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Old 03-24-2017, 05:42 PM   #1
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Replacing Dinette Curved Cushion with a Small Cabinet

This little project certainly proves that I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but here's what I've been working on and have just about completed.

Background: (1) We will never, ever make the dinette in our 2014 23D into a bed. The next owner (!) may, but we never will. (2) The 'entry door side' of the dinette is wife Linda's side and she is constantly fighting with the back cushion as it tends to scoot around despite being 'snapped' to the side wall. (3) She finds the 'straight up' angle of the cushion uncomfortable.

So, after thinking about this for seven or eight microseconds, I came up with a bright(?) idea: why not remove the curved, upholstered foam, part of the cushion set and replace it with a small cabinet?

Why not indeed?

So, I built the little cabinet in the photos from 1/4" Baltic birch (panels) and 3/4" Baltic birch (ribs, or 'formers'). The entire gizmo is laminated with Wilsonart 'Asian Sand' laminate (matching the Airstream factory cabinets).

I made it with a 7-degree slant to the back, so that the cushion will be angled like typical chairs. The cushion will Velcro to the cabinet panel.

The cabinet will be fastened to the side wall with two 1.5" aluminum angles mounted vertically. The cabinet will not touch the seat bottom cushion, but will 'float' above the seat bottom (the entire weight being held by the side wall). This thing, all completed will weight about 11 pounds. The original [problematic] cushion weighs around 8 pounds as I recall.

Anyway, this has been a challenging project... the various angles nearly drove me nuts. But it's world-class sturdy, and it's little end opening door will allow for something (and we have no idea what) to be stored inside, just at the entry door... might prove handy.

The best part is that it did pass Linda's "sit test" with flying colors. In the photo, the seat back cushion is still 'straight up' because it's not vet Velcro'ed to the cabinet.

Of course, we'll keep the original curved cushion safe just in case he next owner wants to put it back to original. The eight rivet/screw holes (two rows or four fasteners in each row) can be easily filled with pop rivets, and would be hidden behind the cushion anyway.

Thanks for looking at my craziness!

Rob
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:04 PM   #2
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Glad you are putting your talents and wood shop to work. What a neat upgrade. Good job.

Why don't you try to make it up to Branson, MO for the Air Midwest rally on April 13.

Kelvin
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:59 PM   #3
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I'll take two. Can you give me a price on shipping?
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:59 PM   #4
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Rob, I love reading about your upgrades, you are talented. Do you know if you can match any kind of laminate that comes in an airstream?
Nice work!
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:25 AM   #5
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Rob, I love reading about your upgrades, you are talented. Do you know if you can match any kind of laminate that comes in an airstream?
Nice work!
Good morning, 'Trout !

I really don't know for sure, but I suspect that all of their more recent laminates are Wilsonart products. Perhaps a call to Airstream might get a "list" of the various laminate patterns. From this great Forum, I learned that Wilsonart's Asian Sand is the pattern used in the International Serenity trailers and I bought it through Lowe's (special order, no shipping charges, picked up at our local store). The Wilsonart stuff I bought does not have the super high gloss of that in our trailer. As I understand it, the Airstream installed laminate has been 'painted' with an automotive type clear coat. I discovered that a few coats of Krylon's non-yellowing clear gloss approximates Airstream's factory finish pretty well. Even so, I think that I will not clear coat this latest 'mod' ... the finish is perfectly acceptable "as is."

By the way, thanks for your kind compliments... I love fiddling with this stuff.

So, you a dry fly man?

Have a great weekend.

Rob
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And some stuff

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"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:21 AM   #6
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Thanks Rob, I will contact AS, they have been great with requests like this.

Yes, love dry flies, but the bigger fish like the nymphs here in Colorado! Was out with my 12 year old daughter last weekend and she caught 6 on streamers (leach pattern). I did pretty well myself
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Old 03-25-2017, 04:13 PM   #7
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Golly, love your idea. We short legged folks need these. Great place for books, the office stuff we ladies usually take along, pads, pencils, great place to put extra maps, on and on. Brilliant. Our Classic does not have the dinette or I would surely copy you.

And to K.J. Ritchie. What is a contact for the Branson, MO rally? Love that area.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:30 AM   #8
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Looks awesome. Great job looks like it originally came that way. I agree with your wife those bloster cushions drive you nuts never staying put.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:35 AM   #9
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Kelvin, how do I get information on the rally in April at Branson. We are new to air streaming and have never been to a rally.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:40 AM   #10
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Rob...Wow! Great idea and nice work!! I could use you in our cabinet shop. Your woodworking skills are only matched by professionals.

Thanks for sharing...always enjoy your talented vision for upgrades!
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetmaker View Post
Rob...Wow! Great idea and nice work!! I could use you in our cabinet shop. Your woodworking skills are only matched by professionals.
(snip)
Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
Glad you are putting your talents and wood shop to work. (snip)

Kelvin
So, I wonder if you might give me a sanity check on the method that I am planning on using to fasten this thingamajig to the sidewall.

Remember, it does not rest on the bottom seat cushion.

I am planning on installing two aluminum angles (1.25" X 1.25" X 0625) vertically on the side wall. I'm thinking these two angles will be fastened to the sidewall aluminum with #8 sheet metal screws (rear angle) and 3/16" pop-rivets (front angle). The reason I'm thinking of using screws on one and pop-rivets on the other is this: The sidewall nearest the entry door has 'double thickness' of aluminum (I can't tell if it's a rib or panel overlap)... good place for screws; the other angle will install over single-thickness aluminum... good place for 3/16" pop-rivets.

I'm certainly not a structural engineer, so I don't know how much of the load of the screws/pop-rivets is shear and how much is tension; but with four fasteners per angle into the sidewall, they should support the weight of the total assembly OK (11 pounds or so).

I hope this makes sense, please ask if this isn't clear.

So, what do you think of this scheme?

Thanks for your consideration.

Rob
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2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:37 PM   #12
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Have you considered a French clear that you just stick on? No holes and would probably hold as well since plenty of surface area.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:55 PM   #13
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Rob, not having attached anything to be suspended in a Airstream like this I am not sure...but just looking it does appear your attachment idea will work.

Can you also run a horizontal piece of angle aluminum along the bottom edge against the wall to rest the cabinet on? It shouldn't show with the cushion in place. Might give you more lateral support.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #14
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Have you considered a French clear that you just stick on? No holes and would probably hold as well since plenty of surface area.
Actually, I did think about a French cleat at the very beginning, but the compound curves would made it terribly difficult to get everything to line up. Thanks for the suggestion
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And some stuff

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"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:19 PM   #15
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Rob, not having attached anything to be suspended in a Airstream like this I am not sure...but just looking it does appear your attachment idea will work.

Can you also run a horizontal piece of angle aluminum along the bottom edge against the wall to rest the cabinet on? It shouldn't show with the cushion in place. Might give you more lateral support.
Certainly something to think about, thanks. Of course, an aluminum angle would have to be notched so that it would conform to the sidewall curve. I'm not at all concerned about the ability of the two-angle-eight-fastener system to hold it to the wall. I guess my only concern would be about the dynamic forces placed on the screws & pop-rivets when 'on the road.' Also, any possibility of sidewall aluminum fatigue (realizing that this is a really, really remote possibility). Thanks for thinking about this with me.
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2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:48 PM   #16
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Actually, I did think about a French cleat at the very beginning, but the compound curves would made it terribly difficult to get everything to line up. Thanks for the suggestion
Yeah... it does look like a bear. I was thinking about whether it would be possible to either square up the mating pieces--or use a flexible-only-in-the-right-axis cleat material that I could use to wrap around the curve.

Ever since I first saw my trailer I've been thinking of doing what you did.... except I had thought about covering them in plastic and using them just for pillow and blanket storage so they'd stay soft and light...
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Old 03-28-2017, 10:06 AM   #17
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Rob, not having attached anything to be suspended in a Airstream like this I am not sure...but just looking it does appear your attachment idea will work.

Can you also run a horizontal piece of angle aluminum along the bottom edge against the wall to rest the cabinet on? It shouldn't show with the cushion in place. Might give you more lateral support.
Good morning, CM. I've spent more time on this perplexity than it probably deserves; but, being an advocate of profound overkill, what else could I do

The more I think about your 'angle aluminum' suggestion, the more it appeals to me. I've looked very carefully - and critically - at how all these panels (aluminum and wood) fit together and think that I could add the angle as you suggested either by 'notching' or by using shorter strips... leaning toward notching. Perhaps even two angles: one supporting the bottom of the 'cabinet,' and the other supporting the top panel of the cabinet... make sense? The Airstream's aluminum sidewall in this area should be super-strong, due to it's material and the strength-increasing curvature.

Then, If I also use my vertical angles and Trifold pop rivets (see below), the thing should be bombproof.

Trifold rivets here: http://rivetsonline.com/rivets-en/bl...nd-rivets.html

If you look toward the bottom of the spec sheet, you will notice that these things have huge shear and tensile strength.

I may actually get this done after all!

Your thoughts, please

Thanks,

Rob
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2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:22 AM   #18
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being an advocate of profound overkill, what else could I do
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." -- Mick Jagger.
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