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Old 07-15-2004, 09:10 PM   #1
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building custom bathroom / interior

I'm putting this in the interior cabinetry thread, it seems that it would belong here.

My husband ripped out a really good bathroom set from our '67 and I was told, after it was already at the local dump, that it could be saved and refinished. We learned our lesson, but now we know we're custom-building a bathroom and the whole rest of the interior; it's all been gutted. Not a problem; husband's a good carpenter, and has a close friend who is a professional cabinetmaker.

Has anyone else done this from scratch, especially the bathroom? We know we'll have to build "around" the stuff that's there, like the water tank and plumbing etc. Any suggestions on the type and thickness of wood? Any websites to point me to for ideas? Unforseen problems we can avoid or mistakes we can learn from? (Besides checking before ripping out anything valuable?)

Of course, we're doing the floor/belly pan next, but we want to start thinking about the interior soon too.
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Old 07-15-2004, 10:02 PM   #2
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You husband is really going to like building against walls that curve in three dimensions.

Typical cabinet woods are 3/4". This makes for a lot of weight. If you are not doing raised panels, I'd use 1/2" for counter tops and 3/8ths for panels and such. Even where I built raised panels I milled it to 5/8ths. Panel in frame construction saves a lot of weight.

Cabinetmakers are used to planning for wood movement, but not usually for the cabinet itself to be moving! Assemblies that depend upon close tolerance alignments are likely to disappoint in use as the coach bends and twists much more than one might expect.

Finishes should be chosen for their ability to take extreme temperatures.

Doors and drawers should not face the front of the coach unless they can be securely latched. Anything in them will exhibit a strong desire to relocate at the nose of the trailer!

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 07-16-2004, 12:28 AM   #3
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alternate materials??

OK that all makes sense. Sooo, are there alternate materials for building the bathroom cabinetry? Or is wood our only option pretty much...I could use pictures...or do I have to buy a new fiberglass bathroom/shower insert?

Dang! I knew we should have slowed down!! I wish so much we'd have kept the bathroom stuff.
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Old 07-16-2004, 12:41 AM   #4
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Ingrid,
It will be difficult to build a compound curved shower tub. I don't think the vanity top with a sink in it is difficult, but am uncertain where to send you for a tub....
Perhaps Colaws RV salvage? e-bay?
Of course most rv parts houses have square or rectangular tubs/pans, but I am yet to see one readily available that's curved for an Airstream.
I guess a tub could be made of thin plywood, and then fiberglassed and gel coated. A bit of work, but not impossible.
Ha, here is a thought....go see Jesse at West Coast Choppers, have him pound out a nice copper tub...
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:02 AM   #5
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Rule number one when dealing with vintage anything - never throw anything away until you are absolutely sure it cannot be refurbished. Even then I have sold things from classic mustangs which I would have thrown stright in the dumpster, but other people were dying to get their hands on. Not only could you have probably refurbished your bathroom, or at least used it for patterns, but someone probably would have paid to have it (like Till, is it, who's been begging for one for months now). But now that you've learned that lesson...

Maybe it would be easier to build the bathroom in the center along the hall and put the bedroom n the back, that way you won't have to deal with quite as many curves as you would building a rear bath. At least the trailers I have seen with center baths look simpler to me.

Good luck! I applaud your enthusiasm either way!
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:18 AM   #6
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try stainless steel

Try looking through vintage vaction's remodels. I've seen (at least I think I've seen) some stainless steel shower pans made - I think tad taylor (healthy homes) has made some as well. Copper might be easy to hammer as well if you made a buck. This could be fun
Marc
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Old 07-16-2004, 02:57 AM   #7
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Plastic panels?

I have to build a complete bathroom from scratch too but I have a middle bath on a 1973 31' to worry about. I may actually be able to buy a new shower pan that fits like the old one. I do no know yet... does anyone know about this by the way?

At anyrate it occurred to me that you might be able to use some of the plastic sheets that I have seen recently at HD or Lowes (or maybe both). What I saw was a somewhat floppy/flexible solid plastic material about 1/8" thick. It had a sort of bumpy finish on it and came in white. I believe I also saw some in grey a while back. I had the impression that it was something along the lines of ABS or some such thing. It definitely was not melamine or formica. It seemed to be flexible enough that you could form it at least into simple curves. I think you could probabaly make waterproof joints using some sort of epoxy or maybe even some sort of appropriate caulk. The trick would be to fully support it with some kind of framework. I could easily see it being glued to the inner body skin on one side at least.

It is also possible to buy Filon fiber re-enforced plastic sheets. It is a product that is used extensively for RV exteriors and comes in rolls up to I think 10' or so wide by whatever length you need. Check out the following web-site for starters:

http://www.kemlite.com/filon_frp/filon_frp_index.cfm

Since Filon is essentially fiberglass from what I understand you could perhaps use sheets of it and attach them together at the corners using fiberglass tape and resin from the back side.

I will be interested in what you come up with since I may have to do something similar myself. By the way my AS did not even have a shower for me to think about throwing out or using as a pattern.

Malcolm
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Old 07-16-2004, 08:47 AM   #8
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Ingird,
Given that you are planning such a major renovation (retro-vation) perhaps its not as bad as you think. You are no longer bound by the original design. Perhaps a center bath is in order (easier to fab from above but lot's of plumbing changes below).

As we have been planning on interior and begun construction of things like overhead cabinets we've had our best design breakthroughs when we finally got over either trying to "exactly" reproduce the CCD look or figuring our ways to re-use the old cabinet frames. By chucking all of that we feel that we've ended up with designs that exceeded our original goals which are easier to construct, use fewer materials materials (and $$$) and I think once constructed will look better than we had hoped.

Spend some time on vintage vacations' site and dream up what you want. Sometimes a clean sheet of paper is a great place to start.
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Old 07-16-2004, 09:08 AM   #9
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I suggest that you take the belly pans off clean it out and then check your tanks and plumbing. We are doing CCD to the extreme. I am putting up with my son's desire to use for the floor. I have thick rugs. We are- "a la Ted Taylor" making the bath all metal. For the cabinets we are using a decorative punched out aluminum sheet that has 50% of the weight gone from the beginning. The sink will be a smaller version of the kitchen sink (another thread) made from a good strong mixing bowl. Don't forget there is a fan to evacuate toilet smells and extra moisture. I realised I use my big fancy tub a couple of times a year, always using the shower. So we are putting a shower in- also metal. By the way, I have multiple chemical sensitivities, and am doing the metal look- not realising it's the "in" thing with this designer Chris C. Dean, therefor the CCD look. silver suz
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Old 07-16-2004, 09:11 AM   #10
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My son want's to use diamond plate for the floor- and maybe the shower. At this point, if he wanted to do something just as crazy, I'd let him .He's putting in 15 hour days in 100 degree weather. suz
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Old 07-16-2004, 12:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by silver suz
My son want's to use diamond plate for the floor- and maybe the shower. At this point, if he wanted to do something just as crazy, I'd let him .He's putting in 15 hour days in 100 degree weather. suz
I would rethink the diamond plate for a shower floor real quick especialy if it is the stuff with the sharp grip ridge. Stand on it bare foot and you will see what I mean.

I'd go with stainless with a brush finish. We are retaining our fiberglass shower pan but the riser for the toilet (we have a wet bath) will be stainless as will the vertical walls. We will use a very thin sheet and glue it to the walls.

I'm pretty happy with the over all floor plan of our coach and we plan to retain as mush as possible and do a bit more of a restoration with a little bit of a tiwist. Do so stuff like shift the galley forward so I can get a bed I fit in better. Our overhead in the galley are made out of aluminum. While we plan to go back with the Zolatone we have concidered polishing the overheads and taking out the wood doors and doing the transparent doors with back lights like the CCD. See our photo album and there are a couple shots where you can see our overheads.

My best advice would be go to www.vintageairstream.com and look at the archive pictures and see what elements you like. My favorite floor plan since we have kids is the rear bedroom center bath layout. As our kids get older it would give us a little private space if were ready for bed. If I ever get a MH the 310 rear full bed is the ideal layout for us.
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Old 07-16-2004, 12:47 PM   #12
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Thanks Uwe. I personally don't see any reason for a tub; if I need a soak, I'm headed for the hot tub in our yard or a local hot spring or something. My husband couldn't fit in the old one to save his life and my daughter is now old enough to take showers. So the tub is probably way too much work and not worth it.

Yep suz, we're checking all plumbing and systems first. The round sink by the way that you have is a stroke of GENIUS, a perfect example of thinking out of the box. We'll replace the belly plan and floor, fix frame where it needs it, and get that ready before we start interior remodel.

We pretty much just want to aluminum veneer the inside and just make the rest a combination of what "looks nice" and works, with affordable materials; formica countertops (they're not as hideous as they used to be!) wood cabinets and a woodgrain type Pergo floor to warm up the aluminum effect, if we even put aluminum throughout the whole thing. We might use some kind of carpet material for the walls, who knows?? But the "design" as in combination of materials, colors, etc. we're not going too fancy. Just durable and nice looking. So we're not picky about plans and only going for the CCD look in a limited fashion; in other words, anything other than that old gross vinyl on the panels.

So, a shower isn't that hard to find, I'm thinking? Just a basic step-in with a curtain that snaps to the walls, hand nozzle?
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:44 PM   #13
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Definately check out
http://www.vintage-vacations.com/
check out the stainless shower in the Spartan.That's what I'm shooting for.
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Old 07-16-2004, 03:13 PM   #14
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thanks, but I have been given several samples of diamond plate to stand on and I think my tough feet can take it. Silver suz
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