Building the Kitchen (Part 5)

Building the Kitchen (Part 5)

June 3, 2015 Categories Camper Van

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This is part five; here is part one, two, three, and four.

I was hoping to be completely done with the kitchen today, but alas, I am not. The drawers did not want to cooperate in their construction, so it took a lot longer than expected to finish the cabinet. I still have to build the stove cover, route the sink drain through the floor (which will go to a gray water tank), and then panel the side of the sink cabinet before I can start on the seating area.

First thing I did today was assemble the cabinet face for my sink. I cut all the pieces yesterday and let the stain dry overnight. It looks pretty snazzy.

Before I got too much further, I decided it best to fix the sink drain with a new, fatter rubber washer. The washer the drain came with wasn’t thick enough to seal the bottom of the sink, so I bought a much thicker washer. You can see the difference in the pics below. The new washer seals the bottom of the sink much better.

Now it was time to start on the drawers. The very top drawer isn’t actually a drawer at all; it’s just a little shelf that tips out and is for holding soap and a sponge or whatever else for the sink (it’s called a Rev-A-Shelf). I’m trying to use as much space as possible and this takes advantage of the 3″ gap in front of the sink. I installed the hinges first, then attached a solid piece of wood to them, and then I nailed the drawer face onto that piece of wood (from the inside). I used masking tape to visibly show me were the 1/2″ overlap should be. The hinges for this thing are really interesting; they pull out forward a little bit, and then they tilt downward. The shelves came in a set of two, but I’m only using one of them. I’m not sure what, if anything, I’ll do with the other shelf/hinges.

Then I built my first, actual drawer for the day. I started by gluing some wood together to form a rectangle and then cut a piece of 1/4″ White Birch for the bottom. I’ve been saving up scraps of wood that I felt were large enough to have another use and was able to use one of those scraps for the bottom of this drawer. The outside dimensions of the drawer are 9″x16″ and it will function as my utensil drawer, as it’s really too small for anything else.

Then I installed the drawer slides and attached the drawer to the cabinet. Because the smallest drawer slides I could find at Home Depot were 14″ long and this drawer is only 9″, I installed a metal bracket on the rear of the drawer to act as a drawer stop to prevent the drawer from coming out the full 14″, which just looks silly. I ended up having to punch the bottom of this drawer out and reattach it, as somehow the drawer was slightly out of square. Other than there are about 50 nails holding the bottom in place, I used Gorilla Wood Glue and that stuff is insanely strong. I wasted more than a few minutes fixing the drawer’s squareness.

I built the next drawer the same way I built the first one, except this one is taller and deeper. You’d think with my mistake on the first drawer that I’d get this one done right, but you’d be wrong. I totally forgot to subtract the width of the drawer slides from my measurements and built this drawer to the exact width of the opening. In order for the drawer to fit, it needs to be 1″ less then the width of the opening, as each drawer slide is 1/2″ thick. And, because Gorilla Glue is so insanely strong, I essentially destroyed the wood trying to take it apart and had to build the entire drawer over again. But I finally got it in place and it looks great.

Third time is a charm? Well, not really. No kidding, the last drawer took me three hours to build and get installed. Other than this drawer has an odd shape, I also made several mistakes this time. My first mistake was that I cut the drawer 1/8″ too narrow, but I didn’t find that out until later. My second mistake was trying to use up scrap wood to attach the drawer slides and just assuming it was 3/4″ thick like the other wood. Well, it wasn’t. It was only 11/16″ thick and that 1/16″ times two (for both sides) added another 1/8″ gap on top of the 1/8″ gap I already had from cutting the drawer too narrow. The combined 1/4″ meant my drawer wasn’t wide enough to sit in the drawer slides. So, I ditched the scrap wood and used wood that was for sure 3/4″ thick, but because of that 1/8″ too narrow of a drawer, it still wasn’t sitting in the drawer slides. I ended up switching one side back to the scrap wood and attaching a 3/16″ thick piece of flat trim to space out the other side, the combination of which eliminated the 1/4″ gap I had created. I’m definitely not proud of how the bottom drawer is attached, but after three hours, it’ll do.

A little after 2pm, I ran out of nails for the nail gun (this is also why the third drawer took longer – I had to build it with regular nails and a hammer like a sucker. What am I? Amish?). I took a few minutes at that point to lay on the “bed” and stare up and around at the van. I love how the look of the van is coming along and with the kitchen almost done, it’s starting to feel more like a home. I definitely will enjoy traveling around in this thing and can’t wait to be on the road. It’s hard to believe it’s only been five weeks since I started building it.

There’s a part six. Dare to continue?

One thought on “Building the Kitchen (Part 5)”

Michelle · September 15, 2015

Just a note about the tip out tray. It is called a Tip Out Tray or Sink Front Tray, the manufacturer or distributor is Rev-A-Shelf. You did a great job though! I am a cabinet designer and that little tidbit drove me crazy. Sorry…

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