Vanagon – front headliner gone

The other day when I was mounting the luggage rack I ripped the headliner beyond where it could be wrapped over the “soon to be cut” edge of the main pop top hole. I hummed and hawed, and finally decided to ditch the headliner and do what the factory did and put in a wooden headliner. I have my old westy headliner and I could have used that (I had covered it in fabric back in 2000 when I did a make-over on the old van), but I decided to make a new one and go with a warm wood look.

The local lumber yard had 1/8″ baltic birch in 5′ X 5′ sheets, so I went with that. The width of the headliner is greater than 48″ and I think the length needed is a bit more than 48″ also, so a standard sized sheet of plywood is not convenient. I bought some brush on clear lacquer and tried it one one side. It was ok, but the pale finish which I thought would look “clean” had a raw feel. So I used some Sikkens oil/varnish coating that I had in the barn. That gave the birch a very homey old style look, so good bye eurolook and hello log cabin. Here are the uncut panels with one coat on.

I attacked that awful insulation above the old headliner with a scraper and a vacuum cleaner.

This vintage Nilfisk is quiet and its exhaust is clean.

In the westy, the wooden headliner is held on to the side of the roof by bent ledger strips riveted to the body. The fabric headliner in the passenger van is held in place by a different type of ledger strip spot welded to the body in pretty well the same place. It never ends does it? Just like renovating an old house, surprises await. I’ll take pics of this when I put the wooden headliner in place.

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