My second generation drawer system

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Jul 5, 2017
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Denver
One of the first things I did when I got my 2000 LC was put in some rear storage. The first gen was simple made out of spare pieces of OSB plywood I had around, some storage boxes and a bunch of screws. It definitely wasn't pretty, but it was fairly functional. Best feature was probably how well camp chairs fit through on the PS and held my stove in place. I also built it specifically to have secondary function as a sleeping platform.
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Carpeted it and it worked well for what was needed. Here is Kiki chillin on her bed last fall.
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However it didn't really maximize usable space and was a bit janky to be honest. When loaded up for camping trips like above it was very difficult to access the more rear storage hatches and the back seats had to be pushed forward to get the lid open.
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So a couple weeks ago I started planning the new system with proper drawers and such. Gonna actually try to make this halfway nice. Not using baltic birch but birch faced plywood. Planning for 2 x 36 inch drawers and some customization in the wings (water, air, electrical). Still want it to double as a sleeping platform, will probably carpet the top and looking to put a fridge on top of one side with a box eventually built around it.

Current/old fridge setup:
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Started by building a box between the seat brackets. 37" wide if I remember correct. I wanted to make the drawers as big as possible, but I have some things going in the wing areas that will require space too. This seemed like a good compromise that would still give me lots of storage.
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Center divider in:
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Inner boxes built and perfect fit between the slides. Let me just say that it took me a lot longer than I would've thought to build 2 square(ish) boxes to pretty tight specs. For everything I only am using butt joints and countersunk screws. No fancy joinery. I wish I had a tablesaw, but this was all done with a circular saw and a guide. ~10-15 measurements to make sure each cut was a close to perfect as I could get it. Dry fit:
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Next I sanded everything 80 then 120 grit, except some of the solid pieces of nice birch faced as that was really nice already. Its not all perfect and 400 grit sanded, but these are drawers not an heirloom family table. I then finished with oil based polyurethane satin finish (3 coats).

Close up of finish:
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Time to mount the slides and install boxes. I used a trick I found on some random youtube video to accurately get the slides slightly raised and level. For the left side I put two scrap pieces of 3/4" ply under the slide and then installed with 3/4" #10 wood screws (exterior wood is 3/4" ply).
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Since the center piece was a scap piece of sanded 5/8" ply (figure it won't ever be seen) I used #10 1/2 screws). Then I needed to do something to make sure the screws from the left and right inner slides weren't hitting each other. So on the right side the slides were mounted slightly higher using an additional piece of 1/2" ply for the spacers.

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Here you can see the slight offset. Once drawer faces go on no one will notice.
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Drawer installation. When I dry fit everything was very tight, so I was a little surprised that there was some very small gaps when the drawers were getting installed. Maybe the slides pulled tighter against the box walls. Here I used another random youtube trick to get an even and level spacing on the bottom. I cut a piece of 1/8" ply to slide under the drawer. I then pulled the drawer slightly out and the slide to be just barely recessed from the drawer front (~1/16")
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I went front to back installing lots and lots of screws #6 1/2" alternating left and right sides so as to not pull one way or another too much. Very satisfying to pull all the way out!
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Quick comments on the slides. They are really heavy duty 500 lbs slides. Like a bit too overbuilt. I can't imagine needing them to be this burly. These are the ones I got:

Amazon product ASIN B0009OBPH4
That being said, they slide nicely with just the right amount of required force so that they won't be flying in and out on slight inclines. I plan to have a latch that holds them in. I really didn't think locking in/out slides were worth the price.

I think I could've gotten away with these 250 lbs slides, although since they aren't prime I only would have saved $23/set.

Amazon product ASIN B01KIGVIY2
 
Good thinking on off setting the slides. I’ve been contemplating making myself a set and would have probably made the mistake of not doing this!
 
Good thinking on off setting the slides. I’ve been contemplating making myself a set and would have probably made the mistake of not doing this!
If you look at the bradyadventures build he doubles up the middle piece. Not a bad idea, but I think offsetting the slides is just as viable - the extra support a center piece would provide. But I think the main 3/4" ply frame is pretty darn strong.
 
Put in back of LC and cut topsheet. Discovered that the outer box is not perfectly square. base is 37" across the bottom. Top front 36 5/8", top back 36 7/8. I cut the top sheet to 37" and will push top of walls out a little when I mount. Picture below isn't the final cut piece obviously.
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Going to stain this piece. Can I glue carpet straight onto polyurethane or should I seal the wood with something else?
 
After a number of evenings out in the garage, the main drawers are essentially done. Since last post I cut the top sheet to size and stained it. Installed turnbuckles to hold tightly in place.
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Cut 3 drawer faces (because i buggered up the handle install on one), stained those, handle and locking latch installed. For the locking bar I used a small cut piece of aluminum and screwed it to the top sheet (before attaching top sheet!). A really nice feature of these handles is that you can fine tune how far back the locking bar is, which helps get a really nice tight fit.
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And finally the top sheet was screwed into place.
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Full extension! Still need to finish up some electrical, install tilting fridge slide, build wings, but it is functional now. I will also use the aluminum to build slots for dividers, because right now I just threw everything and then some from my old boxes in there.
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My son and I are ding a similar project for his 3rd gen 4runner and about to build the drawers. Those locking handles are perfect. Mind sharing where you sourced them and or a name?

Thanks so much!
Goebs
 
My son and I are ding a similar project for his 3rd gen 4runner and about to build the drawers. Those locking handles are perfect. Mind sharing where you sourced them and or a name?

Thanks so much!
Goebs

They aren't the ones pictured, but take a look at the "Vector T" handles, they are lockable and compression...


@bgolf247 next time you face the scenario of screw interference, take a look at barrel nuts. That's how I mounted the slides on the center vertical piece without having to offset (not that the offset is going to hurt anything).
 
My son and I are ding a similar project for his 3rd gen 4runner and about to build the drawers. Those locking handles are perfect. Mind sharing where you sourced them and or a name?

Thanks so much!
Goebs

Nice, it has been quite a bit more time than I originally thought, but the end result (so far) is very rewarding.

These are the handles I used:
Amazon product ASIN B0000AX4I8
The lock pins seem a bit sticky and I think they need some lube, but I also don't plan to ever actually lock them.
 
They aren't the ones pictured, but take a look at the "Vector T" handles, they are lockable and compression...


@bgolf247 next time you face the scenario of screw interference, take a look at barrel nuts. That's how I mounted the slides on the center vertical piece without having to offset (not that the offset is going to hurt anything).
Thats a good idea. I thought about using some inserts so that the top piece would be easily removable, but didn't think it was necessary.
 
Thanks guys! I will do some looking this eve and make a purchase.

Cheers!
 

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