Finally I'm to the point in the project I like the most, constructing the new cabinet that will house the sink and the cooktop. Last year while cruising through one of the local Habitat ReStores I came across a corian countertop with a single sink built in for 90 bucks. It was quite long which was a plus since that would give me extra material to work with. It came home and sat out on the back deck for many months till this last week when I put it on sawhorses and started to cut it down to size.
Using the dish rack to figure out where to make the cuts. I didnt want the oven door to be too close or too far.
Once the top was cut down to about 64" long, I made a cut to decrease the depth down to 28" from its existing 32" dimension. It's not that I wouldn't love to have it that deep, but we are talking Airstreams and they are fairly narrow so I had to make some adjustments for that. I will use the cutoff for part of the backsplash.
This counter had a 3 layer edge, so I took two strips of cutoff corian and glued it up to the raw edge nearest the door. I then cut it straight with the tracksaw and routed a new edge. I also trimmed the front edge about 1/4" and routed that as well as there were some dings from moving it around. If I didn't mention it, corian is pretty heavy and this counter was pretty large before cutting.
Inside the trailer, I decided to construct a support for the top that would be independent of the cabinet. I learned from working the bathroom last year that you cant build a cabinet whole and then bring it inside and sit it down like you would in a house. Not enough room and nothing is square and too many "things" to build around. In this case, I have to work around the heater, the water connections and the inner wheel fender.
The original counter was at 36" high so that is where this one is as well. I am using some scrap 3/4" ply that is tied to the back wall with aluminum tabs riveted in and screwed to the bottom of the wood. It is also supported with two vertical members screwed down to the subfloor. The existing partition that the oven sits in supports the right side and it will be supported in the front on each corner and in the middle.
See what I mean, lots of "crap" to work around:
We will be mounting a new microwave underneath the counter, right above the heater and below the cooktop. I understand that heat could be an issue if the furnace is in use, but I doubt that we will be doing much camping in really cold weather and at some point you have to make design considerations due to existing space. In other words, there's no other place to put it and have some storage for pots and pans. So the next step will be to create an inner platform for the oven as well as wire in an outlet under the cabinet. I'll also create a floor above the heating duct on the right side for storage and to keep it all neat.
I wasn't sure what to make the outside of the cabinet with, I had thought of using some sort of birch veneer ply. I'm pretty much over rotary cut red oak which is what you see in most of the big box stores. So last week I went to the local lumber yard, Yukon Lumber in Norfolk to see what they had. As it turns out, they had two sheets of 1/2" straight cut cherry veneer ply sitting in the shed that I fell in love with. For those folks that are unfamiliar with how plywood is made, rotary sliced veneer is similar to how a pencil sharpener cuts, the log is rolled and a thin continuous veneer is sliced off. Unfortunately, the grain doesn't look like solid stock, the grain is exaggerated, it looks like plywood. Plain sawn or straight cut slices are like cutting a piece of cheese, each narrow slice is then glued together to make the veneer. Looks much more natural as if you glued several boards together to make a panel.
Of course the downside to falling in love with something is money. Both sheets set me back about 90 each. But rather than just make the one cabinet the plan is now to remake all the surrounding cabinetry with the cherry panels. And fortunately, I have a good amount of solid cherry lumber sitting in my wood rack collecting dust for a project that never got off the ground several years ago. So I got to work and started planning out how to cut this expensive stock so I would maximize each panel. As it turns out, I was able to download a free cutlist program that allowed me to take my measurements for each part and place them on the board so that they all fit. Again, the track saw is the go to tool here, it makes cuts as nice or better than a table saw so that very little finish cutting is needed if you plan well.
First board laid out ready to cut:
Gotta have some place to put the cutting diagram:
Probably the worst pollen day of the year to be outside:
Making the long cuts. Hard to see, but this wood is really pretty stuff.
The rest of the day was spent planing down the rough cherry stock and starting to cut out parts for a face frame as well as rails and stiles for the doors. I also ordered a faucet off amazon as well as a new cooktop in stainless. I had tried to resurrect the old 4 burner cooktop, but it became apparent that it would never look all that great and I hated the thought of doing all this work just to put back an old appliance that would look shabby in comparison. Here is a shot of the new parts posing for a picture on the counter top:
Next week I will be cutting the side panel and making the face frame for the front once the inner cabinet work is done. I am also planning on using a single piece of .032 aluminum for the backsplash, so that should help neaten things up as well. This is a plan as you go project, which means its very easy for mistakes to be made, but there is really no other way to do it.
Again, thanks for looking and I hope to have this rig back on the road sometime in May, about a month longer that initial estimates.