Custom Storage for a Pickup Truck
Plywood drawers keep tool safe, costs to a minimum, and removal easy.
Synopsis: Storing tools in the bed of a pickup truck doesn’t necessarily mean spending hundreds of dollars for a commercial slider or truck box. Tom O’Donovan shows how to build a series of custom plywood drawers that don’t require any permanent alterations to the truck and can be removed in just a few minutes.
When I graduated from a station wagon to a small pickup truck to serve my own home-improvement projects and a part-time business, I quickly realized that I needed a way to organize the truck bed to contain tools, supplies, and materials. Originally, I looked at commercial drawer systems, and although the sleek aluminum-and-steel units were attractive, their cost definitely wasn’t.
Being frugal, I figured I could come up with something just as functional for much less money, if not less work. The resulting three-part storage system has served me well over the past 15 years with few, if any, compromises over more-expensive metal systems. In fact, building the storage system myself allowed me a level of customization that store-bought units didn’t offer.
One other advantage: I can remove the entire storage system from the back of my truck in about five minutes. I simply back up to a pair of sawhorses and pull the plywood boxes onto them. Then I’m all set to load my camping gear.
Probably the best thing about this system is that it can be installed without drilling any holes or making permanent alterations of any kind to the vehicle.
Note: I have a locking cap on the rear of my truck to protect tools from theft, but you can rig up a lock for this system if you don’t have a cap.
The storage system is made of three interlocking elements
1. A pair of sliding drawers fits between two outer boxes. These drawers travel on interlocking 1x runners, so they can be extended without tipping.
2. The outer boxes fit against the sides of the bed, held in place with the same clamps used to attach a truck cap.
3. Between the two outer boxes, a 3⁄4-in. plywood shelf spans the gap, providing a flat deck for loading lumber and sheet goods.
For more photos, drawings, and details, click the View PDF button below: