11. Cabinets

Building the cabinets for the van took a lot of planning.  Each needed to be purpose build for exactly for what it would hold.  There are three upper cabinets. One above the bed to hold our clothes.  A cabinet dedicated to charging all of our electronics and a small pantry cabinet.

Size considerations: The clothing cabinet is above the bed.  We wanted this as large as possible, but not so large to be in the way of our feet.  The pantry cabinet is above the sink, and we didn’t want it to block our view or be so large we would hit our head on it.  Finally, the charging cabinet has two shelves and lots of USB, and electrical outlets. For this one we needed to be sure we would not hit our head when getting up from the seat.  So, I highly recommend making cardboard models for each cabinet to get the correct size!

Building: When building the cabinets everything was first screwed together, mounted in the van to ensure it mounted and fit correctly. Then is was disassembled and glued and screwed together.  Simpson strong ties were used to mount the cabinets to the structural ribs of the van.  Bolts were installed into the ribs of the van at 90 degrees.  So even if a bolt was loose it would still hold the cabinet in place.  T-Nuts, Nylon insert lock nuts, and Loctite were used when installing the cabinets.

Cabinet Doors – Most of the van build I see use pull up doors, with piston lifts.  I opted to try sliding doors.  Simply, cut slots with the table saw for the 5mm sliding doors.  After painting the tracks, and doors use paste wax to make the slide smoothly.  The sliding doors work well, and I will use the same technique in future van builds. Check out the video’s below for details.

Dowel Centers, and Jig – When building the cabinets, and drawer slides you will use Dowel Centers, and a pocket hole jig to make strong joints.

Drawer Slides – I used drawer slides for the bike storage, the pull out table and the two lower drawers.  Drawer slides are excellent, but there is a loss of space when using them.  You need to remember to take into account the thickness of each drawer slide!

Drawer Slide 52” For Bike Storage        

Cabinet Drawer Slides            

Sharp Drill bits           

Low cost oscillating saw         

Carbide Oscillating saw blades          
Carbide blades cost more, but will last longer.  Creating less frustration!

Pocket Hole Jig             

Dowel center kit     

Birch Edge Banding   

Edge banding trimmer      

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