Converting dinette into a "U" with more accessible storage. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2008, 02:22 AM   #15
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And today's progress -- Almost Done!

First, here's how I make a cardboard template and cut the wood for parts that are adjacent to walls that aren't too curvy. (No inside corners, for example.)


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Use a big piece of scrap cardboard. (This one is already marked . . . hey, I bought a new grill for the trailer!)


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Hold a marker to one edge of a wood block and guide the other edge of the block snugly along the wall you wish to match your cutout to.


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Cut along the line and test to make sure your template is the right shape.


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Use a sabersaw to cut the curvy edges.


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And a circular saw to cut the straight lines. (This cordless is part of a $120 Black and Decker "Firestorm" system that has one "motor" unit that attaches to several different heads, including this circular saw, a (anemic) router, saber saw, sander, and drill). I like this saw for cutting panels because it's small, slow, and maneuverable, which makes it much easier to follow a cut line without drifting.)
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:38 AM   #16
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This is the support for the back side of the back bench, made from furring strips that are glued and screwed together. You need a back support because there is no "curb" support where the table used to be. The bottom end of the legs are tapered somewhat to fit the tight space behind the tank. There are also furring strips glued with urethane glue to the front edges of the bench, and another furring strip glued along the top edge of the front cover for the tank.


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Assembled they look like this.


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The back support is glued toward the back underside of the bench. Be careful to align the spot where you glue it with the position it'll be in when snug to the tank. This isn't flush with the back!


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It all comes together like this.


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The seat back will be 1/4" plywood with upholstery covering. Here I'm marking a radius on an upper corner.


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Two pieces of plywood are glued and screwed to furring strip supports that give a slight angle to the back.









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Old 06-30-2008, 02:48 AM   #17
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The top support is slightly different: it was cut with a bow in it to match the back of the trailer between the window and where the table was. The rest of the supports that hold the plywood in place are straight.


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Two of these, one attached to the trailer wall with the "L" facing up and one in the middle of the seatback facing down hold the seat more or less in place.


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The little block of wood under the "L" rail on the wall slides just over the furring strip at the bottom of the seat back, preventing it from bouncing up and off the "L" rail.



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Old 06-30-2008, 03:00 AM   #18
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The plywood seat back supported on its "L" rail.


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I glued 1/2 thick high-density foam to the back using 3M Super 77 adhesive, then trimmed the excess.


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Then the thickest batting I could find at JoAnn Fabrics was glued on, leaving 2" of overlap past the edges.


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The fabric was stretched tight and stapled in place, starting from the center of one of the long sides and working out, then the other long side from the center out, then each of the short sides, center out. Lots of staples, each hammered a second time to make sure they stay.


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Lynne has been busy making cushions. My sweetie is a wonderful woman.

The corner pillows are a "work in progress," and I have some things to do, like adding trim to the front edge of the back and side benches, replacing the Scamp reading lights with the new LED reading lights I'm making, and I have to make a table, but that's next weekend . . .
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:57 PM   #19
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Made & installed a table today. It's a simple piece of MDF, cut to shape with Lowes in-stock laminate and a white iron-on Melamine tape edge. Same basic shape as the standard Scamp table, but just 24" x 30" in size.


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Old 07-10-2008, 09:25 AM   #20
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It'll be interesting to see how the iron-on tape holds up. When I built tables for my sister's and her friend's trailers, I used aluminum L-shaped edging attached with screws--mostly for durability.

I love Formica (or generic equivalent) for a table surface--easy to install, rugged, easy to clean, not prone to water damage.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:01 AM   #21
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Quote:
It'll be interesting to see how the iron-on tape holds up. When I built tables for my sister's and her friend's trailers, I used aluminum L-shaped edging attached with screws--mostly for durability.

I love Formica (or generic equivalent) for a table surface--easy to install, rugged, easy to clean, not prone to water damage.
The main liability with the edge tape is it's easy to catch the end of the tape on a trouser seam or other bit of clothing as people slide into and out of the dinette. If, on the other hand, your table has gentle rounded curves and not angled corners you can wrap the tape all the way around the edge to a single seam at the back where it won't experience as much wear-and-tear, then iron-on tape can last for years. Occasionally a top or bottom edge may get pulled up, but you can generally fix that by setting a standard clothes iron to its highest setting and pressing the stuff back into place.

When the edge tape finally does give out you can remove it with a hot iron iron and a pair of needle-nose pliers; just start at the seam at the back and use the iron to melt the tape's hot-melt adhesive so you can pull it up with the pliers, then work your way around the table. Once the old tape is removed you can iron on a whole new tape, carefully trim the overlap above and below the table off with a razor edge, and the table edge really is as good as new.
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:10 AM   #22
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Replaced one of the two dinette reading lights with LED reading lights I made.


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The lights are converted Home Depot track lights I bought on clearance that have been stripped of their "track" connectors and had their 110v AC lamp sockets replaced with pin-base sockets designed for MR11/MR16 12v track lights. The socket design allows me to easily upgrade the LED light if a better, brighter 2w LD light comes along. The 6-LED "Warm White" 12v MR11 wide-angle spot I installed here is from LEDWholesalers.com. The push-button on/off switch to one side of the light came from Lowes.


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The wiring is pretty straight forward except I soldered a 12v regulator from Radio Shack into the circuit between the switch and the light. The regulator protects the LED bulb from getting cooked if the voltage the converter supplies to the 12 volt system peaks over 14V.


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Much prettier than the reading light the Scamp came with.

I would have gotten the other side of the dinette wired up this evening, but I broke one of the "legs" off the regulator while I was soldering it into the circuit, so I have to buy another regulator tomorrow, remove the old one, and solder the new one in place.


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Old 07-13-2008, 04:59 PM   #23
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Both reading lights are installed now . . . now our entire 12v lighting system runs on LEDs, so I can turn every light the trailer on and still use less energy than just two of the old 12v incandescent light bulbs the trailer came with. Better yet, the new lighting does a better job of lighting the trailer up than the old incandescent lights did, and the new LEDs don't have that annoying blue color. (Something cold cathode fluorescents and older LED lights tended to have.) That should make boondocking with our one roof-mounted solar panel a lot easier.

There are only a few things left to do on this project, and most of them will have to wait for me to get to other projects before I can do them. The major one is the gaps between the dinette benches, the kitchenette cabinets and the white panel covering the water tank at the back of the dinette which need to be filled/caulked and a caulk line run along the floor line, but that needs to wait until I put the exterior hatch doors under the bench seats so we can access the storage areas from outside. Hopefully that'll get done before we go out for two weeks with the trailer later this summer. Another annoyance is the fresh water tank outlet started leaking, so I'm going to have to pull the tank and figure out how to plastic-weld a new fitting in, and that has to be fixed before our trip.



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So this is what the new "U" dinette is gonna look like for a while. I'm really happy with it.

One last thing to show you. When I cut the MDF for the table top I had two big triangular pieces of scrap. Rather than throw them away I glued them to a bit of scrap plywood that fit between my two dinette benches and made an insert that fills the gap when the table top has been dropped to convert the dinette into a bed. I just drop in the insert then turn the table around so the "front" edge of the table points "back" and I get a nice solid sleeping deck.


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Old 07-13-2008, 05:37 PM   #24
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Great work Peter — as usual. But I'm interested in the access panels. Are they metal or fibreglass or poly? Hinged or just pullout? If hinged, up or down? I have been looking at some hatch covers at West marine suitable for fibreglass application, but have been a little gunshy about actually putting holes in the exterior of the Burro. What tools do you plan to use, and how will you secure the panels to the Scamp?
By the way, if you make house calls and you're interested in a working holiday on one of the lovely Canadian Gulf Islands just a short ferry ride to Victoria or Vancouver, I think we could work something out (LOL)
cheers
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:26 PM   #25
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Great work Peter — as usual. But I'm interested in the access panels . . .
Thanks for the compliment! And, as for the questions:

>Are they metal or fibreglass or poly? Hinged or just pullout?

I bought two T H Marine locking access Hatches, one 13x24" hatch for the curbside, another 13X17 streetside hatch. (The smaller streetside hatch to allow room for the electric and water hookups.) West Marine sells them, but I found them for 2/3 the price from an eBay retailer, A Bass Boat Store, and they were very easy to deal with.

These are the same hinged poly units that Camper Bob installed successfully in his Scamp 5th wheel; as for how I install them, I'll figure that out over the next month and a half after Bandon, and will post another topic showing how I do it.

>If hinged, up or down?


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Actually kinda horizontal just now. Later on they'll be installed with the hinge horizontal, running just below the "curb" the back of the dinette bench rests on.

Quote:
By the way, if you make house calls and you're interested in a working holiday on one of the lovely Canadian Gulf Islands just a short ferry ride to Victoria or Vancouver, I think we could work something out (LOL)
Dunno about this "working holiday" idea. Isn't that something like "honest politician?"
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:44 PM   #26
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Peter-
You have some of the greatest ideas!!! Thanks for being so generous with your posts! I can't tell from the photos, but did you get the locking hatches? If so, do they have universal keys like all the RV compartments in the world, or are they individually keyed?
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:57 AM   #27
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. . . did you get the locking hatches . . . do they have universal keys like all the RV compartments in the world . . . ?
Yes, locking hatches with universal keys. I'll take them and my door lock to a locksmith and have him re-key everything to the same key. It'll cost me, but the added convenience and security is quite worth the cost.
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:42 PM   #28
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Peter-

I'm following your lead and purchased two of the locking marine hatches. I can't wait for them to arrive! The Bass Boat Store eventually answered my inquiry about the keys and said that the manufacturer makes the locking hatches with four different locks. The store believes that all of the hatches they stock are keyed the same. I'm bewildered by how the boat and RV industries do so little in the way of security measures.

I'll look forward to seeing how you install these. I sure will enjoy having easy access to my portable BBQ, other outdoor kitchen equipment, hoses, etc. especially since I'm reorienting the beds, which will make access from inside the trailer a bit more challenging. My only concern is since I will install these hatches about 12" below the windows I wonder if this will weaken the structural support of these thin walls? I'm guessing I'll need to build a wood frame on the interior side and this will help shore up the support of the walls. Any thoughts on this subject?


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