Retro Diner Trim

Steven had to drive back to Bellingham for work this morning but Shannon (aka Rosie the Riveter) is still here to help. So we trimmed the dinette table by tapping the 12-foot aluminum strip into its slot.

We’ve never done anything like this before of course, but it turns out to be pretty easy. That is, once we realized you can’t use tin snips to cut out the fins. They cut the metal just fine, but the scissor action twists the piece. Fortunately the aluminum was pliable enough to coerce back into shape.

So instead I formed a simple miter saw jig out of a yard stick and protected the trim’s face with Frog Tape. Then while Shannon supported the long piece we cut slots into the barbed tee. These slots form fins that allow the trim to bend along the table’s 3-inch radius corners with only a slight ripple effect. All it took was a few taps and a little leverage. We could only cut one corner at a time between fittings, but this took less than an hour. The final trick was trimming the end just right so it abuts the beginning at a clean seam. My first attempt at marking this was 1/4″ too long, so I had to trim the rest with my Dremel tool. But then I nicked it and had to cut it 3/32″ short. Oh well, it’s not that bad.

My only concern is whether the trim will stay in place over time. Once you tap it in and pull it out a couple times, the plywood slot loosens up a little. So for the final fit I ran a bit of Gorilla Glue into the slot wherever it looked like it wanted to pop out.

I’m glad I ordered two 12-foot pieces of trim. That was mostly for backup in case I screwed up the table. But now we have a stick left over for the galley counter top and the two shelves. The shelves were super easy, just 24-inch straight pieces. I can’t install them just yet because I won’t know which edges are the fronts until I match the screw holes during assembly. But then the trim will just tap into the slots I pre-cut.

The countertop has one slight bend and one prominent 90-degree bend. So for those I just cut out slots big enough to make sure the tee never obstructed itself during bending.

Here’s the galley corner. It came out great if you ask me. No one is going to scrape themselves slipping into the port berth bench past that corner. It’s smooth and pretty — much better than two pieces mitered together.

And here’s the dinette table, ready for a future car show. 🙂

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