(Almost) Finished Rear Cabinets

Again another weekend of progress, It’s amazing how much you can actually get done when dedicating two full days to a build, at the same time however “haste makes waste” was definitely the theme of the weekend with one part cut incorrectly no less than 5 times.

Saturday saw the test fitting of the kitchen cabinets with the bench top. The back of the cabinets forms the dividing wall between the kitchen and the sleeping area and meets the curve roof at the top which requires the top of this panel to be cut to meet the roof profile.


At this point the bench mounts haven’t yet been glued to the underside of the bench and so clamps are required to stop the assembly rolling forward.


On the inside the base for the interior cupboards then got inserted into the router slot in the back of the dividing  wall, braces were needed to support everything whilst trying to get it level.

Looking underneath the base you can see where the dividing wall meets the bench (joint held together with blue tape) and then the lower dividing wall (hinged) under the bench for the mattress to slide in and out of.


Currently there are slight gaps between the hinged portion of the wall and the outer walls / floor. This is so the hinged section can be opened regardless of any distortion of the walls / floor. A trim section will be put in here to help seal these gaps from the inside.


With the flap open there is a decent amount of room for the mattress to slide in and out, this will also help with cleaning.

After stuffing around with trying to get the interior shelf base in the right place and getting everything square it became apparent that more glue up of the already cut components would be required to make a decent job of the next components (read 5 pieces incorrectly cut because things kept moving)

To that end attention turned back to the front cabinets with the fitting of the cabinet doors as well as some cleanup and sanding


Final task for Saturday was to glue up as much as possible of the rear cabinets for further work Sunday.

Theres a saying “If you can’t tie knots, tie lots” same goes for when needing to substitute tape for clamps, use lots.


Sunday saw more success with less wind and no rain. Front shot below showing final state of the front after finishing up on Saturday, both doors fitted with knobs attached.


First stop on Sunday was to fit the rear cabinet assemble back in. The kitchen cupboards are now fixed to the bench with trim pieces installed.


After that the base for the rear interior cupboards was refitted and given that everything was more solid now it was a lot easier to start building up the walls of these cupboards


The walls of the cupboards need to match the side profile of the caravan walls given they will be meeting the roof. A flush trim bit on a laminate router was used to get the outside pieces right before they were then used to get the inside pieces right.

Two shelves were then cut to fit in the side cabinets, Aside from a box to house the wiring and fuses for the power, the middle section will remain full height at the moment. I was thinking that it may be useful to drill a series of holes in the walls allowing pegs to be inserted for a removable shelf but we’ll see.


Shot from the door showing finished (apart from glue up and doors) rear cabinets


Looking at the week ahead the next challenge will be finding a time to glue all this up. Whilst it won’t be a long job the recent cold snap has made temperatures plummet well below the 8 degree C chalk temperature of the glue that I’m using. This morning for example the car registered an exterior temp of 2 degrees C which is going to cause issues if it doesn’t get warmer.



Rear Cabinets and Door cutout

Made much progress this last weekend. I think one more weekend should see the cabinetry finished making building the roof a not too distant task.

Cutting the door out was a pretty fun exercise. Firstly had to attempt to work out the placement and size of the hole, there was a bit of fiddling around here as at this point the location of the rear cabinets hadn’t been fully determined and we ideally wanted the door in the middle of the front and rear sets.

Got that figures out eventually and after marking out the dimensions it was time to start cutting out the opening. Corners were done using a laminate trimmer with a radius guide and worked better than expected.


Two corners and the top of the door cut out


Finally a completed cut. Given that the entire sheet was 18 mm thick it took a few passes at each cut to make it all the way through.


This was the final state of affairs on Saturday evening. Door cut, front cabinets finished bar two little cabinet doors and several pieces of the rear cabinet (not in shot) glued and ready for further assembly on Sunday.


Fist job on Sunday was mounting the kitchen bench.


We took a slightly different approach here and decided to hinge the dividing wall between the kitchen and the sleeping area to allow a mattress to be slid in and out.


The rest of the day was spent making more parts of the rear cabinets (below glued and drying). These will hopefully be mounted to the read bench assembly tonight.


Many clamps are useful for this project,  not only to hold glued parts but also gluey plans


Front Cabinets

After at least three weekends of no action on the Teardrop there was a decent desire to actually get something done. To that end both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend were dedicated to the cause.

The next step in construction was going to be building both the front and rear shelving units given that both these need to be complete with some parts varnished before the roof goes on. These units are built out of 12 and 18mm Paulownia plywood to save weight.

First step then was to purchase a sheet of 18mm MDF and mount the larger router upside down on it. Given that most of the joints are shouldered dados it made sense to create a jig which would allow us to rip a 6mm square section out of one end of one piece of the joint to create the tongue whilst a 6mm router bit in a laminate trimmer with guide allowed us to create the dados in the other.



The fence at the back is designed to angle in and out to allow different cut depths, the handy black depth gauge at the back of the show made it really easy to get both the height of the router as well as the angle of the guide set to get the desired cut

From here it was a case of interpreting the intent of the imperial plans and converting that to work with the metric materials. Pieces were cut and test fitted to build up the cabinetry, then assembled into smaller sub assemblies before all being glued up together at the end of the day.


Front shelving at end of Saturday


Front shelving sub unit mid-day Sunday


Front shelving end of Sunday


Rear shelving ready for glue-up

There are a few more pieces that need two be glued onto the front set of shelves and then that will be finished. I’m hoping to be able to get those on this week and then start gluing up the rear shelves next weekend. Initially there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working out where to cut all the joints to not only hide the ends of the dados but also end up with a strong joint but hopefully cutting our teeth on the less complex front unit will put us in a good position to tackle the rear unit.

Walls – Second Cut

First wall glued  up ok so we repeated the process with the second wall, i.e spread glue, clamp and then rest old lathe bed on top of the middle of the joint to apply some pressure there.

This weekend’s work consisted of two processes, bolting the wood floor to the trailer frame and starting to route the recesses in the bottom of the walls.

Bolting the frame down went really well, only thing that went wrong was the snapping of a 3mm drill bit so all in all I’m pretty pleased.


The floor can’t be fully bolted down yet as we still need to get it galvanised, I’m thinking that I may drill the holes out a little larger in order to maintain sufficient clearance once dipped.


A total of 10 M12 bolts will be used to hold the floor (and therefore the rest of the teardrop to the frame) so I don’t think there is much risk of something going wrong.


I didn’t get many photos of the second process, I will take some of the finished walls at some point but it basically consisted of sitting the wall in place, drawing up the back of the base where it meets the wall and then across the top.


This was then routed out at a depth of 11mm for a distance of 80mm from the edge, then stepped up to 9mm for the remaining 36mm until reaching the line. The reason for this recesses to so that when the underlining is painted on to the underside of the floor and the walls there will still be room for the trailer frame to fit. Four small recesses were then cut to house the heads of the bolts.


Walls – First cut

Vicks and I started work on the walls over the weekend. The maximum size of plywood that is available to us at a reasonable price meant that both walls needed to be made out of a couple of pieces joined with a lap joint.

First task was routing one half of the joint on one piece approximately half the depth of the plywood before fine tuning the depth and routing the second half of the joint on the other.

Once this was complete we marked out the profile of the teardrop after which we cut this profile out with a jigsaw.


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From here it was a simple task to rinse and repeat for the second wall using the first as a template.


One wall section was then able to be glued up, we’ll hopefully glue up the other one tonight given that the first will have had 24 hours to set.

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Drip Tray in the Shower

You know you have an understanding wife when you’re allowed to hang a lathe drip tray in the shower to let the undercoat dry…

Recent TradeMe purchased arrived the other day in the form of an original Myford drip tray. This was something that I was looking out for for a while, the total loss oil system of the ML7 was gradually turning my wood bench into a wood and oil bench. I was considering getting some sheet metal laser cut and then welding it up but when this came up on TradeMe for the sweet sweet price of $50 I knew that it was by far going to be the most ideal solution.


It arrive in reasonable condition for its age, about 50% of the orange on that picture is rust with the rest just being grime and dirt. Nonetheless I decided to strip it and repaint.


A quick attack with the disc sander brought it to bare metal in reasonable time, then it was a battle with not only the sun but with hoards of mosquitoes to get an undercoat on it before the sun set. Note airbrush is perfect for smaller items or when not time constrained but in this instance a little slow.

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End result one nicely undercoated drip tray. Weather permitting this will get a couple of top coats this week before install next weekend.

Started working on the walls of the Teardrop in the weekend. Marked out the basic outline of the teardrop using the measurements provided in the instructions. There are still a few of the finer details that need to be marked out before this can be cut out.

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After that it will be a case of routing out the recesses for the roof and for the floor to slot into and then also a number of pockets to reduce the weight of the panel. These pockets will then be filled with polystyrene before the outer face is glued on.


Built the floor on Sunday, Started by laying out the welded frame on the floor as a work surface and guide for laying out all the pieces.


From there it was a  case of cutting all the price framing to the right length and then putting the pocket holes in the ends of the cross members.



Once that was complete the side rails were clamped into position on the welded frame and one side of each of the cross members was glued and screwed into the side rail before applying glue to the other ends of the cross members and then applying the other side rail.


I’d decided that at the rear of the caravan at least I wanted another line of framing down the centreline of the trailer. This is to provide something to screw some parts of the kitchen into. I decided given there was wood left over that this may as well run the length of the floor and so pieces were cut, drilled, glued and screwed into place.


Next step was to attach one side of the plywood paneling to the floor. Luckily one sheet was able to cover the floor from side to side after reducing the width of the caravan by 50 odd mm a few weekends ago and so it was only a case of cutting the length to size, applying glue to the frame and then dropping the plywood on. Clamps held these two pieces in together  whilst it was tacked with brad nails prior to being flipped and having weight applied to the centre.


Polystyrene was then cut to fit in the gaps before the same process with the plywood panelling was undertaken again to put the top panel on the floor. Much weight was applied to give a strong bond.



To finish the floor I just need to run a router with a flush trim bit around to smooth out the edges and then job done.