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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MATERIAL:

 

TOOLS:

 

RESSOURCES:

 

PRE-REQUISITE:

 

Disclaimer

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:

Cutout dimensions (click to enlarge). This is extracted from the manual

This shows the Mr Heater BOSS portable propane shower and the Aquatainers for grey water and for winter water jug. The 3D interactive model can be seen and manipulated  here




Here we go!

 

We installed the bottom plywood panel. The wheel well & frame cutout was trimmed on the spot.

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion (1)




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!

kreg-pocket-hole-mini-jig

kreg-pocket-hole-jig-mini

Buy it on Amazon

kreg-screw-chart-large

Choose the correct screw length. Click on image to enlarge.

  • 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 Cross Nut in them. The cabinet will be fastened with these 2 accessible Cross Nut (and 3 holes in the floor as well) through the back panel of the cabinet.

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion-(4)

 

Not familiar with Cross Nut? That’s O.K.! Make yourself comfortable and read our Cross Nut post:

Crossnut-Heading




 

 

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

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion (5)

 

There is a big gap between the back panel and the Cross Nut; 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…

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion (4)

 

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…

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion

 

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:

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion-(6-cropped)

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion-(6-cropped)

 

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.

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (14)

Slowly making my way through…

 

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (15)

Yay!

 

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.

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (16)

Groovy!

 

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…

Gasket

Gasket cross-section (refer to sink manual)

 

The sink is fastened with four screws:
The sink basket was then installed

There seems to be two schools of thought:

  1. Use Plumber’s Putty (Pro = easy to remove, Con = I don’t have that at home right now)
  2. 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:

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (21)

 

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (22)

Then we added the plastic washer and the lock nut, and torqued.

 

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (23)

After torquing, we wiped the excess of Silicone. HAVE SOME TOWELS AND WATER HANDY, BECAUSE SILICONE IS MESSY TO WORK WITH!

 

Dometic VA7306 Sink Install (12)

Tadam!

 

We then added cedar doors to the cabinet:

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion (10)

 

We used 1/4″ semi-wrap overlay hinges (http://amzn.to/2lRFHaw):

  

 

We added some cedar finish as well on this side:

Sink-Stove-Cabinet-Van-Conversion (9)

 

 

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.

The sink in action!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 

 

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CHEERS!

 

 

 

14 comments

  1. Comment by Daniel S.

    Daniel S. Reply June 16, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Did you install the Mr BOSS water heater? I read the instruction manual and it is clearly stated to never use it insise a rv. If not, do you other heating system for water. I am considering a marine electric tank with 12 VDC heater. I love your site and I am using a lot of info for my future build that will start this fall. When you come back in Montreal area you might see a van very similar to,yours. 🙂

    Thanks

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply June 17, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Hey Daniel,
      The Mr Heater is in the back so it’s well ventilated when we use it for showers. Also, we disconnect the water and propane when we’re not using it. So I wouldn’t say it’s “installed”!
      However, we are switching for an EccoTemp to avoid having to hook up the propane and water each time; it’s irritating in the long run and we don’t need the portability of the Mr Heater anymore (we never used it outside the van). The EccoTemp is not approved for interior either, but we close the propane and water valve when we’re not using it…

      For hot water (sink) we just use the kettle; it’s perfectly fine with us, except maybe for rinsing the dishes hot water from tap would be nice. I’m dreaming of a 2 liters point-of-use electric water heater, but I don’t think that exist…

  2. Comment by Kipp

    Kipp Reply April 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Hey guys! Hope travels are treating you well. One quick question on your butcher block from Ikea: did you cut it both in width and length?

    Did you use the “2 included edging strips” on the cut ends? Did these turn out pretty well? This is the one thing I’m hesitating on with tan Ikea/non solid butcher block.

    Cheers!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Yes, we cut it in width and length (the sink/oven side) and we used the strips; it works! It doesn’t look like a sticker!

      Antoine

  3. Comment by Kipp

    Kipp Reply February 7, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Guys! Is the range secured directly to the countertop via the mounting screws? This part of the install confuses me-thanks!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply February 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      There are 4 screws on the countertop and 2 screws under the oven door.

  4. Comment by Brad

    Brad Reply November 28, 2017 at 10:49 am

    So no broiler? Interesting, both Atwood Products online and Camping World state that this oven has a “built in broiler/toaster section”? May be a typo? The model I was looking at is the same as the one you linked model# 52373.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

      In fact, the rotary knob goes up to “broiler”. But in reality, there is no gas burner on top of the oven. So broiler = high.
      Works as a toaster, but it will not broil cheese on top of a lasagna (as example).

      • Comment by Brad Huffman

        Brad Huffman Reply November 28, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        Ahhh..yeah, I would expect it to have a top burner to be considered a broiler. Oh well, not a deal breaker. Thanks for clarifying!

  5. Comment by Brad

    Brad Reply November 20, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I originally planned on just installing a 2 burner stove, but am now really considering going with this same oven. So how often do you use it? Any idea on the gas consumption for the oven?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

      We use it almost everyday.
      In tree months living in the van, we went to restaurant 2-3 times only. Of course it depends on your cooking habits, but in our case we’re really enjoying that oven! We would definitely install the same if we had to start over. Only downside: it doesn’t broil (because there is no burner on top).

      Don’t know gas consumption for the oven, but our 20 pound (BBQ) propane tank last for 1 to 2 month which is very decent. (that include consumption for oven/stove and hot showers).

      Good day!

  6. Comment by Ryan

    Ryan Reply March 2, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Sorry if I missed this, but did you guys contemplate an induction stovetop? I didn’t see it in your conversion notes…perhaps an over was a must?

    • Comment by Ryan

      Ryan Reply March 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      oven*

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply March 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Yes an oven was a must. We also wanted to minimize the electrical consumption and we don’t mind cooking with propane at all!

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