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UK Kitchen build
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: UK Kitchen build Reply with quote

There has been a number of threads here recently about kitchen units for our vans. So, not to be left out I thought I would post about what I have just finished building. Whilst much of the interest in the US seems to be based on compact units that can be lifted out at the campsite, most vans in the UK tend to have fully fitted units intended for use in the vehicle. Is this a reflection on the weather conditions we each face?

When I had my first syncro camper more than 20 years ago I fitted a full Reimo roof and interior. This had a kitchen box which included a twin hob & grill plus a built in fridge (cupboard with door type). It also had twin under-floor tanks for clean and waste water. This is their very similar current offering.

This time around the whole conversion is much simpler. I have a full-width 'multivan' rock & roll rear seat mounted forward of the normal position to give me a long bed (I'm 6'5" tall). My kitchen box design still needed to have a double burner & grill style hob and a small sink with pumped water supply but I decided to do without the under-floor tanks and use 10 litre bottles in the cupboard instead. I also decided against the old 3-way, absorption type fridges (which require external vents) and went for a Waeco CDF25 compressor fridge instead. These both eliminate holes cut through the wall or floor of the bodyshell.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what materials to use to build the unit. First thought was the standard laminate faced lightweight (poplar) ply. However, since I wanted to continue the orange highlights theme we have running in the van I was stumped for getting board in anything like the right colour.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I came across this 80-90 forum thread (http://forum.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=111464&hilit=orange+kitchen) and rather liked the look which mimics the German Terracamper units. As BJ who built that one had had problems with his orange plastic sheet distorting in hot sunshine I continued my search for a suitable material. After considering all sorts of difficult to get ideas I finally decided on easily available furniture ply. This is not the lightweight poplar ply but I worked out that with many of the panels being only 6mm thick instead of 15mm and with the biggest piece (the worktop) being mainly holes for the sink and hob the weight difference would not be too great.

My final design worked out as:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The frame is built up from 25mm/1 inch aluminium tube with a flange along one face. I sourced it from http://www.richardsonsuk.co.uk/25mm-square-tube-system/p47. The flange allows for the infill panels to be either 6mm or 15mm thick and be flush on the outside.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The overall dimensions were decided by the surroundings. Length (780mm) is a tight fit between the rear seat squab when down as a bed and the driver's seat belt reel. Depth (500mm) is dictated by the length of the Waeco fridge and even then it projects out the back. There is currently no trim panel behind the unit, only two layers of foam insulation Reimo x trem isolator. The centre upright is positioned to allow clearance for the fridge between it and the 'B' post of the body shell. Hence the grille box extends slightly beyond the centre upright into the under-sink space. In order to maximise the usable storage space, I decided to install full extension drawers with the boxes made from thin steel sheet. Much better than trying to reach into the back of a deep cupboard. The drawer runners are soft close/ self close units which hold themselves shut. The theory is that they will stay shut whilst driving but that is yet to be fully tested.

Building the unit
Careful planning allowed me to get the maximum use out of each 3m length of tube. In fact, it worked so well that on many of them I had less than an inch of waste. I cut the tube using a chop-saw to be certain that the ends were square in both directions. The joint pieces are a plastic moulding containing a steel core and just knock into the ends of the tubes. You do have to build it by layers though - bottom frame ring, set of upright tubes, centre frame ring, next level of uprights then the next frame ring. Any other sequence is likely to end up with trying to fit a tube onto both end joints at the same time with no movement available to separate them!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Once I had it built and picked it up to move it or try it in the vehicle it became clear that the friction between the joints and the tubes would not be sufficient to keep it properly together. I have overcome this by inserting self tapping screws through the hidden inside wall of the tubes into the joints.

Knowing my limitations in precise metal fabrication I got the two drawer boxes, the grille box and the fridge drawer frame made up for me by a local fabricators. Each of the drawers has the inner runner welded to it. The outer runners are linked by steel strip running below the box and fixed to the frame.

The panels are good quality furniture ply in 15mm for the fronts and top with the rest in 6mm. They have all been spray painted in two part paint for a smooth, hard finish. The fixed panels are attached by bonding with silicone sealant to the frame flange. The handles are from Reimo and feature a hinged section to withdraw the latch.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


In some of the photos you can see that I haven't yet made a trim panel to go between the unit and the seat. In this area it is possible to spot the copper gas pipe and the black wiring loom feeding the unit. The gas pipe bends up and enters through one of the vent holes in the back of the grill box. The wiring ends in an accessory/ lighter socket for the fridge and a fused spur for the submersible water pump. The tap has a micro switch to control the pump. Fresh & waste water tanks (10 litres each) of different types to avoid confusion sit in the bottom cupboard.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


As I write this, the unit is just completed and untested (OK, I have had the pump running and the gas lit) but the vehicle has not been driven to exert any physical loads. I will see if the self-closing mechanisms are strong enough to keep the drawers close and whether the silicone will hold long-term.[/url]


Last edited by vw4wd on Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lloydy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

looking good!
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Camp&Ride
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the white on white.
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what's happened there. I posted loads of words and photos but they have disappeared. I am still working on it! Please be patient!
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That seems to have retrieved them!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent!

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the writeup. That is a gorgeous van. Love the graphics!

Neil2
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ute
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You got an specifics on the range/sink you have chosen? This thing is awesome!!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the write up.

That kitchen is sweet, love it!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that turned out beautiful.
This is very inspiring! I am very far behind with my wooden build and bow to your careful planning.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have done such a good job on the kitchen set ups you make me want one....and i don't camp!
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ute wrote:
You got an specifics on the range/sink you have chosen? This thing is awesome!!


Both are from Smev, fairly standard range in the UK & Europe, I think. The sink is a '930' and the hob a '1242'. Both chosen for their small size so that they fit into the unit dimensions I was fixed with.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smev here in the States is hard to obtain / BIG Bucks!

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Smev here in the States is hard to obtain / BIG Bucks!

Dave

Could grab a combined sink/hob unit, SMEV Dometic, from here in the US:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMEV-Dometic-MO8322-2-Burn...3f29f3e241
Only $550 :p
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK so we had a run out in the van at the weekend and on the first roundabout we proved that the drawer 'self-close' mechanism is not sufficiently strong - the fridge drawer slid right out!

Now I have to design and make a catch mechanism. I'm thinking along the lines of a drop bolt in the front corner of the drawer to latch into the bottom rail of the main frame. I'll let you know how it goes.
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vw4wd
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

furrylittleotter wrote:
That is a gorgeous van. Love the graphics!Neil2


Thanks for that, Neil. You should have seen the sheets of option sketches we produced when it was getting near paint time. From diagonal lines to sweeping curves and many others in between. I was well pleased when this was painted - it turned out better than I hoped.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: SMEV sink/hob in the US Reply with quote

This fellow in the UK ships to USA:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=181468286056

I'm thinking of ordering this unit -- anyone have any experience with seller or unit? wondering if it will work with the small, Coleman-type propane canisters...
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: SMEV sink/hob in the US Reply with quote

rickiellen wrote:
This fellow in the UK ships to USA:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=181468286056

Nice looking setup. The only thing I'd check is that the 2nd photo does not show a burner/grill on the left side. It's a bit confusing because it does not match the original SMEG photo with burner on left.

Let us know how it goes.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

contact Karl, the Propex guy at Westyventures, he has installed a similar unit in one of his vans.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: SMEV sink/hob in the US Reply with quote

emagin wrote:
rickiellen wrote:
This fellow in the UK ships to USA:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=181468286056

Nice looking setup. The only thing I'd check is that the 2nd photo does not show a burner/grill on the left side. It's a bit confusing because it does not match the original SMEG photo with burner on left.

Let us know how it goes.


Photo #2 shows the removable dish drainer tray in place over the burner. Great little unit with huge sink, flame-sensing, and pushbutton ignition. Mine is connected to 1-lb bottle and std. 2-stage regulator mounted under the van.


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