Door Cabinets and Finish

Main Rear Door Cabinet

Creating the rear door cabinets is the next step in my van conversion. They will add extra storage space,  of which every little bit counts in a RV. It involves mostly simple woodworking, so I’ll be heading back to my workshop.

07First the driver’s side rear door. The red line in the photo indicates the available space in the door frame, from which I take my measurements.

11I start with an oversized Cherry plywood backpanel, followed by sawing, jointing and planing the required wood as I showed in “6 Steps of dimensioning lumber“.


1213The sides are sized, glued together and added to the backpanel.


1415I decided double slats, to give the cabinetry a lighter feel. Slots in the sides accommodate the slats.


1617I use 3/4″ trim with mitered corners that will help the cabinet to be fitted in the door panel.


18Now that all the parts have been fitted, they are glued together and left to dry overnight.

24A lot of the time, if not most goes into sanding and finishing the wood. Until now, none of the wood used for the bed and cabinetry has gotten a stain finish yet. That will have to wait until a later date, when I can do a whole batch at the same time.


The finished cabinet, waiting to be installed. Next a similar cabinet for the passenger side rear door; the size will be a lot smaller, because in addition to the door stop, there is a door handle, locks and lights to contend with.

Additional Rear Door Cabinet

27I follow the same procedure as the main cabinet that I just finished. I install the frame that will hold the cabinet in the metal door frame and use the measurements for the actual layout.


Halfway, the cabinet is fitted and adjusted. In the workshop, the trim is added and a lot of sanding completes the job.


The final result is waiting to be installed and that’s what I’ll be doing next.



01Both cabinets are installed by re-using the existing door panels. They are first removed from the doors to which they are attached with plastic plugs.



After removing the staples, the removal of the old fabric, reveals a thin layer of foam.



With a red marker I indicate where I have to cut the metal door frame, to accommodate the cabinetry. I finish it off with some paint to avoid rusting.


08Unfortunately, I have to work around the door stops, which reduces the possible size of the cabinets significantly.


0910Some left-over wood is used as a frame in which the cabinets are installed. I use temporary bracing to keep the frame straight.


19The rough opening for the cabinet is cut with the scroll saw.

20And the panel fitted on the door. Through the opening I scribe a line onto the back of the panel, indicating the exact cabinet location.


212223In the workshop, the cabinet location is checked and cut out.

The main cabinet is test fitted in the door.

30The passenger side panel was too damaged to be re-used, so I copied its shape to another plywood panel.


31The same procedure was followed as in the other panel, to scribe and cut out the opening.


32Before installation I cleaned up the interior of the doors.


3334I used sets of machine screw, nut, washer and lock washer to attach the panels.


35The passenger side panel fitted.




The final result still awaits the new fabric.


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