Mobile woodshop in a van - any tips?

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Forum topic by Shahar posted 10-27-2021 12:12 PM 436 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 268 days

10-27-2021 12:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mobile workshop work outside workshop in a van

TL;DR – I’m looking for advice on how to set up a mobile workshop in a van.

Hi all,
Since I don’t have a garage, I put all my woodworking equipment in my SUV and drive to places where I won’t bother anyone with the noise I’m making.

I finally accumulated enough equipment that using my SUV is no longer a viable solution so I have been looking for other solutions.

Initially, I was thinking about buying a used U-Haul that’ll be large enough for me to be working inside. Looks like this is not a good option, though, because there are restrictions on where I can park a truck that’ll be large enough for me to work in.

So as a fallback I’m thinking about getting a used van which will have enough room for the equipment but will require taking things out to do work.

Are there any folks here who are doing something similar and are willing to share their experience with similar setups?

Moreover, I wonder if people have any advice on how to set things up to minimize the time it takes to take the equipment out of the van and put it back in once I’m done. One thought I had was to build some kind of a sliding platform that’ll allow me to pull out the contractor table saw that I use without having to lift it and put it on a table.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

10 replies so far

View Notw's profile


1138 posts in 3035 days

#1 posted 10-27-2021 01:25 PM

I would suggest checking out the Festool Owners Group forum, they have a lot of people who store their tools in vans and a lot of good ideas for space savings.

View Aj2's profile


4129 posts in 3080 days

#2 posted 10-27-2021 01:33 PM

Your plan doesn’t sound practical to me. There are guys that work out vehicles we call them trim carpenters.
I’ve even met guys that hang doors that do work out of their truck.
When I lived in condo I and no space for machines I filled my extra time wood carving. So that’s what I recommend
Good Luck

-- Aj

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1115 posts in 4258 days

#3 posted 10-27-2021 01:47 PM

Google Ron Paulk mobile workshop…

View controlfreak's profile (online now)


3050 posts in 883 days

#4 posted 10-27-2021 04:09 PM

I am biased because I am in a small shop and already heading down this road. Is going the hand tool route a possible fit? I could see myself having fun with just hand tools and a Moravian bench. A couple of joiner’s tool boxes, a bench and a tent could be a shop anywhere. You may need to have pleasant weather to work in and you could also fit in the bed of a pickup truck. Might not even need to leave the property. When doing hand tool work the only noise I could see bothering anyone is the mallet striking the chisel.

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3050 posts in 883 days

#5 posted 10-27-2021 05:53 PM

For wood working “in a van” it is hard to beat the new full sided Ford Transit vans. I bought the extra tall full sized for my business and I can stand inside and rise my arms strait up. Lots of room but it may be a little pricey to buy a new van for mobile woodworking.

View Vicki's profile


1188 posts in 4626 days

#6 posted 10-28-2021 06:53 PM

How about one of these, should be legit to park on your property:

Why not a shed?

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View pottz's profile


21285 posts in 2266 days

#7 posted 10-28-2021 07:01 PM

Google Ron Paulk mobile workshop…

- hotbyte

+1 he has a real nice mobile shop. not cheap though.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View CWWoodworking's profile


2285 posts in 1461 days

#8 posted 10-28-2021 10:02 PM

If I were to do it, I’d use dewalts 7485 table saw. Great fence. Cuts well and easy on the back to move.

I would also recommend Ron Paulks videos. I have 2 benches that are loosely based on his design. Very useful.

View Loren's profile (online now)


11307 posts in 4930 days

#9 posted 10-28-2021 10:08 PM


View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3020 posts in 1445 days

#10 posted 10-28-2021 10:15 PM

try to find some photos (or videos) of Tom Silva and Norm Abram’s work vans for “inspiration”.

-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

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