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Old 01-17-2017, 06:02 PM   #1
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Question Choosing wood for all new interior build...

In a few weeks I hope to be ripping out the cabinets I made and redoing with the help from a very skilled carpenter find of mind.

A bunch of questions...

Cabinet face and sides; I prefer a light color so it keeps the interior bright. What wood or synthetic would you recommend?
The internals/ structure of the cabinet; what say you?
And of course the counter top, it's going to be rather long (6+feet).
The catch is I like to do all sorts of stuff on it from food prep, cooking, built in under mount sink, laptop station, small electronic fixing, laying tools on it, to even doubling as a second bed if necessary...
Obviously it needs to be strong/resist damage, germ free and easily cleaned. I had thought about granite counter but my friend thinks the weight and cost would be astronomical and mentioned a Corian countertop might be better.

Please comment on any part.
Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:35 PM   #2
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Member Boywonder has a very good write up on this, search under:
Cabinet door laminating/resurfacing tutorial
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:52 PM   #3
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Rob,

Am currently rebuilding my interior using 1/2" Baltic Birch plywood. It has very light color and comes in 5x5 sheets. Am planning on using a clear finish on it to keep the interior as light as possible. The boxes are done. Moving on to the drawers next.

The cabinets are constructed with butt joints that are glued and screwed with 1-5/8" long screws. The back panel adds the necessary shear. The very bottom of the cabinets is 3/4" plywood. Have located all the factory seat mounting locations. The cabinets will be bolted to the floor using these locations. They will also be attached to the side walls with angle brackets. Adjacent cabinets will be screwed together as well.

My countertop is about 48x21 with a top mounted sink. This will give me adequate prep area for cooking. The stove will be on a pull out drawer that will be at a 90 degree angle to the countertop. Am going old school and using Formica for the countertop surface. Felt that granite would be heavy and expensive. My experience is that Corian has a tendency to crack.
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Old 01-17-2017, 07:14 PM   #4
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As above, Baltic birch plywood. It's stronger than regular plywood and cheaper than hardwood faced plywood. Birch is a very light colored wood, so probably just a clear finish if you use 3B. 4B will have some surface defects you may not like. 1/2 is all you need for everything, althouth id personally use 1/4 on many parts to save weight, like shallow draw bottoms. About the worst thing you can use is the mdf that most or the RV industry uses, it's heavy, not very strong and soaks up water like a sponge, and expands / crumbles when it does.
For countertop, i'd put a plastic laminate on plywood to save weight, it will stand up for RV use. Even corian is too heavy for an RV imo.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:18 PM   #5
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I used baltic birch pretty much everywhere...or import (Chinese flavor of baltic birch)

The import comes in 4x8 sheets only, real BB comes in either 5x5 or 4x8 sheets for most sizes. It's easy to get in So Cal maybe a bit tougher elsewhere. The import stuff is lighter than real baltic birch.

It's also really easy to laminate so you could do real wood veneer $$$ or a laminate product $$.

I used a "corian" type material for counter tops...I got a scrap piece for free from a friend of a friend.

A couple things to mention about solid surface materials...

they are heavy (not as heavy as granite but still heavy)

they are 1/2" thick so you need to double the edge for a countertop look....the corian adhesive seems 100% like 2 part epoxy

the material machines excellent (table saw, router, etc)

You can sand the top with ever-increasing sandpaper grit to get anything from a matte finish to a very shiny finish.

They are next to impossible to buy unless you are a cabinet/countertop fabricator.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:30 PM   #6
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Fyi ,this is the wood I used (forgot the name- maybe maple? ), while I think it's very nice looking with just linseed oil and seems to resist moisture very well it's just too dark and dreary on the inside (white paper towel for color reference)
I'm hoping for an almost bleached white colored wood or maybe synthetic stuff. But I'd really like to avoid applying laminate to anything, it's way above my skill level... sadly.
Is there a wood that is unique, light colored, can resist damage? Remember it's just for the front facia areas... so if it's a little more expensive, I think I can afford.

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Old 01-17-2017, 08:33 PM   #7
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I'm also considering doing something like a copper countertop. I saw it in a bar many years ago I thought it was just fantastic. It was one huge sheet of copper laid out across the bar and bent to fit all the curves and shape.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:45 PM   #8
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Copper=$$$ I have some copper on my house outside...soldered together looks great patinas up nice but not exactly DIY for me.

If you go to a real lumberyard (forget Lowes or Home Depot) or cabinet plywood dealer, they have many types of high grade plywood (usually shop grade birch or better) that is veneered and finished with a topcoat...maple, cherry, mahogany, etc..

Where are you located? Can't tell from your avatar....
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:52 PM   #9
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I had figured that real lumber yards and cabinet shops would have a better selection of materials, thanks.
I'm currently in Jacksonville, FL...

As for the copper idea, I honestly don't have a clue on the costs lol. But it seems like it might be cheaper than stone or Corian?
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:01 PM   #10
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Planning on doing some woodwork in Baltic Birch (different projects, using thicknesses from 1/8" to 5/8"). Not so easy to find stores that carry it here close to NYC, but the odd thing is that with the suppliers I have found, the prices vary so widely. One place is cheaper than HD plywood (Rosenzweig in the Bronx), while another supplier in NJ is much more expensive.

A lot of vans finish with wood tones that would be nice in a spacious room, but end up being rather claustrophobic in the confined space of a van. I am thinking of trying whitewash, or since it is a silver van with grey interior, a grey variation (greywash?). Thinking it might show the grain and character of wood, but still allow a somewhat lighter color. Still deciding for myself, but given your comments, thought it was worth mentioning the idea.

Given your criteria, IMO Corian could make a good choice for a countertop. The bonding is the challenging part, but if you are ok with avoiding the bonding and keeping it to a simple 1/2" thickness, Corian is otherwise (cutting, routing, sanding) so workable that it would even make for an easy DIY project. Corian can be difficult to get from an authorized vendor, but there are scraps, 'discontinueds' and project leftovers to be found, sometimes on Craigslist.
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