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Jim Bennett 06-07-2017 11:23 PM

Cabinetry Work In My 5.0TA
Here are some photos and a bit of a write up of what I did with cabinetry work in my 5.0TA.

Not long after Reace let me know of the new models that would be announced for 2017, and knowing what all he was putting in to them, I decided to make the move to a 5.0TA, something that was a strong consideration even before him telling me this.

I knew I wanted to do a bunch of work to the trailer “Because I can” to maximize the space for storage, and personalize it for our own taste. I also wanted to upgrade some of the industry standard fixtures to something of better quality. I knew full well going it to this, it would not be done as a cost saving measure, especially if my time is any value.

I have gotten lots of great ideas from other members here, but the main source of outside ideas started two years ago at the Escape Rally, where I had a brief tour of Chris Roberts trailer, and really liked what I saw, work done in a fashion I could relate to. The time I got to spend was brief due to so much other stuff going on. Fast forward to after my decision to move forward with the 5.0TA, I contacted Chris to see if he would be willing to share more of what he did. This opened a floodgate of dialogue between us, with him sharing his thought process behind his work, as well as the building process of what he did. He even invited me out to his place and put Lisa and me up for the night. I am so used to being the idea guy with others following my lead on these types of thing, but so much of what Chris did, I could find no way to improve on, and used many of his ideas directly or incorporated into what I did. Many thanks to Chris.

Of course, I did put a bunch of thought of my own into the design. To date I have put about 120 hrs working on the trailer, and likely twice that in the planning and material acquisition phase.

Here are some of the thoughts and factors that went into the build. Some of it was predetermined, while some was designed on the fly.

Escape did the structural framework for the cabinetry, and left the galley open, and did no finishing on the cabinetry on the fridge/bath wall (which I refer to as the pantry), and the cabinet to the front of the door (door cabinet). These photos show the state of the trailer in which I got it.

I did, or more like undid, some of the work Escape had done. I had Escape mount the exterior hatch here lower, so I could make room for an inside shoe cabinet, and opened up the drawer opening to accept two drawers instead of one. Here you can see the opening I made on the right, and the shelf framing for that cabinet.

Here is a photo of the finished drawer and cabinet door openings, as well as the bottom shelf. I still have to do up the shoe shelving in there, but it even works with the shoes stacked up.

This is a shot of the galley before I got to work on it. I removed the front face and discarded it, but the end gable was kept.

This photo shows it all framed up ready for drawer boxes.

This shows the exterior shower I got loose from Escape and installed as far to the rear as possible.

Jim Bennett 06-07-2017 11:24 PM

In the pantry I removed a few shelves, opening up for a counter and recessed cabinets. I also enlarged the two openings above and below it for drawers. At the bottom, I enlarged both openings a lot, moving the propane sensor into the dinette seat and moving the fridge pan drain hose, and I cut the openings lower as well, again to maximize drawer size.

This gives a bit of an idea what the bottom pantry cabinets look like opened up. Lots of gas lines, water lines, wires, and bath vent to work around.

I had played with the idea of using another wood other than oak, but the amount of work it would take to veneer all the wood surfaces in the trailer was daunting. Besides, the oak looks just great. I decided to keep the style simple, using a shaker style door front. I just added a bevelled edge to all the sides on the face, as shown in the phot below. In hindsight, I would have had Escape install all the uppers, as I did not do anything with these cabinets, and just make doors to match for what I did.

We knew that despite the fact it would add a bit of weight we wanted lots of drawers, as the space used would be so much more accessible. We also wanted a fair bit of shallow drawer in the galley to house utensils and such without piling things in real deep. I used full extension slides the maximum length possible which ended up being 24” for the pantry, 12” for below the pantry in front of the wheel wells, 20” for the galley, 10” for a drawer below the range, and 16” for the door cabinet. No wasted space. I only built in 3 cabinet doors in addition to the ones for the cabinets I never changed, and that was the sink cabinet, and a couple small ones at the base of the galley. The drawers are built with 3/8” Baltic Birch sides, and 1/8” BB bottoms, all glued together, resulting in a lighter but very strong drawer box.
Here is a shot I shared before of all the drawer and door pieces.

Here are the drawers getting finished in our dining room, and a shot of them after the first sanding outside.

We had originally decided to forego an oven, and bought a good quality Dickinson 2 burner stovetop. A cold and rainy 18 day trip last fall saw us stuck in the temporary trailer we were using more than ever before, and the oven in it saw lots of use, so Lisa was pining for an oven in our new trailer, and I looked into it and bought her a Dickinson 2 burner Caribbean model, which turns out to be a fantastic unit.

In keeping with the stainless steel theme of the range, I bought a stainless steel Ventline range hood and installed a Fabulous Operating Products SAM-1 Upgrade Kit which is one fantastic fan. It is quiet, sucks out lots of air with its 3 speeds, offers good LED lighting, and the vent opens from the inside, so no flipping little tabs on the exterior. I used a SS trim on the counter and table tops, used SS rods on open shelves, and installed SS pulls on the doors and drawers. I also used SS tiles on the backsplash. The sink and tap too are both SS. Even the pull up 120V/USB outlet has a SS top. I am considering SS panels for the fridge and freezer too.

Here are a couple shots of the finished galley.

Jim Bennett 06-07-2017 11:24 PM

Some more random shots of the galley.

Note the pull up 120v/USB outlet extended here.

Jim Bennett 06-07-2017 11:25 PM

Here is a photo of the finished door cabinet. I also added a shelf above it, and one of above the door to hold knickknacks.

For the pantry, I added a couple 24” deep drawers. The upper one I cut sight holes in, which also works for access for small folks to access small items through, otherwise a stool is needed. The lower drawer holds a ton of goodies.

The lower drawers are shallow due to the wheel wells, but still provide great storage, with one being a recycling/garbage center.

I went back and forth on adding a counter in the pantry, but finally decided on it for a few reasons. It may eliminate the need for a flip up counter blocking the doorway, it provides a bit of a prep area as the microwave plug is still in the cabinets for use if wanted, it makes a great place to marshal food for the fridge, and it looks way cool and I wanted a bit of bling.

I don’t have much of a good overall shot of the pantry cabinets, but will shoot one tomorrow. You can kinda get an idea of the layout in this photo, though it is partially hidden by the bathroom.

Here is a shot of the counter area with the recessed cabinets. I downsized the tambour door a bit to add upper cabinets as I kinda liked the layout this way.

Oh yeah, I forgot the other good reason for this setup, it makes for a great bar area. ;)

The table top is full sized, but with the 4-way Dicor slide, it is easy to keep out of the way. In fact we found we mostly use it in it’s regular orientation, but pushed to the rear, allowing easy access, room to sit at it without sliding forward, and room for lots of stuff to the rear. Our style definitely does not involve a small table, let alone no table at all. There is still lots of room for two to lounge, especially with the table turned and pushed to one side.

We still have lots of stuff to do organization wise in the cabinets and drawers, but that will come with time using the trailer to figure out what will work best. I still have the space under the passenger side dinette seat that really has no set purpose yet. It may get cabinet doors on the front, or possibly a hatch on the exterior.

Jim Bennett 06-07-2017 11:26 PM

Here is a bit of a detail showing how I did the countertop and table edges. I did not want to mitre the corners, nor did I want a large radius. I settled on a 1 1/2" radius. I had to cut out the barb on the inside of the curve. This shot shows it cut first with a saw. What is not shown is that I used my die grinder to take it right down to nothing. This resulted in a nice smooth bend.

The tiles I used are a ceramic tile with a stainless steel wrap. To mount them to the outside wall I used a 1/2" wide tile edge rabetted into the back of a strip of 1/4" Baltic Birch, and screwed on with lots of screws into the backer Escape epoxies to the shell. On the side gable, I used a 5/16" tile edge and added a strip of laminate to keep things flush. The tile was attached using PL Premium.

A couple other wee mods was adding lighting in all the upper cabinets, as well as the door cabinet. I plan to do more lighting under the stairs, and inside outside hatches.

I also did a quick and easy shower floor for now, using tiles made up of synthetic decking material. I plan to do a teak on later, but first many other things to still do, as well as get more camping in. :)

Wow, these posts took a while. Time to have a nightcap and head to bed. :)

bigalaska2012 06-07-2017 11:37 PM

Wow very nice !

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arniesea 06-08-2017 12:01 AM

Well done, Jim!!! Thanks for the photos. They reveal all the thought and work that went into your creation. I was quite impressed when I saw your trailer at the Rally, but now even more so. I hope you and Lisa enjoy the fruits of your creativity and craftsmanship for many, many years to come! Cheers!

rubicon327 06-08-2017 12:09 AM

WOW feels like the understatement of the year. Jim you are a very skilled craftsman. That is creative and beautiful work.

Just one thought with safety in the pop up 120V outlet GFI or wired downstream of another outlet that is a GFI and thus protected? Seems prudent with it up on the counter and not far from the stove/sink.

StanLewis 06-08-2017 12:23 AM


rbryan4 06-08-2017 12:37 AM

Thanks Jim. Wish we could have been at the Rally to see it in person. I love the fact that the style is sort of a cross between Chris' phenomenal modern look and the traditional stock Escape look. Knew the craftsmanship would be superb, and you did not disappoint.

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