edge if you upholster it might help with that, too.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:23 PM   #9
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Beautiful work, very attractive woodgraining.

Minus the damage to your head of course.

Reminds me of the shelf in a VW camper.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizt1011 View Post
I have smacked my head into the metal "L" bracket about 4 times and we haven't even been out on the road with it yet!
I love the shelf but at over 6' tall, Interblog won't be getting one.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
I love the shelf but at over 6' tall, Interblog won't be getting one.
I figured he would say that (he means HE is over 6' tall, not me).

It's a beautiful job, but unless we had a very specific reason for needing it, it's not a project we would rush into. So far I haven't run out of room in our Interstate - not even close, in fact. And on some trips, I have to take three wardrobes (industrial work clothes, business clothes, and backcountry clothes) plus my mobile office.

Now, if we were going out for weeks at a time, I might reach a different conclusion. But most of what I would want to haul on a longer trip is far too heavy for a shelf like that. Hence my obsession with a rear hitch basket.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:30 PM   #12
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THANK YOU for your detailed description of methodology and list of supplies and equipment. That was a huge project in itself. I can understand your not wanting to make another one, with all the trials and detail required. Might just leave my netted hammock in place and save my head. AEW
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by unifreck View Post
.... Might just leave my netted hammock in place and save my head. AEW
You wouldn't happen to have a pic of that hammock, would you? That I would like to see.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:23 PM   #14
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Going to Pinnacles NP with AIRSTREAMERS the end of February, perhaps they can teach me how to attach photos to this type of reply. AEW
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