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Old 09-14-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 53
Countertop Replacement

When we got our used SMB earlier this year, it came with a propane stove and a removable pantry at the end of the cabinet in the doorway. Both left a bit to be desired. The stove stuck up about 3 inches above the main counter, obstructing most of it. The pantry top was about 3/4" below the main countertop and the flip-up door/counter was 3/4" below that. The resulting stairstep counter was not as useful as it could be.

The original installation looked like this:


Mrs. Kzinti wanted the counter space more than the stove so it had to go; the portable stove we use outside could be used inside on the rare occasions we cook inside. The stove hole had to go too, so a new counter was in order and, well, could you level out the rest of the counter elements while you're at it???

After establishing some criteria (the pantry does not need to be removable, the sink can stay in the same location) and picking out a laminate pattern (passed on solid surface counter in favor of a frige which our SMB lacked), I measured and sketched for the new top. I made the top from 3/4" birch plywood edged with red oak, with the long edges 1-1/4" wide to accomodate the curves and copes needed for the installation. The top extends across the top of the pantry which was shimmed up to the top of the main cabinets. A larger flip-up door/counter was made and mounted so it would flip up flush with the main counter. Laminate was applied on the tops and I routed a small bevel to protect against chipping and soften the corner. The old counter was used to trace the holes for the sink and faucet which were reused.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures during fabrication but when it was done, it looks like this:

Mrs. Kzinti installed a velcro strip on the back edge of the counter ala-BadgerTrek to hold a soap dispenser, small bin and other countertop tiems.

The fllip-up door/counter now flips up flush with the main counter:


I replaced the "slam" latches on the pantry doors with round Southco latches:


These latches have been used in some SMB builds as well as homebuilds and retrofits viewtopic.php?p=49650#p49650
They install easily in a 2" round hole. I used a new sharp Forstner bit in a drill press for this which gave me clean, perpendicular holes. As a part of the counter top project and a related fridge install, all of the door and drawer slam latches were replaced with the round Southcos.

The new flat counter was nicer to use on it's first trip over Labor Day weekend. I did discover that I needed to move the flip-up door over 1/4" to miss the handle used to pull the van's side door closed. The old door was also shifted over, both to miss the handle and to provide a finger ledge to yank the slam latch open. No need to yank now with the new latches.
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2004 SMB w/Penthouse - Ford 2wd RB 6.0 - new to us in 2011
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