As a handyman in the city, I work on jobs consisting mainly of repairs and small installations such as closet organizers or shelf units. I don’t need a big truck for these jobs, so I bought a small SUV. It gets better gas mileage than a truck, and it is a lot easier to fit into tight parking places. The drawings show how I squeeze a lot of storage space into its cargo bay. The rig has two levels for storage. The upper level is the flat deck, where I keep big items like ladders and my portable tablesaw. This deck is flush with the top of the car’s lower door, which conceals the drawers when closed. The deck, the drawers, the floor, and the side panels are all made of 5/8-in.-thick plywood.
The drawers are 13 in. tall by 20 in. wide by 48 in. deep. Each drawer rides on a pair of 48-in. Accuride #9301 slides, mounted under the drawers. Mounting the slides below the drawers allowed me to make them as wide as possible. The slides are rated at 150 lb. per pair in this type of application. A foam-rubber bumper on each drawer front bears against the lower door when closed, reducing wiggle.
The cargo-bay floor is about 42 in. wide and has rear-suspension struts that project into the space about 2 in. on each side. The drawers have to clear them, and the box that the drawers ride in had to be notched around the struts. I cut the side panels of the box to shape and bolted lengths of angle iron to them 5/8 in. from the bottom edges. Then I plowed 5/8-in. dadoes in the side panels to accept the upper-level deck.
Next, I attached the side panels to the upper deck with glue and screws, and lifted this assembly into place. Then I affixed four 12-in.-wide by 42-in.-long bottom pieces made of 5/8-in. plywood to the two sides, spaced to miss the suspension struts. This approach allowed me to bolt the box together inside the truck instead of trying to shoehorn a completed unit into place.
My wife insisted that I have a tool screen so that my tablesaw wouldn’t whack me in the back of the head should I have to slam on the brakes. I made a screen out of perforated aluminum, with 1/4-in.-dia. holes for good visibility. I bought the screen online at www.metalsupermarkets.com. The screen is screwed to 2×4 masts attached to the sides of the box, right behind the front seats. A biscuited 1×3 frame gives it a finished look.
David Hollinger, Waterloo, None
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #196