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Old 03-10-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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1953 Flying Cloud Project - Cabinetry Finally

It's time to pickup again on the story of our 53 FC. It started in a farm field in Indiana, went to one vendor where it was worked on. Had to take it to another vendor to literally rebuild it. And now I have all the fun stuff left to do - building out all the cabinetry.

I'm not interested in telling the sad story about what went wrong with the first vendor. I like to forward to the positive and what is ahead. The second vendor, GSM and Colin Hyde took over this project and basically turned a very unsafe trailer into a very solid rebuild that should last another 50 years.

I'm a hobby woodworker so we took the project over from Colin after his team did everything to the shell, including the flooring, installing all the appliances, doing most of the kitchen area and the bathroom.

I have left to build a couple of beds, the wardrobe, a kitchen pantry, and the front dinette.

We tow this 53 FC with a Honda Ridgeline which has a tow rating of only 5000 lbs. So every part of the design and build of the FC has been done with light weight considerations in mind.

When we picked up the unit from GSM it weighed 2780 lbs dry which includes a lot - A/C, H/W heater, furnace, kitchenette, shower, 2 big batteries, 3 tanks set up (20g fresh, 29g grey, 8g black), spare tire, and electric jack.

Now my challenge in adding the cabinetry is to keep that weight in line.

Here's a picture of us taking over the project as we leave GSM.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:51 PM   #2
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Thumbs up

WOW...Looks awesome! More pics PLEASE!!
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:53 PM   #3
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Bins, Bins, Bins

The key to our light weight cabinetry design is based around using lots of very light weight bins that we found at a container type store.

Here is a picture of one of the bins with it's birch plywood front on. I have literally attached the birch directly to the bins to serve as the drawer front, instead of having a seperate swinging door with the bin behind. Much easier to get at those cloths in one pull of the drawer front, than first swinging a wide door and then reaching for the drawer.

I've lost count but there will be over 20 bins like this when we are all done.

Here is another detailed shot of how I used some wood splints to attach the bin to the plywood front.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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Starting with the light weight cabinet frame

My designs all start with a light weight cabinet frame made of 1x2 softwood, with lots of glue and good screws.

The frames then have runners attached to them on the sides for the bins to fit on. There is a top and bottom runner for each side of a bin. The challenge is to get the bins to fit correctly and to slide just right. The frames have to be built to tight tolerances regarding dimensions.

And since some of these cabinets fit on top of wheel wells or around other obstacles like water heaters that adds to the challenge. And since the bins only come in a certain set of sizes, all this needs to be factored into the design.

So I'm spending about 3 times as much time at night making measurements and drawings before I get into the woodshop.

Here is my latest frame that forms the bottom half of the cloths wardrobe that fits over the curbside wheelwell.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:05 PM   #5
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Frame built, now bins tested

Once I get a frame built and installed, then I put all the bins back in and test how they run on the wood slides. These wood slides are the only part of the frame that are not glued in. I need to take them in and out a few times to adjust them to really get the bins to work smoothly.

Here's the bottom of that wardrobe cabinet again with some bins in it for testing.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:06 PM   #6
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Nice work and interesting concept...keep the pictures coming!
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:15 PM   #7
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The streetside twin bed

Our FC will have two twin beds wrapped from the streetside to around the back of the trailer. This gives us a very open feeling FC where you can see from the front all the way to the back on the street side with no vertical cabinets. On the curbside we have the bath.

The streetside twin bed has a couple of obstructions to work around - a wheel well and the hot water heater. Luckily these bins come in all kinds of sizes and it was a matter of playing with them long enough to figure out the puzzle of optimal storage.

Then I built the light weight frame, tested the bins, installed plywood fronts on the bins, and added cherry trim.

One of the nice things about savings weight on most of the construction is that I can add nice thin pieces of hardwood to the most visible parts like the trim where I'm using cherry.

I like the contrast of using cherry trim and birch plywood for the larger faces. The cherry helps pop out the birch.

Here are a couple of shots of the steetside bed. I still need to put in finger holes for the drawer pulls and I'll follow Carlos' magnet technique to secure the drawers during travel.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:28 PM   #8
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Rear bed and a slightly different bin design

Hi Flyncld - looks like you have another nice FC. Thanks for the comments.

For the rear bed, since there is really only one easy access point in the middle for storage under the bed, I had to do a slightly different design.

I partitioned the rear bed into four areas. In the front center there is the most easily accessable area from the inside where I will store six slightly different plastic bins. In the rear center I've created the trunk area accessable from the rear access. On the left side I have a longer term storage area that I'll get to with a lift up lid. And similarily on the right side I've got a smaller long term storage area in front of the electrical hardware.

The key to the front center area is a silver rolltop access panel that I found at Ikea in their office supply section. I'll be using at least one more of these when I design the storage under the front dinette. The silver looks right at home in the FC and after getting the frame built just right, it slides very easily.

Inside this area behind the rolltop are two levels and I have three bins on each level. Lots of accessible storage for cloths. Here's pictures of the rolltop and the bins first.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:33 PM   #9
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Back twin bed

And here are a couple of shots of the other partitions under the back bed.

Again I used the same 1x2 construction for the framework which is very light weight.

For the trunk area I used plenty of clear caulking to make it as airtight as possible from the other spaces.

Now I'll be switching back to about 3 days of design mode to work out the rest of the details of the wardrobe cabinet and then 1 day of build time.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:43 PM   #10
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Dude...this is awesome! Very creative and I will steal some ideas here! You should update your profile to include the year and model of your AS. I would post a gallery as well since you have some great ideas!
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:18 PM   #11
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Kitchen pantry, Cloths closet, and Surprises

After many design drawings, I got into the shop to create most of the framework for the area on the curbside from the door going back to the bath. It's about 50 inches from door to bath and it will contain a lot of storage.

I have designed six boxes that will be pieced together. Looking at a front view from the aisle, there will be a full height cloths closet on the right consisting of a lower cabinet of bins (box 1), and an upper cabinet for hanging cloths (box 2). To the left of this will be a half height kitchen pantry (box 3).

Looking at the side wall as you enter the door, there will be three special boxes - their will be a narrow box that fits behind the kitchen pantry to store the zip dee chairs (box 4), below that my second garage door will be used for a shoe locker (box 5), and to the right of both will be a shallow box (box 6) to store misc. items like the dog leash, keys, campground paperwork, etc.

Like my previous designs for the beds, this all started by considering the size of the bins I had available and trying to maximize my storage space.
There were a couple of issues to deal with like the wheel well, the counter height, the hanging cloths storage height, and the wall space needed for a flat panel TV.

I have built four of the six boxes. The only ones missing are the upper half of the cloths closet and the narrow box for misc. Here is a front view of the kitchen pantry and the lower cabinet for the cloths. And a side view where you can see the narrow zip dee box and the shoe locker.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:26 PM   #12
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Kitchen pantry and Cloths closet - LOTS of bins

Did I say I like lots of storage. There are 11 bins that I got to fit in the kitchen pantry and the lower half of the cloths closet. I don't have all the bins purchased yet. I've got some in the pictures to give you an idea.

In the kitchen pantry there are two shallow bins (3 inches in height) on top and then four deeper bins (7 inches in height) below. The top four bins are 20 inches wide and 16 going back. The bottom two bins are 20 inches wide and 9 inches going back.

The lower cloths closet has five bins. The three on top are huge (20 inches wide by 20 inches going back). The bottom two are 20 inches wide by 9 inches going back.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:33 PM   #13
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Shoe Locker

Thanks to my wife's brainstorm, we decided to use our second silver rolltop or garage door for a small area right by the door to hide shoes or slippers behind.

It's just the right size for a couple pairs of shoes, and even tall enough for some boots. Since it's just for shoes once you open up the garage door you are looking directly at the wheel well, no reason to build out the interior here.

Here are a couple of pictures of the shoe locker.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:46 PM   #14
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Zip Dee Locker

We always like to have our zip dees around to hang outside with. But where do you store these heavy things which are 22 inches by 23 inches by 2.5 inches each. Not the easiest size to fit anywhere.

Well I actually need to put some more weight on the curbside of my FC to even out all the appliance weight on the street side. The zip dees aren't going to tip the scales, but I definitely wanted them somewhere on the curbside.

I finally got to thinking that if I just shorted the storage area of the kitchen pantry then I could slip these chairs behind it. Then I looked at all the bin sizes I had available and just the next size down from the biggest ones fit the space perfectly.

I had 5.5 inches to get those zip dees into. OK time for 1/4 ply. I had one concern with the zip dees being oriented in the same direction that the FC would travel, would they fly out behind a cabinet door just held in place with magnets?

Came up with the idea of these little blocks that fit very snuggly in front of each zip dee on the bottom. They have a couple of dowels to peg them into the base of the cabinet.

And now we'll have our zip dees right by the door, ready to put outside as one of the first things we do every time we pull into a campground.

Here is a shot of the zip dee locker and a close up of the blocks.

Next up I'll work on the narrow box that goes next to the zip dees to fill out the rest of that wall so everything is on the same plane going across.
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