Mini Van Shelf

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Project by WoodTookSoLong posted 12-05-2009 11:23 PM 5958 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Although not a true woodworking piece, it does involve wood and helped me out considerably. This was a quick and easy way for me to solve my “packing the car” woes on family trips. Even though we have a mini van there never seems to be enough room for everything we need (whether we need or use everything we take is a whole other issue, ha! ha!).

Basically it’s just a piece of 3/4” plywood that I rounded the corners on, painted black, then clear coated, and added rubber bottoms to prevent it from sliding. How it works is I remove my back bench seats and simply angle the shelf in and rest it on top of the arm rests (wheel wells).

I then pack as much stuff as I can underneath and on top without crushing things and being able to access it during the trip if need be. My wife and I usually pack stuff in labeled Rubbermaid-type plastic containers to slide in and out easily. The shelf goes in and out easily with one person and can even just be put on the floor if something taller needs to be put in.

I’ve even slept under it by inflating a queen size air mattress in the back and used it as a table with all my stuff above me. A little claustrophobic for some maybe, but works great when all the beds are already filled up at the cottage :-)

-- Ben

3 comments so far

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4614 days

#1 posted 12-05-2009 11:46 PM

Great idea to increase the storage space in your van.

I did something similar that would allow me to carry 8ft lengths of lumber inside my Vitara.

-- BLOG -

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4001 days

#2 posted 12-07-2009 04:31 PM

I like the idea, a great use of space and organization. The only thing I would suggest is a hold down feature. I’ve worked a lot of wrecks, mini-vans seem to gain in popularity for crashing during the current holiday and bad weather season. It is the worst during the early snows which usually coincide with holiday travel. That said, back to the point. I foresee the unrestrained plank causing a lot of damage during a front end or rollover crash, particularly to the rear occupants. Something as simple as a ratchet strap laced through openings in the board and hooked into the unused seat anchors would possibly be a life saver. Another idea for the cargo on top of it would be a one way hinged panel to stop the contents from flying into the passenger area. A panel that folds flat onto the shelf but does not fold forward. A piano hinge would be ideal for that. The divider panel would catch on the headrests if the entire assembly was thrown forward but it would lay flat for getting the shelf in and out.
Of course none of these ideas are tested or NTSB approved.
Merry Chistmas and hope none of this is ever an issue in your safe travels.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3732 days

#3 posted 12-07-2009 09:10 PM

Looks great but I agree with what BTKS said and add that if you were to have an accident and your insurance were to find out about this…. well they are always looking for a reason not to pay.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

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