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Old 08-18-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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Ikea cabinets - I know you've thought about it

Ok, so I've read a few threads on here and blogs on the 'net about people looking for new cabinets for their Airstream and wondering if Ikea would work. Well, I've been thinking the same thing and want to know who has actually done this. I know someone has!! I have installed Ikea cabinets in the laundry room of my house and don't see why you couldn't cut the panels to match the curves of the walls. The cabinets come completely broken down, so you are just buying panels to assemble. Why couldn't those panels be custom cut with a table saw or jigsaw to fit the curved walls, plumbing, electrical, etc.? Different brackets would have to be used, but I think it could work. Am I crazy? If you have done this, I would like to see photos.

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Old 08-18-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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We have installed entire kitchens in two homes we own ours and a rental. Additionally, we have done our laundry room as well. The product is great and very durable and we have been very happy with them. I do not believe I would install them in a trailer due mainly to the weight factor. By the time you outfitted a trailer, the weight could be an issue especially on a larger unit.

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Old 08-18-2009, 05:10 PM   #3
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The way vintage cabinetry is built, with simple frames and thin plywood exteriors, is light and sturdy, and probably a LOT cheaper to build than to buy pre-fab stuff. I know members have done some neat things with custom cabinetry with aluminum frames as well.

I know the cabinetry in my house looks way too heavily built for trailer use. But then I think the cabinetry Airstream puts in new trailers looks way heavier than necessary for trailer use, so what do I know?

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Old 08-18-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
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Take a look at what Sergei did on his Argosy. He had a inovative way to deal with the weight issue as well has latching mechanisms upgraded for travel:
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:53 PM   #5
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The overhead cabinets robably wouldn't work - at least not for long. You can't screw the upper cabinets directly to the wall.

The Airstream cabinets are "floating", allowing for flex and vibration while travelling over the road. If you could mount the cabinets in the same way that Airstream does, you might give it a try.

Same for the lower cabinets - they all require a lot of "flex". The counter top area of an Airstream is also "float mounted" to the wall. If you do try it you should use the same mounting principle that the factory used originally in your trailer.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 08-18-2009, 06:44 PM   #6
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The only thing heaver than Ikea cabinets would be something made from metal. Ikea cabinets while they look good have to be about the cheapest made cabinets you can buy. I'm not saying they don't have their place. Usually first time furniture buyers, young couples that don't put a lot of wear on them etc. They age poorly because the veneers are micro thin on very heavy particle board.They aren't in any way environmentally frendly. Most of their woods are logged in Russia where there are few regulations. There's a joke among cabinetmakers and people who know cabinet construction that Ikea is Scandinavian for landfill because that's where most of them end up. Ikea is an especially poor choice for an Airstream because of weight alone.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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As bhayden pointed out, Sergei has done this in his Argosy Comtemporization linked above. He dealt very effectively with the weight issue by "hogging out" large sections of the particle board and then lining with thin aluminum sheets to make them appear "whole" from the inside. This effectively turned the large cabinet panels into frames, not so far from what Airstream does with their custom cabinetry. The design is excellent.

He has not traveled very much with these cabinets, so time will tell whether they are durable enough for a travel trailer application. It might end up depending on your chosen type of travel-- if you're sticking mostly to freeways then perhaps it's fine, while if you tend to travel washboard roads, well then perhaps not so much. But the washboard roads are tough on the factory original cabinetry as well, so I'm not so sure it's a fair measure for durability.

Personally, I have rebuilt all of my cabinets from scratch, using pine framing and thin, light and flexible but strong plywood, to make my cabinets even lighter and stronger than the ones Airstream originally installed.

I'm no cabinet maker, just a desk-job hack who enjoys woodworking. But not everyone is as handy as I am, and the Ikea cabinets might be a reasonable solution for people who simply can't build the cabinets themselves, and can't afford to hire a professional cabinet maker to do it for them.

Some food for thought anyway...


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