I recently purchased a new cap for my truck on craigslist. It didn’t quite fit correctly, but it was super cheap, and I love a project. It was going to take a decent amount of body work to make the new cap fit, so I decided to make some other modifications to the truck bed while I was already in there welding, grinding, and patching. I decided the best way to get everything organized would be to put in drawers like the kind you can find at decked.com. $1200 seemed a bit pricey for something I could build myself, so I drew up plans in Solidworks:
The full Solidworks assembly can be found on my Downloads page.
The first thing I was to weld a flange around the bed to accept the new cap. I angled the new pieces up slightly to help water run off.
To make the rollers that the drawers would ride on, I decided to use rollerblade wheels since they were both tough and cheap (I picked up a pair of used rollerbades at Play-It-Again Sports for about $10), I drilled out some pieces of steel angle and and welded them to the truck bed using 1/8″ plate as a spacer so that they would clear the floor of the bed.
I then welded some more angles together to make the rails and supports for the drawers to ride on. You can also see the bondo that was used to smooth out the top rim of the bed:
You may notice there are some extra brackets up by the cab. Those will hold a large PVC pipe for levels, fishing rods, or anything else long and delicate.
After some sanding, everything was primed
Then, it was time to build the drawers themselves. I dadoed the drawer bottom into the sides and ends so it would be strong enough to hold the weight of the tools and supplies I would put in there. To give it a little extra strength, I put dowel pins through the joint as well.
For one of the drawers, I added some rails and built 2 trays to slide along them as well as 2 simple toolboxes that fit just below the tray.
I screwed two more pieces of steel angle to the sides of each drawer as well as a bracket to mount another roller blade wheel. This wheel would follow the channels that I welded above the bed floor.
Finally, it was time for a test fit:
In the above picture you can also see that I furred out the steel frame in order to screw down the final deck and some tie downs. I used pressure treated 2x’s that were scrap from a pergola I built for a client. Also, you can see that my spare tire is just sitting loose in the bed. It has been since the underbed mount for it rusted off last year. I’ll have to find somewhere else to put it, but that’s another project.
For the deck, I used 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood. I was lucky enough to get 2 5’x5′ pieces for a great deal because someone at the lumber yard had stabbed them with a fork truck. I split one piece in half to facilitate easy installation. I then contoured the outer edge of each half to fit around the wheel wells and tailgate latch. I also added cutouts for tie down loops that would screw directly to the frame furring and lie below the deck surface when not in use.
Once the new deck was installed, I cut another piece of plywood to fit between it and the cab. I cut two hatches and reattached them with cabinet hinges.
Once I installed the drawers, I used some scrap pieces of mahogany plywood for drawer fronts with some flush mount pulls.
In one drawer I put rails for the trays to slide on. In the other, my existing toolboxes fit perfectly (that’s actually the reason for the width of the drawers).
Here’s a shot of the whole system: