Designing the Van Part 22 – The Kitchen Work Surface

Every kitchen needs a good work surface, in fact I’m sure it’s written in the laws of the universe that the work surface defines the kitchen. I was fortunate that my mom had just had a new kitchen fitted and she had some left over solid oak, which she kindly gave me for the van.

This as a dark and heavy piece of wood, the kind that if it were to fall on someone from any height, not just a great one, it would send them roughly 200 years backwards in time mentally. It’s the kind of object that had druids congregating about in the dark ages and of which science fiction films with pompous visuals, audacious soundtracks and meaningless plots have been lauded for decades.

Yes, our kitchen work surface began life as a monolith.

It was my job to temper that monolith and convert it into something which would hold the sink and that I could get the taps through. Being around 30mm think that wasn’t going to be the easiest task but I started with the simple stuff – I cut it to the right size with the trusty jigsaw.

I then placed it on the frame, measured the taps and made allowances for them, drew the outline of the sink and underneath I marked the beams which I’d have to screw through.

Back to the jigsaw I cut the hole for the sink making sure its lip would not fall through (as that would have been a huge waste of money on the wood) and drilled the pilot holes for the taps. Fitting them required a hole cutter and something else that I don’t know the name of but which also makes bigger holes than a drill bit.

I had to counter sink the tap holes or I wouldn’t be able to thread the retaining nuts on the bottom and they’d wobble and twist about then used – something I couldn’t live with.

I ran some PVA glue across the top of the beams and placed the surface on top, cleaning up the excess glue that squeezed out of the sides. I then drilled screw holes in the beams, countersunk them underneath and screwed the top in place. It would take a hand grenade to shift that once the glue went off and I had my doubts that one of those would be powerful enough.

I let it set for an hour before fitting the taps, plumbing them in and then fitting the sink. I didn’t actually ‘fix’ the sink in place because it’s so heavy and sat perfectly in the hole that nothing but the van turning upside down would move it.

Next up I had to plumb in the waste water and work out the water pump.

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