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Old 01-18-2011, 05:02 PM   #1
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How to build a dinette

This is my first attempt at building a dinette and I can certainly use all the help I can get. I have studied a number of threads on building dinettes and it seems that almost anything goes - from building a basic framework then facing it whatever it is faced with to building the framework out of the birch (or whatever) that is the facing itself.

I have a number of considerations:
1. It is a small trailer (18' tongue to end)
2. It is meant for just two adults and maybe a grandkid
3. There is a fresh water tank, the water pump and the converter in the front of the trailer - all of which needs to be hidden.
4. The fuse boxes are near the water tank.
5. The streetside bench will go from the end of the galley cabinet to the front wall.
6. The curbside bench can only go from the door opening to the front wall.
7. I would like to have storage under the benches and/or behind the backs of the benches.
8. I would like the table to drop down so that it makes into a twin sized bed.
9. It is not necessary to seat anybody over the water tank.
10. I don't know how to attach the table to the wall.
11. What is best - pedestal leg for the table or fold-up leg?

I've posted pictures of the space available and a drawing of the space with measurements. Any help, advice, support, guidance or offer of free labor would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance -
Lindy
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:33 PM   #2
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Hi Lindy
For my Cruiser I have drawn many variations and at the end I came on 2 benches with rectangular table.
Does a semicircular bench with a semicircular table in the middle? The table can be folded to a round one if several people are to food. Maybe teleskop table leg to let down for bed make?
Excuse my English, I must translate with the computer....
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:56 PM   #3
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Here is the dinette I made in our Caravel, replacing the front 3/4 gaucho.

It does not make into a bed, but could be constructed to do so.
The fresh water tank is the same place as yours.
I made storage above the tank with two sliding doors.
The shelf above the water tank is just wide enough to hold the microwave. That shelf is wired for 120v, 12v, and has the cable connection to the outside of the trailer.
I used the storage bins and doors that were under the gaucho.
I cut the original cushions down. They had plywood bottoms, so just folded and stapled the cut ends, which ended up against the storage cabinet. You need to cut the foam about two inches long so that the cloth material will be tight when finished.
The table is connected using a table rail attachment available from most RV parts stores. I got an extra rail and installed it on the inside of the entry door, so that when the door is open, the table can be moved outside. The leg on the table is an adjustable awning pole. It can be adjusted to the right height when inside or when outside when the table is hung on the door. By doing this, we don't need to carry a table for use outside.
I used much of the material and frame work from the original gaucho. I bought one sheet of 4x8x1/8 plywood door skin and one sheet of 4x8x3/8 mahogany on one side plywood, and two 2x2x8' pieces of pine for framework.

I did the whole thing in two days for under $200.00.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jim Foster View Post
Here is the dinette I made in our Caravel, replacing the front 3/4 gaucho.

It does not make into a bed, but could be constructed to do so.
The fresh water tank is the same place as yours.
I made storage above the tank with two sliding doors.
The shelf above the water tank is just wide enough to hold the microwave. That shelf is wired for 120v, 12v, and has the cable connection to the outside of the trailer.
I used the storage bins and doors that were under the gaucho.
I cut the original cushions down. They had plywood bottoms, so just folded and stapled the cut ends, which ended up against the storage cabinet. You need to cut the foam about two inches long so that the cloth material will be tight when finished.
The table is connected using a table rail attachment available from most RV parts stores. I got an extra rail and installed it on the inside of the entry door, so that when the door is open, the table can be moved outside. The leg on the table is an adjustable awning pole. It can be adjusted to the right height when inside or when outside when the table is hung on the door. By doing this, we don't need to carry a table for use outside.
I used much of the material and frame work from the original gaucho. I bought one sheet of 4x8x1/8 plywood door skin and one sheet of 4x8x3/8 mahogany on one side plywood, and two 2x2x8' pieces of pine for framework.

I did the whole thing in two days for under $200.00.
Wow! what a deal - 2 days and $200!

I have some questions for you.

What did you use for the "tracks" for your sliding doors? My top cabinets in the galley and bedroom have really nice shiny metal tracks for the sliding doors but I have been unable to find any more to build more cabinets. I like that the doors slide there in the front so they don't take up any space.

Is your table rail attached to the little cabinet that covers the water tank?

Did you build a framework then put the 1/8" plywood over the frame?

How did you stabilize your water tank so it wouldn't move around?

How did you attach the awning pole to the table?

Did you keep the plywood bottoms on the cushions or did you put a plywood base over your framework and put the cushions on that?

Is there a "lip" on the edge of the bench to keep the cushions in place?

Thanks for your help!

Lindy
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucymcdog View Post
Wow! what a deal - 2 days and $200!

I have some questions for you.

What did you use for the "tracks" for your sliding doors? My top cabinets in the galley and bedroom have really nice shiny metal tracks for the sliding doors but I have been unable to find any more to build more cabinets. I like that the doors slide there in the front so they don't take up any space.

For the tracks I used a plastic double window channel from a marine supply. They are used in boats.

Is your table rail attached to the little cabinet that covers the water tank?

I attached it to a piece of 2x2 frame supporting the shelf.

Did you build a framework then put the 1/8" plywood over the frame?

Yes

How did you stabilize your water tank so it wouldn't move around?

It had small 1x2 blocks holding it in place.

How did you attach the awning pole to the table?

The table had a folding leg pole which I replaced with the awning pole.

Did you keep the plywood bottoms on the cushions or did you put a plywood base over your framework and put the cushions on that?

Kept the wood in the cushions, used the existing wood in the frame from the old gaucho for support.

Is there a "lip" on the edge of the bench to keep the cushions in place?

Yes, it was on the gaucho.

Thanks for your help!

Lindy
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Here are some shots of the rough in to give you some ideas. You can use the "panel" method that I used for the support frame or go with a "stick built" frame assembly. I used pocket screws for fasteners on all of the frame assembly as well as to attach it to the floor.
With the table down the bed dimensions are 42"x76". I can fill in the details later if you wish.
My water tank is across the front similar to yours.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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Here's a link to our webpage which shows our '64 GT's dinette. There are also links to the hardware we used - ours makes down into a bed, but does not have the water tank up front.



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Old 01-19-2011, 08:25 PM   #8
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Here are some shots of the rough in to give you some ideas. You can use the "panel" method that I used for the support frame or go with a "stick built" frame assembly. I used pocket screws for fasteners on all of the frame assembly as well as to attach it to the floor.
With the table down the bed dimensions are 42"x76". I can fill in the details later if you wish.
My water tank is across the front similar to yours.
Thanks for the pictures. Is your water tank inside the small box between the seats? Is it just anchored with the box itself or does it need more stabilizing?
It doesn't look like your seats have any kind of lip to them to keep the cushions in place. Did that come later or do they stay in place without it?

Do you access the storage space by lifting up the seat?

Its really helpful to see different ways of doing it - looks like there isn't necessarily a "right" way so I think we will take some ideas from different ones and see if we can make them work.

It's off to Home Depot tomorrow - an all day trip - so we won't get anything done on it tomorrow. But we'll be ready to get to work by Friday! I'll post pictures of the progress - although I think it may take more than 2 days to finish it.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #9
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Is your water tank inside the small box between the seats? Is it just anchored with the box itself or does it need more stabilizing? The tank goes all the way across the front of the trailer. If you look closely you can see it in the right and left hand corner; it is aqua blue. The box holds it in place; I didn't want any sharp edges like blocks rubbing on the tank. If you click on the image it should get larger. Then go to View; then Zoom to 200%

It doesn't look like your seats have any kind of lip to them to keep the cushions in place. There is a 3/4" lip on the front edge of the seat. Haven't had any problem with them moving.

Do you access the storage space by lifting up the seat? Yes, there are hand holes to lift them out. I thought about putting drawers in; but decided there would be too much wasted space, with the drawer slides and the fact that the drawer has to be at least an inch narrower than the opening.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:52 PM   #10
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Why not move your water tank? Then you could build it however you want. I'm in the process of rebuilding a 16 foot bubble and started with a stripped out interior. You can see the dinette design and pics on pages 3 and 4 of my thread. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...h-62815-3.html It's not that hard to plumb new lines with pex. Just a thought for you since it looks like you're starting from scratch like me. take your time and make your plan firm. the dinette/bed is the most used spot in a trailer so it's good you're giving alot of priority. Cheers. Ted
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:50 AM   #11
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Why not move your water tank? Then you could build it however you want. I'm in the process of rebuilding a 16 foot bubble and started with a stripped out interior. You can see the dinette design and pics on pages 3 and 4 of my thread. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...h-62815-3.html It's not that hard to plumb new lines with pex. Just a thought for you since it looks like you're starting from scratch like me. take your time and make your plan firm. the dinette/bed is the most used spot in a trailer so it's good you're giving alot of priority. Cheers. Ted
I was going to move the tank to under the bed then decided, weight wise, I should put it back where it was originally. So now I'll just build around it.

What a beautiful little trailer you have! I really like the little ones...
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:58 AM   #12
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Here are some shots of the rough in to give you some ideas. You can use the "panel" method that I used for the support frame or go with a "stick built" frame assembly. I used pocket screws for fasteners on all of the frame assembly as well as to attach it to the floor.
With the table down the bed dimensions are 42"x76". I can fill in the details later if you wish.
My water tank is across the front similar to yours.
When you built your "panel" did you do that in place or outside the trailer and then bring it in? I'm thinking of doing a combination of yours and Jim's trailer - have a shelf in the front with sliding cabinet doors so I can access the area and then maybe do the panel on the front of the seats. I have found some "perforated" metal that matches the panels on the cabinet above the fridge and thought that might work - as well as give me the ventilation I need for the converter.

Could you fill me in somewhat on how you build the framework? And how high are the panels that the cushions sit on? Is 24" for the seat depth pretty much standard? I'd like to have a slanted back so I will have to take that into consideration when measuring for the seat area. Is a 5% slant about right?

Today will be a good day to go spend $$ at Home Depot. It is 3 degrees outside and the wind is blowing 40 mph. That's winter in the valley...
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:45 AM   #13
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Is a 5% slant about right?
The typical slant for dinette (& chair) backs is 12.5%...that's what we built in to ours.



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Old 01-20-2011, 08:09 AM   #14
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Hi Lindy,

Here's a link to some sliding door tracks:

4 Foot Plastic Sliding Door Track - Rockler Woodworking Tools

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Old 01-20-2011, 09:42 AM   #15
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I built the base (box) of the seats in the shop (where it's warm) then carried each to the trailer. I used a Kreg pocket screw system to fasten it together and attach it to the floor.
The height of the platform for the cushions will depend on the thickness of your cushions. The table height is 30", typically there is 12" to 13" of space between the bottom of the table and the top of the seat. Keep in mind that the cushions compress.
The frames that are visible on the end and under the table are built with a frame of 3/4" Oak with a maple insert (panel). I cut a Dado in the edge of the frame would that holds the panel in place, the panel is not glued in, it is free to float as the temperature and humidity changes. The back side of the box is made from 1/2" plywood (exterior glue) with a 1x2 along the top edge for the seat bottom to rest on. The front of the box has a 1x2 cleat on the inside edge, the seat bottom rests on that cleat. The cleat is set at a height that will give you the lip to hold the cushion in place. The front edge and visible end of the box are higher than the back edges, look closely at the photo and you can see this.
As I mentioned earlier; when the table is down, the dimensions of the bed are 42"x76". The table is 30" wide and each of the seat bottoms is 23" deep. 23"+30"+23"=76". I had the seat cushions made 24"x42", that way when you put them in place they are compressed slightly to hold them in place behind the lip. The seat cushions are 5" thick; the back cushions are 15"x42", one half of the width of the table.
I cut the plywood that covers the tank and supports the seat over the tank, then assembled it in place. There is a shelf below the window on the front of the trailer as well as a shelf behind each seat back. Since the wall is curved, I matched the shelf to the curve using the (carpenters pencil and pattern method) I showed you in another post. I covered the front wall below the shelf with a sheet of white fiberglass as well as the top surface of the shelf. It makes it easier to keep clean.
Where is the closest Home Depot? Canon City?
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:45 PM   #16
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The typical slant for dinette (& chair) backs is 12.5%...that's what we built in to ours.

Shari
Thanks! 12.5% sounds much more comfortable.

And thanks for the info on your web site giving me a place where I can get the T-molding to go around the edge of the table. Did you get the mill finish, the polished or satin finish? That is exactly what I'm looking for since the galley counter has the metal edge instead of formica edge. I couldn't find it on the Outwater site so I went to the Tape Ease site and they have all sorts of good stuff! What would we do without the Internet?

Does this stuff bend around the corners of the table easily?

Lindy
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:56 PM   #17
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Where is the closest Home Depot? Canon City?

Thanks for all the measurements. That is really helpful.

The closest Home Depot is in Canon City (2 hours away) and it is a tiny little store. It didn't have everything I needed so I have to special order the plywood from the lumber yard in Poncha Springs. The ride to Canon was really scary this morning - if you're familiar with the road you know it is very curvy and follows the Arkansas River. Today it was icy and snow packed. Dumb that we didn't check conditions before we started out but it was nice in Saguache!
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:59 PM   #18
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Did you get the mill finish, the polished or satin finish?
For the fluted "T" moulding in our '64 GT we got the polished finish. Another option we used in our '56 Safari is a screw on type trim. We got it at VTS and it's a satin finish.
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Does this stuff bend around the corners of the table easily?
As far as "bending around the corners", the VTS flat screw on type moulding bends real easy. The fluted "T" type we used a saw and cut away the "T" part on the back that fits in the groove behind the part that curves...then it bends easily too.

It's just a matter of deciding which look you prefer...we like them both.

The only other thing to note is, with the "T" type, you have to route a groove in the edge of the countertop for it to slip into...we have a friend that had that router bit so we didn't have to buy it for a one time use...as I recall, it wasn't cheap.

Shari
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:02 PM   #19
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...if you're familiar with the road you know it is very curvy and follows the Arkansas River. Today it was icy and snow packed. Dumb that we didn't check conditions before we started out but it was nice in Saguache!
I am familiar with it... I'm sure it was gorgeous though!

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Old 01-20-2011, 07:52 PM   #20
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Slick Roads

I've been over Poncha Pass several times. I lived in the mountains near Conifer, Co for 35 years. Had a friend who farmed in the San Luis Valley, went there to help him out on occasion. Here's a website you might be interested in. Colorado Web Cams You can see live shots of the road conditions in Colorado. It has Canon City itself but not Hwy 50 or Poncha Pass. Wolf Creek and Monarch Pass are a couple others.
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