Pull-out shelf (final)

In my previous postings (Pull-out bed shelf and Pull-out shelf (2)) I built the shelf in my workshop; now I head out to the van, to make some final measurements, adjust it and finish the last details.

3435Two issues remain: the front of the shelf needs to be shortened and finished with cherry and secondly the bottom front has to be incorporated into the bed.


3637When closed, part of the shelf side frame is visible below the bed railing. That is removed in the workshop. At the same time, I’m adding a front frame rail to the bottom of the shelf. Not that anybody will see it, but I know it’s there! I mitered the corners and glued it to the panel bottom.


42Back to the van to scribe the exact location of the front of the shelf. That, minus the width of the cherry finish rail, will be where I’ll cut the panel to length. In the workshop I make a final cut with the help of my panel jig, and glue up the front frame rail.


45The end result is a fairly well hidden shelf that can be used, to serve a lunch, watch TV on my laptop at night or just put my glasses on when I go to sleep.



47To help me visualize to final finish of the cherry bed, I wiped on some thinner, that will evaporate in short time, without leaving much residue. It’s wetness simulates the final finish of the wood and accentuates the texture of the wood. What do you think of the pattern in the bed railing?

You can read the entire article in more detail here.

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  1. Hi There,

    My husband and I are converting a Promaster high top extended cargo van into an RV.

    We are having someone in Florida do it for us….we don’t have the expertise, time ( my husband works long hours) or the tools to do it ourselves.
    We are in the process of putting together a plan and a list of must haves and having a hard time figuring out how to get a desk like surface in front and a table in back; hate those tables with the hole in the floor and a pole to screw in, so when you want to compute or eat you have to retrieve both the pole and the table and put it together. I was intrigued by your hinged shelf under the bed. Does it raise and lower to be used while sitting? I’m assuming it does but didn’t see any photos of it in that raised position. Do you have any?
    Thanks…..what kind of toilet did are you going with? We are deciding between the Airhead and the Nature’s Head composting toilet.
    In order to get more space for ‘stuff’ and perhaps a bigger bathroom we are sleeping in a twin, L-shape; with my bed going along the back wall. The Promaster allows for a 6 ft. bed in that area or so I was told.
    Thanks for your site…love the inspiration.


    1. “what kind of toilet are you going with?”
      I haven’t decided yet on a toilet. That has to do with the bathroom. Bathrooms are tiny, even under the best circumstances and the shower probably won’t get much use in my case. Adding to the fact, that I have NOT an extended van, the available space for it, is already very limited. Thus, I may choose to forgo the bathroom and get a better layout plan.
      I would have liked to place the bathroom in the right rear of the van and install a modern cassette toilet, with access to the cassette through the rear doors. In my case, where I’m primarily boondocking, the electric composting toilets are unsuitable, while the other ones are too ‘messy’ for me. Size also plays a big role. My opinion may change, as much is happening in that field.

      “The Promaster allows for a 6 ft. bed in that area or so I was told.”
      From what I know, the ProMaster has a few inches more to spare for a wall-to-wall bed, but much depends on the length of the person whose bed it will be and on the amount of insulation and wall material applied to the walls. Taller people should always choose a bed that is positioned along the length of the vehicle.

      “hate those tables with the hole in the floor and a pole to screw in”
      Unflattering and inconvenient at best. The table/desk that I propose (haven’t built it yet), is attached to the underside of the Murphy bed. When the bed is in upright position, the desk will be available for use.
      The desk is hidden in the form of a picture frame; on one side attached to the bed with a piano hinge, the sides of the frame should flip down and convert into the table legs.

      You can read more about it here:
      “What Do A Bed, Desk And Picture Frame Have In Common?”

      As that part of the project comes closer, I will post more details. Remember these are just ideas, based on real examples, but never before applied to a van conversion (as far as I know). So lots of details and materials have to be figured out in a design, before it makes it to the construction floor.

      Van Williams

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