Retiree in Action: Part 6: Sliding Drawers … My Van Project Nightmare!

Will I survive this van conversion! Why did I have this bright idea of installing sliding drawers rather than simple built-in shelves? What was I thinking?

Most of my camping gear is stored in milk crates. One with backpacker stove, fuel, pots and pans on one side and paper towels, dish towels, etc on the other side. Another milk crate with cans or envelopes of food, coffee, tea bags, water bottles, etc. On 2 of the 3 drawers I plan to have a small Yeti cooler and 2.5 gallon water jug. The third drawer is a table top … another bright idea of mine … in case I want to have a table off the end of the van. Not having a tailgate as I did with the Honda Element I thought this would be helpful. Time will tell.

I did purchase a mini Kreg pocket hole jig and took time to figure it out. My thought was I needed stronger drawer joints since weighted items will be in the drawers. Pretty cool tool once you get the hang of it! (It would have been helpful to have this tool earlier in the project; oh well!)

I thought I was almost done with the drawer slider set-up when the top 2 drawers were done. They were not pretty but did work. Unfortunately when I installed the third drawer the top two were no longer in their track! Damn! Honestly I cried … so much hard work had gone into this entire project; I was not ready for any problem right now! I was tired of the work and wanted to be in nature for hours, not here looking at my crappy woodwork!

Do I know my error? Yes. In saving on wood weight I decided not to build a complete box which would have made everything square. Fortunately the next day when I was to solve the issue for the top 2 drawers it was raining here in Arizona … perfect time to work on my taxes and other computer work. Plus not looking at any of the van work needing to be done was a nice break in the action!

The next day I had to face reality and figure out how to get the top two drawers to work within their tracks. Fortunately my partner offered additional hand-holding of shims, etc so we could figure a way to have it all work. Frustration continued when we would think we were done and another drawer would be off track! Four hours later all drawers were in! No one touched them as we decided “time for dinner”! Yup, dinner with glass of wine was well deserved! We do have our priorities! 

They are not pretty, but they do work!

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