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Old 10-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
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Alternative to using wood for cabinet replacements?

Our Overlander has been a progressive work in process of replacing things with updated or more modern items as old ones break. So far, the entire galley and pantry area has been re-made with wood cabinetry. Now it's time to do something with the overhead locker / cabinets above the bed. My wife tells me that there's already too much wood in the camper (galley, pantry and the flooring except the bathroom). She doesn't want more wood cabinets. I can't say as I disagree, but I'm at a loss to come up with anything else. I'd be willing to invest the money in aluminum cabinet fronts, but that mean I need to invest in metal working tools (not cheap for the right ones) and I'm afraid the final product would be rather flimsy, especially when opening the doors. The best solution we've come up with so far is making the cabinets out of wood, but painting them instead of staining.

Anyone have any ideas for overhead cabinets out of something other than wood? Anyone have pictures of something they've done that's not wood?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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Jason, you can order aluminum doors,custom made to any size, at many places via the web. They can be solid slabs or frames with different panel options ie: glass,plastic etc. The price is reasonable. Also we by sheets of metal from wilsonart or chemetal that we contact cement to plywood or mdf and trim with inexpensive router. Its easy diy. Jim
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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Alternative to using wood for cabinet replacements?

Greetings Jason!

Utilizing Aluminum for your roof lockers would be following the lead of the Argosy Minuets. All of the cabinetry in the Minuets is formed from Vinyl-Clad Aluminum. In my 1978 Minuet these vinyl-clad cabinets have held up very well beyond the plastic tambour that was utilized in the doors. When the interior of my Minuet was refurbished, I chose to utilize new tambour . . . but switched material to birch to which was applied a whitewash/pickling stain that produced a very nice taupe color that made for a nice contrast with the original dark Vinyl-clad of the lower cabinets and the cherry of the laminate floors. I debated for quite some time going with a polished stainless steel tambour that would have provided a near mirror finish for the roof locker cabinets, but am now very happy to have selected the birch.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: Upholstered wood endcaps were utilized at the end of each set of roof lockers to stiffen and support to the vinyl-clad aluminum. If additional stiffness were desired wooden dividers could be placed between individual roof locker openings.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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How about making a light wood frame and covering all the exterior with a glued-on laminate?

There are a zillion (literally) colours and designs available.

You would have to make a fairly square cabinet, but I can imagine them in an onyx high-gloss black, or say a red with the boomerang pattern in it...
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:29 AM   #5
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I had no idea Minuets had that type of cabinet construction. Some people that we regularly camp with have a pretty original Minuet. I will have to make sure that I take a look next time.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:45 AM   #6
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I stumbled on a forum recently where a couple was redoing their kitchen. They liked the layout for the most part, so chose to redo the cabinet doors. They used MDF that was laser cut to make a nice cabinet front. The result was very professional looking.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:18 AM   #7
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Hi, When i did the overhead lockers in my 73 overlander i used 5mm acrylic in gloss red, there are loads of colours available, it is light and strong, i have used with lift up hinges and as sliding doors. Another material i used was composite aluminium, which is basically 2 very thin sheets of aluminium with a composite core 4mm thick very light and roll formable, cuts like wood, it has 1 face gloss and 1 face matt, totally waterproof and comes again in many colours in the UK i paid about 90 for a 8 x 4 sheet. if you check my posts i uploaded quite a few pics.
Good Luck
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:40 AM   #8
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I didn't like my cabinet doors on my 68 Overlander so I simply cut out high quality plywood and then attached a thin sheet of decorative aluminum sheeting. I stained the plywood before adding the sheeting and added aluminum trim on the sides to further finish the project. I used the same sheeting on the cover of the fridge and oven to tie interior together and to provide the trailer with a common theme.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:04 AM   #9
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Great ideas. My trailer is winterized and parked in the barn until April, so that means it's time to really think about how to accomplish my task. I think alum. or alum. coated is the way I'm going to go. I checked out metal brakes at Harbor Freight...decided that I could make a better one myself with some hard wood and a piano hinge! So that's task #1.

I really like your idea, wyomingair. This will definitely be in my consideration.

Thanks, too, Mulligan. I will be searching for your older posts later tonight when I'm home from work.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
Hi, When i did the overhead lockers in my 73 overlander i used 5mm acrylic in gloss red, there are loads of colours available, it is light and strong, i have used with lift up hinges and as sliding doors. Another material i used was composite aluminium, which is basically 2 very thin sheets of aluminium with a composite core 4mm thick very light and roll formable, cuts like wood, it has 1 face gloss and 1 face matt, totally waterproof and comes again in many colours in the UK i paid about 90 for a 8 x 4 sheet. if you check my posts i uploaded quite a few pics.
Good Luck
Tim
I've looked into your past posts. Although red would not be my choice of color, I like what you did. I am intrigued by aluminum composite (ACM) panels. Obviously, I see them in everyday life but just didn't know of them. I have been searching the internet for where I can buy such panels. It looks like one of the home improvement chain stores carries the colored acrylic. I'm having a heck of a time finding a "common man" location to buy ACM. Where did you buy it in the UK? Did you have to go to a specialty / industrial place? Or was this readily available in a hardware or home improvement store?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:25 AM   #11
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Jason, there is a long history of aluminum cabinets being used in Airstreams. Until 1950, the bases of all cabinets were made of aluminum. The use of aluminum uppers lasted until 1961. In the 70's Argosy picked it back up again.

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These are in a 1954 Safari. All aluminum construction except for the sliding door.
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Here are the same style stripped, polished, and reused in a 1964
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In 1949 they made doors like this from oak. They hung on the aluminum case. Far from flimsy. This is a 1950 btw.
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Here is the same thing in a 1949. Very stout cabinets. I think they are made from .040 alclad. T-0 would be the hardness is you plan to use clad.
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A slightly better detail of the units in the 1950.
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Again in the 1950

Aluminum is flimsy in the flat, however when you bend it, or fold it over itself, it gains a great deal of rigidity.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineStream View Post
I've looked into your past posts. Although red would not be my choice of color, I like what you did. I am intrigued by aluminum composite (ACM) panels. Obviously, I see them in everyday life but just didn't know of them. I have been searching the internet for where I can buy such panels. It looks like one of the home improvement chain stores carries the colored acrylic. I'm having a heck of a time finding a "common man" location to buy ACM. Where did you buy it in the UK? Did you have to go to a specialty / industrial place? Or was this readily available in a hardware or home improvement store?
Hi,
I got them from a company called Robert Horne, which is a paper merchants, The ACM as you called it is often used in signage, or point of displays, shop fittings, etc etc, that might be a route to look at.
I got the Acrylic from the same source.
Cheers
Tim
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
Jason, there is a long history of aluminum cabinets being used in Airstreams. Until 1950, the bases of all cabinets were made of aluminum. The use of aluminum uppers lasted until 1961. In the 70's Argosy picked it back up again.

Aluminum is flimsy in the flat, however when you bend it, or fold it over itself, it gains a great deal of rigidity.
Frank, thanks very much for taking the time to put up pictures from your "stock yard" That helps a lot to visualize. I was hoping, at this point, to just make new cabinet doors with top hinges rather than replacing the entire cabinet. However, minus the paint, I can see how an all-aluminum cabinet could look awesome. I've purchased some aluminum sheet for the work that I did in the kitchen a couple of years ago, so I have a source for that despite needing to travel about 45 min. from home to get it. Although, I'm not sure what all types of material they have. When I went for my kitchen aluminum, I just wanted the thinnest stuff I could get...didn't really matter for other specs. Is Alclad something that should readily be available at a large sheet metal shop?
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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Unfortunately Alclad is not readily available at most sheet metal places. I have sales guy stop by the shop all the time looking for my business and the expression is always classic when I say "you stock 2024 T-3?" I order all my material from Airparts inc Their service is excellent and their price is better than most out there. If you plan to do any bending do not buy 2024 T-3. That was "do not"! Buy 2024 T-0. It is a very flexible alloy and will bend to a nice sharp edge. The T-3 will snap once it reaches 90 degrees. You can also use other alloys that cost less, but the surface quality is worth the extra dollars. Another suggestion. I highly encourage you to spend a few extra bucks on having it pvc coated. You can peel it off ofter you finish the work and you will avoid a lot of scratches that way. If you need any details of the over head cabinets made of metal, I would be glad to shoot them to you. The ones from the mid 50's are fairly easy to replicate and you can use a veneer similar for the sliding doors that matches the existing wood. I know you want to lose some of the wood look, but it is good to bridge the two materials with some kind of similarity.
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