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Old 07-22-2010, 07:08 PM   #1
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IKEA cabinets or leave in old in 1976 Argosy MH

I am about to remodel my kitchen area up to the front of the cab. I am thinking of buying IKEA cabinetís to replace sink and stove. Now I am worried that the added weight will hurt my baby. Has anyone replaced their cabinets with store brought ones. I was thinking of cutting off the back of the cabinetís and brace it with an aluminum brace that will allow me to connect it to the ribs of the MH and remove weight from the store brought cabinets.
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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The weight difference would be minimal, I would go for it
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:09 PM   #3
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Actually, Ikea cabinets are EXTREMELY heavy compared to the original cabinetry in an Airstream.

BUT, there are ways to reduce.

Check out Sergei's famous thread regarding his "contemporization" of a 70s Argosy travel trailer. There are lot of great ideas in this thread, on using Ikea cabinetry, and pretty much anything else.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...ase-18448.html

The posts on his Ikea cabinetry begin on page 7, post #93.

Good luck!
-Marcus
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Yeah but it's a motorhome that can easily handle the extra weight. Also I have a couple local friends that have gutted and rebuilt entire airstream interiors using pro cabinet makers. The cabinet makers used much better wood than the original and both have solid surface countertops to boot, talknabout extra weight! so I think doing ikea is a safe bet, just my opinion.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:46 AM   #5
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Maybe you have a different quality of Ikea in the states to us in the UK but having had Ikea stuff in the home I just don't think it will stand the test of time in a trailer.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:54 AM   #6
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Yeah but it's a motorhome that can easily handle the extra weight. Also I have a couple local friends that have gutted and rebuilt entire airstream interiors using pro cabinet makers. The cabinet makers used much better wood than the original and both have solid surface countertops to boot, talknabout extra weight! so I think doing ikea is a safe bet, just my opinion.
Hi, hard woods or solid woods are much lighter than press board/particle board. As mentioned, Ikea stuff is very heavy. Not very durable either. Motorhome or not, they still have wieght ratings/limits.
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:00 AM   #7
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Maybe you have a different quality of Ikea in the states to us in the UK but having had Ikea stuff in the home I just don't think it will stand the test of time in a trailer.
Hi, I don't think Ikea stuff is any different here; It's all press board, very heavy, and comes in a flat box with picture instructions on how to assemble it. I had a storage shelf in my house and it is now in my garage in pieces. They sell great ginger cookies though.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:27 AM   #8
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I have also wondered about the long term durability of Ikea cabinets in an RV application. I've had some in my kitchen for many years now with zero problems, but my kitchen doesn't roll along the road at 65 mph. Or at least, it shouldn't, though I do live on the outskirts of tornado country!

Unfortunately, Sergei has yet to really road-test his rig to help us make any determination about their long term durability. I believe he's set to travel from Canada and down through the southern USA this winter, so maybe by this time next year we'll have some reports.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:21 AM   #9
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Ardeleon, others:

My reason for choosing IKEA was that I had no Airstream experience and didnít have sufficient confidence in my ability to plan the new cabinetry. I also had no wood working skills and no wood working machinery.

In that circumstance IKEA is a good choice for the DIYer: you know what the final result will look like.

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All store bought cabinets, whether you buy from the big box places like IKEA or Home Depot or the stand alone store fronts with their ďkitchen consultantsĒ (sales people who help double or triple what youíd pay for an Ikea kitchen), have carcasses (the ďboxesĒ) made from pressed wood or particle board.

This chemical-filled stuff is very heavy but you can cut down the end-weight dramatically by using the technique I used, which Utee pointed out above.

Pressed wood / particleboard is not as light as most woods and it is not as durable either. The main fault is itís susceptibility to water damage.

After I decided to scrap the not-too-attractive original cardboard and anodized aluminum Argosy interior, I first thought to take the trailer to a nearby Amish cabinet maker but the logistical impractability surrounding that lead me back to Ikea, which Iíd used many, many times over many years.

Iím not unhappy with my result but if I knew then what I know now I would have used IKEA drawers and door facings on a stick built interior. (That is another advantage of Ikea: everything is individually priced).

As I gained confidence I saw that I could have either built the substructure myself or directed a carpenter or cabinetmaker on how best to do it.


This would not have been much more work than modifying the Ikea cabinets. With stick built you start with acknowledging the Airstream curves. With modular furniture youíve got to figure out how to make it fit the curves. In the end this takes as much or more time than stick building.

I also think that aluminum tubing could be used to make spectacular, lightweight cabinetry in an Airstream but you need special skills or a nearby and willing commercial shop to pull this off.

There are several members on this site who have done really good cabinetry. Two that come to mind are Uwe Salwender in California and Zeppelium. Look them up. I suspect that neither one had cabinet building skills before they started out on their Airstream renovations.

My trailer has had very little, almost no, travel so far so we donít know yet how the cabinets will stand up. With the limited travel Iíve done I know that the hinges come loose easily. But they do this at home too. The Ikea euro hinges look exactly like other brands, like Richelieu, but maybe they are not as well made. Iím going to try a little Loctite on the screws to see if this helps.


Sergei
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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As a cabinet-maker, I wouldn't use IKEA furniture in an Airstream. It is a pressed board, which behaves like a paper product, and most of IKEA's stuff has a paper finish too.

The problem comes when you're not using your Airstream, and the interior is not air-conditioned. Daily variations in humidity and temperature will cause the paper to expand and contract and become brittle in just a season or two.

It's also so prone to water and vibration damage.

With the so much shorter life of this type of installation, you'll need to replace it more often, and the difference in price over a custom wood cabinet vanishes.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:18 PM   #11
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As a cabinet-maker, I wouldn't use IKEA furniture in an Airstream. It is a pressed board, which behaves like a paper product, and most of IKEA's stuff has a paper finish too.

The problem comes when you're not using your Airstream, and the interior is not air-conditioned. Daily variations in humidity and temperature will cause the paper to expand and contract and become brittle in just a season or two.

It's also so prone to water and vibration damage.

With the so much shorter life of this type of installation, you'll need to replace it more often, and the difference in price over a custom wood cabinet vanishes.

Agree 100% There's a joke among cabinetmakers that IKEA is Swedish for landfill. They look good but I honestly can't say much more good about them.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:59 AM   #12
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Sergei, thanks for posting your insights, I was hoping you'd find this thread and comment.

I think it will be a very interesting study to see what happens to Sergei's cabinets as he puts several thousand miles on his rig, and as it experiences extremes from heat to cold over the next year. I think we will all learn a lot.

I understand the hesitancy (and some outright derision ) from real craftsmen-- carpenters and cabinet builders-- regarding Ikea's products. Both Sergei and I have some good experiences with them in standard domestic and commercial installations, but what we don't know is how they will stand up to the rigors of RV life.

I think Sergei's comments are quite interesting regarding things he might have done differently, like building the stick-frames and just using the drawer and door fronts. That's effectively what I did when I rebuilt my vanity and beds, except I re-used the drawer fronts, and built new door fronts from scratch.

Anyway, it'll be very interesting to see how the road affects Sergei's cabinetry. I have a suspicion that although there might be some minor issues, overall they will work out okay.

Time will tell.


-Marcus
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:49 AM   #13
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I think Sergei's comments are quite interesting regarding things he might have done differently, like building the stick-frames and just using the drawer and door fronts. That's effectively what I did when I rebuilt my vanity and beds, except I re-used the drawer fronts, and built new door fronts from scratch.
-Marcus
I used Ikea Rationell drawers with my own drawer fronts and cabinets in our Sovereign. I believe the drawers are the same as Blumotion. We're coming to the end of our first trip - more on that later in Moving Up to a Sovereign. I thought they would have enough closing force to keep them closed during travel, but we've frequently found them open, especially on rough roads or after city driving with a lot of turns. I like the drawers and they work well otherwise, but I'm going to need to come up with a way to keep them from opening in travel.

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Old 07-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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I used Ikea Rationell drawers with my own drawer fronts and cabinets in our Sovereign. I believe the drawers are the same as Blumotion. We're coming to the end of our first trip - more on that later in Moving Up to a Sovereign. I thought they would have enough closing force to keep them closed during travel, but we've frequently found them open, especially on rough roads or after city driving with a lot of turns. I like the drawers and they work well otherwise, but I'm going to need to come up with a way to keep them from opening in travel.

Grant
Thanks Grant, good to hear from you as well, since I know you custom-built some of the furniture in Sergei's rig, as well as in your own trailers. I believe I had asked Sergei that exact question a couple of years ago, whether or not he felt that the spring-loaded closing mechanisms from the Rationell line would be sufficient to hold the drawers closed. I guess you've now answered that question!

I'm sure you've seen some of the solutions others here on the Forums have used to address this issue. I think the rare earth magnets are probably my favorite, and perhaps the most elegant, of all the solutions I've seen.

Thanks again for the input. I know it's easy to make a quick judgment and proclaim that the Ikea products won't be sturdy enough to handle the rigors of road life, but as an engineer and scientist, I'd rather see data than rely on speculation. Sergei's beautiful rig will be a great test bed in my opinion.

Looking forward to more reports on your "Moving Up" thread which I've followed since the beginning, as well as Sergei's Contemporizing thread. For anyone who hasn't read them, those are both great reads, well worth the time.

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Old 07-24-2010, 03:25 PM   #15
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Hehe. Don't get me wrong - I think IKEA makes well-built and stylish furniture for home or commercial use, particularly the kitchen furniture. However, that solidity comes with a price - weight.

I have seen a Sovereign refurbishment go awry with IKEA cabinets - it looked fantastic, but they put a queen bed in back, and moved the cabinets forward and had a front kitchen to the right of the door, with no consideration of the tongue weight.

The tongue weight on their project was over 2,100 lbs when they asked for help. It took a lot of work to get it down to a safe limit. I think it was originally 710lbs and I got it down from 2,100 lbs to 860 lbs. It compromised their vision, though...

Which was a shame, because the layout LOOKED fantastic!
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:18 PM   #16
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Of course some cabinetmakers will trash talk IKEA. Didnít plumbers once do the same with plastics and Pex? If we listened to every self-interested group out there weíd still be using cast iron sewer pipes.

Pretty much all the kitchen and bath cabinetry available, Ikea and the others, use particleboard boxes. Ikea flat-packs theirs. You donít pay to ship air and putting it together yourself saves money.

(When you see how much you can pay at a kitchen ďstudioĒ you realize just how much).

Only the low-end stuff at Ikea is foil covered. They have all kinds of choices for drawer and door faces now - in solid woods, veneers, stainless, composites, etc.

I donít know about the Classic Airstream but the CCD International and the Safari models are filled with particleboard cabinets. Thereís some foil used too.

Is there a thread somewhere about these cabinets shaking apart or crumbling that Iíve missed?

To keep the drawers and pantry doors closed while traveling Iíve installed about a half dozen of these elegant stainless steel hooks (Japanese) strategically around the trailer:

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Bungee cords, hook to hook, keep everything in place. It may not look elegant while Iím rolling down the road but who cares then?


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Old 07-24-2010, 05:44 PM   #17
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I live three miles from IKEA and I am in there at least every two weeks buying cabinets for customers. I'm a cabinet assembler as well as a cabinet maker

I love most of their designs and steer people away from only a few of their cheapest products. Applying a good sealing coating to them during assembly, and machining out hidden areas to reduce weight without compromising strength would address all my concerns about using IKEA kits in an Airstream.

And it would certainly be better quality and nicer looking than anything original in a 70s or older Airstream!

In time, when I do my next refurbishment, I'll post a full photo guide of how to modify IKEA cabinets to reduce weight and increase strength. Saving 15 lbs per cabinet across six cabinets is 90lbs of extra stuff you can haul with you
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:55 PM   #18
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I donít know about the Classic Airstream but the CCD International and the Safari models are filled with particleboard cabinets. Thereís some foil used too.

Is there a thread somewhere about these cabinets shaking apart or crumbling that Iíve missed?
Hi, I have heard this over and over and over again without any proof. My overhead cabinet doors are made out of foam plastic of some sort, but every piece of wood in my trailer is plywood. [1/2" 5/8" & 3/4"] I have removed cabinets and remodeled my living room and every single piece was plywood. I have made pieces to close off possible mouse freeways in my plywood floor and plywood bed frame. I have drilled and replaced a faucet in my bathroom and the cabinets are made out of plywood. I have not found one single piece of particle board anywhere in my 2005 Safari. And those on this forum who said their Safari had particle board failed to prove it. If anyone with a newer Airstream has particle board in their trailer please post a picture of it.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #19
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Bob, since you have first hand experience, I happily stand corrected. Plywood seems a very Airstream idea as well.

Many of the best aluminum renovators on this site use plywood in their projects too.

I hope you understood that I was not advocating pressed wood. As I said, if doing it all over again Iíd go stick built.

Iím just against IKEA trash talking - when their kitchen units are pretty much like every one elseís but perhaps better designed and definitely less costly.


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Old 07-27-2010, 10:01 PM   #20
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I know from reading the forums that the trailer folks seem to do a lot of cabinet work. I wonder, however, if a motor home's different type of suspension could be a problem with its type of jarring common in older trucks. Also what will be the affect of attaching the extra weight to the ribs and skin? I believe there was an old thread by swebster who replaced cabinetry in his later model, but I don't recall if these issues were addressed. I am curious.

I'm in the middle of my counter project, too. Until I find the answers to those questions, I'm going to try to like those cabinets.

Keith
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