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Old 08-13-2022, 02:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Ferndale, Washington
Trailer: 2016 E17B
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Replace the 17B above fridge cabinet door with Tambour

When we took our new to us 2016 Escape 17B on a 5 week inaugural camping trip this spring, I discovered that a tall person had to watch out for the cabinet door above the fridge. We use this cabinet to hold all our dishes, so it has to be opened often. Its easy to forget to close it.

This door has a solid oak frame with a sharp corner. If you don't make sure it isn't open when you go near it, you can hit your head.



After hitting my head on it more than once, I vowed to do something about it before we took the trailer out again.



This type of door is called a tambour door. I've seen them on older Airstreams. Escape should offer one for this particular cabinet as an option.

There were a number of articles describing how to make a door like this available on the internet. I found a Fine Woodworking article entitled "Reviving the Tambour Door" to be the one I turned to most often.

Other articles I learned bits and pieces from included: "Making the Tambour for a Tambour-top box", "How to Make Tambour Sliding Cabinet Doors", "AW Extra 6/26/14 – Tambour Doors", and "New Yankee Workshop S10E13 Roll Top Desk Part 2".

I removed the inside panels from the cabinet to put in a bit more structure for the tambour track and for a shelf I had decided to install as well.



I used patience and a very sharp chisel to make the sides of the cabinet parallel and the same distance apart everywhere, trying for the nearest 1/32", but accepting 1/16". Escape uses various sized staples when they build their cabinets. It can be a pain to remove panels or add structure to the cabinet frames.

I used red oak for the tambour and the tracks. Since I had no access to the rear of the cabinet I made the tambour tracks in two pieces to allow the tambour to be installed, like this:

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...r%20tracks.JPG

I installed the upper part of the tracks,

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...tallation2.JPG

then I slid the tambour door into the upper track.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...tallation1.JPG

Then I installed the lower part of the tracks and closed the door. Voila:

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...20finished.JPG
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Old 08-13-2022, 03:56 PM   #2
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Beautiful work, David! You’ve given me an idea for installing a door where our unused microwave now resides! Thanks!
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:40 AM   #3
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Wonderful. I would love to have this on the cabinet where our small microwave resides so we don't have to have the regular standing open when using the microwave. Are there kits you can buy for those of us who don't know how to build things?
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:16 AM   #4
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This is a great idea. Does anyone know, do the newer 17's still come with the awning style opening or are the hinges to the side. A side opening cabinet would certainly be less hazardous. While I have all the tools (table saw, router) to build the tracks myself, I second Carmel Crown's question, as some things its hard to beat the value for time ratio in buying premade. Seems like all the "kits" I could find though use a roller style almost like shades, which is certainly a less efficient use of space if not less reliable in the long term.
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Old 08-14-2022, 12:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean2a View Post
This is a great idea. Does anyone know, do the newer 17's still come with the awning style opening or are the hinges to the side. A side opening cabinet would certainly be less hazardous. While I have all the tools (table saw, router) to build the tracks myself, I second Carmel Crown's question, as some things its hard to beat the value for time ratio in buying premade. Seems like all the "kits" I could find though use a roller style almost like shades, which is certainly a less efficient use of space if not less reliable in the long term.
I did find parts for making it here. https://www.richelieu.com.
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Old 08-14-2022, 01:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by climateguy View Post

trying for the nearest 1/32", but accepting 1/16".
That's what I should say, sounds better than "I aim for perfection but sometimes have to settle for good enough."

Always like videos with some humor.

Well, now you've done it. I bet ETI is going to get requests to provide the door as an option.

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Old 08-21-2022, 10:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Carmel Clown View Post
Are there kits you can buy for those of us who don't know how to build things?
I didn't spend too much time looking for pre-made tambour. I assumed the best way would be to custom make something. I like working with wood in my garage. But applying a finish to the tambour wasn't that enjoyable. If I was altering an Escape now, I would consider this or something like it. I don't think I'd use their spring loaded roll up mechanism though. I'd make my own tracks. I think you'd get easier access and more usable space in the cabinet if the tambour runs flat against the ceiling in a track when it opens, as opposed to rolling up like a window blind.
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