VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

Looking for tips and advise in the reconstruction of a Westy Bed. I have to rebuild a complete bed. The mechanism it self looks good other than a good soaking of penetrating oil, a quick clean and a new coat of paint. All the wood and attaching hardware needs to be replaced.
Has anyone rebuilt one before? What was your choice of wood, hardware, cushion, and cover material? Did you modify anything from the original design? Got any pictures of your process?
Looks pretty straight forward and I have all the existing wood to use as templates. This will be my first rebuild on one of these and want to avoid any setbacks.
I could really use a picture of how the frame work attaches to the rear shelf above the engine compartment. It looks like the passenger side mount is bent.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Views: 7477

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm convinced this bracket on the passenger side is bent and just needs to be straightened out. Anyone have this bend in there Westy bed frame?

Another concern are these brackets. The jagged edges lead me to believe they are broken from fatigue. They rotate or pivot freely but don't seem to play a role in the seat operation.
Any input?

Inner passengers side.


Inner driver side,

Brackets in question are found under the cushions when the bed is laid flat.



Any help in identifying what these are for?
I haven't taken mine apart to that extent... only the backrest to add in headrests...
I would suggest seeing if there's a wrecker around to look at any "samples" out there. Not easy.
If I remember, I'll take a photo of what mine look like sometime this week for you.
Mine's a 1989.
I have done this twice over the years.

Pay more than you really want to for the foam. It should be "mattress quality", and it ain't cheap.

For the cover material, I once used a vinyl-like material, and in the summer, my skin would stick to it. Easy to clean up spilled wine off of, though. I might use that again.

For my current bus, I use 1000 Denier Cordura. Reasoning behind that: Tough as nails, it would resist dog claws (and it does) and as an added plus, my employer "wouldn't miss" gave me 10 or so yards.

Disadvantage: I used black colored Cordura, and it shows dog hair. Also, 1000 Denier Cordura (used in making backpacks) is sort of like coarse sandpaper on your skin. If you toss and turn when sleeping, this becomes an issue. I might try 500 Denier (AKA "packcloth") but be advised that Sewfine manufactures a close copy of the original mustard-colored vinyl, as used in '68-'72 buses.

Regis said:
An additional thought about the wood is to use multi-ply cabinet grade plywood. Prolly 3/4 thick. My Westy's seat/bench/bed thingy has cabinet grade plywood with a strongback. Do not mistake 3/4 plywood from the big box store(s) as the way to go. Find a lumber yard. The left over wood can be used for shelving or speaker cab's and whatnot.

Thanks for the advise about Cabinet Grade wood Regis.
That was something I did not think about.
Great ideas and I want to thank everyone that has responded. Using an idea shared by another Camper I met at Bus City, I will be building the frame using wood from an old vintage piano I hope to pick up tomorrow.
I think the vintage oak and old piano mfg logo will look cool along the base of the seat part of the bed in my old Bus.
I will also use the piano bench to build a fixed seat behind the drivers seat. Being that I will be using the Westy bed in it's original width, I will use the piano's key board cover and hinge as a flip top opening for the armrest cabinets that will fill the end gap of the bed.

Piano wood and hardware is good quality building material. You can find a vintage piano on craigslist for free. Get a few friends and grab one. You will end up with a very unique, vintage looking camper bed. You will also find a number of other places to use the left over vintage wood and other pieces to complete your campers interior.

In the comfort department, I think I will be using the mattress quality memory foam, ala Tempur Pedic-ish. Still debating the fabric to use for covers.

My build pictures coming soon.
Today I picked up the turn-of-the-century Schumann upright piano that will be the wood donor. Before the Piano police start attacking me, let me say I saved this instrument from the a trip to the dumps.
The hundred year old wood is in very great condition as is the hardware. I carefully disassembled the unit and look forward to working with the beautiful and top quality materials as I rebuild the Westy bed and interior going into my 64 Kombi.

I will mount the ornamental trademark and Mfg plate to honor and preserve the antique heritage from what the camper bed was built from.

The donor:

It took me the better part of a day to systematically take the Piano apart. I did a little research and found out the piano was built in 1923. Piece by piece came off and I was soon deep into the interior. As I went along I thought, wouldn't it be funny if I found that sometime in the instruments history someone used it to stash their "Mad Money". Funny thing is I did find a 1962 penny and this 1920 Mercury Dime.

Now that the Piano was apart, I started to take weathered Westy Bed apart. I bead blasted the hinges and brackets and gave them a coat of paint.

While the paint was drying, I started to cut out new seat base forms using the old weathered pieces at templates.

I used as much of the old piano hardware as I could and bought some stainless hardware carriage bolts. washers, and nuts as needed. By the end of day 2, I managed to assemble the bed/seat base. This wood is from the upright sides of the piano. I mounted a piece of aluminum angle across the top of the front base board to help protect the wood.

Tomorrow I hope to get the bed baseboards made up and fit onto the assembly. Next step will be to trial fit the seat/bed into the Bus
Next step was to pull apart the seat bottom to get at the wood base.
The old one was rotted and flimsy. The screws where stripped and/or broken. Note the screw plate I found under the foam.

I did not know the plates where even there. They appear to be galvanized and although the are discolored there was no rust. I may just wire wheel them, straighten them out, paint, and re-use them.

Reply to Discussion


© 2024   Created by Big Blue's Driver.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service