How do I Design Wood Racking for Work Vans?

by Tim Anderson

The utility of a work van is second to none for contractors and suppliers around the nation. The spacious interior of a work van allows for the storage of multiple tools and supplies, but sometimes it is necessary to have more than just empty space. Making custom shelves and storage racks allows you to organize your tools and supplies and keep everything in order, optimizing your time because you can spend more time working and less time wondering where things are inside of the van.

Determine what types of tools or materials you want to haul about inside of your van. Understand that the type of work you do will dictate the exact type of shelves you build due to weight, size and balance of the load. Realize that metal workers, for example, will require storage space for a welder and generator, while a tile installer will need room not only for his hand tools such as straight edges, levels and trowels, but also a tile wet saw.

Look into the option of installing a van liner prior to installing any wood shelves. Find van liner kits at a variety of suppliers, and choose between ply liners and poly liners, depending if you want wood lining or plastic lining. Understand that lining is optional, but it helps you minimize any damage to the interior of your van due to movement over time and general wear and tear.

Look into the types of wood you can use for shelving. Understand that light items, such as general hand tools like hammers, wrenches and levels will only require plywood with a minimal amount of support underneath. Realize that the storage of heavier items, such as grinders, jackhammers and other types of power tools will require adequate support in the form of angle iron braces that form the perimeter of the shelves while the wood fits into the frame. Utilize treated lumber for optimal results.

Pay attention to the width of any material or shelving you plan on installing in the van, as you do not want your screws to penetrate the exterior of the van. Balance is key; if you have a lot of heavy equipment you will want to build adequate shelving on either side of the van to balance the load, or put your heavier shelves up at the front of the van and keep the lighter items on the side. You should leave enough room in the center of the van to accommodate a pallet if you plan on picking up supplies in your vehicle; otherwise, you can leave as wide or narrow of a walk space as required by your trade.

About the Author

Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera van fano denmark image by david harding from Fotolia.com