Thursday, May 14, 2015

More on the Kitchen and Countertop

With other projects going on inside, I missed one day of beautiful weather, where I should have been outside, but Wednesday brought another beautiful day, and a little more progress on the trailer.

The first thing I did was to cut the gussets for around the inside perimeter of the top of the kitchen cabinet. In some places I already had vertical cleats attached so I had to notch three of the gussets to fit around the cleats. Most cabinet shops make them smaller than I made mine, but since I had the room, I made them 6-inches each way from the squared corner. These were all cut on my compound miter saw with a slide extension. (With the slide, I can cut up to 2 x 10 material crosswise, or even double that width if I flip the board over.)

Gussets for the kitchen cabinet.
These were all glued into the top corners of each compartment in the cabinet, and secured with 2-inch finish nails driven with my pneumatic finish nailer, as well as 1-1/4-inch staples from my pneumatic stapler...depending on where I placed them and how far they needed to penetrate.

Plywood gussets installed in cabinet.
After they were installed, I drilled the center of each one. A layer of 3/4-inch plywood will cover most of the cabinet, and screws will be installed from the bottom of the gussets to secure that plywood, as well as to go through far enough to secure the countertop...being very careful not to go through too far and come through the laminate!

I don't want to attach the plywood or the countertop just yet. I have to order three more sets of the drawer slide hardware. It's a lot easier to reach the back screws from the top of the cabinet, rather than have to reach through narrow drawer openings. But in the meantime, I still have many other projects to work on, the first of which is getting the countertop ready.

I mentioned in the last post that I had to remove about a half-inch of the overhang on the rear of the backsplash, to allow the countertop to go back farther and allow a little more swing on the closet door, before it hits the left front corner of the countertop. That was the next task.

Laminate is easy to cut, but has the bad habit of chipping out on the upswing side of a circular or saber saw. And since there is no room available to cut from the bottom, another method had to be used. In  this case, I used my Roto-Zip tool.

My Roto-Zip, with the saber saw handle and base, and rip guide attached.
For those who don't know what a Roto-Zip is, it is similar to a router, with a spinning drill point-like tip on it. Instead of cutting up and down, like a saber saw, the blade rotates like a drill bit. Besides being physically smaller than a router, a Roto-Zip has no fixed base on it like a router. Instead, it uses one or more of a whole slew of attachments which are able to convert it to many different uses. Two of the most popular are the attachment I used here, and a grinder attachment, which uses circular blades for various grinding or cutting projects, from wood to masonry. Another popular tool is the compass guide. With that, you can cut out circles up to a foot in diameter. I own every attachment made for this tool.

In the photo of mine above, I have the basic motor portion attached to the saber saw handle and base, with a rip fence attached. They still call it a saber saw handle, even though there is no saw involved, simply because of the shape of it. Without the rip fence attached, you can hold it like a saber saw and do the same kinds of things that a saber saw will do, although you have to be very careful when free-holding it, as that spinning tip can quickly head off in the wrong (any) direction if you aren't careful!

By setting up the rip fence properly, I was able to take off all but about 1/16-inch of the backsplash overhang, and since the bit cuts sideways, rather than up, it did it without making the slightest chip in the laminate...a perfect cut. I could have cut it perfectly flush, but decided to leave just a little bit of material.

The piece that was cut from the overhang on the backsplash.
Above, you can see the piece that I cut off. Although it looks larger because it was closer to the camera, it was actually only about 5/16-inch thick. The bit takes out 1/8-inch, making the entire removal at 7/16-inch. I left 1/16-inch just in case I needed to belt sand any of the remaining lip to get the countertop to fit tight to the wall. After all, that's why they put that overhang on there!

After I cleaned up the dust and turned the countertop back around where it belonged, the next little project was to cut the end piece for the right-hand side of the cabinet. This is the side that will face the couch, but it will still be exposed and seen, if only by us.

I had already left a little more of the face frame beyond the end of the backing plywood on this side, so that the 1/8-inch paneling would fit flush, so it was just a matter of cutting it to size and stapling it in place. When I attach the laminate end cap on the countertop, it will hide everything but the paneling.

The finish paneling attached to the cabinet end.
Other than installing the drawer guides, I am almost to a standstill on the kitchen cabinet. I'll build the drawers last, after the rest of the cabinets are installed. I can't mount the base cabinet in place until I also drill two holes down through the floor behind the left pantry opening, and install the pipes for the fresh water inlet, and also the drain. If I just stub them up into the cabinet, I can do the rest later, but I definitely have to drill the holes for them, otherwise I won't be able to get to the floor in that spot. So for now, we'll move on to other things.

The last project for the day was to get the bikes down from the garage, where they have been hanging upside down for the past five years, and test fit them in the trailer. They fit perfectly, as planned, with one facing left and the other one facing the opposite direction. There is only a half-inch of space left for the length of them, and even that will be used.

After all the cases I have read about lately, where bikes have been stolen, even while people are sleeping right inside the RV, I have no desire to leave expensive bikes out in the weather and open to vandalism, road damage, rain, or theft! Even if I had them on a bumper rack, I would make sure they were inside of something.

There are bike garages available that mount to a bumper rack. And with that comes the option of adding an alarm to the enclosure. Even if you leave them exposed on a rack, the least that should be done is to rig an alarm of some kind, whether it be a motion detector, a vibration sensor, a hidden trip switch, or whatever. There are too many thieves in the world to leave your bikes open to theft, let alone all the ravages of weather, road debris or whatever else can do them harm! 

Our two matched pair mountain bikes in the storage compartment.
If we ever get a longer van, whether it be a Sprinter, or just a long conversion van, and do away with the trailer, there WILL be a space in the back to fit the bikes crosswise within the van! I won't have it any other way! If people can travel in a standard size van and have everything they need, then why not make that extra two feet into something useful, rather than just more space to collect more stuff? Even if you aren't into biking, having a small "garage" in the back, similar to what we are doing here, is a handy thing for all that crap that you don't want cluttering up your living space! Even if we do away with the bikes, I would still want a storage space!

We wanted to test the fit of the bikes in the storage compartment for several reasons. I had already made the compartment 4-inches deeper to accommodate the handle bar width, but there was more. I wanted to visualize how much space we would have around them.

The inside trailer width is 68-5/16-inches wide. The bikes are about a half inch shorter...thankfully.

Our first concern was that we have a 25-gallon Barker blue tote, that we had considered for gray water storage, but as it turns out, it was way too big, and all the fittings were in the wrong places for what we have planned. Instead of using it, we will be purchasing a different brand of gray water storage tank...probably about an 18-gallon tank. It will fit in the left front corner of the storage compartment, against the bulkhead wall and behind the bikes.

We will install a 3/4-inch PVC pipe through the cabinets and closets to the rear storage compartment, at a half bubble off-level for proper drainage, from the kitchen cabinet to the gray water tank. It will have a diverter valve under the sink, so we can send the gray water straight outside, or send it to the tank in the storage compartment...depending on where we are parked. To empty the tank, we will simply move the bikes, and take the tank out to dump in a proper receptacle (a toilet or dump station).

If we have a sewer hookup where we are parked, we can simply attach a hose to the drain fitting under the left side of the frame of the trailer, and drain directly to the site's sewer opening.

The area for the gray water storage tank.
In the photo above, you can see how much depth we will have. The tank will stand vertically, and be secured to the bulkhead wall, as close as possible to the electric heater box in the lower part of the photo. To the left of that (or even on the left trailer wall, depending on space) will be the rest of the electric distribution of the 120 volt side of things. (The 12-volt side will come off the batteries in the bottom of the wardrobe closet.) Any wiring between here and the batteries will go up the back left corner, and be run through the wiring chase along the upper left wall, over to the battery compartment (and beyond). Any 120-volt wiring along the right hand side of the trailer will also go overhead, across the back above the door springs, and along a wiring chase at the top of the wall on the right-hand side.

The bikes have to set at a slight angle, because of the handlebars, but that also leaves a space between them and the bulkhead wall on the other side of the heater, along with a slightly deeper space in front of the bikes. That part in front of them will be used for things that we have to get to often, such as leveling blocks, hitch accessories, or anything else that we may use more often than the bikes. Any heavy items will be secured, one way or another. We can't have hitch accessories bouncing around when traveling!

The storage space on the right-hand side.
Keep in mind, the back side of the bulkhead wall will also be nearly covered with two panels of the steel pegboard product that I showed in an earlier post. It will be mounted as close to the electric heater box as possible.

That pegboard has lock-on hooks of about 20 different styles, which can be used to organize and secure things on that wall. Any longer tools, such as BBQ forks, a rake, and a shovel can hang horizontally across both boards, if necessary. I may even attach a third board to the right-hand side wall of the trailer, at the end of the bikes.

Although the hooks themselves can't fall off, the things on them could, so we will be using mostly spring clip type attachments or rings to hold the items on the board. Tools would bounce off of the ordinary hooks when traveling down the road, so those aren't an option. By using ring attachments, we can also use bungees or ratchet straps to secure the bicycles or anything else...such as the gray water tote tank.

Today, we had only 20% chance of rain predicted, and between noon and 1:30 the skies opened up and we got yet another deluge! So just when I thought I would have another nice day for working outside, it turned into a muddy mess again! Lovely! That's why I am inside, writing this now.

On the moving end of things, we got rid of a PVC patio set that we have had since 1985, and got a Lane cedar chest to the garage, for sale on Facebook. Last night, we also moved the 1800's era antique sideboard buffet to the garage. As soon as we can photograph that, we'll also put it out for sale. If it doesn't sell on the local Facebook groups, we'll put it on eBay as "local pickup only". For anyone interested, we're at "azgrand001" on eBay.

After that. we'll probably attack the exercise equipment, and then the office furniture. Slowly but surely, we are making progress in disposing of stuff, but it's really overwhelming at times! It brings a lot of mixed emotions. It's hard to get rid of some things that we have spent our whole lives acquiring, but on the other hand, when we see the empty spaces it leaves and know that we will never have to move it or dust it EVER again, it also brings a feeling of freedom with it. All that time that was spent working to provide space for all that stuff, and then to heat it and cool it, maintain it and clean it, was wasted time. That time can now be freed up to spend on other, more enjoyable things, and that is what we will look forward to. The relief we feel far outweighs the feeling of loss.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions on anything, or just want to leave a comment, please do. All bloggers want comments, otherwise they feel like they are talking to a wall, and no one is listening. I am no different. But yet it seems that it's always the same three or four people who bother to say anything. I already have their email addresses and can contact them personally. I don't need to blog! 

Blogs are meant to be social platforms, to allow two way conversation. If I feel like I am the only one doing the talking, then why should I bother? I know enough other people that act like fence posts when I talk to them in person! I don't need to spend my time writing and showing pictures if no one participates in the conversation!

But please know that it is greatly appreciated when I get feedback...other than trolls, who have nothing better to do than find fault with everything they see and read. I will delete those kinds of comments. But I welcome all others.

Also, while I was writing this, it came to my attention that a couple of the YouTube people got into a swearing match at each other because of a misunderstanding. I didn't even stick around long enough to see what it was about, and deleted the notification, as I will be doing with their channels.

I grew up in the construction trades. I have seen plenty of foreman/superintendent, "in your face" confrontations, as well as had my own share of them. And I have heard just about every swear word in several different languages, than I care to remember. I am not an overly religious person, and I sometimes use that language myself when with certain people that I know will tolerate it.

But to open it up to the public for thousands of people to hear it, including kids that might wander onto it...nope...not going to tolerate it. Professional, educated people would never open themselves up to that on a public forum of any kind.

This is the kind of crap that makes me want to never have a YouTube channel. Not only does the video work take a lot of time, but then there are all the trolls out there who have nothing better to do but find fault with everyone and use language on them that most construction workers don't even use!

And even when they aren't trolls, as in the case of these two, there was no excuse for not settling things amicably and without swearing at each other. I lost a lot of respect for both of them, and will be unfriending them on Facebook and deleting their vulgar behavior from my sight. There is no place in this world for negativity, and I don't want to see it in others. I don't care who was right or wrong, nor did I watch enough of it to even know what it was about. The first five seconds was all I needed to hear.

This is the kind of crap that gives all vandwellers a bad name. It's bad enough that some are forced to live this way through financial considerations. Many middle and upper class people already think that vandwellers and even RVers in anything less than a $100,000 RV, in general are scum and don't want them in their neighborhoods. Some don't keep themselves clean and then let their hair grow so long they look like cave men, and then they wonder why they get a bad rap.

I can tell you that no matter how broke I was, I would never let my hair grow long (I use a Flowbee when traveling), go unshaven or allow my body to stink, nor would I degrade myself to the kind of language and conduct that I have witnessed lately on YouTube and even on some sites and blogs. If you can't respect yourself enough to clean up your act, then how do you expect to gain the respect of anyone else?

I hadn't intended on a rant today, but it needed to be said! Clean up your act, People, or continue to lose followers! Respectable people who have any hopes at all of earning money online, whether it be through YouTube, their own sites or whatever, need to think like a professional business and learn to handle stressful situations a lot differently than what I have seen lately!

'Nuff said.  

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