Thursday, 30 April 2015

Cabinet Reshuffle

Well, I got home on Tuesday after a day down at the van to find that my Ebay kitchen units had arrived. Today, I loaded them in Pudgy and took them down.

For cheap 'trade' units, they aren't too bad at all. Very solid, decent 18mm board all round and 18mm backboard on the base units and 8mm backboard on the wall units. Much better than the hardboard jobbies you normally associate with the price point.

They assembled well, and the finish was more than good enough. I'd be happy using these in my own kitchen if I ever need to go down that road!

Suprisingly (or not) everything went together in no time at all. In fact I had only planned to assemble the units today and hadn't actually given any thought to fitting them, but I managed to assemble everything, hang the wall units and pretty much locate the two base cabinets. With time on my hands, I retrieved my old kitchen sink (formerly installed in my old kitchen in Surrey and then transplanted to Retrotecchie's Toolshed at the bottom of the garden) which I brought up with all my gubbins in 2013. It needs a bit of a clean, but I dug out the jigsaw (note to self: buy new blades!) and cut the worktop and dropped the sink into place. Obviously not plumbed in or fitted properly yet, but the general setup is looking as planned.

Amazingly, the toilet/kitchen wall is squarer than a square thing and the worktop end fits beautifully with no gaps or ripples. No need for major silicone work...chuffed. Not only that, but the fit between the rear of the worktop and the side wall of the van is pretty much perfect too. As part of the final installation of the worktop (it is just loose laid on the cabinets until the plumbing has been done), I'll mark the edge of the worktop and drill a series of holes through the side walls and anchor into the worktop itself with 60mm chipboard screws after laying a bead of low modulus mastic. This will ensure that the flexing in the side of the van is reduced to an absolute minimum and will further rigidise the whole setup. 

Wall units fitted into place 600mm above the worktop. This is a little higher than the minimum of 500mm reguired for clearance to a hob, but allows the depth of my Camping Gaz stove should I decide to use that in the kitchenette. Ultimately, the gap between the worktop and wall cupboards will get a tiled splashback to about 450mm or so and then a lick of paint on the wall board to finish it off nicely. You can see the worktop is nicely following the lower lashing strap screwholes. The sockets just underneath the 500m wall unit are nicely placed for the kettle and/or toaster. I may finish off with a pelmet and some LED over-counter lighting, but that's a nicety and not on the agenda right now.

Don't worry...those units aren't skewed! It's just the oddball perspective of the phone camera. Honest!

There is a nice service gap behind the base units. Hopefully I can fiddle the plumbing into the sink unit without too much hassle and end up with a nice tidy job.

While the last of the installation is taking place (plinth, plumbing, worktop, etc.) and before I procure some cupboard doors (not supplied with the carcasses) I finally have a surface I can use for charging the drill battery and somewhere out of the way, other than the floor, to keep my in-use tools handy.

With the structural work completed for the toilet and the kitchen now generally in place, the final look and feel of the office is beginning to take shape.

To do: Adjust legs to allow for plinth fitting, align and drill for worktop, fit water feed pipe to kitchen taps, fit a trap and waste pipe and then screw everything into it's final position.

Yay! Serious progress.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Kitchenette Begins!

With the toilet/water tank facilities now finished (apart from final trimming and decor) it's time to turn my attention to the kitchenette.

I'm just not going down the road of explaining the hassle and heartache I've had trying to source my kitchen components from this side of the Cambrians. Let's just say that Wickes in Bristol would have supplied my materials weeks ago had the price and timing been right!

Kitchen units have duly arrived from an Ebay seller (they are stacked in my hallway for the moment) and I managed to procure a 2m length of 'Mouse Dust' (the colour scheme, hopefully not the quality!) 28mm worktop from Homebase in Brecon. This was £35...£5 more expensive than the 'Dapple Slate Grey' offering from Wickes. A huge saving though, as Brecon is a 70 mile round trip from here, and Bristol is almost a 300 mile round trip. Wickes could deliver....but wanted £80!

So, I now have my four carcasses and my worktop.

As the kitchenette is butting up against the toilet, with the outer skin of the toilet wall being the left-hand kitchen wall, I needed to do something to the OSB board to render it a little less, er, rough. In fact, agricultural would have been a better description for the finish. Much research seemed to indicate that the optimum (and possibly cheapest) solution was a decent wood primer, followed by a couple of coats of finely textured masonry paint.

I slapped on some primer with a brush and allowed it to dry thoroughly for 48 hours. At the same time, I also applied primer to the bare woodwork of the door lining.

In the workshop at home I'd already test-painted a sample of rough OSB with primer, and could test my chosen surface finish on that before committing to the final application.

At the same time as my worktop purchase in Homebase, I'd perused the Santex masonry paints. Most 2.5 litre pots seemed to be around the £18 mark, and a 5 litre  pot was £27-£29 or so. There were two tins on the shelf that grabbed my attention. Amongst all the other paints, these were marked on the shelf at £7.53. An odd price, and surely not right? I checked at Customer services, and was told that the price marked was indeed correct, but the two pots in question were 'discontinued' colours and had been marked down accordingly. Yes, I could have them at this special price, but if I wanted more of the same down the line, then no can do.

Fair enough. Colour was not an issue (particularly) and neither was needing more in a year's time. 5 litres at £7.53 was not to be sniffed at. 

An initial cutting in with a 2" brush around the edges and the corners, then a couple of roller coats had the desired affect. The colour, Ivory Cream, wasn't at all bad either!

As always, with a Nokia phone camera in certain lighting conditions, difficult to tell the colour. It looks white, but I can assure you it is a yellowy-cream!

This angle of shot shows the colour a little better. A few spots and roller spatters on the floor, but this will not matter once the floor is attended to. The jury is still out on non-slip floor paint or vinyl tiles.

Even the not quite butt edges on the OSB at the corner don't look too bad at all. This edge will be trimmed with a corner moulding for the final finish but for now I'm happy enough with the general effect. Skirting and ceiling trim finish will conceal any nasty edges once the kitchen has been installed.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

More palletwood creations

Blue tit nest box

Sparrow nest box

Robin or wren nest box

Salad planter

Coming Along

Loo nearly finished!

We now have a door and doorframe, plus electric light. Just the architrave and decoration to sort. With a second No 2 now accompanying the first one, I'm happy to report that it still smells fine.

Pallet Wood - 101 Uses

Pallet wood slats recovered from old pallets. Mostly 40" x 3.75" x .75"

Some used to make a small potting bench under the window in the garage.

I use old Ovaltine jars for nuts, bolts and screws, etc. Palletwood slats make a perfect shelving unit to store them on.

A couple of offcuts, and a piece of old broom-handle.

Window boxes for her indoors to plant herbs in.

A composting toilet for the Site Office!

And any real crap, offcuts or split bits plus all the 'cubes' from the corners make a nice stash of wood for the logburner!