Bridgman Builders' Versatile, Pretty-Darn-Good Cabinetry Trailer

How to work off a cart

RIG DETAILS

USED FOR General Contracting Carpentry
TYPICAL JOBS cabinets, millwork
BODY Enclosed Trailer, Flat Nose

ORGANIZATION

Floor storage
Ceiling storage
Wired electric
Modular/Adjustable
Stand inside?

See more of Bridgman Builders

Tips

Use a blower to clean your truck. more »
Add a lip to the front of shelves to keep toolboxes on your shelves. more »
Build shelves on a tilt to retain items like caulk tubes. more »
Put your name on your toolboxes. more »
Route generator exhaust through your trailer's floor. more »

ABOUT THE ORGANIZER

Zack Bridgman

Bridgman Builders

Webb City, MO USA


Zack, owner of Bridgman Builders, uses this enclosed trailer for cabinets and carpentry. This trailer is built from practice, not theory.

Does this build look maybe a little rough? Sure. But that's because it's used and has been reconfigured to make Zack's crew more efficient.

The build has some nice touches and tips for companies that specialize in millwork, and the cart-building method here could be applied to many trades.

You'll notice that the driver side of the trailer has a massive amount of space with tools sitting on the floor. Zack says they used to have shelves and cabinets built in.

Where are they now?

Since they also use the trailer for hauling cabinets, they removed the built-ins and did some reconfiguring. Many carpenters that do cabinets like to assemble cabinets themselves, so hauling space is always important. This can be solved by having an extra-wide cargo area in a carpentry van/trailer or by just using another vehicle or trailer dedicated to hauling.

Cubbies to Tool Boxes

Some contractors use Paulk-style one-tool-per-cubby organization, but several carpenters prefer to have tool boxes that they transport onto the job site. Zack is one of those carpenters.

The Cubby Method

Previously, they used cubbies (and still have a few on the trailer). In a cubby system, each individual tool gets its own cubby. You might store a few bits or a key/allen wrench, some blades, etc. in the cubby, but the point is that you can simply reach in the cubby and grab the tool. There is no tool bag to open. You aren't pulling out a case, plopping it on the next available surface, opening it, then assembling the tool.

Bridgman Builders' Versatile, Pretty-Darn-Good Cabinetry Trailer
Bridgman Builders' Custom Cabinetry Trailer Image from Zack Bridgman

Grab 'n Go Method

But Zack has transitioned to Grab 'N Go kits for some tasks. These are 2 and 3-drawer Milwaukee Packouts that hold a collection of tools used in combination to do a job. These Packouts are arranged in purpose-built plywood shelves and retained on the shelves with a lip on the front.

One example is the drill/multitool kit. It holds two drills and many bits in the top drawer and a multi-tool and more drill bits in the second drawer.

He likes this system because it's flexible:

  1. He can grab a drill quickly out of the Packout if he just needs a drill for quick jobs (just a little slower than pulling it out of a cubby).
  2. He can grab the whole Packout if he's doing more extensive work.

How Zack Works off a Cart

When he's about to do a job, Zack stacks the toolboxes he needs to do the day's work on a Milwaukee cart.

If you aren't familiar with the cart and Packout setup, the Packouts and cart lock together to create a solid, stacked, rolling toolbox. Like many systems, you can stack and configure your toolboxes however you want.

He brings the cart on the job and works directly out of the toolbox, putting tools back into their respective drawer as he finishes with them. This keeps his work area tidy and makes it easy to clean up at the end of the day.

Another time-saving feature of this system is that if he's continuing the same work tomorrow, his cart is already built with the tools that he needs. He can wheel it onto the trailer and be ready to go tomorrow. It isn't necessary to put tools away and grab them again tomorrow.

Drawer Details

Zack prefers the 2-drawer Packouts because the drawers are larger and many tools won't fit in the 3-drawer units (2 and 3-drawer Packouts have the same outside dimensions). Notably, the largest battery-power tools on the truck, like the circular saw and the recip saw, are still in cubbies.

He uses some Festool toolboxes, but they aren't as big as the Packouts and they aren't quite as useful in his system.

Though Packouts tick the boxes for their large size and stackability, they're also heavy and bulky.

Generator and Shore Power

Like many tool trailers, Zack's trailer can connect to grid power. Unlike many tool trailers, his also has a generator. It's a small, quiet Honda generator mounted to the floor near the rear of the trailer.

He plumbed the exhaust so that it runs through a copper pipe through the floor of the trailer. He doesn't need to remove it from the trailer to run it and he won't have fumes inside the trailer while it runs.

A cord plugs in to the generator to provide power to the trailer, or he can connect the cord to grid power to run off the job site's electrical.

Air Compressor Setup

The air compressor is permanently mounted in the trailer. Hose is routed through the trailer with ports available at a couple different locations.

Inventory Management

Some of the hardware needed for installations is kept in Packouts, but locking bins are also mounted to the front wall of the trailer for bulk hardware. Bins and Packouts are labelled so it's easy to find all the hardware on the trailer.

A small amount of plumbing and electrical inventory is kept on the trailer to help with rerouting water and electrical lines.

DIY MFT Table

Zack has a DIY multi-function table that is used a lot. It is a piece of plywood that rests on a pair of sawhorses. He spent the time to drill the holes that are typical for an MFT and says he even has the clamps.

However, he prefers to edge clamp and never uses the holes. The handiest hole is the handle!

Other Stuff

Zack built a super simple, super slick work table hidden between tool cubbies. It's held in place with a latch and pulls out easily on drawer slides. It is perfect for opening up a Packout to grab some screws.

Zack says his "Coper" coping jig is the "best kept secret in the world."

Put a router in [anyone's] hands, they can cope all your trim for you so you can start cutting it!

See a video on the Coper here.

He loves his Festool Kapex KS 120 REB saw and the accompanying stand. He says it's light and sets up quickly. They tend to do messier rough cuts on stock outside the home with a larger, heavier DeWalt and finish cut on the Festool inside the house.