Cabinetry: Why We Built Our Own

Material List:

We very seriously considered buying unfinished cabinets and modifying them to fit, but the weight was going to be a concern. We also would have to modify them to fit around some of the van’s oddities, such as electrical conduit, that we were leaving exposed. We decided that the best option for us was to build our own cabinets. Ultimate customization!

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To fabricate the cabinets, we used plywood and 1×4 boards. The boards added reinforcement to the back panel of our upper cabinets, and served as a place to bolt the cabinets to the van. The cabinets are made of a single frame/box with the end, top and bottom panels made of plywood. The face frame is divided into separate sections as needed.

Cabinet doors are made of plywood and finish boards. Using a table saw, a groove was cut in the boards on all four sides of the door frame. They were mitered in the corners, glued together, then screwed using the Kreg system. Once three sides were put together, the finish panel was slid into place before the 4th side was attached.

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Once the cabinet fabrication was complete, we painted and sealed them to our liking and added pistons to keep the upper cabinet doors open (since they flip up). We used standard eggshell paint, added the ‘streaked’ look with steel wool, then sealed everything with a water based Minwax Polycrylic  – Polyurethane left a yellow tint once it dried so be sure to test an area first!

To install the cabinets, we used plusnuts and bolts (FarOutRide does a fantastic review of  plusnuts and why you should use them – check it out here!!!).

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Final Thoughts:

We’ve been really happy with how the cabinets turned out. Having the ability to totally customize the layout was well worth the work that went into the fabrication.

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