One of the most important areas of your van is the campervan kitchen unit. It has many functions, from housing the sink and stove, to the fridge, cutlery drawers, and storage cabinets. Truly a campervan kitchen unit is essential. Thus and therefore, in this illustrated guide we will learn how to build a kitchen unit from start to finish.
I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for many years, I'm the author of The Van Conversion Newsletter, the van conversion instructor at Udemy, and the proud owner of a beautiful self-build campervan called Beans. So let's jump in and learn about how to build a campervan kitchen unit!
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How to build a Campervan Kitchen Unit
In this guide we will learn how to build a campervan kitchen unit that looks something like this:
I even installed a terrarium in my campervan kitchen unit! 👇
Truly, a campervan kitchen unit is essential, so let's look at how to build one!
0. Finalise your campervan layout
Step 0... Make sure you have finalised your campervan design plans. This means mocking up your van on paper, or using a CAD software. The kitchen unit is so large and important that you need to know exactly where it will go.
Learn how to design your campervan in this article.
1. Build the carcassing frame
First step is to build the carcass of the campervan kitchen unit. I used 2X2 timber for this.
It is important to know exactly which compartments you want in your campervan kitchen unit. I needed compartments for the LPG heater, gas bottle, cutlery, pots & pans, water containers, fridge, and garbage bins. I also needed to account for the depth and width that the SMEV sink and stove would take up on the top.
The carcassing frame was built using simple butt joints that were screwed together. I used a lot of pocket hole joints when building the frame.
To ensure the angles of the cuboid frame are at 90° angles, you should use a carpenter's square.
2. Ply-line the back of the campervan kitchen unit
Ply-line the back of the campervan kitchen unit. This is a straightforward job with a jigsaw or circular saw.
A handy way to ensure you are cutting in a straight line is to use a chalk line. You flick and snap the chalk line down on the plywood and it will give you a nice, straight 'chalk line' to cut along.
Because my campervan kitchen unit separates the cab and the living quarters of the van, I insulated the back with board insulation and covered with some more ply.
Next, ply-line the individual compartments of the campervan kitchen unit.
3. Install the kitchen top
The kitchen top is an essential part of any campervan kitchen unit. It is a very hard surface that can take a lot of wear and tear. We install the sink and stove into the kitchen top.
Measure the required size and cut the kitchen top using a circular saw. Kitchen top wood is very hard wood. So make sure you are using a new, very sharp circular saw. Do not use a blade with a very high tooth count.
At this point, you will want to make a cut-out to allow for the installation of the sink and stove. The SMEV 9222 comes with a cardboard template which you can trace around with a pencil. You then simply cut along the trace line. Here is a guide on how to install the SMEV 9222.