Sunday, July 19, 2015

Installing the Kitchen Cabinet

This excessive heat has created many delays, but I finally have pictures of the most current work, which involves much more than just the kitchen cabinet. But to keep it from being overwhelming I will break it up into several posts, which you will receive in quick succession.

Even though the kitchen cabinet had been set in place, I couldn't anchor it down until the plumbing holes were drilled through the floor behind it. To accomplish the necessary clearance for the fresh water feed coming in, as well as the sink water going out, a special recessed area was built into the back of the sink cabinet, as per the photo below.

Offset in the back of the kitchen cabinet where pipes come through.
The location of the holes through the floor had to fit within this offset space. But also, they had to miss all the steel framing of the frame under the trailer. Careful planning was necessary to miss both the outer frame down the side, as well as any cross members through the middle.

Another issue was how close the holes could be drilled to the wall, given the circumference of the drill body. In fact, the holes had to be drilled at a very slight angle to allow for this.

Looking down through the two holes to the frame below.
In the photo above, looking down through the two holes, you can see the outside part of the frame, and how close they are to it. Also, on the right hand side, a cross member was just to the right of that hole.

The two plumbing holes as seen from counter level.
The two holes for the 3/4-inch PVC pipes were about a quarter-inch away from the wall, but this was necessary to allow for additional fittings to be added later, which are a larger diameter than the pipe.

The pipes properly spaced and anchored into position.
Two pipe stubs were inserted into the holes, and secured with foam pad and pipe straps over a spacer of 1/4-inch plywood.The left one will stay low and will be for the fresh water connection from a hose. It will have a valve under the edge of the trailer to close it off when using the pump, and the outside hose fitting will have a plug in it, the same as any other water fitting on an RV. More check valves could have been used, but they are about five times the cost of manual valves. The only place we will use one is to keep the city water pressure from back-feeding into the pump and possibly doing damage.

The pipe on the right will be extended higher, and will be the drain from the sink. It will also have a valve under the side of the trailer, which when closed, will force the water to the gray water tank in the rear storage compartment. We'll talk about that in a later post, as I don't have all the fittings acquired yet to hook everything up.

Once the pipes were stubbed up, where I can get to them later, the kitchen cabinet was put back into position, and screwed to both the back wall as well as the closet wall to the left. The latter required some minor adjustment to fit tight and square with the counter top, but that was expected, and easily accomplished.

The kitchen cabinet and counter top anchored in place.
I had pieces of 3/4-inch plywood already cut, which were then anchored to the top of the cabinet frame. The plywood serves two purposes, both as a spacer to keep the counter top above the upper drawer edges, but in this case was needed for strength, due to the refrigerator setting on top of, and being anchored to, the left side of this counter top. The plywood was left out of the area where the sink had to be cut in, but I still got a little too close on one side.

I forgot to take photos of the sink cutout and preparations to install it, but I can tell you that due to the extra thickness of the top on the left side, due to the layer of plywood under it, I had to use my Roto-Zip tool and rip fence attachment again to route out a channel between the finish counter top and the plywood under it, so that the clips for the sink could grab the underside of the counter top. If I hadn't done that, it would have been too thick to grab. Sink clips are only designed for a 3/4-inch counter thickness.

But after careful measuring, taping the edges of the hole to prevent chipping, and cutting with a saber saw, the sink fit like a glove. I added plumber's putty all around the outer edge, and also added four extra clips from my own stock as the sink only came with for each side, and I didn't think that was enough. Even bar sinks should have a minimum of two clips per side. By squeezing down on the plumber's putty, it should seal the edges so that no water can find it's way under the edges of the sink.

Also, please note that this should be the end of the crappy pictures from a cheap cell phone. I'll explain why at the end of this story.

The new sink installed in the counter top.
I normally would add plumber's putty under the faucet as well, but discovered that this one came with two rubber gaskets that go against the bottom of the sink, so even if water gets under the faucet, it is sealed from going any farther. The drain basket always gets plumbers putty around the edge, though, and also gets worked into the basket threads, as that's where many leaks occur. A flat washer against the bottom of the sink doesn't do any good if the water follows the threads around and comes out around the retaining nut!

The next issue was the refrigerator, and getting it ready. They always seem to come with the door hinges on the right hand side for some odd reason, but most of them are made to be able to reverse the door swing, as we did in this case. It was an easy task, and all the parts were supplied with it, or already there, to be switched to the other side.

In preparing to set it in position, I bought a couple of 1/4 x 3 eye bolts, to be drilled down through the counter top and nutted on the bottom with heavy fender washers and nylon-insert lock nuts. On the top side we also installed a nut and a fender washer so that the bolts could be drawn down tight to the counter top. 

The refrigerator anchored to the counter with a ratchet strap. 
Now, I have close to fifty ratchet straps of various colors and sizes, but not one of them was black with stainless steel hardware! However...I found exactly what I needed on Amazon. After all, why have a nice black refrigerator with an ugly bright orange strap over it...right? This ratchet strap is not only black, but it has stainless steel hardware on it...perfect for kitchen duty! And to top it off, you can get it with either normal hooks..or caribiners! So just for safety's sake, I went all out and got the caribiners! Even if the strap should somehow get loose, these will never let go of the eye bolts!

Unfortunately, there was no way to position the buckle on top of the refrigerator, where it would be out of sight, but it's OK. Even if it gets wet, it will never rust, and we can live with that.

We have also considered that the refrigerator might scoot out from under the strap while in transit, but that is easy to fix. As it is, the refrigerator sits tight against the back splash, so we know it can't go that way. This still leaves about a 3/4-inch air gap up the back for circulation. There is also space under the bottom, so before we leave, we will attach a black bungee to the eye bolts, and around the front feet of the refrigerator/ This will prevent the bottom from scooting forward, and it can't raise up or go backward, so it should be plenty secure.

We picked this refrigerator special, because it has a huge freezer compartment for an apartment sized refrigerator, and being full-time in this trailer, we want all the freezer storage we can get.

Our new refrigerator, almost ready to use. 
Some may consider using a ratchet strap to secure a refrigerator a little "clunky", but we have nearly 30 years of experience in dealing with RV refrigerators and the problems they can create and the expenses and delays involved with repairing them. Too many times, they fail to cool properly, and then a dealer who knows how to service them is hardly ever nearby, and when you finally find someone to service it, the expense can be in the hundreds of dollars, even for a simple circuit board!

No thanks! If this one quits, we can go to any Walmart, and for WAY under $200 can walk out with a replacement that we can change out ourselves! And likely won't have a lot of food spoiling because of the wait! Also, because this refrigerator is totally on the inside, there won't be any "hot walls" to worry about like there is when you face an open-backed RV refrigerator toward the sun! And that also means keeping the heat out of the RV!

Also, we have been getting other parts in practically every other day. This past week, we received our two Reliance Hydrollers, and had to try them for size. Only one problem...they should have specified the width as 11-1/2 inches, instead of 11 inches. We discovered that the tank fit in the opening perfectly, but the plastic retainer on the end of the metal shaft that secures the fold-down handle, was sticking out just far enough to catch the edge of the cabinet! And there was no way to immediately get around the issue, so I had to pop the push-on cap off the shaft and temporarily remove the shaft and the handle. 

The 8-gal. Reliance Hydroller in position in the cabinet.

In the photo above, the tank is actually in backwards, but that seems to be the most logical way to use it. The fold-down handle is actually on the back side, but there is also a molded handle on this side which makes it great for pulling the tank out of the opening. 

The smaller air vent cap is on the opposite side of the main fill opening. But we will use that smaller opening as the draw point for our water pump. A plastic hose would curl up inside the tank, so to keep the water suction tube on the bottom, we will use a straight piece of copper or stainless steel tubing to enter the tank and reach all the way to bottom...and stay there. The plastic tubing will attach to it outside the tank, with a quick connect fitting. When we need to change tanks, we'll simply disconnect the plastic line, pull out the rigid tube from the tank, and reinsert it into the fresh tank.

The larger fill cap on the other side (the back side in the photo) has a reversible spigot attached to it. It can be threaded into the cap from either the top or the bottom. For our use in the trailer, we'll leave the spigot on the inside of the cap, but open it just far enough that air can enter, so that the tank doesn't build up vacuum when water is pumped out, The way the spigot is designed, there is no way that water can splash out of it, unless you turn the tank on its side.

The Hydrollers are on wheels, and pull like a carry-on suitcase, so even though a full one will weigh close to 70 pounds, they are easy to wheel in and wheel out.

I can fix the handle shaft problem, by cutting off a little bit of the shaft end, and then threading it for a nylon-insert locknut, but I don't have time to mess with it right now. Other than that minor inconvenience, the Hydrollers will work just fine. We bought two of them to start with, and can always buy a couple more later if we see the need, but we think these two will be fine for now. Each one holds eight gallons. One will be in the trailer and the other in the van. As we run out in the trailer, we can easily swap it out for the full one from the van, and while we're out running around on our daily sightseeing, we can refill the second one and always have a full one ready to use. If we need a little water for cleaning up after a picnic outing, we'll have both the Hydroller and a 5-gallon portable sink in the van, and no need to move the trailer just to get water in it.

Later this week we are supposed to have a couple of cooler days, although with some rain involved. That's OK. I have a 12 x 24 covered deck I can work under, and I hope to get all the drawer boxes and the two pull-out pantries built on those two days. Meanwhile, I will have the parts to start on the plumbing hookups.

Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean that I have been goofing off. Besides packing up things inside the house when it's too hot to work outside, I have been researching and ordering parts.

Also, nearly every morning for the past week, I have been applying coats of Kool Seal on the trailer roof, over the top of two coats of POR-15, a special high dollar ($44/quart) rust-eating paint that body shops use. I think I have at least six coats of Kool Seal on the roof now, but to be honest, I lost count. It might be seven coats.

And I had to rework the roof rack that will hold the solar panels, but as of last night, the rack is now installed. The two additional parts for the solar setup have arrived, and I am just waiting for a couple of odd parts yet for mounting the panels to the rack, but I will show that progress in another post.

I also finished the lift-up extension on the rear bunk, that covers the file storage cabinet, except for adding some edging to it, but that can be done later.

In my "spare" time, I have also emptied out close to a hundred Kodak and Airequipt carousel slide trays and packaged the slides in plain typing paper wrappers, with proper labeling so we know what we have and will be opening. We decided we didn't want to leave color-sensitive slides in a hot rental storage unit while we are gone, so we had to get the packages small enough and light enough to be able to take them with us. Converting them to digital format will be one of our major tasks this winter while we are out in the Southwest. We are also taking other things (VHS tapes, cassette tapes, printed photos, vinyl LP albums, etc.) that need converting to digital, so we will have our hands (and vehicles) full with all this stuff for at least this first year.

And now for the picture explanation. We decided to go with a Verizon phone that serves as a hot spot for having Internet after we leave here. My TracFone minutes were due for renewal anyway, and when I went into the local Verizon office to check on a few things, I found they had a great package deal going. I had already researched the phone options, and knew that I wanted the new Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge. It has the most of everything we will need for our purposes, so I came away with one that same day.

The one feature I like is that this phone has a 16 Mp rear facing camera, with 8X zoom, time lapse and more. The video capabilities are just as impressive. Also, because of the multi-function earphone/mic jack, I think I will be able to use my remote wireless mic with it when shooting video.

Also this week, I ordered a telescoping hiking stick with built in camera mount, a swivel head attachment, cell phone camera holder, a remote Bluetooth camera control fob (all so that the hiking pole can double as a selfie stick), and clamp on multi lens attachment for extra lenses and filters, and a few other things.

So even though I said I wouldn't do videos, I may do a few. Just a few. We'll see where it leads.   

So that's it for now. I have more photos of progress that I will try to get online ASAP, maybe even by tomorrow, so hang in there, and thanks for reading.  

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