Part 3 – Van Furniture 🔨

Let me just begin by saying, we are in no shape or form cabinet makers or woodworkers. This was my first major attempt at making furniture and after a few failing attempts, I am proud enough of the final result. Some cabinet doors are crooked, and it’s okay.

When we got the van, we already had a pretty good idea of what our needs was. We are not planning on living in it full time so that saved us from needing to built extra storage, bathroom  & sink etc…

What we need: A bed, basic storage and a counter where we could do some work on.

Making the plans

As previously mentioned in an earlier blog post, we made plans and created a cardboard version of everything we wanted. It helped us visualized the space with the furniture in it. If you’re unsure as to what to do for a layout, this is the way to start!

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Cardboard layout

Materials

Bench: 

  • 2x3s used for the main frame so it can withstand both of our weight.
    • I could of gone lighter, but this way it gives me a peace of mind.
  • 1/4″ plywood to cover most of the sides and top lid.
  • Simple Hinges to easily access the storage compartment underneath.

Kitchen Counter:

  • 1×3 boards for the cabinet front face & part of the frame.
  • 1/2″ plywood used for the overall frame
  • Hinges for the bottom compartment
  • 2 x 16″ drawer slides for the upper drawer

Desk Counter:

  • 1×3 boards used to make the cabinet front face & part of the frame.
  • 1/2″ plywood used for the overall frame
  • Hinges for the cabinet doors.

Tools

  • Cordless 18v Drill
  • Cabinet screws
  • Wood glue
  • Jigsaw
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • T-Square ruler
  • Tape measurer

Now, you’re probably thinking what kind of mad skills did I have to figure out all of this?
None, nada, zero skills. Thanks to YouTube and its endless supply of tutorials, I was able to figure out to create the initial frames for these and got creative with the rest.

I have to thank Lowe’s wood cutting for letting me cut A TON of plywood and boards to the size I needed without charging me. I always had my plans in hand with diagrams of each cuts I needed. After a few trips and wood cutting request, I started tipping the employee who helped me with my crazy requests.

 

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Cutting Center at Lowe’s: A life saver…

By having it cut there, it saved me HOURS of cutting at home with a jigsaw and attempt straight and consistent lines. I still had to do many of the final cuts at home, hence why some of the cabinet doors are slightly crooked. Oops! Oh well!

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Cutting station at home…

 

Once I had all the pieces cut to the right size, I used a Kreg Jig to make pocket screw holes on the boards and then assembled them. Sounds easy, right? In theory, it was. I had to redo the kitchen cabinet due to my poor math skills as I made it too wide and tall. I’m not going to lie, I got really frustrated over some boards not lining up right or splitting as I drilled into them or the million trips to the store because I forgot something. This whole experience, so far, has taught me a lot.

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Mostly assembled.

Next steps

In the upcoming days, we’ll stain & coat the countertops. We’ll anchor and paint the cabinets. We’ll add some handles, sew cushions together and start ‘moving in’ our backpacking gear in there.

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Staining process

We’re hoping to get this done in the upcoming week. We haven’t gone backpacking in MONTHS 😱 😱😱 and we’re slightly going C-R-A-Z-Y out here (and out of trail shape… yikes!).

Happy building!! 🔨

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