Escape 21 (or 5TA) Dinette Mods - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-11-2016, 09:40 PM   #1
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Escape 21 (or 5TA) Dinette Mods

We camped near ChrisR and his wife at Long Beach, BC, in May, and were impressed with all of the mods he had made to their 5TA. This inspired us to change some features of the dinette that had bothered us on our trips to date.

1. We have the U-shaped dinette, but found the sitting position in it to be uncomfortable.

2. We did not like having to slide the table east-west whenever one of us wanted to access or exit from one of the dinette seats. We also found that full beverage cups and electronic devices next to each other on the table to be a poor combination when sliding the wobbly table back and forth.

3. As ChrisR points out in his excellent blog https://escape440.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/dinette/
the thickness of the seating cushions and their depth from wall to table makes the dinette ergonomically incorrect for sitting. This is because of the compromises needed to design a space that works for both sitting and sleeping.

4. It was impossible to sit comfortably in the rear side of the stock U-shaped dinette because of the too-straight back cushion, the closeness of the table, and (again) the height of the seat cushion.

ChrisR had the design abilities, building skills, and tools to take on the major renovation he did on their 5TA. I don't, and therefore we hired a friend who is a retired finishing carpenter to help us for a reasonable hourly rate. Because we were paying for labour, though, we decided to stick with the stock ETI table. We also chose to retain the ability to turn the dinette into a second bed. We'll never use it, but it could help resale value for the next owner to have the bed option.

Here's what we did:
1. Turned the table and its rails to slide north-south so that the table can be left in a position that allows either of us to sit down or get up from the dinette without disturbing the other. Sliding the table closer to the fridge end of its range also enables access to the seat under the back window, especially for one person to get comfortable in there with a book and a beverage.

2. We also changed the position of the two table supports so that they are not blocking the room that my size 13 feet require under the table. I can now get in and out of "my" side of the dinette without kicking anything.

3. As ChrisR did, we've raised the floor under the dinette 3.5 inches. To save labour costs we just built it to go around the propane detector and the electrical panel instead of relocating them. We can move either of those items higher if any problems occur later.

4. We will soon add the triangle-shaped back support cushions that Chris has, and might replace the foam in the sitting cushions with firmer material for more sit-bones support.

Here's what the dinette looks like now, except that the metal strip on the leading edge of the raised floor is now black instead of chrome. Like Chris, we made the raised floor removable, but did not add the elegant curve to its front edge that he did. The three bottom photos of the table show it in the north, south, and mid positions of its range of movement. It no longer wobbles on its slide, and stays put after being slid to the desired position.

Although we did the utilitarian version of ChrisR's elegant mods, we greatly appreciate his inspiration, and admire his vision and craftsmanship.
Attached Images
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Old 06-11-2016, 10:18 PM   #2
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That turned out very nice!! You are lucky to have such a handyman in the neighbourhood. Very smart thinking to move the posts!
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Old 06-11-2016, 10:45 PM   #3
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I like it Brent; sounds like you thought this through. The poles through the floor likely adds to stability too. How is the raised floor anchored?
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:49 AM   #4
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Nice. Pray tell, how high are the wedge shaped cushions going to be. I can have some made before we go to pick up our 21.
Thanks,
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jerryandmaria View Post
Nice. Pray tell, how high are the wedge shaped cushions going to be. I can have some made before we go to pick up our 21.
Thanks,
Jerry
Hi: jerryandmaria... Before you make up wedge cushions you can try what I did to angle the backrest cushions. Just buy a pool noodle at the hardware store and cut it to the length of the cushions. Drop them in behind the backrests to angle the bottoms out for your back. Cheap and easy solution!!! Alf
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Old 06-12-2016, 03:03 AM   #6
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JerryandMaria, one of ChrisR's wedge cushions is pictured and described here: https://escape440.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/dinette/
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:09 AM   #7
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Great table solution. That Chris fellow is a bad influence, eh?

Having planned to do a lot of work along the same line as what Chris did, then meeting him at last years rally, sharing countless emails on what he did, and culminating in a visit to his house a couple months back, he has loaded my mind with lots of great ideas. Some folks are great idea people, while others are the skilled type, but Chris does both.

The depth, front to back, of the seats is quite a lot, so not only do the wedges give a bit of angle to the backrest, it scooches your bottom forward closer to the table, which is good too.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:12 AM   #8
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Hi: jerryandmaria... Before you make up wedge cushions you can try what I did to angle the backrest cushions. Just buy a pool noodle at the hardware store and cut it to the length of the cushions. Drop them in behind the backrests to angle the bottoms out for your back. Cheap and easy solution!!! Alf
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We did the same with our cushions - it works very well and makes the seating much more comfortable.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:25 AM   #9
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We did the noodle thing too figuring it as a cheap way to try it out before getting the wedges. Been a year now with the noodles, haven't bothered with the wedges. You do have to find the thicker noodles. Do not use the rear seat so nothing tried there.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Hi: jerryandmaria... Before you make up wedge cushions you can try what I did to angle the backrest cushions. Just buy a pool noodle at the hardware store and cut it to the length of the cushions. Drop them in behind the backrests to angle the bottoms out for your back. Cheap and easy solution!!! Alf
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Also got the big noddles and it makes the sitting a lot more comfortable . Pat
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:06 PM   #11
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Too Many Beverages Competing with Too Many Electronics...

Hi Catchlight,

Your floor and table support mods look great.

How is the raised floor attached to the original floor? Or is it attached thru the sidewalls of the seat walls?

Is it removable?
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Old 06-12-2016, 05:41 PM   #12
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Boy, that Chris fellow is easy to hate. I thought I was a pretty good craftsman, but he makes everybody look bad. I'll try the pool noodles, as they are a cheap fix before I spring for the wedge backs. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:27 PM   #13
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Removal of raised floor under dinette

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
Hi Catchlight,

Your floor and table support mods look great.

How is the raised floor attached to the original floor? Or is it attached thru the sidewalls of the seat walls?

Is it removable?
Hi Sleepy and Rossue: the raised floor under the dinette table is held in place when in use by the two support legs for the table, as this photo shows. Once the support legs are lifted through the two holes, the raised floor just slides out. Since we'll probably never need the space as a second bed, we don't anticipate having to remove the raised floor section very often.
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:42 PM   #14
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could you please tell us abut the back cushions your are going to switch to...we have 21 on order might witch out before production begins Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:00 AM   #15
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Speaking of back cushions, one option that I haven't seen mentioned in a long, long while is the one of having the back cushions cut 2" shorter so that they fit snugly along the back wall without "bending" at the corner curve. Throw pillows fill in nicely and it makes little difference if the dinette is made into a bed. Of course, with the new squarer mold, this may no longer be an issue for some of us more OCD types.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:04 AM   #16
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Speaking of back cushions, one option that I haven't seen mentioned in a long, long while is the one of having the back cushions cut 2" shorter so that they fit snugly along the back wall without "bending" at the corner curve. Throw pillows fill in nicely and it makes little difference if the dinette is made into a bed. Of course, with the new squarer mold, this may no longer be an issue for some of us more OCD types.
I think the corners are rounded just as much, Karen. It is just that the walls are more vertical.

What we definitely are going to do, even if we go with the U-shape, is to use a couple large throw pillows. We might even eliminate the back wall cushion entirely, as it sounds like nobody actually uses it to lean against. The throw pillows could be put against the back wall for lounging forward, and the galley/fridge wall for lounging looking out the windows.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:41 AM   #17
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Very true Jim, we've had no use for the back bench backrest. Removing it is a good idea. We use the large throws exactly as you mention.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:52 AM   #18
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Very true Jim, we've had no use for the back bench backrest. Removing it is a good idea. We use the large throws exactly as you mention.
I think that rear backrest might lend to a better look of the rear U-shaped dinette though, by giving it a more complete look, but effectively does not do much.

Other than a good place for batteries, converter and a few other electrical/electronic items, that back bench does not seem to serve as more than a footrest, something easily done in with a regular dinette and a filler board with cushion.

I would really be interested to see photos of a U-shaped dinette with the rear backrest in place, and one without it, just to get a better visual of how much the backrest adds appearance wise.

Really, in the end function will always trump looks for me, but it certainly is nice to meld the two into the same feature.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:30 AM   #19
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Kind of looks like the standard dinette to me. Too sunny to open the blind so the images aren't all that great.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:39 PM   #20
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Thanks for taking and posting those photos, Bob.

Thought that back cushion serves very little practical use, it does give the space a more finished look.
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