Building the New Fit RV Shop – Part 5: The Walls

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Well, the new Fit RV shop continues to slowly plod along.  I’m now doing something that feels pretty much like grunt work – building walls!  Have a look:


This is turning out to be more time-consuming than I thought it would be, and you’ll see some of that in the video.  I got my first 6 1/2 linear feet of wall done in 2 days. (!)

If I had written instructions to myself for how to do this stuff, they would have read like this:

  1. Where you need walls, but none exist, frame them up.  Your framing nailer is in a giant shipping container in a box labeled “Shop Crap”, so you’ll need to frame up these walls by hand with a hammer.  You can go buy yourself a 28oz hammer to make it a little easier.
  2. Drill lots of holes into concrete and steel to secure the framing to the structure of the shop.  Drilling holes into concrete is not fun.  Drilling holes into steel is less fun.  Drilling holes into steel with concrete behind it is less fun than both of those combined… or subtracted… or whatever “sucks math” gives you less fun than anything you can imagine.
  3. Secure pressure treated 2x4s to the walls of the shop by drilling more holes into concrete and using Tap-con anchors.  Besides the bottom, top, and sides of the walls, secure horizontal rails with the bottoms 31″ , 66 3/4″ and 83″ from the floor.  You’ll use these rails later to mount things… unless you’ve made a mistake in your calculations here, in which case this is wasted effort.
  4. You didn’t know where you wanted the horizontal rails when you framed up those closet walls.  So now that they’re up, go and try to add that blocking after the fact without using a framing nailer.  This will require you to swing that 28oz hammer in itty-bitty strokes to toenail them in.  Bonus points for creative swearing.
  5. Buy sheets of pink insulation board at the home center.  Drive home at 5mph to keep them from blowing out of the back of your truck.  Once home, realize you have an RV with cargo doors.
  6. Score and snap the insulation board to fit between the rails you made.  No complaints here – this is actually easy.
  7. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the pink foam board and adhere to walls.  Realize your caulk gun is in a giant shipping container in a box labeled “Shop Crap”.  Buy a battery operated caulk gun to console yourself.  Wonder why you hadn’t bought yourself one before now, because this thing is pretty sweet.
  8. Cut pine tongue & groove siding to length, and apply it vertically to walls.  Realize every single board is warped, twisted, or has a mangled tongue or groove.  WWF them into place.  Face-nail the siding to the horizontal rails.  After the 400th nail, wise up and start using a smaller hammer.  Use screws at the top and bottom ends of the siding.
  9. Repeat as necessary…

And that’s pretty much what you see in the video.  I edited out most of the swearing.  😉

And The One Thing I Learned That I Didn’t Expect…

Stef is incredibly effective at selecting lumber!  I roped her into helping me one morning by taking her to breakfast at a restaurant that was right next door to the local home center.  But I didn’t tell her that the restaurant was right next to the home center.  So after breakfast I’m all like, “Oh hey, since we’re right here, do you mind if we stop in and pick up some more tongue and groove siding?”  (I’m like that.  It’s true.  Stef has started asking me now, whenever I take her out, “Is this restaurant next to the dump?  Or a nut and bolt supply place?”)

Anyway, when I got to the pile o’ siding and started picking them out, one by one, Stef just took over.  She pushed me out of the way and literally flew through the stack.  She was easily three to four times faster at this task than I am.  And she was nailing it on the quality, once she knew what to look for.  I was seriously impressed.

And now, Stef can look forward to lots more dates that are serendipitously close to lumber yards!


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    12 thoughts on “Building the New Fit RV Shop – Part 5: The Walls

      1. James - Post author

        While *I* think it would be lots of fun, I’m not sure Stef feels the same way.
        She’s the one I’d have to convince…

    1. G. Smith

      Curious why you used Tapcon screws vs a Ramset power nailer? I’ve used both and the power nailer is so much easier.

      1. James - Post author

        The concrete is pretty old, and therefore hard. The Ramset, from what I’ve read, can tend to crack the older/harder concrete.
        Since it’s keeping two cars suspended over my head, I want as few cracks as possible.
        I would have had to buy a powder nailer and I already have a rotary hammer, so the holes aren’t too bad.
        Plus, I think Stef would have had something to day about the noise…

    2. Tim

      Hi James. Just wanted to thank you for taking the time and trouble to make these shop videos. They are interesting, entertaining and informative, not an insignificant thing to achieve. Regards Tim

    3. Darryl Willett

      As an electrician, I say YAY 4×4 boxes! Hahahaha. Safety first! Those walls are going to look great. I enjoy all the content here. Thank you both for what you do.

      1. James - Post author

        Making the video of this has been interesting…
        I never know who’s watching them, but it’s kind of like I’ve got a bunch of electricians, structural engineers, and finish carpenters looking over my shoulder while I work.
        Kind of cool.

        (I keep waiting for someone to call out my retro Batman homage…)

    4. TKA

      Well done, James. I’m enjoying the workshop series and would love to see “workshop” content in the future. Keep up the great work….

    5. John Cariotto

      I insulated the poured concrete walls in the basement of our first house. It made the basement much more livable. I used drywall; I like the looks of the tongue and groove siding but would have used the plywood with grooves because I’m less patient than you.
      And yes, you are very lucky to have Stefany. I hope she feels lucky to have you.


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