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~ Cabinets & Furniture ~

Fabrication of New Partitions, Cabinets, Furniture and More

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"If at first you don't succeed, then try and try again"

On to the cabinets and furniture - More fun stuff where we get ready to see some real progress!

This section outlines rebuilding all the interior partitions, cabinets, furniture a related pieces. I will explain here how I did it and show pictures and descriptions of how it all gets constructed and fits together.

It was a huge pile of work in the beginning to remove all the various pieces of furniture, partitions and cabinets etc without destroying them. Painful care and detail was put into this, as the plan originally was to re-use them all. I succeeded, but once I got deeply into the rebuild I found there was no way I would ever match the wall panels. And in addition to that, many of them were water damaged anyways. See the kitchen overhead example below. They used the same panels on everything except the kitchen and bathroom shower area. Here are a few pictures of just a few of the pieces before working on them.

Click on Images to Enlarge


Storage Area Above Hot Water Tank:

I will use this cabinet as an example of what I did with all of them. Pictures. Lots of picture from every angle.


Storage Cabinet:

Did I mention pictures? Lots of them? It is important to see all details so I can duplicate everything.


Front Storage Cabinet:

Same cabinet from another angle. And I have a bunch more not shown here. I think you get the idea. Pictures, lots.


Kitchen to Bedroom Partition:

Another partition, pics from all angles. The missing panel is the kitchen, beside the stove, It was a different type of panel



Big notch goes over the wheel well. The smaller one is where they hacked it apart to run plumbing pipes


Partition, Bedroom Side:

It would have been a lot of work to salvage this anyways. Junk stuck all over it, just rebuild the whole thing.


Partition Between Bathroom and Bed:

I set every cabinet, partition, wall and other pieces out like this and took shots from every angle, front and back for future reference.


Pantry and Fridge:

One of many I took from lots of different angles. This is the biggest single cabinet in the whole trailer. Lots of work to do.


Under Fridge:

Same stuff, note as many details as possible for proper rebuilding. Hole in the bottom is where the gas line went through. I kept the old cabinets intact until I did each one of them, but wanted the pics anyways for reference. A lot of them were taken apart as I went.


Fridge and Pantry:

Front view. There's that lovely MacTac again. Ughhhh-ly! Remember that stuff?  Microwave shelf on top of fridge.


Fridge and Pantry:

Fridge sits there. Little details count and I cannot possibly remember them all, so, pics. The whole pantry from the back.


My Work Area:

This is where I did the major amount of my rebuilding of the various parts. No room in the garage, it's full of junk!


The Built In Vanity:

I really liked this particular piece of furniture. Such a nice little feature, room to sit and a flip up mirror compartment.


Vanity From Behind:

It is a bit complicated, lots of pieces go in to building this one. Look close, you can see the compartment and mirror on top.


Vanity Again:

I think they went a little overboard on the drawer guide pieces. Could have saved some weight and wood there.

OK Bob, enough of the preliminary pics of the cabinets! We get it, they are all in need of work. Show us the good stuff!

I am only going to show a couple progressions of the process of rebuilding of a wall or cabinet. OK, changed my mind, make it 3.

The concept of building everything in this RV is exactly the same.  Be it a wall partition, overhead cabinet,  dinette bench, wardrobe, kitchen cabinets or anything else, they are all constructed the same. They are factory designed so all parts have cross pieces and bracing strategically place for the purpose of fastening all the components together.

There is more to this game than just fabbing a bunch of boxes and slapping them together, although many of these chariots appear to be just that, slapped together. Aside from the miserably horrible exterior design that allowed all the leaks, the actual structure was built pretty good, that is until the water got it.


I will use a rear partition and the wardrobe cabinet as an example. And I'll throw in an overhead too. The partition one is the face of the bathroom storage cabinet area, inset from the outer access storage bay. 


Wardrobe Cabinet:

First up, the wardrobe prior to taking the whole trailer apart. It's the one above the propane detector by the floor.

And second, after I took it out and stored it in the garage for future reference.

Again, remember I had no intention of rebuilding the entire thing from the frame up. I really thought I could match the paneling and just fix what needed replacing. So I removed all cabinets and furniture carefully. But most of them had water damage in at least one place.

See below for how easy it is to build a new one! I have hundreds more pictures, can't post them all.


Start the Frame Perimeter:

Using the old cabinet as a model, complete with all the pictures I took, I built the basic frame outline first, then filled in the blanks using the old frame as the blueprint. This is where you need the tablesaw, to make all the pieces to size. They are of varying sizes.


New and Old:

New front complete. The old one is sitting against the sawhorses for comparison. Repeat for the side part, then glue and screw them together. Note the 1/2X1/2 staples holding each member together, both sides. I didn't use screws for the internal cabinets like this.


Finished Wardrobe:

After framing, the paneling gets glued and stapled on, then the holes get routered out. It may not look complete, but once it gets screwed to the adjacent cabinet, it then has the missing side. The rest of it goes in on reassembly. The trailer side wall becomes the back.

Next Up, a Partition Wall:

This one is a bit more in depth to show how I did it. I will get a little more detailed on this one.

Some of the framework is only 1X1! But remember 2 things:

1) Everything weighs, and if you build it all super robust with thick framing, the whole thing will weigh more. It adds up.

2) Once it is all assembled and the panel board is glued and firmly stapled down, it really does become very strong with all the pieces bonded together. Then couple that with it being screwed to the floor, ceiling and other cabinets, it is amazing how strong it becomes. That is, until you roll it over in a ditch at 60MPH. Then it becomes kindling....


Old Partition Wall:

There were lots of places where the old cabinets and partitions etc had a rotted corner. It's easier to replace it all instead.


Bottom of Partition:

Close up showing a typical area where it was coming apart and rotting. Hard to just replace a couple pieces.


Top of Partition:

You can see deterioration from the roof leaks. Could have re-used that I suppose, but the bottom was a mess. Replace it.


Basic Frame:

First I knocked the old paneling off. Then I put the old frame on sawhorses and started cutting my pieces, duplicating exactly the old ones. Next, I'd make a corner with a couple pieces on it, easy to handle, knock the old one off and set the new one in its place. Everything is measured and marked first.


Basic Frame:

Then I just kept going, ripping the wood, framing it in manageable sections and assembling them as I went. Pull off some more old framing, attach the new parts to the previously framed ones.


Basic Frame:

Keep on going, replacing it piece by piece until I have the entire frame  assembled with all new wood, identical to the old frame. In these pics, the new finished frame is there along with sections of the old one, to show the example from old to new. I pre-marked all the new frame pieces prior to busting up the old one.


Finished Frame:

And there is the finished frame, ready for paneling. My 1X1 staples are too long for the 3/4" wood. I used 1/2" X 1/2" and plenty of wood glue.


Closer Frame Shot:

Lots of pieces go into this frame. Every one of them serves a purpose once the entire thing is assembled. Did I mention glue? Yeah, glue, lots and lots of glue.


Ready for Paneling:

Everything has been prepped, a liberal bead of glue zig-zagged on the whole frame and it is ready to put the panel on. I pre-cut the panel to length.


Closer Shot of The Glue:

Glue is cheap! And I didn't spare it at all. I made sure every surface had plenty. I put it on both sides of the framing pieces.


Panel Fastened Down:

Once the whole panel was in place, time to router out the openings. Works like a charm. This section is very strong now.


Finishing Touches:

Last step, staple on the gimp mold and it's ready to go. Gimp mold.... Who invented that name?

Finished Panel:

And there it is, all finished and ready to install. This panel goes right to the back of the trailer. Both openings have a door to access the same area. One is shorter because the bathroom vanity goes up against it. Other side of the bottom is the outside storage bay area. Once assembled, a shelf goes in there even with the bottom of the larger opening. The paneling goes on perfectly square on one side and bottom, keeping the unit square.


General Info:

I built all of the wall partitions, cabinets and other furniture before really permanently installing them. I put them inside the unit, but just sat them where they go. The idea was to make sure everything fit exactly where it should with no issues. And to get the floor to ceiling components in there, I had to jack the roof up off the walls to give me the needed wiggle room to get them in there with ease. Everything was loaded in from the back. The back wall was left off for this purpose until I had everything in.


Fridge and Pantry:

Remember that cabinet a few rows up? With all that ugly MacTac? Have a look at it now! That's a lot better.


Fridge and Pantry:

Top view from behind. Fridge goes there. That little cavity where the gimp mold is hanging down is the fridge exhaust area.


Fridge and Pantry:

MacTac all gone! You can see the bracing in the fridge side, for solid backing for the pantry shelves.


Kitchen Sink Cabinet:

Here's the old face of the original cabinet after I removed everything from it. Stove opening on the left, converter at bottom.


Kitchen Sink Cabinet:

And the new one built, ready for assembly to the other parts once I do them. All panels get screwed together.


Arborite Panels:

Long skinny one goes at the back of the bathroom. The bigger one is for the top of the little vanity desk pictured a few rows above.  I bought a sheet of the laminate, glued it onto a piece of 3/4" plywood, then cut to the sizes needed. The one for the vanity has yet to be cut out in this pic. Same stuff for making the kitchen counter. Gee that glue sure stinks

Rebuilding an Overhead Cabinet:

Hey! What do you say we get off the regular cabinets and do an overhead? Yeah, great idea, let's do it!

Here is a typical overhead from this old pile of mush. Looks pretty shabby doesn't it? Yuk, I'm not storing my food or dishes in there... Gross! These things are really easy to build. Mostly framed with 1X1. Yeah, 1X1! That's it. The tablesaw is an absolute must here. Again, I used virtually all reclaimed lumber for the entire project, so I took what ever I had on hand, and there was plenty of it, and I ran it through the saw to get the desired size. Easy peasy!

Use the old firewood, I mean cabinet for a guide, measure, cut everything and mark all the pieces. Lotsa glue, both sides, not just 1, smear it around with a finger, don't lick your finger.... unless you like the taste of wood glue, then set it all in place, hold them snugly in place together and 2 - half inch crown X half inch leg staples per union, per side.

A side note here - I had the 1" crown staple gun but did not have a box of half or 5/8" leg staples. It would have been better. But I used what I already had, which was the 1/2" soffit staples. A bit narrow in the crown, but it works.

I made them in sections, did the paneling, then glued and screwed the sections together. The shelves get screwed to the sides and face prior to putting the top of the shelf on. Shelves are hollow inside by 3/4", the width of the framing. This gives a cavity to run the wires for any under cabinet lighting. Neat huh! See how simple it is?

One little side note here for consideration. The top panel layer that goes onto the open framing you see here that forms the top of shelf itself must be cut to size and just set in place before the overhead is installed. Otherwise, you will never get it in there after it is fastened to the wall. And, the whole cabinet gets screwed to the wall studs through the framing members at the back. So you can't have the top part of the shelf in the way. It has to be lifted out of the way to run the screws in.


Original Overhead Cabinet:

This one is from the kitchen. It is the one above the stove and sink area. The roof leaked really badly above here. Remember in the Evaluation page the picture of the wall in the corner where the stove hood goes? You can see the severe damage here at the end where it goes against the wall partition.


Rebuilt Overhead Cabinet:

Sure looks a lot better now! This process is not that hard to do. And once everything is glued and screwed together, then the pieces assembled as a unit, it becomes a nice solid unit.


Dinette Bench:

Couple shots of one of the dinette bench bottoms. Color difference is because I used the flash on the left and didn't on the right. There's my panel stapler on the left. Note my trusty table saw in the other pic, and all the RV pieces and parts in the garage.


There's how I built all the cabinets and furniture. Pretty easy actually. Now all I have to do is put it all back together again! This is a lot easier to do than most people think. But yeah, it does take a lot of time and patience.

Well boys and girls, are you ready for the next chapter in the story book of "This Old Heap"?

What do you say we start putting this thing back together?

Might want to grab some popcorn and a cold drink, put your relaxing clothes on - Let's Go!!

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