It was fabricated from 3/8-inch Baltic Birch plywood for the sides and 1/4-inch Baltic Birch plywood for the shelves. I dadoed the vertical sides to accept the shelving. This method provides a very strong joint.
I used only wood glue to bond the shelves to the sides. The lower front and upper rear cross piece were also pinned in place in addition to the glue. The finish was achieved using a sanding sealer on the raw wood, followed by a penetrating stain, a wiping stain and a top coat.
A coarse brush allowed me to streak the wiping stain to closely match the factory supplied laminated panels. For durability I use polyurethane top coat which is thinned, applied twice, sanded, steel wooled and buffed to a silky smooth surface. It is totally water resistant and very durable.
I just finished both of these modifications. They will provide us the organization we need to operate in such a small space. Once we begin putting the keys, wallets, watches, and pens into the small baskets on the lower two shelves and have access to our side board items via lighter lifting lids, we will be happier campers!
It took me ten hours to complete this modification and cost me about $18. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is hard.
2. Darryl and Kathy Stolica, Blountville, Tennessee
Dinette to Sofa Conversion
2005 Dodge Ram 3500
2012 Chalet TS116
Our Chalet camper originally had a couch and a U-shaped dinette. We live in it for months at a time and wanted a second comfortable place for seating. It is usually just the two of us so we did not need the U-shaped dinette, but still wanted a small table for eating. Our compromise was a couch-table quick conversion.
We removed and stored the two back curved cushions from the U-shaped dinette and the large table. We bought a 16-inch by 72-inch by 3/4-inch pine shelf and placed it on top of the dinette frame next to the window. We stained it to match the cabinets.
We built a skeleton box frame out of 1-inch by 1-inch scrap lumber to support the back cushions for the sofa and temporarily secured it to the underside of dinette frame. The remaining three back cushions and three seat cushions from the dinette were simply rearranged to form the couch. We didn’t have to buy a single cushion!
We used the small table that came with the camper (that made the dinette into a bed) as our new mini table. We added a table base to the bottom of the small table and reused the post from the large table.
Now we can have four to six adults sit comfortably on the two couches. When it’s just the two of us, we each have our own couch and can pop up the table for dinner in just minutes.
The board across the back of the couch acts as a great buffet for food when we eat and a work station for computers, lamps, and storage baskets the rest of the time.
A bonus is the extra storage behind the cushions for items we don’t need to access daily such as paper towels, toilet paper, etc. The best thing is that nothing is permanent and can be put back in its original condition for resale.