We're a little overdue for a write-up on how we hodge-podged cabinets together in two weekends. [yes we know it was a little rushed, but we wanted to have something use-able for all of our summer trips]
Our goals for the cabinets were the following:
- Keep them very light (the more weight in the van the more it's slowed down)
- Make them symmetrical on either side of the back seat
- Finish them in by June
- Set your wall-anchors
- Build the Frame
- Add the Facade
Anchoring the Cabinets
Luckily, vanagons come with their own holes where the side panels pop into the skeleton of the van. So we used wall anchors and "L" brackets to create braces for the cabinets (obviously you have to plan the sizing and layout of the cabinets around the placement of the holes). Also, a note - we kept in the side panels in to help reduce noise.
Building the Frame
We first cut down boards for the font/back/top of each cabinet, then also jigsawed their unique shapes (because the sides of the van do bow out in some areas. You'll find this takes a bit of trial-and-error. It might be best to test out the shapes with cardboard first before you start to cut into your wood. We attached these pieces to our wall anchors and into the floor for stability.
Then, we added in shelving and a little brace across the top:
Once the overall sizes were determined, we cut out the facade out of a thin (1/4", 4' x 8') piece of plywood. We just roughed out the measurements, it's a little tough to get the back angle of the wheel well correct, but at least no one really can see back there if you are off! After that, we cut the holes for the doors/openings and whitewashed/stained the cabinet pieces.
See how we finished the cabinets in "Cabinet Making - Part 2"