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Old 05-14-2003, 10:33 AM   #1
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Question Kitchen drawers-can they support weight?

How much weight can I safely put in the kitchen drawers?

It's in a 1990 32' Excella. And I suppose a lot of other models and years:

1_ size of drawers in question: about 12 X 19 X 5 (little ones by the sink). Material: chipboard and contact paper.

They look ideal size for cans. I want to put 12 cans = 11Lbs, per drawer, in the 2 middle ones. Are they strong enough for that ?

2_ the big drawers 19 X 21 X 9 . How much weight will be safe in those ?

I would like to hear too from people who had problems, especially the "I made the mistake to put"

Thank you

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Old 05-14-2003, 11:38 PM   #2
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
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Safe drawer working load limit??

OK, this is a toughie, but I'll try. The safe drawer working load limit (SDWLL) can be determined by loading a drawer until the bottom busts out, then weigh the contents, fix the broken drawer and don't put so much in next time.

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Old 05-15-2003, 09:26 AM   #3
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I already knew about the procedure you describe.

Unfornunately, it's good only if the trailer is parked.

My question was: what will happen with bouncing while trailer is in motion?
Assuming of course that the tires, wheels, and complete running gear have been well balanced by a qualified proffessional. Plus the use of an air hitch to play it safe.

Thanks for you input.
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Old 05-15-2003, 10:36 AM   #4
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
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Adding the bounce factor

Load the drawers and unemploy the stabilizers, then, while parked, you and Mike jump up and down vigorously on the rear bumper until satisfied.

But seriously femuse, why put heavy stuff in the drawers when you have that nice big van?
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Old 05-15-2003, 01:33 PM   #5
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I think it really depends on the overall construction. I'm not familiar with the newer A/S cabinets, but I do build furniture on the side. If the bottom of your cabinet is 1/4" thick and sits in a full dado running around the bottom of the cabinet sides as opposed to being stapled to the bottom, then you will probably be OK. If the bottom is 1/8" luann paneling, you might want to keep weight while traveling to 5-7#. You still need to be concerned from a longevity standpoint since the cabinet sides are particle board. If they do happen to crumble apart over time, its a simple matter to replace with a higher quality product (ie. solid wood). Any cabinet maker can make replacements for you and attach your original cabinet faces to those.

Hope this helps!

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Old 05-16-2003, 01:31 AM   #6
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Lightbulb Good Question


This is a excellent question and, with a little common sense..An easy fix.

When we travel:
1. Always try to buy and consume locally the can/fresh food stuff.
2. Only travel with dry food items stored in plastic containers.
3.Store heavy can items on the bottom storage areas
such as under the stove, etc (Purchased after arrival).
4.Store excess paper towels under sink area to absorb any leak/moisture that may occurr either while traveling or parked.
5. Never throw away any plastic bags~(Use for trash).
6.Remembering to always clean up area/put out all trash twice daily.(Before going to sleep for the night and, before leaving the unit for the day)
7. The trash container by the door also doubles as a place to store flip flops after showering.(No need to track dirt all over floor)
These are but a few simple daily routines.
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Old 05-16-2003, 09:13 AM   #7
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Thank to all.

Quality of construction:

Mike is a woodworker (Musical Instruments), and the few pieces of furniture he made are of a different quality, to say the least. He mostly works with solid wood or Finland birch for furnitures. We are not too familiar with stuff that cheaply made.

We were a bit throwned off , because our 2 other AS have mostly shelves, and the plastic drawers were obviously made for really light things. I am used to carry a certain amount of cans, never had a problem with the shelves. Light and tough construction. The way a good AS should be.

Storing extra grocery in the truck: we do that. Lots of stuff. Unfortunatelly, we can access those only when working and the truck is partially unloaded. We keep about 10 days worth of supplies in the trailer. We rarely have the leasure to go shopping locally whenever we feel like it.

Shopping on the road: we do that too (mostly WM: for parking), but sometimes we are stuck for a full week in place, with no restocking possible.
Anybody want spare plastic bags, we have a few bails, from up and down the East Coast.

I guess I am going ahead and put some load in the drawers, and will be reporting in the Fall.

Thank you.
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:13 PM   #8
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I would have responded sooner but I did not see your posting until today.

In my experience with the 1990s model of Airstreams, the design of the cabinetry is poor, very poor, and the hardware used is just as bad.

I started working in my fatherís custom cabinet shop back in the fifties as a boy. We have used just about every technique and material available to build or modify cabinets. My first Airstream was a 1966 model.

In the 1990 model years, Airstream relied on the hardwood face frames to carry the weight of the cabinet, drawers, and their contents. The shell of the cabinet was attached to the face frame via prefinished one-inch hardwood square wood strips. These strips were used as a transition between the hardwood facing and the paper covered particle board or in some cases, the plywood cabinet shell. They were secured with staples only. There was no glue used. Even if they had used glue, it would not have held since the wood strips were pre-finished. They also used these strips to secure the bottom back of the face frames to the floor via screws. These screws penetrated the carpeting in order to attach to the floor. The shell of the of the cabinets set on the carpeting without being secured to the floor. The carpeting was being compressed by the weight of the face frame and the screws holding them to the floor. The rest of the shell was only being held by gravity and the strength of staples in the face frame. The carpeting pushes back up against the shell, putting stress on the joint. As you use your Airstream, the contents and cabinet shell bounce. All the stress is on the stapled joints which in time WILL fail.

The drawer design and slide hardware exacerbated this inherent weakness and added further problems. The under drawer slide hardware connected to the back of the cabinet shell via a nylon sliding dovetail joint and the face frame. The sliding dovetail joint was used to ease assembly and to remedy the fact that the shell would not remain secure or parallel to the face frame, since it floats on the carpeting. Six inches of the rear center back of the drawer, which supports the 1/8 inch thick bottom and its contents, was removed to accommodate these nylon drawer slides. These drawer slides were held in place via two screws into the edge of the particle board drawer back, and a 1/8 inch diameter pop rivet through the 1/8 inch bottom plywood. When you opened the drawer, the weight of the drawer and its contents forced the back of the shell up, further stressing the stapled face frame shell joint. This action also stressed the thin cabinet bottom forcing it to flex. In time and in most cases, the nylon slide failed first breaking the back connection to the shell. If you reinforce this nylon connection without securing the back of the shell to the floor, you continue to put stress on the stapled face frame to shell joint. In time, this joint totally fails.

I would recommend that all cabinets of this construction be attached to the floor in the back to take the stress off the weak face frame joint. I have used angle aluminum either screwed, or bolted if it is particle board, to the shell and to the floor. Make sure that the cabinets sides are square to the face frame before securing to the floor.

The best drawer slides that I have used in RVs, and I have used all of them over time, are the Blum Tandem Series Slides. I usually get the full extension slides in either the 75, or 110-pound rating. I also add the Blumotion Closing System. The Tandem Slides can be seen and tried at Home Depot in the higher priced cabinets on display. You cannot buy the hardware from them. They only want to sell you the entire cabinet. They do not have the Blumotion Closing System and they usually do not know what youíre talking about when you ask. The normal Tandem Slides have a self-closing system built in, but for RV and boats, it is best to add the Blumotion Closing System to prevent the drawer opening while traveling.

These Blum slides retail at a high price, but you can obtain them from the Net for a reasonable cost in whatever quantities you require. The best place I have found for price and service is Their prices of the Blumotion Closing System are one-fifth the price of competing suppliers, less than $9 verses $45. They are in Florida but they have a warehouse in California so the shipping charges may seem high on the web site, but when they ship from the west coast the charges I finally pay are reduced. You can also get Blum detailed specifications from them for free when ordering. Be careful when price comparing. Some suppliers do not include the price of the required lock devices in their cost of the slides.

The only downside of the Blum slides is that they are made in standard three-inch increments 9", 12", 15" 18" 21" and 24". Your cabinet drawers will have to match these depths. You may have to rebuild your drawer boxes. I changed the bottom of the drawers to 1/4-inch birch plywood when I did mine. Good cabinets do not have to be heavy if they are design correctly to begin with.

When I build cabinets, my wife can stuff whatever she wants in them from feathers to anvils. I can always upgrade the axles. If the cabinets are correctly built, worrying about the weight of the contents is unnecessary especially if you have the correct vehicle to pull it.

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