Building my custom worktrailer - 14' custom tool trailer

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 09-10-2018 03:42 AM 1362 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BreeStephany's profile


69 posts in 2791 days

09-10-2018 03:42 AM

I recently bought a 14’ Cargo Mate cargo trailer and have spent the last couple of weekends converting it into a tool trailer and functional workspace.

The trailer had been used before I bought it for mobile pressure washing. The floor was soaked in diesel fuel and the entire trailer reeked of diesel.

After buying the trailer, my first task was to take care of the floor and to try to reduce the smell in the trailer.

I first removed the thresholds from the side and back doors and then painted the floor with an oil based block primer that was designed to prime heavy smoke damaged structures.

After letting the paint dry, I then covered the existing floor with 1/4” birch ply. I used heavy duty PL construction adhesive to bond the sheets to the existing floor and then screwed the ply into the steel cross braces below the original plywood.
After screwing off all of the flooring, I reinstalled the thresholds and began working on shelving in the trailer.

I used 3/4” birch finish ply to construct my shelves and then finished off the fronts with 3/4” red oak.

I constructed a set of angled shelves to hold my larger power tools with hard cases, then made a set of straight shelves to hold smaller boxes, soft sided cases, etc. and then made a set of smaller shelves to hold parts bins for screws, EMT fittings, etc.

A view of the shelves with all of my tools in place and parts beginning to fill up the bins.

For parts storage, I bought a Harbor Freight 47 bin floor mount parts rack and integrated it into the shelving. One of the main complaints of the HF parts rack was that the trays had no support under them, so I built shelves that the individual bins sit on and then used the metal rails from the HF rack to hold the bins against the wall.

So far, after making a couple of 100+ mile trips with the trailer and taking the trailer down some very rough gravel roads, I am confident that the bins will stay in place and shouldn’t break because they are supported by the wood shelves.

As a backup, just in case a bin were to come loose, I installed 3/4” x 3-3/4” fronts on each shelf that were dadoed, glued and nailed into the plywood shelf / 2×2” shelf supports.

There is a 1.5” lip above the shelf to keep the bins from falling off the shelf, shall they ever pop of their rails unnecessarily.

They are designed so that the bins can still be removed, but will not come loose on their own.

The angled shelves work great in making tools quick and easy to remove, while keeping them in place while transporting the trailer from job to job.

I bought Rubbermaid FastTrack and FastTrack holders to hold extension cords, PPE, fishtapes, benders, shovels, etc. The rack is really great at keeping the holders in place, even with large amounts of weight on them, while still allowing the holders to be rearranged, shall the need arise, quickly and easily.

Tool belt holder, flexi-bit / fish rod holder.

One of the biggest reasons for getting a tool trailer was to be able to clean tools and charge batteries after work hours. I installed a 4’ 12 outlet power strip under my charging shelf, hardwired it into the load side of a GFCI outlet and installed a 4’ 4500 lumen LED vaportite strip light directly above the work bench.

Keeping the light directly above the bench prevents shadows while working inside due to the low ceiling height, while also ensuring that ceiling height was kept as tall as possible in the main traffic path of the trailer.

Charging shelf. I currently have a Milwaukee M28 charger, a Milwaukee M12 charger, a Milwaukee 2.4V battery charger and a 2 bay Makita 18V charger. The shelf is designed so that chargers can be easily reconfigured, phased out, replaced, etc., all while keeping wires clean and organized.

Wrench drawer!

I picked up a US General 8 drawer 26” tool cabinet to organize some of my larger loose tools, extra loose power tools and smaller tools that were not in cases and those that were not commonly used.

I used Kaizen foam to shadow each drawer so that tools stay in place, even during transportation, and prevent tools from shifting, piling up and potentially preventing drawers from being opened.

Backup drill and 1/2” cordless impact.

Rivnut kit!

Its surprising how many times I have used rivnuts on the job as an electrician, and even more surprising how many times I wished I had a kit with me to accomplish a particular task.

Measuring tool drawer.

Had a couple of laminate countertop scraps laying around in the shop for years. I finally found a use for them. The joint between pieces isn’t the prettiest, but looks great for a tool trailer and makes keeping the counter clean.

I used the mat off of the tool cart as a countertop mat to make cleaning up after cleaning tools quick and easy.

Just a few outside photos. Overall, I am very happy with how the project turned out and think it will be a very functional trailer on jobsites.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

4 replies so far

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3638 days

#1 posted 09-10-2018 04:46 AM

Beautiful Job on that Trailer Bree! A few more pictures would have helped …LOL… Thanks for that much Detail.

Yes! It will make an ideal Job Site Trailer. Or, Quick Fix Telephone Calls. Make sure of the SECURITY Factor, a lot of guys would Love to get in there or Steal the Entire Trailer!

Regards: Rick S.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View bigblockyeti's profile


6184 posts in 2326 days

#2 posted 09-10-2018 12:08 PM

Looks very well thought out and the attention to detail is second to none. I’ll second the security concerns, lock it up tight and keep it from walking off!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View bondogaposis's profile


5605 posts in 2957 days

#3 posted 09-10-2018 02:22 PM

Looks like a great set up, should serve you well for many years to come.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4566 days

#4 posted 09-10-2018 02:31 PM

I will +++ on Rick’s comment about security. Ya can’t have too much.
Great job on the build-out.

-- [email protected]

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