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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *P* is Propane Stove/Oven Installation and Thrift Treasures!

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter P now!


Propane Stove/Oven Installation:
As most of you blog readers know, Steve and I really enjoy cooking in our motorhome. We rarely go to a restaurant. So we try to keep a fully stocked kitchen and utensils for when we head out to the woods.

The only drawback on our Safari motorhome is that it does not have a propane oven. It does have a 2 burner stovetop set into the counter. Also, it does have a convection oven microwave combo, which finally works after a few years of it being frustratingly inoperable.

Since we usually are boondocking without electrical hookups, that can present a problem. We would have to either forgo baking something, or we have to run the generator to bake things. Especially in the early morning for muffins or cinnamon rolls or biscuits, we do not wish to disturb people around us with our generator. The generator on board is really quiet, but we still don't like to use that unless we really have to.

Here is our present set up in our kitchen with the microwave convection combo over a two burner cooktop set into the counter underneath it.

We have discussed a while back about adding a propane oven stove unit to our rig. See the drawers underneath the cooktop? I would be willing to sacrifice three of them to put in an oven. I would also love to get more burners rather than just two on the cooktop.

To the right of the sink I have four more additional drawers, so I could easily sacrifice those three under the stove. Leaving the bottom drawer intact is where we store our dog food and extra wine bottles. Those are both necessity!

We looked around at propane stove oven units for RVs, they run in the $400 plus range for a new one.  Ouch! Did I mention that we are cheap too?  (on a budget) 

Stevieo was perusing the local buy sell trade pages on Facebook. Lo and behold, he ran across a used RV 4 burner stove with propane oven. The guy was only asking TEN DOLLARS!!

Not only that, it's the 21 inch height size oven which is what I really wanted! It is taller, so it gives you three shelf positions and you can put in two racks which can allow you to bake two trays of cookies or two pans of muffins or two pizzas at the same time.

We had an oven like this in our Sierra travel trailer, with the 21" space. When we bought that trailer, I made dealer throw in an extra rack. We had four teens and needed the pizza space, I told him! 

Our last Coachman motorhome only had the 17 inch which was much smaller with only two rack positions. I really didn't care for the 17 inch. The bottom rack position is usually pretty useless because everything burns... arrgghh!  If I had a choice, it would be the 21" oven. 

Here is the propane stove/oven he found on Facebook: 

It didn't look too bad in the pictures, so we contacted the seller.

We made arrangements to go look at it early because the seller works all night and gets done at 6 a.m. He asked if we could get there as early as possible so he could go to bed on Friday morning. He lives 45 miles away so it meant getting up extra early for us to head over to check it out.

The oven portion looked virtually unused but the top portion had a few areas of chipped paint around the edges. There was a buildup of grease spills and gunk underneath the cooktop portion that needed a good scrubbing. But other than that, for $10 we were willing to clean it up.  We handed over our cash and took it home with smiles on our faces. 

So our project begins... We tore it apart and started cleaning the individual pieces. Steve sanded down the chipped areas and I got high temp Rust-Oleum paint to give it a fresh coat. I scrubbed the individual burners and wiped out the oven. 

The enameled cooking area black portion was in perfect shape. But underneath it took a while to scrub up the the spillovers and grease. 

Soon Steve was ready to give it it's final coat of paint. He also decided to repaint the front oven door and handle, as both were faded and could use some sprucing up

Honestly, we really enjoy doing projects together like this... 
with a goal in mind and wanting to make it look good.
Plus the price was right for something we both wanted.

We went out to double-check and measure in the motorhome. We removed the three drawers. I condensed the items from those drawers over into the other four drawers to the right of the sink. I still have plenty of storage in this kitchen area. The bottom drawer under the stove is the one that can remain for our dog food and extra wine bottle stash.

With careful measuring, Steve drew the preliminary lines 
on the Corian type countertops. 
They are actually called Fountainhead 
but are similar to Corian.

He carried out the oven to the rig to set it down on the floor. It was easier to take measurements from it right there than going back and forth to the garage.

It really looks pretty spiffy and shiny doesn't it? 
Good job, Steve!

He removed the braces between all three drawers. It was pretty easy with a hint from fellow Safari owner Wille whom also removed his drawers. Behind each cross piece it was held into place with two screws so they were pretty easy to remove and pop out of the way along with the drawer slides.

He left the topmost cross piece of wood in place to help support the countertop as he makes his cuts. That piece will come out last.

Next, Steve turned off the propane at the tank and totally drained out the propane line by running the burners until it burned off all the existing fumes. That is important.  See how we only had two burners on this cooktop?  

He carefully untethered the cooktop from the copper propane line and also unplugged it from the 120v outlet for the electric igniters. From underneath, he removed two brackets and was able to lift the cooktop right out.

That old cooktop brought us big bucks on Ebay when I listed it.  It was wanted by people building "Tiny Houses" and that Gaggneau brand pulls over $1,300 new! I think we ended up selling it for just under $400.00.

Steve carefully measured two or three times and then made support brackets for the underneath side of the oven so it's not just suspended from the top edge on the counter, but also is firmly supported at it's base.

We tossed around the idea of the bottom drawer---- whether we should leave it as a big one, or use a suggestion by fellow Safari owner Wille to substitute two of the narrower drawers in it's place. We decided we could change that later if we want, but we will keep the one big drawer for now. Remember, I said that's for dog food and my extra wine bottle storage!

Steve suggested we put up some type of a barricade to help keep the floating residue of the countertop dust particles from spreading all over the motorhome. Fortunately, I had these wonderful fabric pieces that are made for draping around a banquet table for craft shows. The edges of the pieces are already stitched with strips of velcro --- we were able to easily stick them up to the carpeted ceiling in the motorhome. It made the perfect dust capture enclosure. Up above we had the Fantastic Fan to help suck up the heat and the dust.

Donning our face masks and safety goggles, he went to work on carefully drilling the two pilot holes in the two corners. For this he used a Fostner bit on the drill. It easily drills out a larger hole without putting as much stress on the surrounding material as a normal drill bit does. It's also easier to control and more exact.

I held the end of the shop vac hose right near where he was drilling to help take away any of the excess material as the Fostner bit pulled it up out of the hole.

Once each corner was drilled, now it was time to get out the skil saw. A suggestion by fellow Safari owner Brian Harmon, who is also a Corian counter installer, was to get a special 60 tooth blade specifically for laminate and formica as well as Corian. Starting any technical precision job with a brand new blade is a good idea.

He very carefully lined up his skil saw and worked slowly as the blade slid through the Corian material. The instructions said do not push it too fast or you will smell a burning odor. Slow and easy took care of it. 

Next he made the crosswise cut on the back section right up to his pilot holes in each corner. 

Am I ever glad we put up the little fabric dust catching booth. That stuff sure made a mess. It's like a fine powder all over the place.

Now Steve had to make the two precise cuts for the very corner edges of the stove where it sets against the front of the counter. He carefully measured three times and then cut once. Because if you cut off too much, you can never put it back on again!!!

Now it was time to remove that last cross piece of wood. He left it in place to help support the countertop material during cutting.

The next step was to carefully sand all the edges so nothing was sharp and nothing was more susceptible to cracking. Rounded corners with Corian help make it last longer than a sharp 90 degree right angle cut.

When we removed the old cooktop there was a special heat tape stuck around the opening. The YouTube we watched suggested that we use this type of tape when installing the new stove. Fortunately this tape was the exact same size to fit in the new opening. Recycle! Reuse! Repurpose!

I took down all of the fabric draping and started vacuuming and cleaning and wiping everything up. Boy oh boy what a mess it made. I am so glad we hung that fabric around, otherwise I would be cleaning dust from the entire motorhome for weeks.

Okay, here is the time we were waiting for. 
This is the dry fitting stage. 
It fits like a glove! 
Yay Steveio!!!

Our next step was to reconnect the propane line. Steve got the proper fittings all arranged and hooked it up carefully. We tested for leaks with a bubble solution (kids blow bubbles work great!) Good to go.


We had one more thing to address, and that was this gap on the back side after removing the old 2 burner cooktop.  It was not too noticeable, but I didn't want anything falling down behind there. 

Steve got a piece of steel and painted it to match.
He attached it with some Power Grab adhesive.
Looks like part of the stove!

 I think it looks pretty danged good....

My most favorite roaster pan from my friend Lisa
fits in the oven perfectly with the lid on!

I have not been able to use this roaster in the motorhome until now.
I have only been using it outside on the campfire.

I ordered an additional oven rack,
so I can do two pizzas
or two trays of cookies
 or two pans of muffins etc.

 I kinda think this looks like it belongs there all the while.....

Look at that! Now I have an oven.... and FOUR burners on the top to cook with instead of TWO!   This is really a great improvement for people who cook a lot in their RV.

Not too bad for a $10 used stove
a can of $4 hi heat paint
and a $30 saw blade!  

Great job, Steveio... you are my hero! 


Yesterday I went "thrifting" with my friend Vicky.  We hit the very nice St. Vinnies store in Plymouth, WI.  It is a pretty big store with clean good things and arranged nicely for our shopping enjoyment.   Vicky started off with finding me 8 beautiful eggs, all intricately hand painted on wood.  Oh my!

The next treasure that Vicky spotted was this 

She didn't want it for herself,
she said it had "My Name" on it.  LOL!!!!

It's about 13" long and 10 " high. 
I think it will make an interesting cookie jar??
For now I put it on the end of my island
in the kitchen, and I think it looks nice there. 

As we walked around, I found a few other treats.  I collect blown glass paperweights, and managed to find two of them for only .99 each.  I line them up on the front porch windowsills, and the grandkids love to play with them.  They are thrilled that I let them "play with glass" although they are pretty much indestructible.

This adorable little horse caught my eye, and it looks folk art-ish. I can't find any makers marks on it, but it appears to be handmade. It looks to be kinda South American? This porcelain egg that Vicky found was wedged tight in it's box, brand new, never opened.  It is now going on the mantle of our fireplace.

It wasn't all just fun decor stuff, I also was happy to find some silver-plated dinner forks for my tool making. Silver-plated bends easier than stainless steel.  Steve and I make and sell tools for antique sock-knitting machines ...

Steve hammers them flat and bends the tines over.  
Then he drills a hole in the bottom of each fork. 

I dip the 1 pound deep sea fishing weights into liquid rubber tool dip, and hang them to dry along the edge of my little bench in the basement workroom.   It takes two dips to properly coat them, totally drying in between.

Once the weights are dry, 
we hang them from keychains on the bottom of each fork.   

This is how they are used: 

I sell them in sets of 3 for $41.99 plus shipping
on my website,
in my Etsy store
 and on Ebay.

After that, we perused a quilt shop for ideas and fabrics, and had a nice long lunch in a little small town cafe right on the main street in Plymouth, called Hub City Restaurant.  We had creamy rich spinach soup, and I ordered a French Dip sandwich. There was sooo much roast beef piled up high on it, that I took home the second half and made soup from it today.  NO kidding! 

Vicky gifted me with a sweet little beaded wreath she made
and a stained glass snowman made by her talented father. 

It was a nice girls day out , and thanks again to Vicky for giving up her day off work to hang out with me and hit the stores.  It was worth it for the treasures we found. 


We had another delightful addition to our home this morning.  Our friend Linda came across this wonderful old world Craftsman style cabinet.  It had been removed from an old home, and put up for sale on the Facebook Marketplace. It didn't work out for what she wanted, so she sold it to us for the same price she paid.... TWENTY DOLLARS!!!  

Plus she delivered it 
and helped Steve carry it in!

(for the mere delivery fee of a cup of coffee and a fresh baked muffin)

We have a few ideas of what we want to do with it,
but for now we are going to keep it in our bedroom
where it matches the woodwork and looks like it belongs there! 

I have to raise the painting and move it over a bit.
I didn't get the shelves in it yet, 
but for now it has a "home"!

1 comment:

  1. Girls days are fun, we had one today. I love the cabinet it sure is beautiful.


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