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The cabinet building process for an RV is straightforward but the actual work requires precision. It is critical that you measure and plan every aspect of the cabinets before you begin building. It is also important that the cabinets are not excessively heavy in order to maintain a reasonable vehicle weight. You can build the cabinets in an intricate, esthetically pleasing manner but for the sake of camping, they should be well structured and functional. It is best to build the cabinets in the winter to have them ready for summer camping.
Two 1-by-2-inch boards
Use the level and square for every step of the process. These two tools are essential for proper construction. If you are staining the wood for the cabinets, do all of the staining before you mount the cabinet face.
When creating your design, think about what you’ll be storing in the cabinets and adjust the sizes accordingly.
Add safety latches to the cabinet doors so they don’t open when you’re in transit.
Use extra mounting brackets on the top and bottom of the cabinet if you plan on storing heavy items in the cabinet.
Measure the outside dimensions of the cabinet unit. Determine the number of cabinets that will be in one unit. Typically, you will build two or three cabinet sections per unit. Building an excessively large cabinet unit will make it difficult to mount.
Frame the cabinet with 5/8-inch plywood, attaching the side panels and dividers to the bottom panel with finishing nails or screws. Use a building square to ensure the cabinets are even. Add wood glue to secure the connections.
Attach two 1-by-2-inch pieces of lumber to the top back of the cabinet frame. One piece will mount flush with the top and the other will mount flush with the back to create a "V."
Attach the cabinet frame to the RV wall with mounting brackets. Use a level as you install the frame.
Select the face wood for the cabinet. Attach the side faces with finishing nails. Cut out the door openings on the front face. Attach the face to the front of the frame with finishing nails.
Install the hinges on each of the cabinet doors. Hold the doors level with the cabinet and drill the hinges into the cabinet face. Test the doors and use a level to double check your work and add knobs to the doors.
Items you will need
- Use the level and square for every step of the process. These two tools are essential for proper construction. If you are staining the wood for the cabinets, do all of the staining before you mount the cabinet face.
- Use extra mounting brackets on the top and bottom of the cabinet if you plan on storing heavy items in the cabinet.
Zach Lazzari is a freelance outdoor writer specializing in hunting, fly fishing and the general outdoors. He guided fly fishing trips for 10 years in Colorado, Alaska, Montana and Patagonia-Chile. Zach lives in Montana and splits time between the river and keyboard.