Building the Ceiling Cabinets (Part 2)

Building the Ceiling Cabinets (Part 2)

May 23, 2015 Categories Camper Van

This is part two; here is part one.

I got an early start today and began assembling the cabinet face that I cut out yesterday. The doweling jig I bought made drilling the holes a lot easier.

Once I had all the holes made, I inserted the dowels and glued everything together.

The “proper” thing to do at this point would have been to clamp everything down and leave it sit to dry. Unfortunately, I don’t have any large clamps and they’re a bit pricey when you need six of them ($25+ each). I wasn’t gonna spend $150 on clamps just to make one cabinet, so I nailed it in place at the rear of the van as it was.

With the face done, it was time to work on the doors. I cut my cabinet door frames by taking a 1×4 and cutting it down the center, giving me two roughly 1 11/16″ wide boards.

I then cut a channel down the boards, slightly off-center. This way the front of my cabinet doors will have a deeper looking recess and the rear of them will be closer to flat. The channel is just wide enough for a 1/4″ sheet of plywood to fit down inside it. The plywood, which is White Birch, will create the bulk of the door.

Now it was time to cut up my channeled 1×2 to create the actual door frames. The hinges I bought are designed to give the cabinet door a 1/2″ overlap on the cabinet face, so I cut my doors to be 1″ taller and wider than the cabinet opening. I also cut out my plywood inserts.

Every piece of the door is glued together and I shot four small nails into every corner, two nails per side.

I repeated the above steps to create the other three doors. Once they were all done, it was time to get to work on the hardware. First, I added the door handles to each door. For those who know me, I am very much into modern design; clean lines, simple shapes, and I love brushed nickel. These are my absolute favorite style of door handles.

Next up was drilling the holes for my recessed hinges and getting them set in place. I’ve never messed with these kind of hinges before, but they went in pretty smoothly. The only thing I don’t like about them is how close the screw holes are the the giant bore you have to make in the wood in order to recess them. I’m sure they’d work better in a hard wood, but I’m using pine and having the screw holes so close to that bore just seems to weaken it, in my opinion. What I do like is how easy they are to adjust. A normal hinge doesn’t have any adjustments you can make, but these can be adjusted in any direction to get the right fit. Pretty cool.

The first door went on nicely. I added a small strip of wood to rest all the next doors against so that they would all be even. This was a temporary thing and I removed it once the doors were all up. I think they came out looking pretty nice, despite my bonehead mistake of installing the wooden panel in the far left door backwards (the light side is out instead of the dark side). I’m hoping that once it’s stained, you won’t be able to notice.

Lastly, I added some retainer clips to hold the doors shut while I’m driving. These keep the doors nice and snug and make it so you have to give a good pull in order to get them open. I’m sure things in the cabinet will fall over a lot, but at least things won’t come flying out of them.

Continue on to part three.

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