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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i finally started a project i've wanted to do. I have no rear seat in my TJ anymore. I like storage. I don't want to pay some exorbitant price for a pre-made unit. Even if it is better, i enjoy doing things on my own, and i like the idea of a custom fit. I wanted to utilize the rear space for a drawer or 2, then maybe an access compartment that was part of a platform. I envisioned a platform at wheel-well height, and maximizing square footage up to the rear of the seat. Perhaps some Quick fist mounts for shovel, axe, etc. Easy access to things while in the driver's seat. I'm going to make a 2" tall frame for a cooler so it can't slide anywhere, then i'll have a holddown system so it can't go up and down. Again, something that will be easily accessible from front seats. I also wanted somewhat of a slant at the part behind the seats. A) cause i think that looks cool B) it reflects more of a custom fit and C) i can mount a couple amps and have a shallow mount speaker box coming off of it for a 10" sub. We left the cargo tie-down things in as i didn't want to drill them out. We might put rubber/poly feet to act as shock absorbers, although we are thinking we can skip it as the fit is pretty tight so far. For securing, we will use the center hole where female seat belt buckles normally go, then use forward bench bracket holes. Additionally, the platform "wings" will be bolted down to wheel well. The rear half will be a wide drawer on heavy-duty, full extension slides. The front half will be hinged and will move up in an arc towards front of the vehicle (rear access). Finally, it has to be semi-removable. Top platform will be the only piece of wood not glued.

Keep in mind there are custom cuts for roll bars (platform) and rear striker and handle mechanism (left side, platform and drawer front). Also, it should be noted that stock 3rd brake light gear is all gone from my TJ. The platform, box and drawer face is all 3/4" unfinished white birch G2S. It's layered particle board that cuts almost like hardwood. Box bottom and drawer is all 1/2" unfinished red birch G2S (they were out of 1/2" white birch). Wood was $120. Hinges, screws, glue and slides came to $25. Carpeting will cost more. We are attempting to brainstorm a front handle idea. Throwing the idea around of a long handle that pivots like a Craftsman Griplatch tool box drawer.

With the help of my oldest and dearest friend (who happens to have a shit-ton of woodworking equipment, we went to it. We did a lot of figuring last week, then started today. We are probably 1/3 done. I came up with a cut list, which is slightly off due to some things not forseen. I will basically just walk through where we have gotten to and everyone can see it unfold.

Cutlist. Every 11.25" should be 11.5". We screwed up, i explain below. We cleverly rectified this...Also, "Box Top" under 3/4" Cuts should be 35.5 x 55. Box could be maybe 1/8 wider between wheelwells but that's about all you're gonna get.


Tool porn



Sunset and beer time


Side panel cut (x2). This is strictly aesthetic idea of mine to kind of follow the wheelwell slant behind driver and passenger seats. Exterior angles are 80 top/10 bottom. Left is back end, right goes towards front.


Now the front piece that goes across, behind seats, needs 10 degrees shaved off to snug over the base and under the top platform



Cutting around the rear door striker


Tetris. This is the top platform. 55" is about the limit. Bed width i think is 57 or 58, but that ain't happening. We couldn't quite get the piece in, until we cut out for the rear rollbars. Side windows had to come out. We were pretty stoked that we got it in. We had almost given up and were going to attempt to design a 2-piece platform.


So our sides (and every other vertical piece) was 1/4" too short. It was an oversight during a design change, as we assumed a 3/4" bottom piece for the structure, but for maximizing wood usage and not spending $60 on a 4x8' sheet of 3/4" particle board to get one piece, we decided on a 1/2" bottom. This is why all our vertical cuts should have been 11.5". So we ripped a bunch of 1/2" boards to bring the base up. Screwed and glued. Going over ridges but staying in between cargo tie downs (or whatever they are). I would have cut those off, but again, i always liked the idea of backing out to stock. Also, there was a weird bulge in the bed. It was right above some urethane donut near shock mount....


Screwed and glued!


This is where we called it a day. Still a couple things to go back and do. The structure overhangs the area behind the seats. Haven't fully decided whether to totally cut around rear tailgate mechanism, or just inch the box forward (see overhang). Anyway, it's on to drawer time! Which should prove interesting. I'm probably not getting back to this until early next week, but stay posted!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I don't have money to burn, but I can spend $150 to make something that's tailored to what I think is functional and cool looking. We've had to "punt" with some things as this is essentially prototyping. But I still save hundreds over pre-fabbed gear. Which may be built better, but I need money for other gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jesus this is a rough project. Missed posting pics from round 2 a couple weeks ago. Going at the drawer today.

Sidenote: Had a horrible bow in the bottom sheet for the box frame. Should have gone with 3/4" on the bottom. Pics will be posted soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here's from a couple weeks ago. Nothing really exciting. Just getting something solid to play with and trying to get the damn bow out of this 1/2" bottom...and seeing how square we could get things.

Toby, best friend of all time. 35+ years we've been rollin around together.



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fast forward to today. Got things in with lag bolts. Couldn't really find countersink-type lag bolts, not in 3/8" or bigger. So we opted for 3/8" lag screws with 2" fender washers. They are not going to be seen because they're under a drawer and we needed a gap between bottom of drawer and the box bottom anyway. The lag screws took the bow out of the middle so our drawer would have a square frame to go in, as well. There's a gap between bed/rocker and gas tank so no worries on hitting that. Plus 1.5-2" bolts barely protrude from bottom of bed. Up towards seats, i'm going to use countersunk machine screws and utilize the front bench bracket holes because there's M8x1.25 weld nuts. Should hold everything down quite well along with a couple lag screws on each wheel well for the top sheet. Got all the cut's for dovetailing in the bottom of the drawer and the "rabbit" cuts (edge dovetail) for back of drawer. Basically set table saw blade depth to .125" (1/8") and did crosscuts until we got 1/2" widths for drawer bottom and drawer back.

This is a huge prototyping project in the sense that there's no measurements out there and things are dependent on where you want to go with the concept...AND there's all sorts of measurement considerations that we knew we'd have to adjust, and a few we didn't (eg. height of angled piece behind seats...forgot about a^2 + b^2 = c^2). Another example of consideration is the rear door housing and striker. The drawer face is going to need a square cutout because i wated the box flush with rear lip of the bed. I didn't want 2" of no mans land just for a perfect edge-to-edge drawer face, that's .4 cu-ft3 of space i'd lose in the drawer. Also, drivers-side drawer side can only be 10" tall because of rear door striker...else drawer wouldn't be able to move out. Measure twice cut once, turned into: crap, we need an audible cause we have no more wood left.





 

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NIce job. I just finished a very similar project in my TJ. I used the rear sear belt bolt to help take the bow out of the bottom piece. It also holds it in place. As you said, this project is a lot of measure, fit , then re measure and re cut, but I am happy with the end result. Nice write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
NIce job. I just finished a very similar project in my TJ. I used the rear sear belt bolt to help take the bow out of the bottom piece. It also holds it in place. As you said, this project is a lot of measure, fit , then re measure and re cut, but I am happy with the end result. Nice write up.
I was gonna use that same bolt hole, but alas I didn't have the bolt with me when I was at the friend's house. Got any pics of yours?
 

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I don't know how to load them. I will get my wife to do it when she gets home. Your build is what actually got me headed down the road I eventually took. I was first looking to do something out of metal, but I do not have the equipment to work with metal. I am quite happy how it turned out. Will post pics this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So we got table saw fixed. Got a JCR rear bumper and tire carrier + i've been doing some car audio customizing. Although the car audio couldn't be finished until storage project was done. So past couple weeks, few hours here and there. Finally done. Well i still need to seal the wood, put some carpet/polymat in, and determine drawer and hatch pulls, as well as hatch safeties/locks for security and for safety off-roading, and add 4 more lag bolts for extra butressing.

Super happy with the fact that my vision came to be. Me and my friend have never built drawers, nor woodworked for custom spaces. Drawer came out great and can hold alot of weight, and can handle a bit of sag. Tools are everything. There's a couple tweaks i would do second time around, but any TJ owner without a backseat would be stoked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Put in braces/rests for hatch lids. SUPER solid and a great late idea.



Had to drill holes to get jig saw inside to make cuts for hatches. They'll cover up easy. Makita jig saw with the right blade is pretty impressive in a straight line...


Hinged up!


Yay access hatches!


Gettin it in for real
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Install pics..

From the front seat



Yes those are screws for handles. Not ready to commit to a solution yet. Whatever it is, it will be flush-mount


From the rear and side



Just a look down to show the cuts for the latch area. I could have pushed everything forward to avoid this, but the purpose of this project is to maximize continuous sq footage + i REALLY didn't want a gap in the back + the base already encroaches a bit more than i wanted into the area behind the front seats...
 

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Nice job!!!

I just recently completed my box build and am wayyyyyy happy with it - though I find that I quickly run out of room when I have my equipment bag in there...to which my build was rather specific to fit my equipment bag (36" L x 16" W x 14" H). I had initially thought about a drawer and then an easy access panel from the front, but in the end, just kept it simple and really just ended up with a 'box'. However, I guess the 'unique' (??, maybe unique???) requirement that I wanted was that I wanted to make my box easy to install AND uninstall so I can put the back seat in at will.

I put my box together with t-nuts so that way, I'm not screwing into the wood each and every time. It's a solid box, fits by bag perfectly, hinged top, tie-downs on top, and I can assemble/dis-assemble by myself in about 5 min!

I like yours a lot too though and especially like the drawer!! Your woodcrafting skills are also better than what mine are as sometimes I don't have the patience to do a 'great' job. I like a good job and do get picky about some things...your's looks spot on though - my hat's off to you :worthy::worthy:

Some pics of mine and a link to my build thread in my sig so you can see the process I took.







 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Some nice ideas with yours. I like the cargo rings. Cutouts for latch and brake light contacts. What kind of bottom wood is that? Laminate?

My idea was to maximize sq "footage" up top, and cu ft under, while giving good access from front and rear (ie. nothing too far out of reach), and have something solid and that won't make rattling/slapping noises especially when off road. I'd love to do a V2 or V3, but i'm gonna fix this one up nice first.
 

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Thanks. I used all OSB including the bottom - I just sanded, primed, sanded, primed, sanded and then Rustoleum semi-gloss. I wanted a smoother bottom so nothing would get caught on anything - and then I found the rubber-backed carpet pieces that I had from a different project so I cut that down to size. So now the bottom is well protected.

I hear you on maximizing space - that's what I had in mind as well - usable space both in and out. I like your access doors on top though - would be nice to just turn around and grab something from inside the box.

The one 'big' problem with my design...because I needed to fit it for my equipment bag, that means I can't move my seat back too far or else the back will rub against the box - good think I'm not 6' plus so it's fine for me.

Anyway, good job on yours. Like you, I think I may come up with some additional ideas.....
 

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I don't know how to load them. I will get my wife to do it when she gets home. Your build is what actually got me headed down the road I eventually took. I was first looking to do something out of metal, but I do not have the equipment to work with metal. I am quite happy how it turned out. Will post pics this evening.
Laggy, better late than never. Here are some pics of my box installed. My main concern was being able to use the hard top with it in. I used 1/2 " plywood for all pieces. I reinforced the top with 3/4" alum square running side to side. It is strong enough to stand on. I used slotted angle at all corners for both the box and the drawer for strength. I also put a strong box into the front of the box, right behind the center console. Whiskey mike used his new found welding skills to help me out with that. The strongbox has a padded area for my concealed and a lower shelf that will hold wallet, keys, phone, ect. Again, your project is what got me headed down the wood path. Thanks for posting your build

Vehicle Car Trunk Automotive exterior Auto part
Automotive exterior Bumper Room Auto part Metal
Iron Room Architecture Automotive exterior Metal
Screen Light Media Technology Darkness
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nice rack lol. Btw, we showed my friend's wife, she said "Badass! Took you guys long enough" hahaha

Man that cargo net allowed you to use that last few inches above top of wheel wells. It's nice to be able to play out a vision. All of mine is 3/4 except for bottom sheet and drawer sides, bottom and back...and all comes apart and out easily, save the drawer which is nailed and glued. I did most of the 1/2" for wood cost. Version 2 would have drawer bottom and main box bottom be 3/4". The drawer is probably gonna get braced eventually. It rolls well with a lot of weight distributed throughout (used weight and dumbells to test).

Payoff of 1/2" wood is lightweight. Your setup must be incredibly light. Glad I could inspire.
 

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Thanks. I typically go topless, but we have had so much rain it was put the top on or don't drive it. With the net, I can stack gear all the way to the edge and not worry about losing it.
 
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