Here is how we built our sink & stove cabinet for our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion!
A while ago, we brainstormed about our living requirements; below are the requirements specific to this cabinet:
- Propane range (stove/oven) will be used
- Pressurized Sink
- The cabinet must be easy & quick to remove (we never know)
- Big enough for storage, but not that big so it does not use all the “living room” space
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: ~40-60 hours (This is approximate. Time has become a vague concept at this point. This cabinet was easier & faster to build than the Overhead Storage Cabinet, because there is less funky shapes to deal with.)
TOTAL COST : 280$ USD (approx. This exclude the sink and the propane range)
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- Framing Lumber, 2″x3″ (Bought from Home-Depot)
- Baltic Birch plywood, 3/8″ thick (Bought from our local shop)
- Titebond III Wood Glue (Buy from Amazon)
- Pocket Hole Screws kit. (Buy from Amazon)
- Karlby Ikea countertop (Bought from Ikea)
- Door Hinges 1/4″ overlay (Buy from Amazon)
- 1/4 fender washer (Buy from Amazon)
- 1/4-20, .280 Steel PlusNut Prebulbed (Buy from Amazon)
- 1/4-20 bolts, various lengths (Buy from Amazon)
- #8 X 1-1/4-Inch Square Drive Flooring Screw, black (Buy from Amazon)
- Frame’s Blue color: Saman water-based wood stain
- Baltic Birch’s Walnut color: Watco Danish Oil light walnut (10$ as of September 2016, Buy from Amazon)
- Low-E EZ-Cool (Buy from Amazon)
- Dometic Sink VA7306 with integrated folding faucet & cover (Buy from Amazon)
- JR Products 9490-215-022 Sink Strainer (Buy from eBay)
- Wedgewood (Atwood) Vision 17″, 3 burners & oven, with Piezo (Buy from Amazon)
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Mini (Buy on Amazon)
- Skills saw (Buy on Amazon)
- Freud Finish Blade 60 tooth (Buy on Amazon)
- Jigsaw & Blades (Buy on Amazon)
- Power drill (Buy on Amazon)
- Drill bits (Buy on Amazon)
- 220 grit Sanding paper (Buy on Amazon)
- Get a van!
- Modify your van by following our Build Journal!
This is not a “How-To”. This is a “how-we-did-it”, following our own requirements and using our own (limited) skills.
First of all, we modeled and located the sink & stove cabinet.
We used the cutout dimensions from the Atwood Range Manual:
Here we go!
We installed the bottom plywood panel. The wheel well & frame cutout was trimmed on the spot.
To join the frame, we used once again the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Mini as it makes the job easy and provide strong joints without fancy tools!
- The joints will be as straight as your cuts… our cuts were not perfect, but it’s OK; we straighten things up when we fastened the frame to the bottom & side panels.
And here is the frame!
We want the cabinet to be easy & quick to remove.
We located 2 existing holes in the van and we installed Plusnut in them. The cabinet will be fastened with these 2 accessible Plusnut (and 3 holes in the floor as well) through the back panel of the cabinet.
Not familiar with Plusnut? That’s O.K.! Make yourself comfortable and read our Plusnut post:
Thinsulate is doing a great job at insulation, but we still have some metal exposed. This metal is very conductive thermally, therefore we covered it with Low-E EZ-COOL.
You can see the EZ-Cool in the back. Meanwhile, we also started to prepare the wall for wood paneling and added the back panel of the cabinet
There is a big gap between the back panel and the Plusnut; we filled it with 1″ thick baltic birch plywood to avoid stressing the cabinet while torquing the bolt. Basically, this act as a big fat washer…
The frame is ready to receive the countertop!
We want a nice & clean cut, so we’re using our friend’s epic skills and epic tools…
The countertop was then attached to the cabinet’s frame and the oven installed.
We were really into it, so we forgot to take pictures, but that’s pretty straightforward… we just screwed the countertop to the frame from below. Here is the result:
We then trimmed the countertop to receive the sink.
We wish the manufacturer instructions would include a 1:1 scale template of the cutout… the diagram is far from easy to understand, so we first made it in cardboard, tested it, then transferred the template to the countertop.
We then added a “groove” around the cutout periphery
This is to ensure that the sink rest on its gasket (see a few pictures below) and is water-sealed.
We applied Minwax Polyurethane on trimmed edges (as for all the countertop trimmed edges) to protect from water infiltration. (Varnish could be used as well)
Even with the template, it took some trial-and-error (a lot actually) to get the sink to sit perfectly…
We fixed the gasket around the sink periphery using vinyl adhesive strip (http://amzn.to/2llcIIO), then we applied GE Silicone II (http://amzn.to/2kPP7D6) between the gasket and the countertop to seal the deal.
WARNING: Silicone is a MESS to work with, you might come up with a better solution. If not, ensure to have towels and soapy water at proximity…
The sink is fastened with four screws:
The sink basket was then installed
There seems to be two schools of thought:
- Use Plumber’s Putty (Pro = easy to remove, Con = I don’t have that at home right now)
- Use Silicone II (Pro = Leak is less likely + I have some at home right now, Con = very hard to remove)
Well, it looks like we will use Silicone:
We then added cedar doors to the cabinet:
We used 1/4″ semi-wrap overlay hinges (http://amzn.to/2lRFHaw):
We added some cedar finish as well on this side:
We’re done, sweet!!
…actually, we still have to build storage (shelves, drawers, etc) but we will wait a bit later, until we really understand our needs and until we know exactly what will be stored in the cabinet.
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
Again, we used cedar planks for finishing. We’re aware that this wood is VERY soft and will scratch very easily. Time will tell if we regret our decision!
- Pressurized Water System (wait for it!)
- Propane System (wait for it!)
- Finish the wall with wood paneling (wait for it!)
- Or, see a whole lot more in our Build Journal!
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!