Pick Up Truck Bed Tool Drawer Set

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Project by caper posted 03-13-2014 04:26 PM 9851 views 7 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a project I completed recently. My old Silverado is getting long in the tooth, so I picked up this ‘06 Tacoma (with a brand new frame) and built a set of tool drawers in the bed. I am a contractor/finish carpenter.
The carcass is built from 3/4” AC plywood, primed on the outside with two coats of Alkyd BM exterior primer. The entire box is sealed to the weather. The plywood top is removable as are the drawers, so I can easily disassemble it for removal. It’s a bit hard to see with the cap on it, but the whole box is fitted tightly in the bed and wedged tightly under the lip of the bed so it will not move. The drawer dividers are all dadoed/glued in and made from 1/2” AC to save weight and volume. The drawers are also made from 1/2” AC, with 1/2” cabinet grade Birch ply for the drawer fronts. The two lower outside drawers go back as far as the wheel wells, but the other four drawers are a full 6 feet long and accommodate a large assortment of tools, including all of my levels, my small compressor, hoses, cords, power, air and hand tools. Bigger tools like my table saw and 10” DSC miter saw ride on top of the box.
I trimmed the carcass and drawer fronts in teak, and applied sanding sealer and three coats of exterior marine grade spar urethane. The drawer boxes are all coated with two coats of sanding sealer. I used UHMW tape applied to both the carcass and the drawer bottoms as slides, and it works great – just enough glide without the drawers wanting to slide out on their own if I’m parked on an up-slope. I used regular pulls from the hardware store because they are very low profile, as the back of the assembly is really close to the tailgate when closed to minimize the entry of weather when the cap is not on the truck. I also installed a Pop’n Lock locking tailgate latch for security that I ordered on the Web.
Feel free to contact me if you want more photos of the construction or to discuss the project. Thanks for looking. Peace!

-- WoodCaper, Lower Cape Cod, MA

9 comments so far

View Matty272's profile


85 posts in 2311 days

#1 posted 03-13-2014 05:03 PM

Looks fab to me and definitely suits your job :)

-- It's worth every moment of effort you put in if the kids enjoy it!

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4367 days

#2 posted 03-13-2014 06:13 PM

Cool design, thanks for sharing

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2383 days

#3 posted 03-13-2014 06:23 PM

wow that is such a great idea, great job

-- steve, simple and effective

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3776 days

#4 posted 03-14-2014 12:40 AM

Wonderful work, great idea also

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View TheQueTip's profile


118 posts in 4003 days

#5 posted 03-14-2014 01:30 AM

I don’t think you are going to have to worry about anyone taking it out of the back of your truck. Are your drawers on rails? (Without rails I can imagine six foot long drawers could be a task to pull out if filled with heavy tools) If railed, did you make them or are rails that long readily available?

Nice work. Thanks for sharing with us.


-- TheQueTip, Killeen Texas - All tools I've purchased from Harbor Freight eventually became a hammer.

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 3342 days

#6 posted 03-14-2014 01:56 AM

My shop instructor a fews years back did this same thing when he was a youngin. He and his friend showed up for a carpentry interview showing off their truck bed tool storage design and they both got hired for the job on the spot. Nice work!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View caper's profile


5 posts in 2308 days

#7 posted 03-14-2014 01:04 PM

Reply to TheQueTip:

Chris – Thanks for the positive comments!

I priced full extension drawer slides for the project but they were super expensive (over $100. per set!). So I left the drawer bottom side edges proud and applied adhesive-backed 3/4”Ultra-high-molecular-weight (UHMW) tape to both the drawer bottoms and the carcass bottoms instead of slides, and it works great – in fact, the more weight in the drawer, the faster it slides once it starts moving! (The drawers are about 1/8” narrower than the openings). Here is where I got the UHMW tape:

It’s cool stuff, also great for shop jigs where things slide, like auxiliary table saw fences, etc.

Thanks again to you and to all the other Jocks who have commented!

-Davis W.

-- WoodCaper, Lower Cape Cod, MA

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2948 days

#8 posted 03-20-2014 02:23 PM

Great build, awesome tool drawers in a truck! Perfect for the always-on-the-go contractor and carpenter.

View reena8's profile


1 post in 92 days

#9 posted 04-06-2020 04:29 AM

thanks to your website.


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