Upgrading the Camper with Friction Fit Shelves

Upgrading the Camper with Friction Fit Shelves

Last Updated on April 6, 2020 by Jess

The maidens of the travel trailer made their first primitive camping trip on a four-day and three-night weekend.

By primitive we mean that there was no wifi. There was no telephone service. We still had full connections, including natural water, sewage and electricity. But not having Netflix or Amazon Prime on TV made a rainy weekend less interesting than it might have been.

The good news is that the Yukon of half a ton with the small (5.3 liter) engine made the 120 mile ride, mostly on fairly vertical Missouri Ozarks roads and kept all meters in the green. On the interstate highway system it seems that about 62 miles per hour (indicated) is about the comfortable cruising speed. The two-lane motorways reduced that to about 55. The speed could be maintained on some fairly steep slopes. All in all, the last doubts about the Yukon have been eliminated. The next stop is Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The new TV in the living room worked without blowing up. The DVD player works. The CD player works, and the outside speakers as well. All systems are now in a nutshell.

The weekend was a bit rainy (the remains of the hurricane seemed to wander all the way to Missouri), so the hammock was not used, but the game with the holes of the hole (who dreams of these names?) Was assembled and at least tried out.

Comment from Pamela: we were both horrible in the game Corn Hole, but we will persevere.

We played poker. David taught Pamela how to use chips and play the game and she won the poker show. Pam won the poker downdown, helped by her cheat sheet with ranking. The Farkle game also offers entertainment, but was not nearly as fun as playing poker. Interestingly, none of us had literally played card games for years, so we could not remember how to play Gin Rummy, Pinochle, Hearts, etc. We had no internet access and could not make any mobile phone calls to ask friends. We now have a book with 100 card games to play in case we are back in this situation.

Now for Pam’s report about the meal preparation without starting the fire detectors and warming the camper.

A friend gave me an induction 1-burner stove. So I bought a frying pan and lid and also have a 5-way use Dutch oven type pot that works on the Induction burner. Can I only say that all RVs should replace their gas burner head with induction cooking. It does not heat the camper, the temperature is very easy to control and cooks evenly. I loved it.

If it rains two days and the mosquitoes are out, I cook here. On Saturday afternoon the sun came out and there was a nice breeze, so I could cook on our Blackstone Dash grill and flat top. I really enjoyed this new experience in cooking. I felt like I was a cook in a restaurant. It is nicely and evenly warmed up. I cooked brats and hash browns for us with plenty of space. Tidying up was easy and then the whole unit picks up like a piece of hand luggage and goes into the basement storage.

The Upgrade-Friction Fit Shelves

The other interesting development was the use of the newly installed shelves in the small cupboards in the bedroom. Because the travel trailer, well, is a travel trailer, Dave was reluctant to do something that had to do with screws or nails or anything in the walls. Pam ran into a movie of a boy who showed how he had made a series of “friction fit” shelves. It seemed so good to me that Dave had made a few of them and they worked. Notes from Pamela: Love the converted cabinet to 3 deep but useable shelves. So much better than the mess we had there before. We still have the hanging bar in our pantry, so if something needs to be hung up, there is enough space.

So for those of you who think this is a good idea, here is how:


You do not need much. I used two sheets of Masonite. I had scrap 1 X 4 around and tore them on the workbench just saw strips (available from Lowe, Home Depot, Menards or your local timber yard if there is one nearby) would also work for shelf supports and spreaders. You probably have one jigsaw. And that’s the way it is.

The idea is to make two sides that can easily contain runners on which boards can be laid. The shelves will, in turn, keep the sides apart, tight against the walls of the trailer, without nails or screws or anything else involved.

Step one is to make the sides. In our case, since the travel trailer follows the new standard of a curved front, this should be a difficult problem. For starters, Dave has just measured from the bottom of the front to the top and the back. Both measurements were about 34 ½ inches, so it was a simple matter to make the first approximation of a template for the sides. A simple arc with a radius of 34 ½ inches served as a starting point.

Turned out, the front is not actually a simple circle. Because the template was a piece of paneling, it required different cuts with the jigsaw to get the bow right. This is not a critical dimension, but Dave likes things to look good, so he would like to have it up close. He used a piece of paneling for the template, but cardboard would work too, and in a pinch of newspapers could do, but they are thin enough that you do not really want to use it. Here is my template in action – –

Make your tracks good and heavy. They will be hard to see on the Masonite.

From that moment on, the process is fairly simple. Actually:

  1. Determine how many boards you want. In our case, Dave has dealt with two, so there is enough space between them to be usable. With the floor of the cabinet, there are then three usable flat surfaces.
  2. Decide on the distance-Because the height was about 34 centimeters, Dave used 11 inches as a gap, which divided the box into three roughly equal compartments. Again, none of these measurements is crucial and you can adjust if necessary to meet your needs.
  3. Cut the side panels. For us, this meant marking the template and sawing with a jigsaw. If you are blessed with right angles, a circular saw (also known as a Skilsaw) would probably work.
  4. Attach the shelf supports. Dave is a bit of a fanatic of things that stay together, so he glued and used brads as clamps. Again, just use Liquid Nails (or another brand of structural glue) and since this is not really structural, use it sparingly.Here is the first shelf support installed.
  5. Cut the boards. Now, this IS a critical dimension. The shelves must fit securely enough so that they can make a friction between the sides and keep everything in its place. They must have exactly the width between the side panels.
  6. Measure and cut two “spreaders” for each plank. This is optional. Even a Masonite panel would probably be strong enough to wear a pair of T-shirts, socks, underwear or whatever, but again, Dave is a bit fanatical about such things. The “spreaders” will also help keep the side panels in place. The “spreaders” must fit securely between the shelf supports. Here is a shelf with the spreaders installed
  7. Dave ensured that the Masonite had a smooth side that would be visible. Just a little bit of conceit about that.
  8. These are the side panels when they are ready
  9. Here is the cupboard to start with
  10. This is the organizer that we want to replace
  11. Place the sides in place
  12. The shelves keep them apart and cozy.
  13. With everything cut and ready, put the side panels in and then the shelves. When you’re done, you have this!

That’s about this trip. Then follow Chattanooga, where we will spend a relatively long period in the portable motel room. We’ll let you know how that goes.

The Upgrading the Camper with Friction Fit Shelves item appeared for the first time on the Camper report.

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