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Old 02-10-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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Overlander Dinette

The last big project for the Overlander--get rid of that garrish organge goucho! After seeing what Uwe did for SteSpot's Ambassador, I decided the way to go is a dinette. I had previously put a small dinette in my Caravel, but had to be canted in order to get a bench long enough on one side for two people--basically it is a 3-person dinetter. I wanted more in the Overlander--plenty of room for 4, plus the ability for two to comfortably sit side saddle and watch the flat screen on the side of the fridge.

The Caravel bench is great, very comfortable, and has two drawers that are accessible as you stand outside at the door. It's big drawback is that it has a wine rack toward the front of the trailer and is accessible from under the front of the seat, which practically demands you get on your hands and knees to get any thing out. Also, the Caravel seat slopes about 3 degrees and I'm thinking I want a tad more.

So the Overlander benches are designed so that the back flips forward, the seat flips up, and the armrest rotates onto the seat--all three storage areas are accessible from the top.

The seat is 48" long and 18-1/2" wide, with a slope of 4.5 degrees, front to back (that's 1-1/2" in 21"). The back is 15-1/2" high, above the 3" seat cushion, and slopes back 14 degrees. With these general dimensions in hand, I put together the supporting box with the right slope. The backbone of the box is solid maple and all three moving parts hinge to it, so it has to be stiff. The end panels establish the slope of the seat.

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Two rectangles of 1/2" birch plywood complete the supporting box. The seat and back panels are edged with maple to protect the plywood and hide the plywood edges. Putting the edges on takes a boatload of clamps. Only three sides are edged with maple--the hinged edge is not edged.

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So far the construction is totally rectalinear. That got to be fit to the curved shell. I elected to construct the box so that individual small partitions could be used to make the fit, provide the offset from the shell for the storage spaces, and at the same time provide support for the back and armrest. Each one of these buggers required several trips back to the bandsaw to get them right. You can see that there is enough room behind the bench to store two folding chairs. This space would otherwise be wasted, since the back of the seat leans back. This requires about 4" of offset from the wall (at the forward end) so the forward corner of the seat back has room to lean back. This results in 9" of space at the door end of the bench.

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With the back panel just sitting in place, it's beginning to look like a bench seat. You can see where the two drawers are going to go. This is a great location for tools and stuff you might need outside, since it's handy without stepping into the trailer.

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More details to follow, as I get the other bench fitted and then figure out what the heck I'm going to do about a table.

Zep
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:32 PM   #2
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Looking good

I think you will like the dinette.....our bench extends past the table which gives us a place to sit that is like a couch......we wanted both a couch and dinette. We really like the dinette for eating and computer work....then I can turn sideways and put my feet up and lean back on a pillow we have against the front of the Airstream.... Uwe used a cushion behind the cushions for the back part.....we have windows that come down lower than the cushions so the shorter cushion keeps the back cushions from hitting the windows.....thanks for posting your progress. paula
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:38 PM   #3
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The drawer

I forgot to mention that slide out drawer under the seat by the door.....we love that drawer......we can put all kinds of things that we need to be able to reach while standing outside the trailer.....I thought I would put shoes in there but not---it works really well.....p
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:35 PM   #4
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Thanks, Paula. Still a lot of details to take care of, like the arm rests, which are going to be a PITA.

Anyway, more progress this afternoon. With both benches temporarily fitted to the shell, I've got 27-3/4" between the edges of the seats. Thirty would have been optimum--that would have allowed the back cushions to fit perfectly in the gap to make a bed.

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Old 02-10-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Not sure of the year of your Overlander

But I think it may be wider than our 68.....so that would affect the measurements.....think that is why we don't have room for chairs behind.....and we don't have built in back supports.....we just have the cushions.....we needed all of the width we could get. p
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:53 PM   #6
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Two Thumbs UP!

Great craftsmanship, Zep!
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
Thanks, Paula. Still a lot of details to take care of, like the arm rests, which are going to be a PITA.

Anyway, more progress this afternoon. With both benches temporarily fitted to the shell, I've got 27-3/4" between the edges of the seats. Thirty would have been optimum--that would have allowed the back cushions to fit perfectly in the gap to make a bed.

Attachment 95969 Attachment 95970

Zep
Why not go with foam 1" thicker than you planned to use, that would eliminate 1" from each verticle cushion and then your bed math would work out just fine. (Craftsmanship is awesome BTW Roger)
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteSpot View Post
But I think it may be wider than our 68.....so that would affect the measurements.....think that is why we don't have room for chairs behind.....and we don't have built in back supports.....we just have the cushions.....we needed all of the width we could get. p
Wow, I never thought of not having the back supports! Sheesh. But I do like the storage for folding chairs--they come in handy under the new awning.

My Overlander is 88-1/2" wide at the "C" channel. About 91" wide at 30" above the floor.

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by goransons View Post
Why not go with foam 1" thicker than you planned to use, that would eliminate 1" from each verticle cushion and then your bed math would work out just fine. (Craftsmanship is awesome BTW Roger)
Scott,

That's actually a really good idea. I'm a little bit concerned about the total height. At 14-1/2" the Caravel is totally comfortable. This bench is 1/2" higher. Doesn't seem like much, but if you're shorter than 5'-6" the 15" seat height (without cushion) might be too much. I'll have to put a cushion on it to find out.

The other solution is to slide the benches a few inches aft of where they are now. That would take the forward corners of the benches out of the corner of the shell, allowing them to move outboard. I hate to throw away those vertical panels (since they are soooo nicely fitted now), but maybe that's not a huge expense. I have room to move the benches aft about 3".

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:18 PM   #10
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I'm so glad you're doing this, Zep. I'm planning on a dinette for my 63 Overlander in the near future, and I love looking at your work, so it will be great to see your approach and solutions on this challenge.

I have the low front windows both curbside (jalousies) and streetside (double-height windows) so formed wooden backs won't be possible on mine. I'll have to do something similar to what Uwe did on his 63 Olander with only cushions for backrests. I'd love to be able to have some storage behind there and use it for my lawn chairs as you have demonstrated, but I'll just have to figure out something else.

However, I definitely plan on the same access panel on the curbside bench right by the door that you have put in there. It will be very convenient for stowing items without climbing in and out of the trailer.

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:19 PM   #11
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Thanks for posting your progress. Working on a similar project for our Tradewind.
I was going with a curbside drawer as well. Figured it would be a great place to store all the stuff you need for the initial set-up.
Did you cancel the lower non-opening side windows? I found they put a crimp in the overall design possibilities. I had to opt for a narrow shelf with the backrest cushion extending past the top.
Please keep us posted on your progress.

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
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Tom,

You'll see that I'm sort of anti-window. I only want them for the breeze. If I want to look outside, I tend to go outside.

Removing wing windows: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...tml#post763274

Removing Vista Views: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ews-32184.html

Removing lower windows: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...gin-34135.html

Some of these threads show the work that was done on the Sovereign, but I did the same to the Overlander. I tend to spend time in hot locations and the small upper and lower windows just let in the heat, as far as I'm concerned. And the lower ones get in the way of new furniture!

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Old 02-13-2010, 07:08 AM   #13
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Nice work. I plan to follow your lead on my '75 International. Keep us posted. TCM
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:33 PM   #14
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Unbelievably, I missed this thread altogether. Thanks to Utee I found it. As usual, Zep, your work is fabulous. Keep us up to date.

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Old 02-24-2010, 08:50 PM   #15
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Dinette Update

Well, life being the way it is, things get interrupted. But I'm back on the task and I would guess I'm within four days or so of finishing the benches.

Now that the supports, seats, and backs are varnished, I'm fitting the "standoffs" and the shelf behind the backs to the shell. Note that the standoffs are attached the bench bottoms with three screws. There are three standoffs for each bench--two against the side walls of the shell and one against the forward wall. The two against the side walls establish the lean back angle (14 degrees) and the third standoff provides spacing to the front wall and supports the arm rest.

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I've decided to install the benches in with their faces parallel--the seat edges are 28" apart. (This is good because the minimum dining table width is about 27-28".) The other choice was to angle them so that the open end of the dinette was slightly wider than the end up against the shell. The table would have to be tapered in the opposite manner so that it would fit as part of the bed. This would have provided a small amount of table overhang above the seats at the shell end, and negative overhang at the other end. This would have made entry and exit easier and could have accomodated the larger people at the open end (we're not talking "large" people here, just guys versus dolls).

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The next step is fitting all the other pieces that provide the final bench-to-shell fit. Here I'm trimming the shelves behind the backs to conform to the shell. These shelves are the landing zones for every piece of junk you happen to have in your hands when you come inside! The front edges of the shelves are trimmed with a 14 degree edge, so they provide a very fitted and firm support for the back of the bench.

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The one thing you can't see in the photos is that the benches are attached to the floor with "screw blocks" along their bottom edge. Likewise, the standoffs and the shelf. More photos later.

I can't wait to get started on the arm rests. They are going to be a real treat, since they fold, are sloped outwards at 14 degrees, just like the backs, and they slope fore to aft at 4.5 degrees to match the seat. Urk.

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Old 02-25-2010, 01:26 PM   #16
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I see that the benches are sloped for optimun seating comfort, but do you ever plan on using the dinette for a fold down bed, or am i missing something that levels the benches for a more coplaner bed deck.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #17
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I see that the benches are sloped for optimun seating comfort, ...
They are sloped 1.5" across the seat. I figure that a slope at the foot end won't matter much and a nice pillow at the other end will pretty much take care of that slope. Hey, I'm not the one sleeping on it. It'll be better than a tent!

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:23 PM   #18
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Great work as usual Zep. You've given me several ideas I can bring to Little Girl once I get to that stage.

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Old 02-25-2010, 04:47 PM   #19
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So, it looks like you split the door side seat into 2 halves, but not the streetside? Or is that an illusion?

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Old 02-25-2010, 04:51 PM   #20
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So, it looks like you split the door side seat into 2 halves, but not the streetside...
The door side has two drawers next to the door. The other half is configured for 16 bottles of wine and 4 of the hard stuff. The bottles stand up and are easy to get to from the top. I previously did a bench like this in my Caravel, but you had to get to the wine rack from the front of the bench, which involves getting down on your hands and knees. Lesson learned. Besides, the wine isn't in there long enough for it to matter...

The other side is a full storage area, 45-1/2" long inside. The whole seat lifts up.

Both arm rests also swing so you can stuff pillows, etc., in there.

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