I used this long weekend to replace something I had built in our trailer that had been bothering me for a while. I tore out the bicycle storage platform and replaced it with a much better (and cooler) sliding storage tray. You can check it out in the following video:
I decided *not* to go into too much detail on the plans or construction methods for this tray for a number of reasons. First… I didn’t really have a plan! I just got the parts and started building. That’s not really the best way to go about things, but it worked out in this case. Also – unless you have the same bikes and trailer that we do, exact plans won’t do you too much good. For this project, it was more about the idea that I wanted to get across.
But having said that, there are a number of things that I do want to point out in case you want to try something like this on your own.
The Drawer Slides
The drawer slides are really the heart of the whole thing. The ones I used are 60 inch heavy-duty, 500 pound rated slides that I purchased from Amazon.com. These are the kinds of drawer slides you might find on one of the large belly storage trays in a luxury class A rig. I honestly bought them thinking that this would not be the last project that I used these drawer slides on. If we sell the trailer some day, I’m taking the slides with me. If we ever get our European-inspired small class C rig – I’m going to build a tray for that and install these in it. Please don’t tell Stef how much they cost – because in my mind, I’m amortizing the cost of these slides over several projects. That’s how my mind works when it comes to shop time… I can say though, that they are a really heavy duty and well-made drawer slide.
Everything else in this installation depends on those drawer slides and where and how they are mounted. So, as you see in the video, I get those fixed into position first.
Pocket Screws Galore!
All the assembly you see in the video was done with pocket screws. There is no glue. This makes things very fast to put together, and very quick to correct if you need to change something. Pocket hole joinery is also surprisingly strong, more than adequate to hold a pair of carbon fiber road bikes.
I use a simple pocket hole jig by Kreg. I’ve had it for years, and it’s dead simple to use. You can see the holes and the jig in operation in the video. For simple and quick RV projects, you can’t do much better than this. I do go through a lot of pocket hole screws, though.
I knew I wanted a finish on the tray (to make it easier to clean up grease). But I also knew that having to spray on 3 coats of polyurethane was going to be a real time-suck. So when I saw this pre-finished plywood at the local home center, it was a done deal.
Now granted, by my regular standards, this plywood is junk. It’s ugly, for starters. It wasn’t terribly flat. It also has lots of voids in the material as I found out while working with it. I would never use this stuff for a furniture-grade project. BUT… it was only 45 bucks for the whole 4’x8′ sheet! If you’re quickly putting together a cabinet that’s going to live in a cargo trailer, this stuff is just the ticket.
Once I remembered that I kind of know how to sew, the wheel storage for this project became easy. All I had to do was buy the material and sew up a couple of envelope bags. This was cheaper and faster than buying wheel bags. In fact, I was done buying the material and making the bags before lunch. But if you don’t know how to sew, or just don’t want to, you could do this just as well with a purchased bicycle wheel bag. You would just need to buy a larger bag so that there was sufficient slack in the bag once it was mounted to a wall. (Otherwise, the wheels would be too hard to put in them.)
I haven’t used this bag personally, but if you were going to order bags to complete the project, this one looks like it would do the trick.
And there you have it. If you’ll be at one of the rallies we’re at this summer, you can see the tray in action. And even if we don’t meet up in person, hopefully this gives you a couple good ideas to springboard a project like this for yourself.