Last-minute cabinet

It’s Sunday night and our prep time has run out …

We’ve had a great week with our courtesy parkers Kyle & Mary & Kathryn.  Now we are entering the second planned phase of our time together.  Kyle & Mary hitched up the 34-footer and left early this morning for Anza-Borrego, and we are due to follow them on Monday.

They left behind a souvenir: daughter Kathryn.  She and Emma are virtually inseparable so we opted to keep Kathryn here for an overnight and let the two girls travel together in our car tomorrow.  Having two of them hasn’t been much harder than having one, probably because they are keeping each other entertained, and so Eleanor and I have had time today to get serious about prepping the Airstream for travel.

My projects aren’t done but the trailer is good enough.  Kyle pitched in this week to help with building the new furniture, which was the last major project. By Wednesday I could see I wasn’t going to have time to complete it, but with Kyle’s help we at least had the first unit of three installed by Saturday.  This first piece includes the laundry bin and shoe cubby.

It took a while because we were working with salvaged pieces of lightweight plywood from the previous cabinet.  This stuff is great, much lighter than ordinary plywood, and already laminated with the correct wood grain pattern that matches the rest of the trailer, so it was too good to just toss out.  The black melamine plywood I had purchased earlier was too prone to chipping at the edges when cut, and even the black melamine edge banding was chipping when trimmed.  It was never going to look good, so I abandoned the melamine plywood and came up with a scheme to use the lightweight Airstream plywood with solid aluminum strips as edge banding.  A two-part epoxy turned out to be the best adhesive.

Aluminum trimmed edges

Each piece had to be inspected, oriented so that prior holes and damage would be hidden, cut to size and length, then glued up with aluminum strips.  Then we sanded the aluminum clean of blotches and sprayed clearcoat on it.  The results were great but it took too long for a project that I had intended to complete before we hit the road.

I kept the fold-out credenza as the centerpiece of the new furniture, and built around it.  The salvaged strips became facia, trim, and legs.  I used the black melamine plywood for interior shelves, since the chipped edges don’t show once everything is trimmed out.

Temporary installWhat you see in the picture is only about 1/3 of the final piece.  To the right (rearward trailer-wise) of the laundry cabinet/credenza we’ll have a microwave cabinet, and further right we’ll have a recycling bin, plus some misc other storage.  I’ll have to finish it later in April when we get back.

The picture shows a temporary top made out of a scrap of MDF and quickly sprayed with polyurethane.  The actual permanent countertop will be continuous all the way down the length of the trailer to the bulkhead you see in the background.  This will be about six feet by 18 inches.  We haven’t decided what we’re going to make it from, but I’ve got a few ideas.

The balance of the weekend has been spent re-packing the Airstream.  It’s 7 p.m. and we’re still not quite done packing but it will be done tonight with a few last-minute things to be done in the morning.  The next two weeks or so will be on the road, so I’ll try to blog at least every other day as we go.