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A new kitchen, part 1

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

With the situation being what it is, I guess there’s no excuse for not telling you about the work on the kitchen.

As you will remember,* I was given some Oak bearers.

It was quickly decided that they were going to be incorporated into a new kitchen. As the main brace for the wall runs through the kitchen and as the main point of damage was also in the kitchen, it made sense to remove the kitchen. Besides, I have big ideas for the kitchen.

I set to removing the kitchen. It was a breeze. Caravans are flimsy. I only needed to make sure that I didn’t remove the upright sections that are fixed to the wall anymore than is necessary. I had clamped the doorway straight. The inner part has what is to be part of the inner doorframe in place which is is also bracing the doorway.

The only bit I had any trouble with was a section I had fitted which covered what otherwise would have been an exposed gas hose. I couldn’t prise it from it’s fixing to the old worktop that ran along against the wall. I went to look for something to help. When I returned to the scene, Daniel had taken over and jemmied the section out. (I must’ve loosened it 😉, though in truth, he’s a strong lad, that boy).

Once the kitchen was out,

I discovered that the floor had bowed. On inspection, Michael spotted damage to the chassis and deduced that that is the cause. The damage to the chassis is likely down to the lack of jacking points. A tyre blow-out meant that a jack couldn’t be placed under the axle. It therefore meant that the caravan had to be lifted via the chassis. As the chassis is made using C-section, it buckled. I have built in a metal plate under the step strengthening that point which also doubles up as a jacking point. The damage won’t get any worse. As for the floor, the simple remedy is a floating floor.

The caravan is not level at present as I need access to the underside at the rear. I had adjusted the caravan initially to make room for access under the step. So, to be sure of keeping the new floor level, I had to take all my angles from one starting point. That was the angle of the small floor cupboard to the upright that divides the kitchen from the front room. It’s definitely square. Using bits of ply as spacers, I got the level for the floor. Once the brace was in place, I fitted the right side wall.

Next, I chose two of the bearers. I stripped the bark, took measurements, cut off the excess, sanded and treated with boiled linseed oil and turpentine.

When dry, I put the posts in place. It was at this point that I discovered that I had made an excellent mistake! The only square edge of the Oak is where it was cut at the saw mill. During a momentary lapse of concentration, it appears that I had marked the cutting line from an outside edge. Ordinarily, it would be a disaster as I have not got a spare piece in case of mistakes. But, lo! Genius! The result is that the post leans slightly, but in a way that flows with the shape of the outside edge. The top is square as I had cut from the base. Of course, it meant that an extra upright piece had to be installed in the side wall. I also oiled the facing side wall. I think it looks brilliant. Fortunately, I didn’t make the same mistake with the centre post. I made a frame up and fitted in place.

The next thing was the ‘fridge. I use a terracotta one. A simple ancient way of keeping food chilled. What it is is a large terracotta plant pot placed within a larger terracotta pot. Sandwiched between the two is sand soaked with water. The hotter it is on the outside, the cooler it is inside.

The first thing I needed to do was to work out the various heights. The kitchen is now already raised. The ‘fridge is about a foot deep, I then need access space and the ply I’m using for shelving is 12mm. The cooker sits atop. The burners on the hob would need to be at a safe and comfortable usage height. Ultimately, the ‘fridge sits on the floor and is not raised as it had been previously. I positioned the ‘fridge in a convenient spot so as to maximise space. I framed in the base. I then made brackets for the shelf and fitted at appropriate points. Next was the fancy bit. Firstly, I had to measure all the edges and corners; no two were alike. (Yes, I did make mistakes. In fact, there was a period of a few days that I was making mistakes. Fortunately, I had plenty of plywood!) When I had the correct shape, I had to cut a hole so that the shelf would fit over the top of the ‘fridge. That was done by placing the shelf on top of the ‘fridge in situ and marking around the edge as far as I could reach. Then, emptying the sand into the inner pot, placing the upturned pot in position on the underside of the shelf and drawing around the pot. The ‘fridge was then reset. I cut the hole. Daniel kept a good hold on the shelf, turning it as I used the jigsaw.

At this point, you would expect to see a photo. Sorry! With all that was going on, I was engrossed. I completely forgot.

The shelf fits great. To remove the ‘fridge, I need only lift the shelf to pull it out.

The top shelf was easier but tricky to position due to the reduced angles. In the end, I had to remove the bottom shelf and brackets to slide upwards into position. (If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that one post leans in 😉)

Finally, the cooker was put in, and a tight fit it is. It looks great. I love it!

*see entry A new paint job

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