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Cabinet Doors pt. 2

I built one of my cabinet doors differently, gluing front and back together all at one time instead of in sections (I was being impatient). To my dismay, the entire thing warped and gapped dramatically. I thought I would have to scrap it and start over. But first I tried wrapping the whole thing in a wet towel and weighting it, and shockingly it straightened the door out and closed the gap! Now it’s perfectly straight, ready for a final sanding and staining. I’m super pleased that I don’t have to start over. Hooray!

Brad loves the cabinet doors so much that I’m now building them for the lower cabinets too. 😃

I used scraps of paper during gluing to keep the clamps from getting glued down. The clamps separate easily, and the paper and glue sands right off. Handy little trick learned from the internet. Thank you internet.

Cabinet Doors

While Brad is out of town I decided to surprise him by building doors for the upper kitchen cabinets. 🙂 I had an idea to use decorative metal screen so that the items in the cabinet would be a little bit visible, but mostly obscured. I made them by sandwiching the metal screen between panels of wood, held together by wood glue (no screws or nails). I think they turned out great. I hope he likes them!

New Faucet

As much as we loved the commercial style sprayer faucet, it turned out to be too big for our modest sized little sink. The spray would have been too near the front instead of the middle. So here is our replacement choice. It’s cute! It also leaves plenty of room for us to wash our hair in the sink when we need to.

Kitchen Update

The countertop is officially installed! We wanted everything under mounted so that we could maximize countertop space for cooking prep or working on skis. I really like the look of the cook top space. There is even a nook behind the cook top to store utensils or spices. Every little bit of space counts.

The Plot (and the Color) Deepens

So we are at four coats of Waterlox on the countertops now, and the unevenness definitely went away. We still have two or more coats to go, but the dry time is increasing the more coats we add, since less is soaking into the wood. I’ll point out (and you’ll see from the photos) that original Waterlox is NOT clear, and deepens to a rich orangey tone with multiple coats. Not what I had planned, but the color is sure growing on me.

And we have functioning outlets, dimmer switch, and stereo receiver! It’s so satisfying to finally be using some power through our electrical system. The batteries have just been sitting there fully charged from solar for a while now. We got pex lines run today too. All in all, a productive day!

Waterlox Butcher Block Sealer

We put the first coat of Waterlox sealant on our butcher block, and 18 hours later it still looks splotchy. But after consulting the Waterlox website I’m assured this is ok and it will even out after more coats:

“Your surface may look uneven in appearance after the first or even the second coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. This is completely normal. Waterlox penetrates deep into the wood and will build up to an even film when applied with the suggested number of coats and coverage.”

Sealing wood is a time consuming process because you have to wait so long between coats (if you’re using oil based). If you work a day job it’s a perfect evening project, because then you’re not waiting around impatiently for it to dry… This weekend at our work we had a big go live (we work in IT), so it’s nice to feel like we are still accomplishing something on the bus without much time to work on it.

Butcher Block Sanding

Now the fun, easy part – sanding down the butcher block and adding some nice rounded edges. We didn’t go too crazy with rounding, but now there are no more bits to snag on your clothes and fingers (!), and gives a nice finished look. Brad’s brother gifted us an orbital sander which has been such an amazing thing. I don’t know how we would finish this project satisfactorily without it (or the pocket hole jig).

Butcher Block Countertop

The most nerve wracking experience of our bus build project to date? Cutting through our beautiful new butcher block countertop! We are under mounting both the sink and the stove top, so the edges need to be clean and nice. But we got it done as a team.

Our sink wasn’t meant to be under mounted, but we did it anyway. We built a frame to support the sink. The difficulty was getting it flush up to where the countertop will sit so there were no gaps. This took four hands and a lot of clamps to hold it into place before gluing and screwing it in.

The stove top was a little easier. It is mounted to a shelf that we fit below the countertop. On top will be a hinged portion of the counter that can open when we need to cook, and close when we need the extra workspace.

Cutting the hinged panel and the block that will rest over the sink was done with just a circular saw and a good old fashioned hack saw. The edges aren’t pretty yet, but once sanded I think everything will look great! To be continued.

Roughed Out Kitchen

It’s a real mess in here, but we have kitchen things happening!

Upper cabinets are roughed out and installed. Lower cabinets are walled in and waiting for the countertop. We agreed on a solution to compensate for that odd corner behind the driver’s seat, by expanding the upper cabinets out and curving the lower cabinets in. It looks kinda neat not having a totally squared off kitchen!

We ordered butcher block counter top and will have it this weekend to cut, stain, and install. Our sink and stove will be recessed below the counter, with a hinged panel over the stove so we can maximize the workspace (for cooking prep or for tuning skis, whatever is needed in the moment). The bed side table doubles as a device charging station for phones, batteries, headlamps, two-way radios… with a control panel on the side for outlets, switches, and audio receiver. It’s all very rough at the moment, but it’s starting to take the shape of a home.

It’s nice to take a step back and really take stock in everything that you’ve accomplished. Coming back home to the bus after five days away was exciting, and I’m totally motivated to get back to work.

Kitchen and Flooring

We are getting an idea of our kitchen layout, and how much room the appliances will need. Check out the small (but deep) sink that we found on Amazon! It came with a colander, dish rack, and fitted cover / cutting board. We also want to recess the countertop for the propane stove so that we can have a multi-use workspace for chopping veggies, or for working on skis.

We also dropped by Color Tile in Medford and had a chat with a flooring expert. We learned so much about vinyl vs. laminate, and porcelain vs. ceramic! Super helpful. They let us bring home some samples to view them in the space with natural lighting.

So with our tile picked, we found out that it’s actually “premium pool tile”, and would set us back like $450 just to do the fireplace and modest kitchen backsplash. Ouch! But the owner was super nice and offered us the last 80 tiles for $200. It’s plenty to do the job and a little bit more. It gives us some margin for error to screw up a few.

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