Building cabinets

Building the cabinets took the majority of the time. I had made some quick drawings of the design I had in mind: A fixed cabinet as kitchen, 2 closets (left, below the sink) and right, below the stove. In between I wanted to have 3 big drawers. Also, I wanted to have a fairly decent sized countertop, not the usual very small campervan ones. Also, I didn’t like the looks of the commercial available stove/sinks. I preferred a more modern, more house-style look.
For the sink, I took an small sink from Ikea, the Boholmen sink, https://www.ikea.com/nl/nl/p/boholmen-inbouwspoelbak-1-bak-roestvrij-staal-s99157501/
This sink is designed to be mounted in the countertop, but I am going to install it below it.
This will give the sink about 3cm more depth (since it’s below the wood), and allows me to use the leftover piece as a plate to cover the sink when not in use. (Thus providing more space).

For the stove, I found a nice, but affordable stove at Klarstein ( https://www.klarstein.nl/Grote-Huishoudelijke-Apparaten/Kookplaten/Ignito-Domino-gasfornuis-2-pitten-Sabaf-brander-glaskeramiek-zwart-Zwart-2-branders.html )
This was a 2-burner stove, with black glass cover, so very nice looking.
Originally it was for use with natural gas, but I’ve changed the jets to match the van’s gas (Propane)

Above the kitchen, I wanted to have some storage space, with integraded LED light stip in the bottom.
On the other side, next to the sliding door, I wanted a cabinet with 2 drawers, the bottom one will hold my refrigerator. I decided to go for a fairly small cooling box since this was much more affordable. I have bought the Mobicool FR40, a 40 litre refrigerator box. Compressor based (I didn’t want to go with absorbtion due to the high amount of power required, and I didn’t want to run it on propane). The countertop on this cabinet will be equally in heigh with the main countertop, providing even more space.
Between the bed and the cabinets, I wanted to have a seating area, so 2 people can easily sit across eachother. In night mode, the bed will slide out, using these 2 seats as support.
Just below the bed, a retractable tabletop is installed.

Also, there will be more storage above this whole part of the van. I didn’t want to extend the cabinets from the kitchen all the way to the back, since leaving it open gives more ‘feeling of space’, and I won’t bang my head against the overhead cupboards 😉

All cabinets are made of small (22mm x 32mm) pine battens. Using a pneumatic stapler and wood glue I have build the structural frame. All panels are made of 9mm plywood, the doors and front panels of the drawers are made of 15mm thick plywood.

For all panels, I didn’t go for the mostly used birch plywood. My local woodshop (I don’t buy wood at the DIY stores – Way overpriced and crappy quality) advised me to use Tipoply (some brand name), based on poplar plywood.
I looked for its specs, and its weight is almost identical to birch plywood, but it was a lot cheaper (I payed about 19 euro for a 9mm 244 x 122cm piece)

The doors on the upper cabinets are build of 15mm plywood, the center is cut out with a jigsaw, edges are rounded with a router. On the back, I’ve added about 5mm additional space with a router in order to fit a 12mm panel in. I used the router to remove this 12mm, creating a 3mm thick outer ring to glue the 12mm panel on, to give the ‘recessed’ front look.
All front panels (both cupboards and main cabinets) are made from 1 single piece of wood, carefully creating all holes and cuts.
On the main cabinet (the kitchen), I’ve added a 8cm tow kick.

Once the frame was stapled and glued, I covered the small holes created by the staple gun, sanded, primed, and painted (multiple layers of paint to give it a decent look). This took quite some time!

I also builded all the drawers, painted them and installed the sliding rails (with softclose).

For the countertop, I took a big beech wood panel from a local DIY store. Unlike most of the other plywood, this was a quite heavy piece of wood, but since my van is capable of a total weigth of 3500kg, and I did like the looks of this, I just took this panel.
From this I have cut 3 pieces: The countertop, the top of the smaller cabinet and the sliding table. So it will all look identical.
I’ve painted it with a rather dark vanish, Rambo Pantserlak Puur Palissander, Used 3 layers to give it a dark wood tint, while retaining the original wood structure. Between layers, everything was sanded to give it a nice smooth finish.

The handles are from AliExpress. The hinges for the doors are from Ikea, ( Komplement, soft-close, 4 pieces for 14 euro). The hinges for the upper cabinets are from DGN in Italy (I ordered them directly at the factory). Those are nice solid hinges, which don’t need additional support to keep the doors open, and the opening angle can be adjusted). And they were cheap, about 3.5 eur/piece. I saw those hinges at the CaravanSalon last year, so I knew I wanted those (DGN 2960)

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