Posted by: Steve and Bethany | January 23, 2009



I knew as I was building the cabinets, that with the curves I wanted, the structure was not going to be the finished wood, hence, applying a veneer after, would have to happen. I even used spacers in specific areas to allow for the thickness of the veneer. I also knew it would be teak all along, as my imagery was of a yacht interior, so there’s nothing new here, but removing it all.. .. is hard, mentally hard, making sure it all goes back together may be just as hard, although I’ve been pretty meticulous about documenting how it came apart so I can put it back together in exactly the same way. This step didn’t take long, nor will it show well in pictures, but, it’s like home construction, some parts make great visual progress, some parts don’t, but all parts are required to achieve the finished goal. On monday I’ll be bringing all the ‘soon-to-be-teak’ parts over to Larry at NOVA WOODWORKS shop, to apply the veneer as larry has a vacuum press.  I’ve been thinking about it, & some parts will require the vacuum press, some will just need to be pressed together & weighted, but since I’ve never worked with veneer before, Larry is the guy to help me through this phase.

starting to pull all the innards out

yes, this picture is current

you've gotta be pretty meticulous about keeping this all organized


I got most of the teak veneer done with larry @ novawoodworks this past weekend, it’s looking amazing, we decided to use a solvent based contact cement vs. wood glue or epoxy, & as a result ended up not needing the vacuum press. The clamping to all the different curves was one of the deciding factors, but for this application, we both felt this was the best solution, & man does it make it easy, the only thing to be careful of, is making sure you place the veneer EXACTLY where it needs to go, fortunately larry was already proficient at this, & I pick things up pretty quick.

the rear wall

Now let me go back to one of my original designs, I was originally going to create the entire face of the kitchen cabinets out of one sheet of wiggle board, forming one big curving plane, then cut out all the door & drawer openings from that, I had no problem with this part of the concept, but when it came to veneering it all, I couldn’t figure out how to cut out the veneer ‘dead-on’ at all the door & drawer holes, so I could use the matching veneer piece for the drawer front, creating one large matching grain pattern (I never did this before & wanted to try). Even though I chose to do these cabinets differently & build a hybrid european-non-european style of cabinets, there were still two drawers that needed to be cut out of the surrounding area; the pantry drawer below the fridge, & the shoe drawer in the curving bench face, well, I can say for certainty that cutting the veneer out of a larger sheet with a utility knife from the top down (toward the harder wood base, hugging the edges) works great, with no waste. We were able to use these two cut-out pieces  on the two drawer fronts no problem with 1/16″ to spare around the sides, Perfect grain match & all, the only thing you need is a good sharp knife. With all this said, I’m still glad I built the cabinets as I did (framed-frameless) just for the challenge. I’ll show some progress pics soon

Other tasks this weekend were to pull the seats out of the bullet to replace the center jumpseat with another from an ’08’ ram with storage in the armrest & below the seat, I had to do some custom wiring to get the 12 v outlet to work in this new storage area, as the seats didn’t have the same wiring harness, & re-install the center floor console I pulled to run the air compressor hose & wires  for the gauge in the dash.

hard to believe this guy hadn't done any work on cars since 1984

the original center seat

the new (used) center storage seat

I also have been working on the bridging ramps, welding up some small receivers  & mounting them in the sidewalls to hold these ramps permanently (3/8″ stainless bolts with rubber gromets will hold them there, & making sapele mahogony edges to help keep tires on the ramps ( & a little bit to warm up the all  metal exterior).

drilling in the bolts to hold them to the exterior walls



Larry & I finished the veneer & laminate today, the last of the pieces were the oddball detail pieces that required 3 steps, teak veneer, then poplar trim (let the glue dry overnight) then laminate top, all went perfectly. For the next week or so I’ll be hand-sanding every piece, getting the edges just right & everything ready for the clear coat, I’m scheduled to have it sprayed on two weeks from now, & it should only take a day or two. At this point we’re thinking a pre-catalyzed lacquer spray on everything (teak & poplar).

Larry having way too much fun

The toiletry cabinet was yet another cabinet with doors matching the veneer grain of the cabinet. On this one however, I chose to install the doors first, then glue the veneer on the cabinet & doors at the same time, then cut around the edges of the doors (the doors go all the way to the bottom of the cabinet, so it was easy to find the edges of the doors, & start the cut)

the toiletry cabinet (doors & all)


veneer, trim, & laminate done & sanded

toiletry cab with teak veneer & trim

mahogany clear-coated & ramp mounted on the side walls


working on miscellaneous things this past week, I had to remove & replace one of the bridging ramp receivers because the threads got screwed up, insulated the walls, ran wires below the floor to hook up the roof-mounted clearance & brake lights, as well as the front three roof-mounted spotlights, that of course will be switched from inside the truck, & powered from the truck battery. I also have been working on little details like waterproofing the last little nooks of the dry storage area below the floor, having the hydraulic system checked before enclosing it all within the cabinets, & verifying I can get the bed platform plywood angled into place within the walls of the camper. Up until now, I always rotated it into place by swinging it beyond the walls in the open ‘softwall’ area, but now I know I can install the softwalls before cabinets, & still get the cabinets in afterward. (it should be much easier, as I won’t have to climb over the cabinets to fasten them to the roof)

1" rigid on the sides & front

1 1/2"-3" of rockwool insulation around the spare & fuel can holders

I have a day or two finishing up the roof wiring, then the softwalls will go up, about then the cabinets should be clear-coated, so next weekend I can start installing them again.



  1. Steve,
    Your a super-cool-freak of the known universe! You and Spock are one.
    I loved catching up on your project and especially enjoy your amazing ability to create what you conger .Soon we hope you three drive up to Mt. Tom to the home you designed for us and show off your creation ! !

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