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Old 06-22-2004, 03:46 PM   #1
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weight issues with new cabinetry?

I am new here, and new to A.S. I am considering replacing the existing cabinetry in my 1975 Sovereign with Ikea kitchen cabinets. Do I need to be concerned about extra weight that I will be putting in the trailer. Are there certain areas where extra weight is ok and others areas where it is dangerous? Secondly, what is the best way to fix the upper cabinets to the wall? Any help or learned opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-22-2004, 03:54 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Yes you should be concerned about extra weight, cabinets are screwed to the walls using sheet metal screws. I'm in the process of rebuilding cabinets and my plan is replace what was there.

Ken
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Old 06-22-2004, 04:31 PM   #3
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Thumbs down I wouldn't do it!

IKEA cabinets tend to be quite a bit heavier (lots of thick, heavy mdf/particle/fiberboard) than the lightweight cabinets used by Airstream. I would definately be concerned...especially with any uppers hung on the walls, which are attached to the skins and not the floor.

Also the curved nature of the trailer's body would make pre-fab cabinets difficult to use out of the box without a lot of customization...

Shari
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Old 06-23-2004, 06:26 AM   #4
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Hi Ken,

Thanks for the welcome! Are you replacing the cabinets with something similar to the original? My plan is not to hang any cabinetry but rather have it sit on top and have most of its weight fastened to the base cabinetry. Are there certain areas I should be careful to not add weight? I assume over the axels is a good place to add weight of you are going to and that the far ends of the trailer are places to NOT alter the weight significantly. Is this correct?
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:14 AM   #5
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Simon,
What goes 'in' the cabinets is just as important as what they're made of. I'd keep your socks and underwear up high, and the heirloom china and fine silverware down low.
You want the center of gravity of the trailer to be as near the centerline as possible, slightly forward of the axle, and as low as practical. Obviously there are compromises. Best to start with the heavy stuff, keeping it as low and balanced around the center as practical, then move on to the lighter stuff.
Imagine the trailer is a canoe.
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Old 06-23-2004, 08:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonhanbury
... My plan is not to hang any cabinetry but rather have it sit on top and have most of its weight fastened to the base cabinetry...
Hanging the upper cabinets will add stiffness to the trailer overall. Somewhat conversely, if you do not attach the cabinets to the wall, I think you will get some chafing between the cabinets & the walls as the trailer flexes in crosswinds and/or bumpy roads.

If nothing else, weight is weight: whether it is sitting on a base cabinet, or attached to the wall, the frame still carries it.

Just my thoughts,
Tom
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:04 AM   #7
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Yes I'm replacing with almost the same materials. Using poplar facing, A select pine bracing, birch 1/4" plywood. The difference is that I'm gluing and dowling joints, not staples as A/S did. When I took the old cabinets out of the 58, they pretty much just fell apart - I was really surprised how poorly they were made. As a side note I have wondered if they used staples so that they flex......... I think (maybe its just me) that the new cabinets are a little lighter than the old - my theory is because todays wood is not as good as the old stuff.

Anyway, worst place to put weight in in the rear, next worst is front.

One of these days when I get some time, I'll post pictures - if you would like to see some pictures, let me know and I push it up on my to do list.

FWIW, I would not worry about hanging cabinets, mine were there for 46 years.

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Old 06-23-2004, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken J
Yes I'm replacing with almost the same materials. Using poplar facing, A select pine bracing, birch 1/4" plywood. The difference is that I'm gluing and dowling joints, not staples as A/S did. When I took the old cabinets out of the 58, they pretty much just fell apart - I was really surprised how poorly they were made. As a side note I have wondered if they used staples so that they flex......... I think (maybe its just me) that the new cabinets are a little lighter than the old - my theory is because todays wood is not as good as the old stuff.
I have an opposite opinion of how well the cabinets are constructed in my '67. I consider mine well made for their intended purpose of being a light-in-weight, occasional use cabinet.

My faceframes are doweled together. Staples are only used to secure the plywood panels to the framing while the glue dried. And, they used a sufficient number of staples for the task.

I thought highly enough of the double bed frame's design that I modeled the new twin bed I made after it.

Perhaps construction standards were not as good in the fifties. I imagine post-sixties construction saw a lot more plastic corner braces being used. But, if I have a need to build any more Airstream cabinets, I would model them after the design of my Overlander's cabinetry with one exception: I would probably do mortise & tenon joinery instead of dowels (personal preference).

Tom
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:39 AM   #9
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It sounds to me that Airstream actually improved their construction from 1958 to 1967. The design is great which is why I'm making exact duplicates. Sounds to me like I'm constructing mine just like yours..... Don't know if its a difference, but my 58 was the International model with top of the line cabinets - the facing was glued plywood rather then a wood frame. The plywood was glued so perhaps with the strength of the plywood glued to the facing, they did not need dowels. In rebuilding, I'm not using plywood facing.

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Old 06-23-2004, 09:40 PM   #10
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thanks for all the good advice. You guys are great! I'll keep you updated with pics.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:57 PM   #11
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The lighter the stiffer the better. Cann't imagine a ready made cabinet would be light unless it's a good quality furniture grade veneer plywood the way the old ones were made. The quality of the frame 1x2 coming out of my 59 are impressive. Really good wood. Don't know what species it is but I think it may be ash.
Remember this house moves and the techniques need to adapt to that fact. Attach it in several places and I think it would be a problem. AS seems to isolate cabinets rather than tie them together, at least on the 68 and 59.
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Old 07-28-2004, 05:02 PM   #12
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We don't need no steenking socks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Simon,
What goes 'in' the cabinets is just as important as what they're made of. I'd keep your socks and underwear up high, and the heirloom china and fine silverware down low.
.
Good point but what are these "socks" and "heirloom china" of which you speak?
<G>

jb
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Old 07-28-2004, 07:56 PM   #13
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Well, Johnboy, since you're a cheesehead I guess I owe you a definition. Socks are what you put over your ears to keep from getting frostbit. The heirloom china is what you would call "Chinet", or anything better than paper plates.
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