How do I measure up my trailer?
How do I order?
Is timber strong enough??
Is it worth getting the storage box??
How does freight work?
How long does it take to get one made?
My trailer is less than 430mm high, can you still make them to fit??
I have an old hard floor camper, can you do any kitchens for them??
I have a camper with lift up bedbase, and the struts get in the way, what can I do about it?
Do I need Teflon floor strips??
How do I hook up the gas?
I don’t have a stove, what should I get??
Will it fit a stove with a griller??
How do I hook up the water tank?
What do I put inside my kitchen?
Can I put non slip matting down in my kitchen?
If I get the DPOR kitchen, for a quick stop, can I not put the return part up?
Can you do cut in stoves?
What about a cut in sink?
What about steel kitchens?
What about custom stuff?
Can I retouch up the lacquer on my kitchen?
Why can’t I just make one myself?
The legs don’t seem to be holding the weight anymore, what can I do about it??
Some people say DRIFTA’s are expensive?
I have a sharp edged checkerplate floor, will it wear off the plastic skids?
If you’re getting a trailer kitchen, you’ll need to have a measure up to make sure it will fit. If it is just the trailer kitchen (DPOR, DPO, DSO or DPOS) then really the height is the only issue. Most of our kitchens are 430mm high, so you’d need say min. of 440mm – 450mm, giving about 15-20 mm clearance. If trailers are less than this, then it’s no problem, we can cut them down slightly. If you want a kitchen with a fridge in it, you will need a minimum height of about 480mm.
If you’re getting the package deal, then you need to provide a reasonably accurate measurement of the height, width and length.
These photos shows a trailer with a tailgate protruding inwards. You have to allow for this when measuring up your length for package deals..
Length, measure to the back of the trailer. Keep in mind, some tailgates protrude inside the trailer, you’ll have to allow for this.
That’s it really, let me know those details, and your kitchen/package deal will fit perfectly. If the trailer is out of square, or the measurements are say 5 mm out, there is always a bit of room with the package deals, to shave a bit off the paka that goes down the center. So if it’s a bit tight say at the back when you put it all in, you can fix it up easily
A few tips on tapes.
When you measure up your trailer, many people have a tape with inches and cms like the one on top. The one on the bottom is a trade tape in mm. We need our measurements in mm, but the problem is, reading the cms tape is very confusing in mm. Most trailers are 4’ wide, which is around 1200. But reading the cms tape, it can look like 1020, which is what some people send me. Or the 1100, can be confused for 1010. Or again, often trailers are say 1190, but it looks like on the top tape, 1090. So, if you ‘re measuring up, try to use a trade tape in mm. If you’re not 100 % sure, just ask someone to help confirm the measurement. Or, if using the cms tape, just start from the 1m mark, and then count up from there, so you’re not confusing say 1 m with 1100. Don’t forget we do need measurements in mm. Ta :)
All kitchen pages have an online enquiry/order button. Click on this and fill out all your details and needs, and it will go through to the kitchens department manager. If something not clear best give us a call or send us an email. We will give you the answers. Creeky is the manager of the kitchen department and can help with any kitchen enquiry.
Some people wonder whether timber kitchens or drawers are strong enough. From my experience, I can definitely say in many cases timber is stronger than steel !! it all depends how it is made.. of course, we don’t use any chipboard or MDF, if we did , they would fall apart. But ply is a very different product. The structural exterior 12 mm 5-7 ply product we use is incredibly strong and light. We all know that steel can crack, especially on welds, or riveted joins can come loose. But a but-joined 12 mm ply screwed and glued join will almost never come apart. The modern glues we use are extremely strong.
Ply has a few big advantages over metal… One, ply absorbs shock. A kitchen on a tailgate, or a drawer in a 4wd, will cop a hiding on rough roads. The nature of ply absorbing the shocks helps protect the joints. Steel can’t do this, and this is where metal fatigue begins, or where rivets work loose. Two, Ply is much quieter than steel. It also absorbs noise. After some years, metal drawers can become very rattley. Ply doesn’t have this problem. Three, ply joins are stronger. see the photos below, the 12 mm ply joint, once the glue has set, because of the width of the joint, is structural not just for separating, but for up and down movement also. This is really the secret of why our products are so strong. Each joint helps keep the whole unit secure. Steel only has strength one way, it can’t brace for up and down movement, as it’s only about 1.5 – 2 mm thick. Four, ply fixings are internal. All our screws for joining and fixing, are contained within the ply itself, as it is 12 mm thick. This is much neater, and the screws don’t get in the way of other things.. metal needs to be mostly riveted or bolted. But the ends of these rivets and bolts/nuts impact a lot on the design, as they obstructs other parts. That’s one reason why. Five, our designs are simpler, more practical and cost effective than a similar unit in steel. Most of our designs simply can’t be made with steel, or if they were, they would be very heavy and very expensive. Take a simple drawer. We make hundreds a week for our various kitchens/ 4wd drawers. We can cut them out on the panel saw, pin/ screw them together very quickly. A simple drawer is a fiddly, time consuming expensive job if made from steel. So that’s why, you’ll never see a steel 4wd drawer manufacturer put a table in their drawer, or add an insert drawer, or a combo with a kitchen, or any of our other dozens of unique designs. Using steel, you simply can’t make these designs. And Six, because of many of the above reasons, ply products can be custom made, and are very cost effective. Ply is easy to work with, is very cost effective, and very strong. This is reflected in our huge range, our ability to modify much of what we make to suit exactly what the customer wants, and our price. ie, our D2DWT, Drifta two drawer with a table, is about $1500, less than half the price than some steel drawers made in china, without the table.
Depends on your budget how much you spend, but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth getting. The kitchen is really only half the story. The other part is accessing all the rest of your gear. Trailers have a lot of space inside, but if it’s not easily accessible, it can be wasted. Trailer companies have mostly put a lift up bedbase on, to try to help with access. But they aren’t a practical solution. Here’s why.
- They are difficult to do, and cost money, I know one company charges $800 for a bedbase. Our DSB (Drifta Storage Box) is only $620. You’re paying for something that’s not much use to you.
- Bedbases are mostly very heavy to lift up. If you want to quickly grab something out, which when you’re camping you are always doing, it’s a real pain to have to do this.
- Once your camp is set up, the last thing you want to be doing is lifting up the bedbase. Often you will have things sitting on the bed. It stuffs up all your awning and tent poles also.
- Then, the gas struts to hold up the heavy bedbase, are very difficult to get right, and are under a lot of pressure. They can break or snap off the lugs that hold them on when on corrugations. Many trailer companies, particularly the cheaper ones, simply don’t have them fitted correctly. Also the brackets they use can really impede on your storage space inside. Then, once you do have the bedbase lifted up, you really can’t reach your gear anyway!
Have a look at the photos underneath I’ll show you.
So, the answer is really a storage box. If the tent is open or closed, it doesn’t matter, just slide out the box, and get whatever you need. We make every box custom to fit your trailer. Our kitchens are 460mm wide, plus a 40mm paka that goes between them. So, if your trailer is 1220 wide, then 1220mm – 460mm – 40mm – 6mm (clearance) your storage box will be 714mm wide. A perfect fit. If your length is 2120, we will make the box 2110. This is why we need a measurement of your trailer. The DSB is advertised for $620, but is only $525 as part of a package deal. I think this is good value for money, for something you will get a lot of use out of.
Ok.. well once we wrap it up, we fork them all onto our Drifta truck which carries freight 3 times a week. It will get scanned in Newcastle the next day usually, we provide you with a conn note number, and a number to call star track express our freight company. You don’t have to do anything, it will turn up a few days later at the address you provide. ……. If you like, you can ring the number, give them your conn note number and they should be able to tell you where it is and when it is likely to get there. (on rare occasions, they say they don’t have it. this means simply it hasn’t been scanned, not that we haven’t sent it.. so don’t panic..it will turn up in a few days. ) ……. package deals are quiet large , and cause the kitchen is inside, fairly heavy.. you need someone there to help lift it off. If it looks too much, cut the black wrapping off, rip off the timber sheets, and lift the kitchen out separately… …. Now, you really need an address where someone is home to accept delivery, and help lift it off (if package deal) the freight company won’t give you a quick call ten minutes before they get there, so you can duck home from work. They can’t give you an exact time either.. again, they have hundreds of parcels to deliver… you might have a business address , or a mates address etc.. if you can’t be home, also you can always ring them and organise something, like hold it at the depot, and collect it yourself later on….. sometimes, with a smaller kitchen, say DSO, DCB, DPOS, you can nominate a place to leave it say under the carport etc. but only if it’s small enough for the driver to handle on his own.
Everyone has a story to winge about a freight company, keep in mind, they literally have thousands of parcels to deliver, yours is just one of them. So try and be patient with them, it can be tricky sometimes. Problems can occur, freight can go missing, it can get damaged , it can be late.. this is all very rare though, so again don’t panic, remember if you’re not sure of anything give us a call anytime and we can help you through it. if freight goes missing, it always turns up. It usually gets on the wrong truck and ends up in Brisbane instead of Melbourne.. again it’s very rare (once a year) . freight can get damaged. This may happen once every 6 months.. we wrap things very well, but sometimes well you know what freight companies are like.. once it leaves here there’s nothing we can do, but we treat it as still our responsibility. So, if you have any damage, let us know and if it’s serious, we’ll get it back here and replace/ fix it. usually it’s very minor and we can work it out.. we don’t have insured freight, as it’s very expensive, and if damaged, they just say well it’s not wrapped well enough, so you can’t claim anyway. 99% of time, freight gets there on time and in good condition. If damaged, we can easily fix it up, so nothing to worry about…
This really varies a lot, depending on a few things.. if you are going away on a trip, then of course let us know the date, and we will do everything we can to make sure it’s gets there. Many people are ordering a kitchen because they are going away.. just try to give us as much time as you can. Other people who order say they are in no hurry, so roughly our standard time is 4-5 weeks.. this can easily be + or – 1 week. It’s at least a week or two to get it into our schedule, a week to build it and a week roughly for freight. Also, we get really busy at times like before long weekends, Easter, school holidays and especially Christmas, so again, give yourself plenty of time to order if you can. … So yeah, roughly 4-5 weeks, unless you’re in a hurry, or we have in stock exactly what you want…
Yes, no problem. We often have to cut down a kitchen to fit the trailer mostly its only 20 or 30 mm, so you wont even notice the difference the most we can cut down a kitchen to is about 350mm, (my dimensions always include the plastic runners, so total external dimensions) whilst still being a functional kitchen. anything past that, you cant fit the sink/pump in. in that case we do a modified version of the car back, which are about 300mm high standard
Yes, we often get an old campermatic, cub, or aussie swag camper that we fit out. Here are a few options we can do.
here is some more photos of a pioneer camper, with a modified DPOS kitchen, and a DSD – drifta single draw on the other side…
This is a common problem with some budget campers. The gas struts are in the way, and are hinged from the side of the trailer, often with a large angle bracket. Two things you can do. One, if you’re getting a storage box, just take them off, you don’t need them. The DSB is a much easier way to access your gear. Two, you can try to reposition them. But, struts are very tricky. You have to be careful. The bloke who owned the red trailer above, tried to re-position them, and they broke both the hinges off when he closed the top. If you can, before you buy your camper, specify to the dealer, you want them put on so they are not obstructing anything you may want to put in there… with struts in the way like shown above, even an esky won’t fit on that side.. sometimes, you could move the gas strut to say the top hole, then grind off some of the angle iron bracket, again, ideally, it’s better if this is done before you buy it.. but remember, if you get the package deal with the storage box, you will never need the gas struts…
Another thing to keep in mind, see the foam tape on the above red trailer… this is very important to keep the dust from getting into your trailer.. if you use the lift up bedbase, at some stage, on a hot day, the foam tape will stick to the metal frame of the bedbase, and tear off… this is another reason why a storage box is a better way of accessing your gear. You can keep the bedbase locked down, so the dust seal isn’t damaged in any way..
Here is another trailer, with the gas strut completely hidden. This is a better way of having the gas struts fitted. The struts are connected to a piece of angle iron on the bedbase, and the other end to the steel rail that runs alongside the top of the tailgate (which the tailgate dustseals onto). There is no strut coming down on an angle, and no large angle iron bracket to get in the way of things…Hope this helps, rgds Luke.
Our kitchens and boxes already come with the Teflon skids fixed around the bottom and will slide in trailer floors easily on their own. They will slide on flat steel, checker plate, even carpeted trailer floors. But we have the option to add to your order the thin floor strips of matching teflon material, the same as the skids on the kitchen. This is an optional extra, but is definitely an improvement! These are 6mm thick sections you can rivet, screw or glue/silicone to the floor of the trailer to match the skids on the kitchens and boxes so you get teflon on teflon running on each other, like in our 4wd drawers. We can supply pieces for a single kitchen or a set for a package of kitchen and storage box.
This is a question everyone has. Some people want to have the gas permanently connected, so when you swing open the tailgate, or pull out the kitchen, it’s already hooked up. this certainly sounds easy but in reality, it is very difficult and expensive to do.
Certainly the best option I think is to again keep it simple. Pull the kitchen out, lift the bottle next to the kitchen, connect the gas. The effort and time in lifting the gas bottle 1.5 meters isn’t much. I have a cheap pair of pliers and a spanner taped together always in the stove compartment, so I don’t have to dig around in a toolbox looking for it. the other advantage of this, is if you want to, you can have the option of a gas light.
Now, if you want to hook up gas permanently, you really need to go to a low pressure stove, with a regulator. A high pressure stove is the standard type of primus/ companion stove, like the ones I have advertised. They will cost you about $70 – $150 bucks. The cheap ones are rubbish, stay away from them. As it’s high pressure, it doesn’t need a regulator. The downside is, it can only have a short hose.. it comes with a hose long enough to go from the stove to the ground only. It won’t reach back to a gas bottle in the corner of your trailer. If you use a hose any longer, it can have problems with gas flare ups. You really shouldn’t use a longer hose than what is supplied. Legally, I think it’s a grey area, but gas can be dangerous, and if you had a fire, I doubt you would be covered for insurance. Problems arise when people try to dodgy it up themselves. So, standard high pressure stove, no option really but lift the bottle out.
If you go to a low pressure stove, the most common one is the junior lido, and what many trailer companies use. It’s about $400, plus a regulator and hose be nearly another $100. These stoves are fairly small, and only two burners. They are also higher, so I have to drop the stove area down lower, which means you lose space underneath. I don’t know of a 3 burner low pressure stove apart from the caravan ones like the smev (there is more info on these in this FAQ section) With a low pressure stove, you can go to a longer hose, certainly long enough to reach from the kitchen to the bottle. The problem then is how to connect it. As far as I know, the rules are , that once you push or swing a kitchen away, the gas must shut with a special shut off valve automatically. If you don’t have one of these, and forget to turn off the bottle, the controls can work open, and have a serious gas leak. So, if you think you can remember to turn off the bottle each time, then you could simply connect this hose permanently from the stove to the bottle. I wouldn’t be doing this but.
Another option, is you can now buy a ‘bayonette’ type of plug, it’s the same type of fitting you would use for an air hose. How this would work, is you have a short hose from your gas bottle- regulator, to the back of your trailer , say just above the taillights, to this bayonette fitting, which is permanently connected. Then once you pull/swing your kitchen out, you have your gas lead, which is left hooked up to your stove, and simply ‘plug’ it into this fitting, with say a 1200mm hose. The good thing about this option, is you don’t have the danger, or the drama’s of having gas connected inside your trailer while you are travelling. You can buy this stuff from a gas supplier in Sydney called GAMECO. (gameco.com.au) the fitting is called a ‘red dragon quick connect set m&f’ code no. HK-7. You can get the regulator from them (GR-800P), and the short hose (hose assy ¼ x 3/8 x 300mm, code 1213/0300), the long hose (hose1200mm ¼ fbsp x ¼ fbsb ends , code 2222/1200). That’s for a junior lido, your stove may be different. The regulator needs a 3/8 male fitting, the junior lido needs a ¼ female bsp fitting. I’m not really sure if these fellas at gameco will sell retail, see how you go, if they won’t, let me know. I’d say it would be around $200 for these fittings. This system, while easy to do, still needs to be connected by a gas fitter. you can’t just use thread tape. They use now a special glue on the fittings, and it must be pressure tested / stamped etc.
Keep in mind, anything you do playing around with gas, if you want to sell the trailer, you should disconnect it, or you have to get a gas fitter to certify it (which if you have done it yourself, he won’t) don’t sell a trailer to anyone with unlicensed gas connections. You are playing with fire in more ways than one.
So, there you go. That’s just my thoughts as I understand it. again, keep in mind, the more you frig around with things like this, the more complicated it can become, the more things can go wrong, and the more money you will spend. And for what gain? If you are camping for a week, you’ll lift the bottle out once and carry it 1.5 meters… for myself, this is the best option.
The space we leave in the kitchens standard is 685 x 410 x 125 mm high. This will fit the standard 3 burner stove. There are so many stoves out there… some are great, some are cheap crap. If you don’t have one, or want to replace the one you have, we have a few stove models on our website here: Drifta Camping and 4WD – stoves
This is one of the best ones we’ve found. Companion High Output 2 burner. They are big 2 burner unit, will fit perfectly, have huge 25’000 btu burners. They are good quality , I’ve been using one for several years without any problems. I’ve never had to replace a blocked jet (but I always before hooking up the gas, give it a quick blast to blow out any crap) just let us know when you order if you want one.
stoves like junior lido, some coleman stoves and others, have a griller underneath… this is fine if it’s what you want, but … the griller stoves are higher, so we have to drop the shelf down, which means you lose some storage space… unless you particularly want the griller, my opinion is just go for a standard stove. The griller stoves can cost up to $300, mostly are only two burner, and again you lose storage space under the stove, and pushes your sink lower. seems to be , most people want the griller for toast. The best thing I’ve found for toast is the fold away toaster like in the photo. It’s quick and easy, folds flat and is very cheap. So, if you really want the griller, sure, make sure you let us know so we can allow for it, but if just for toast, then get one of these from your camping shop and a standard stove like shown above.. if not sure, give me a call… luke
What I’ve got inside my kitchen (DPOR)
So that’s it. again, you don’t need too much stuff. Some people will of course have a lot more cooking stuff than this, and that’s fine… you can set them up however you like.. if you look on the testimonial page, you’ll see people put a lot of food inside sometimes, so up to you really. just keep it simple :)
Yes, particularly with the new black stained kitchens, this type of lighter colour non slip matting will ‘lighten’ up the storage areas.. you can get a roll of this non slip matting pretty much anywhere.. put some if you like on the bottom surfaces, this really helps things from sliding around.. they are particularly good in the drawers, to stop cups / plates etc sliding around each time you open the drawers, and you should have some for under the stove.. (I use heavy duty ‘annex matting’ for under the stove, it’s a lot thicker and lays flat better.) best thing to do is get a square ruler, and measure the dimensions, and cut it out… try to cut it square so it’s nice and neat.. if you have a brand new kitchen, and you can smell a ‘lacquer smell’, then leave it open to dry for a few days, before putting the non slip matting in… ta luke
This is something I get asked from time to time.. some people say they want to be able to pull up for a quick stop, but don’t want to have to set up the return. So yes you can set up the DPOR without the return, but my answer is always, even for a quick stop, you’ll be there for half an hour, and just to make some sandwiches, you still need bench space. The return takes about 15 seconds to set up, longer than finding somewhere else to put it.. I got this photo recently, and it really shows my point perfectly.. Peter and his family, are having a quick breakfast stop in the outback somewhere. How would you make six bacon and egg rolls without the return benchspace? It really is so handy, and takes so little to setup… love this photo :)
Yes we can do cut in stoves… although I’ll never have them as part of my range. Things to keep in mind… the stoves themselves are extremely expensive. the smev 3 burner below left is about $600. It does look flash, no doubt about that. But are they worth the money? End of the day it’s still a 3 burner, won’t do any more than a $75 good quality one. Also, they are designed as a caravan stove. You can see they don’t have a wind shield. This is a big drawback, as the awnings of camper trailers will always have some wind , however slight. This just really blows the heat right away. They all have glass lids, which are expensive to replace, and again, not designed for an offroad camper. Fitting them for me is easy, I just cut a hole and sit it in. but I must have the stove here to do this.. so again, if you buy one, you have to send it to me. The other thing is they are designed to be hooked up permanently. This is very difficult to do with a pull out kitchen. you really have to kook up gas each time, which can be difficult. The stoves themselves are quiet wide, so I have to make say a DPOR 50 -60 mm wider. This is a time consuming mod for us, so I have to charge an extra $100. So, a DPOR for $1190, can end up costing $1800-$1900!! Is it really worth the extra cost, for no practical gain? Then, the stoves really stuff up where the sink goes, I’ll explain this below…
Again, we can do a cut in sink, but they cause even more problems. The first thing is they really limit your bench space, and I always see that as the most important. Like the stoves , they are quiet expensive. These ones shown are about $400. The smev one with glass lid is about $450. Our $10 tub will do the same job. But it’s actually much better. Here’s why. The cut in sink is always on top. So you can’t have a hand pump , as this will stick above the kitchen by 100 mm, and it won’t fit in the trailer. You have to go for a steel mixer- tap/ pump that can fold away. Tap will be $150. Then you need an elec pump is – at least a $150, and a lot of work to connect. For a trailer company to fit this it would be another four hundred at least. So your steel sink is now costing about $900. Again, with a pull out kitchen, keeping water permanently hooked up is tricky. Then, you have to do something with the waste water. Not being able to pick it up and chuck the water on the nearest tree is a massive disadvantage. You have to have say 2 meters of 50 mm waste hose. After a while, these really stink, and you have to basically roll it up and store it somewhere. They are bulky and unhygienic. Some people run this to a bucket, which then you still have to empty???? If you run it onto the ground, it can flow back under your feet, or onto the next campsite. Again, smelly and unhygienic. Like all my stuff, our plastic tub on runners that can pull out, with a jerry can underneath, is very cost effective, simply and very practical. There is a trailer company who sells a modified version of my DPO kitchen. I sell the DPO for $970. We fit for them a smev stove/ steel sink, and they put it on a steel bearing runner system, hook up water/gas elec pump etc. they then sell it for between $3000 and $4000, depending on the options. I can do the whole package deal with full length storage box for $1900. And some people winge that I’m expensive. Fair dinkum. I dunno, people buy them, but to me, it’s just a waste of money, for something that is very impractical. End of the day, you are camping, compromises have to be made somewhere. I think the steel sink/ stove is just not worth the dollars. But, if you really want it, we’ll build it..
There seems to be lots of these popping up on the cheaper Chinese trailers now. Crikey, you might be saving money on the camper, but these steel tailgate boxes (you can’t call them kitchens) are simply a massive ripoff . Many of these are also being made in china and imported. The features of this type of Chinese made box are – very little storage space, no drawers, zero bench space. You don’t even have enough room to make a vegemite sandwich.
You’ve probably seen a few of these type of steel kitchens. This one sells for over $1600. No bench space, no drawers, sink / stove problems. How do you get water in/ out of this sink… again you’re paying a lot of money, for an impractical design.
(I’ve got a large metal room in my factory. If I thought there was a market building practical, cost effective kitchens out of steel, I’d be making them. But you just can’t do it. just making a single draw from steel is a big deal. )
For the same money (for their discounted price) you can get a DPOS. Handmade by young Australians, you get lots of high bench space,(the most important feature of a kitchen), three drawers, storage space for all your cooking gear, adjustable legs to make it freestanding, and made from quality timber and laminate. It functions as a kitchen, not a box. Our swing tailgate version is only $820, almost the same price still as when I started building them 18 years ago, and has the same features as the DPOS.
Steel kitchens are expensive. They are heavy. They get extremely hot to touch. They are VERY glary. You get few features like drawers. Most have the sink and stove on top, so no bench space. Really, a sink and stove next to each other is useless, without bench space around it. just because it’s steel doesn’t mean it’s stronger. In over 25’000 kitchens made from ply, we have never had a construction warranty claim.. and most simply have very little design, meaning you’re paying a lot of money for something that doesn’t really work very well. The other problem with the Chinese steel tailgate boxes, is they don’t have the plastic skids on the bottom like our Drifta Swing Out kitchen, so the steel box is hanging in the air.. for offroad use, this puts a lot of pressure on the tailgate hinges, and they eventually break.
We do lots of custom stuff. Most of it modified of my designs, but sometimes something completely different… some people ring up and say “I want this box that pulls out this way, folds out here, is hinged there, this lifts up and goes there, you got that how much will that be?? ” I’m like “whoa, back up big fella..” if you want something completely custom made, you must make a sketch, and send/email it to me… what is in your head must be what’s in mine for me to make it. it just has to be a rough sketch, then I can talk you thru what will work, what won’t and what you might have to think about.. rightio…
By the way, custom stuff on our kitchens, like a bit shorter, cut down, drop stove etc generally is pretty easy as we make it, so we don’t charge any extra. Anything other than that we may have to charge a bit extra for…
We use a thinners based clear lacquer on our kitchens. If you want to touch it up at any time, you can easily do this with a spray can of lacquer. You need to tape up any areas you don’t want to be sprayed, like the laminate. Do this with some masking tape and newspaper… give the ply a light sand with FINE sandpaper. A spongepad sander will also work fine. don’t sand off any more than you have to, ie, don’t sand it back to bare timber… the spray cans work really well, and will bring the finish back up to looking brand new. Put on one coat, let it dry fully, give it another VERY light sand and another coat if you want to.
Here you can see I’ve touched up my tucker box lid, just to show you the difference.. it had copped a fair bit of rain. Remember , the ply is like a marine ply, it’s won’t delaminate , or disintergrate like MDF or chipboard. The worst you will get is a few water stains, you can just see them on the edges. I’ve given it a light sand with a sponge pad, then sprayed it . I gave it two coats, and you can see the finish, looks brand new.
Sure, if you think you can, go for it… things to keep in mind though through my experience… we sell kitchens to plenty of tradesmen like cabinetmakers/ carpenters/ shopfitters. They always tell me, “I could make one, but the time it takes to work it out, and get all the right materials together, it wouldn’t be worth it.” there is ALWAYS much more involved than you think… it took me 3 ½ days to build my first Drifta, and it was crap. At shows , I meet lots of people. Often, a lady will come up to me, and say, ” we saw you last year, my husband tried to copy your design, but it is so heavy, we cant hardly pull it out, and it doesn’t work” this is a common problem, most people I have heard of use 18 mm ply. its VERY heavy.. we use all 12 mm ply, but its not as easy to work with, screws have to be exactly in the middle etc.. some of the kitchens look simple, but I can tell you, there is a lot of design involved. The only way you can work out the design properly, is by trial and error. When I designed the DPOR for example, it took me several attempts to get it right.. there was a good example on a website forum recently I saw, I think it was on something swag.com ??? about trailers.. a bloke tried to copy the DSO. He built one after several attempts, stove didn’t fit, a few things wrong with it that didn’t work, and he even cut the end of his finger off on his saw, (he posted a photo of it) . so you have to be careful you don’t spend a lot of time, a lot $$ on materials etc, and end up with something that doesn’t really work , or doesn’t last .
I’ve seen a few posts on forums, where people have said ” I made one for a hundred bucks”… this just isn’t right if you use the same materials as we do. The material cost for a kitchen, to make it the same as ours, would be about half our retail price. So a DPOR for $1190 would generally cost $600 for materials only. Also, we use a large range of different types and thicknesses of ply. We use a combination of 4, 6, 9, 12, and 13 mm ply, some BB, some BC, some 5 ply, some 7 ply. So it’s not just a case of buying a sheet of ply from bunnings, if you want to end up with something similar to what we make. Another thing with materials to keep in mind… you can’t buy the leg system, I designed that myself, and we manufacture them here… the plastic we use for the runners , is $500 for an 8×4 sheet. Its quiet expensive. Its very hard to buy retail, only plastic specialists have it, and they often only sell w-sale, plus you have to have special cutters to router it.. we put them through a spindle moulder 4 times to get the correct shape. The brass elbow catches we use for inside the draws, you can’t buy retail. Laminate is worth $45 a square meter, and again, hard to get retail. The hinges you can’t buy retail, we buy them in 1200 lengths and make them up here. You can literally spend days just driving around trying to get all the parts together. There is dozens of different types of ply, paint etc, you have to make sure you buy the correct one.
Some people e-mail me and say they have copied my kitchen, but ask where do I get legs/ runners etc.. or ask to buy them of us… I have to say “sorry, but we don’t supply them” . the legs are made of tent pole material, $15 retail for the correct ones, and you need a dozen of them. See, it adds up very quickly.. $180 for steel, $80 for laminate, $200- $250 for ply, $50 paint, $100 for the skids, $35 for the pump, crikey, there’s $700 already, without any screws/ hinges, glue etc..
so there you go, a few things to think about.. again, if you reckon you can, give it a go, but I know a lot of people who have done so, and wish they hadn’t, if they had it again… if you’re on a bit of a budget, let me know and we can do a payment plan if that helps…. Ta, rgds Luke
I have had a few people ask me this lately.. anywhere we have the steel legs, underneath a kitchen, the front return of a DPOR, or a table, the inner steel leg is held in position by the T-NUT, shown right. When it’s new, it has a small bur on the end, and this helps ‘cut or bite’ into the inner leg. This makes it grip really well, but after a year or so, depending on use, it can become more rounded, so won’t grip as well. All you have to do to fix this, is rough up the end, or shape to a bit of a point, say with a file, or bench grinder. You don’t need much.. this will help a lot. If you aren’t sure and would like some new ones sent out, look here.… rgds luke
If you look thru some of the forums, people mention a few times that we are expensive. This does annoy me a bit, as I’m the one who has built this business and responsible for paying wages, expenses and bills every week, and without having a winge I can easily say it’s simply not true. Expensive compared to what??? A fridge made in china will cost at least $1000. No-body winges about that. As you can see above a steel box made in china costs around $1000. My DPOR kitchen sells for $1190, when I started making them 20 years ago they were $990. They have gone up $200 while my ply, steel, material and labour cost has risen enormously. You know why there is no one else making timber camping kitchens in Australia? Cause there is no money in it. If there was money to be made, you can bet everyone would be doing it. I love designing and building my Drifta’s , and will keep doing it for as long as people want them. They are beautifully made, many custom made to suit customers needs, made here in Aus, are extremely practical, and I think very good value for money.
If you’re not sure, have a look at our testimonial page to see how much people value their Drifta. We have 18 years of them. Every other testimonial page I’ve ever seen has about 3 or 4 written, and you can tell each one was written by the bosses best mate, they are so fake. You don’t have ones where a Drifta saves a blokes life, or where a bloke had a wallaby by the tail as it smashed it’s way thru his camper.
Many of our customers are tradespeople, and I often get a bloke ring wanting a kitchen who says ” mate I’m a cabinetmaker, and there’s no way I could make that for the money you charge.” That’s a fact, no-one can compete with us on a commercial scale and make money. We can do it because we have low overheads, I have a large factory I built and own, so we pay no rent, half our workers are apprentices, (it gives young people a go, and keeps the wages bill down) and we are super efficient in manufacturing.
I get at least 2 emails a week from china asking me if I want to make everything over there. Tell you what it would be a lot easier for me. I’d make the same if not more. You might get it a few dollars cheaper.. but ( I could write an essay about this, don’t get me started :) , every dollar you save by buying goods in china, is a dollar your son or daughter will not earn in the future. Dick smith has been banging his head against the wall on this for years, trying to make people understand. As more and more jobs are lost in our present economic situation, this will become glaringly obvious. We need stuff locally made, by locally owned companies. There’s not a chance I’ll ever go to China, unlike many other well known camping brands. I know many people who own these companies, and they think I’m mad for not going to China. They can get stuffed, but you know what, every arvo at 4.00, when I see a dozen boys do burnouts in the gravel out the driveway of my factory, I’m happy!
If you have either , or both of these problems, its quiet easy to fix. Steve Smith from Gosford, who bought a DPOR package deal recently, had both these problems. He sent me some photos and they answer the questions perfectly really. Below is his reply he sent me.
(keep in mind, many trailers have checkerplate floor, but most are smooth checkerplate… these are fine, and don’t need any angle iron rails… it’s only on the ‘sharp’ checkerplate, which is not as widely used now as a few years ago…if you are not sure, run your hand over it, if you feel you would cut you hand, or it feels sharp, then you could use the angle iron. If it feels reasonably smooth, even though it’s checkerplate, it should be fine.. you can always try it first, and if the storage box is not running as smoothly as you’d like, then you can put the angle iron in later… if not sure, give me a call.. ta luke )
Have had a good look at it (DPOR package deal ) and it looks great, you guys (and gals) really have the manufacturing process sorted, I usually spot flaws in most things made these days, but it was pleasantly surprising to come across something that I really had to look hard at …. and still find nothing ! Congratulations. Had a few hours up my sleeve over the weekend so I tackled the problem with the checkerplate floor, installing the angle kitchen slides you talked about.
The aluminium I used was 32mm x 32mm x 3mm and I pop rivited it down as the outer rails lay directly over the chasis tube so geting a nut to it wasn’t going to be easy. I think it ended up being the best choice, I countersunk the holes in the angle and if there was any part of the rivit still protruding, it could be easily filed down to the same level.
At the end of the day the kitchen rolled out, not so much with less force required (not that it requires much anyway), but a lot smoother and without the plastic swarf remaining !
Not really an expensive fix, $45 for (4) 2metre lenghts of aluminium angle and $7 for rivits, and about 3 hours work.
Some pics of the final product attached………….Cheers, Steve Smith