Chinook RV Forum

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2017, 9:35 pm 
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Joined: April 20th, 2015, 10:45 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Hi all,
If I keep my 1990 Chinook I'd like to replace all the woodwork inside. This includes all the cabinet fronts, the wood around the shower door and fridge, kitchen cabinet, etc.

Has anyone done this?

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2017, 9:46 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I've kind of done it. What I mean by that is I hired a cabinetmaker friend to help me, and we removed all of the original cabinets (except for the shower) and made many new ones and fit them. While everything was out I re-did some electrical and plumbing. Also the new cabinets are designed so that when you take out the drawers you have just a big hole you can get into to work (vs. the chopped up access with the originals). Part of my impetus for the whole thing was to get rid of the dark oak, and another part was to remove the very large, aisle-narrowing refrigerator.

Unfortunately, then cancer stepped in and cabinetmaker friend was not able to continue the job. So, Plan B.

I put the old cabinets back in the kitchen and aft (for now) (with a few changes), and went on with my life. The new cabinets are in storage. BUT, I had taken apart the old overhead cabinets (that were over the couch, dining, sink, stove area). Those were my least favorite thing. My first plan was just to make some plywood "septum" type braces to keep the structural integrity up there. Then I thought, well, I'll put a face and bottom on the one over the couch so I can store things there again. That came out pretty well, and I had materials left over so.... I made a second one for over the dining table. Then, I still had wood left over so they got doors and hinges :D

Funny thing is that even though they are "temporary" cabinets that I threw together at a boondock, I like them at least twice as much as the original dark oak (not my style).

Anyway, long story shorter is that I've had it all out, some bits twice. So if you have any specific questions perhaps I can answer them. Granted I have a 1999, but I've seen the guts of a 1970's 18+ and it looked rather familiar :D

I know of at least a few other folks here who have done fairly extensive re-fits, so they will probably have good information to add.

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2017, 3:53 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Note that only the cabinet doors are solid wood, everything else is laminated particle board.

It's the one thing I really dislike about the Chinook interior: fake looking wood behind real wood.

I thought about adding veneer everywhere (it wouldn't cost that much - a few hundred dollars), but then ran across that new stainable primer made from microscopic wood particles.

Now I'm thinking of covering everything in that, and then I can stain it all the same matching color (or not), with the stain being any color dark or light.

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2017, 6:28 pm 
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
That laminated particle board stuff isn't very appealing. It would be a nice upgrade to upgrade it to veneer, but it seems like a big job.

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2017, 7:30 pm 
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At first, I also thought veneer would be too big a job. Then after sitting down, mapping it out, and looking up available sheet sizes, I realized - not really, especially after taking all the cabinet doors off.

We'd need a sheet each for: above cab for old models, left and right cabinet faces and bottoms, front of stove and sink cabinets, around bath door, around fridge and closet door.

Anyway, that all became moot after this stainable primer came out:

https://youtu.be/eHpgSMZ2LU0

Just brush/roll/spray it on and voila! the laminate now has a stainable wood face. Neat!

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2017, 8:52 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I've noticed a lot of people think the cabinetry is all wood - and Chinook didn't really discourage that - but if you read carefully, Chinook does specify "all wood doors" (or something like that). Yeah, MFD ... boo. Heavy, really easily water damaged - just what you want! :roll:

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PostPosted: July 21st, 2017, 10:33 pm 
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I was quite surprised that my old 1990 Chinook had that cheap MFD. My 2005 has it as well. It absorbs water and swells.

I was thinking veneer was a type of wood, but I was wrong. The stain able primer is quite interesting!

I imagine it would be a tough job to replace all the MFD with oak.

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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2017, 5:18 am 
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Location: Northern NJ
No, you're right that veneer is a thin layer of real wood, overlaid on either cheaper wood or particle board.

Laminate is just a printed picture of wood grain on vinyl or plastic or similar sheets.

Our Chinooks use wood grain printed Melamine plastic laminate over light weight MDF ( Medium Density Fiberboard aka glued sawdust panels ) for the cabinet faces. Btw, MDF weighs more than the same sized wood does!

Apparently the reason MDF is used is because it doesn't expand and contract like real wood does with temperature and humidity changes. So it's easier to mass produce cabinets that will work in an RV environment.

Kev

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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2017, 7:20 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz
A laminate can be anything laminated, from plywood to a large beam. A veneer suggests a visual or functional priority with an overall economic motivation (put something nice like a hardwood layer or Melamine over something not-nice, save money). MDF is used in RVs because it is indeed dimensionally "stable" (although quite hygroscopic, and morbidly hydrophilic), but it's used mostly because it's cheap and smooth. Smooth is important because it's easier to make an overlay look convincing. It also receives staples readily, and is very easy to machine without chip-out. And it can be patched/repaired with various cheats. Also possible but not as easy with the crunchy grain of CDX or other plywoods. Marine grade ply and Baltic Birch constitute a separate conversation. Plywoods are not to be assumed to be unstable by any means.
Certainly not as extensively as Blue, but I've delved fairly deeply into my Chinook's woodwork, mostly to increase storage, fit a new fridge, repair some water damage, reinforce components which I felt were lacking structure, and to remove a few little things like the club lounge, among others. If you really dislike the appearance, or functionality, then I'd advise that one just starts anew. Radically reworking the stock stuff to me is not an economical use of time.

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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2017, 1:15 am 
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Location: Northern NJ
Very interesting, thanks!

Reportedly the only plywood pieces are the bulkheads between the stove/fridge and sink/bath, correct?

I mean, besides in the sofa/dinette area. I have a question about the various boards and composite panels there on the walls and ceiling. (The ones the overhead cabinets are screwed into, etc.)

Are they embedded in the body fiberglass?

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