Son of a Carpenter's Fully Custom Carpentry Van Build

Plywood artistry


USED FOR Carpentry
MODEL 2018 Ford Transit
BODY Full-Size Cargo Van


Floor storage
Ceiling storage
Roof storage
Interior lights
Stand inside?

See more of Son of a Carpenter


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 »
Use scalloped handles on drawers instead of hardware. more »
Add a sacrificial plywood layer to your floor. more »
Long drawers keep you out of the van. more »


Son of a Carpenter

Son of a Carpenter

Palm Coast, FL USA

A Carpentry Van Custom Built for Cabinetmaking

This custom carpentry van, by Son of a Carpenter, Inc, is filled with cool features and clever solutions. This buildout was designed for a carpenter that does lots of cabinetry.

Frank Malinowski, of Son of a Carpenter, explains that one of the core concepts in the construction of this van was having a wide cargo space that can hold cabinets or other work pieces. They managed to create a space that's almost 41" wide and obstruction-free!

Gettin' It Wide

To create the maximum amount of width, they started by taking detailed measurements of the van and made CAD drawings that could be exported to CNC cut the plywood.

Because the van layout was designed in CAD, the customer could see what the final product would look like and the exported drawings can be easily replicated for other upfitting projects for faster turnaround.

One of the key features in the design was taking advantage of the recessed areas (i.e. window cutouts) where items could be pushed back. In some areas this gave them an extra 3-5" of depth to work with!

Instead of using hardware pull handles on drawers, they made scalloped cutouts for fingers to grab for pulling. This easily gained them another couple of inches of width and eliminates protrusions that could catch work pieces or clothing.

There are no tools, materials, bins, handles, or boxes protruding into the cargo area. All these little things gave them a wide cargo area perfect for hauling cabinets!

Son of a Carpenter's Fully Custom Carpentry Van Build
Son of a Carpenter's Fully Custom Carpentry Van Build Image from Son of a Carpenter


While many compartments were built with certain sizes of toolboxes in mind, they were also made to be modular and configurable. All shelves have several levels of height adjustment.

A Unique Floor Storage System

The unique floor storage system has drawers and cubbies that can be accessed from the rear and the side cargo doors of the van. There's 100" of storage length accessible from the back , and 69" accessible from the side.

A pretty clever trick are the ultra-thin sliding floors that keep short tools from getting permanently lost in the cubbies.

The false floor means that a typical person can't fully stand in the van, but the most commonly used tools, cords, and a compressor are positioned at back of the cargo area so they can be accessed without getting into the truck.

About That Bulkhead

The plywood bulkhead is sealed and insulated for a couple of reasons.

First, Frank points out that these vans are not well insulated for road noise, so they essentially made an insulated cockpit for the driver and a passenger.

Second, with the cargo area closed off, the front cabin can be heated or cooled much more quickly.

When longer materials need to be transported, a pass-through panel can be removed to let it pop through from the cargo area to the cabin.


Frank notes a couple things about the build:

Adding the wood frame to the truck really stiffened it up. Also, they like using wood in the build rather than metal. Wood is easy to modify and it's easy to add hooks, D-rings, and grab handles wherever you want.

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