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Old 02-26-2009, 10:09 PM   #1
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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What style of cabinet doors?

I am about to start building cabinets this weekend, and I still am a bit undecided on the cabinet door style that I am going to go with.

I am thinking about going with a flush inset style. Most photos I have seen of folk's renovations are full or partial overlay cabinets.

Are there any reasons why I should go with overlay? Can anyone that has gone with flush inset chime in with lessons learned/ concerns?

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Old 02-26-2009, 11:47 PM   #2
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The main thing to watch out for is weight - especially in smaller, single axle trailers. Airstream cabinets were typically much lighter-weight construction than flush/inset cabinet doors/drawers. In mid-60's vintage they were 1/4-3/16" ply w/o solid stiles which add additional weight. They also weren't traditional "box construction" just minimal ledgers & supports - again to keep the weight down.

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Old 02-27-2009, 12:01 AM   #3
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I haven't gone thru this yet but getting ready to myself. The one thing about a flush face is how the trailer twists. I know it seems level on both axes but I wonder if the slight twisting of the frame would cause a problem. That's what I'm thinking at least. If you decide to go flush let us know how it works out in "the real world" of camping.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:11 AM   #4
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In my professional life I work in a cabinetshop. Not as a builder anymore, but in layout, design and sales. I started out building and installing though, so I have some experience with cabinets, and I can do all phases of cabinet work from start to finish. After seeing the cabinets in my Safari, though I was just floored at how they were made! They had no backs at all, and the uppers had no backs and no tops. There was hardly any plywood thicker than 1/4". Only on a few large doors did they go to a thick plywood. The weight savings is amazing. We build individual cabinets that weigh more than all of the ones from my trailer, combined.
The only door style that isn't flat that would be that light is a "shaker" style door, or some variation of it, with a thin plywood panel, and a solid frame. For more variation you could also try a mitered frame instead of butted corners. all of these door styles can be made thin, 1/2" or 5/8" for "added lightness".
Weather you have flush-inset doors or overlay won't make much difference. If you are really bothered by seeing things that don't line up perfectly you will be happier with overlay doors, and happier still if you leave a little space between the doors and whatever is next to them. Flush-inset doors must hang flat in a opening that is in a flat plane also for them to look perfect, and with the extremely light construction and the amount of bouncing, and the temperature extremes in a typical trailer they will probably look a little different every time you open the door. I personally like the look of flush-inset doors more than overlay, and the variety of hinges available is much better also. I still am undecided about which way I will go with this, but I'm leaning toward insetting the doors in a beaded opening. The beading makes additional shadow lines around the doors and disguises any unevenness between the door and the frame. It has the advantage of looking really nice too.
The really critical part is to keep it light as possible, and to make it something you will really enjoy. Also, find your cabinet latches early-on in the process. You may need to engineer them into your construction depending on what you like and what you can accept.
If anyone has any questions about cabinetry construction it is what I do everyday. I would be glad to help anyway I can.
Good luck, Rich
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:05 AM   #5
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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Guys, this is some great info. I really appreciate the responses. I too am concerned about flexing and just over time the openings going out of square, so a flush inset may be a concern. They do look sharp though, so this decision has been really tough. I thought about leaving a little more gap than normal around the doors to allow for some movement, like 1/8" to 3/32".

I am going to review it with my buddy who experienced with cabinets. Thanks again guys, and if anyone reading has done flush, please provide some comments.

Best regards.
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