Tip: Install the cabin shelf before the door sills

Welcome to TeardropForum.com Forums Teardrop Builders’ Forum Tip: Install the cabin shelf before the door sills


Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #3225

    I’ve been pretty much following the order of build page-by-page in the manual.  Once I had my door sills in, I moved on to the shelf.  It took a lot of pounding, tugging and persuading to get the shelf in.  Fortunately, it finally slipped into place.  If I had needed to take it out to trim anything, I don’t think that it would have been possible.  The door sills were in the way.  The manual shows the shelf being installed without the door sills, but for some reason, these pages follow the discussion of the door sills.

    Another tip: open any mortises before covering them with anything: door stiffeners, door sills, the aft end of the galley hatch. This is obvious in retrospect, but, again, I was following page-by-page.  I used a Dremel to clean out the covered mortises, but it would have been a lot easier to be able to poke a file all the way through.


    I had the same issue.  I did the sills first and then had a massive battle to get the fiddle shelf in place.  However I wonder if the sills would be hard to get in the right spot if the shelf was in the way.  Either way it is tight.


    Thanks to your warnings, I installed the shelf first. Today I installed the sills and had to file a bit (maybe 1/8″) of the fiddle on the left side to get the sill to fit right.


    According to the Hymnal, the shelf install is followed by an ugly episode with upside-down epoxy-soaked tape. Although I didn’t see it mentioned, in the pictures it also looks as if the galley-flat edge needs to be rounded before taping. At this point I still have the shell upside down and I’m going to try and rout the galley-flat corner edge to 3/8″, install the shelf, fillet the shelf bottom seam, and then apply the tape from ‘above’. Once it’s right side up again I’ll fillet the top edge of the shelf. (I too had a conflict with the door sills so I trimmed the shelf a tad.)

    I’ll report back when the damage is done.


    jettaMan, have you done the shelf installation yet? If so, how did it go? I’m at nearly the same place in my build and have been thinking how much easier it would be to install the shelf soon while the access is there.


    Mike –

    I installed the shelf and things went pretty smoothly. The galley wall is an arch with a flat midsection. I routed  the middle to a 3/8″ radius round, holding the router vertically. This worked well. I went a rout too far when I rounded the arched section to 1/4″ – I set the bit just a tad too deep and notched the arch a little, but after some remedial sanding it looks fine. (This only happened because I didn’t double-check the bit depth.) I covered the whole 40″ (the Hymnal preaches 31″) length of the flat section with FG tape covering the edge of the galley flat to the shelf with no difficulty. This has got to be easier than plastering epoxy-soaked tape upside down on your back per the Hymnal. I combined sanding and weave filling for the tape and the bezel FG.

    For whatever reason, after gluing the long edge of the shelf to the arch, there were ~1/8″ gaps between the cabin walls and the shelf ends. (I may have trimmed these but I can’t remember). I just clamped strips of HDPE underneath and poured  wood-flour epoxy soup  into the crevasses. I’ll fillet these over today and then repeat on the other side once I set the cabin right-side up.

    Two things to consider:

    • Be sure that the cabin is secure – it’s round and will want to roll. I pushed snow tires under the round end and supported the galley flat with a saw-horse.
    • If you,  like me, skew towards the senior side, escaping from the inverted camper can be interesting. If there’s plenty of clearance you can walk out on your arms while lifting your feet over the threshold. In my case I parked a table saw outside the door so I could lift myself upwards and out. Either way, no need for the gym to build upper-body strength!

    Thanks for the quick reply. I went ahead a did mine also. I looked ahead in the book and couldn’t see any reason not to. I’m doing this way ahead of where the shelf is installed in the directions and my camper is still in the mold so there’s no rolling. I’m not sure how much arch there is in your wall but my galley wall is nearly dead flat, maybe because it’s still in the mold. I put a four foot straight edge across and there might be 1/32 of space (or less) here and there but but for the most part it is straight. I cut a new shelf out of mahogany but used the kit shelf for size and mine also has a small gap between the shelf and shell at each end. I didn’t fillet between the ends and the shell yet. I’m thinking the shell may want to move ever so slightly away from where it is now and those fillets will be after the form is removed.


    I took over a TC project in mid-stream so I’m unfamiliar with the terminology before page 188. Reading the Hymnal I see that what I was calling the ‘arch’ is the bottom edge of the bulkhead, the ‘wall’ that receives the shelf tenons. As you say it’s flat beam-wise. In my build sequence the galley flat was already installed so I could use the router to round-over the 90⁰ joint where the bulkhead and flat meet. That gave a nice gentle transition for the FG reinforcing tape to flow starting on the flat, over a bit of the bulkhead, across the fillet joining the bulkhead and onto the bottom of the shelf.

    I too was unkeen to gaze at end-grain plywood every night so I built up a combination facing/fiddle out of butternut hiding the  shelf’s edge. Butternut’s very soft and lightweight. Visually it’s bland and looks pretty much like Okoume when  finished.

    I’m working way out of order. I waited to fillet the shelf’s sides until after I had put in the door sills. The sills do take in the pucker of the shell a little but not much near the seam where the shelf is fitted.



    Now I get what you mean about the arch. I wasn’t thinking before. I’m about to install the galley floor and will also round over the straight section of bulkhead/galley floor and then tape the shelf/bulkhead/galley like it shows in the book, doing all that was routed. It is much easier to get at now.

    I’m definitely ‘skewing toward senior’ and if I can’t get out of the camper at any point I’ll just have my family bring my meals to me there.


    Thanks to everyone who mentioned and discussed this.  I just installed the galley flat and quarter panels, and it sure looks like it’d be WAY easier to install the shelf at this point, with it all tipped up and pretty accessible.  I’ll finish sand the bulkhead before I put the shelf in, and save the fillet on the top of the shelf for when it’s right-side-up.

    Since the floor will follow pretty soon, is there anything else I should consider while it’s pretty open?  I’m off next week, so I may make significant progress unless we get enough snow to go skiing!


    Santa Fe, NM


Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.