Floating cabinets....It's sounds crazy but can it be done?

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Bryan

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I've got an idea to have floating cabinets in the van (2002 Chevy Express Cargo 2500). Meaning they won't be sitting on the floor but mounted on the side of the van and up off the floor by 3 inches. All of the weight would be supported by the beams/ribs. Of course I'd try to make it as light as possible, but I'm worried it'll just be too much and start warping the wall.

Here are the details of what I'm going to build if you're interested:
8' long by 25" tall and 18" deep
1/2 plywood stained and sealed with polyurethane
(4) 2 drawer 1 door
soft close slides and self closing hinges.
1" laminate countertop with a backsplash

Thoughts?
 

tx2sturgis

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Yeah, why?

Seems to me that driving on any rough roads, potholes etc, would stress the cabinet mounting fasteners and brackets. As the cabinets bounce, any joints in the cabinets will begin to work loose. I assume these lower level cabinets will contain the heavier items like pots and pans, canned food and bottled water, maybe water jugs, etc. Vibration combined with tension, and wood, dont mix.

But steel cabinets and shelves, now that's a viable option, its something very common in work vans designed for plumbing, electrical, and locksmith trades, among others. The cabinets, cubbies, and shelves will usually have support brackets attached to (or at least resting on) the floor, but can be made to order, for a price.

I would not want a van full of heavy steel cabinets but that might work IF you really need the 3" of space down low. (I have to wonder tho, Why?)
 

Bryan

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(I have to wonder tho, Why?)
The idea is to have a table saw on the back end and I could use the van floor as a lead out table. I could rip out whole sheets of plywood if I wanted to.

I think your right though. Too much stress on the whole thing. I might put temporary/removable toe kicks underneath to help support it when I'm not using the table saw.
 

tradesman

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This will work fine. I have a wall mounted cabinet in my express. They have not come loose, started separating or otherwise. The key is how well they are built (and attached) to the walls.
You could also use the wheel wells as attachment points/resting points. You can also add brackets &/or legs that are in line with the wheel wells to support around 10" of the depth of the cabinets as the 48" space you're using is wheel well to wheel well.
 
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tx2sturgis

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Well there ya go. Different opinions are always a possibility. The space for the 4 foot wide plywood sheets is a good idea, but it might be easier and more practical to use a few sawhorses and an 8 foot circular saw guide.
 

maki2

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Floating cabinets can be done but transferring the live loads down to the floor is better in a moving vehicle that travels on rough roads.

I have a pair of folding sawhorses that are worthwhile to carry. Fast to set up and easy to clamp materials onto them. Very easy and compact to put away for storing. Made in the USA by people who had a great concept and started a small business with high quality standards.
 

LargeMarge

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...driving... stress the cabinet mounting fasteners and brackets. As the cabinets bounce, any joints in the cabinets will begin [... and will continue...] to work loose. ..
.
2stu raises an interesting point about dynamics.
.
As a vehicle starts away from a stop, one of Newton's Laws comes into play:
* an object at rest resists moving.
(Although Sir Ike said it different, the gist is valid.)
(Irregardless, I prefer my version.)
.
The phrase 'resists moving' means your cabinets want to hang around back at the 'STOP!' sign while the rest of the vehicle accelerates a half-block down the way.
.
All well-n-good so far.
The 'catch' to the equation happens as the vehicle slows toward a stop:
* all that interior mass wants to continue moving... forward... toward your cranium.
Newton's Other Law -- 'objects in motion tend to stay in motion' -- is applicable.
.
For this reason, for our ExpeditionVehicle, we chose a separate cab with a separate box for our quarters.
.
An aside:
For plumbers and other contractors, some van converters engineer a stout wall behind the driver area, separating all that flying stuff from your delicate sensitive flesh.
.
And some trucks use a 'head-ache rack' behind the cab to deflect wandering cargo.
.
Irregardless, I follow the 'three points of contact' rule.
I bolt through the:
* wall, plus
* the floor, and usually
* another wall forming a corner.
Please, note the 'I bolt through', with big flat-worshers and heavy bolts.
.
I think screws into sheet-metal is another welcoming entry for rust, loosening of fasteners, and the inevitability of mobile cabinets.
.
And with enough mobile cabinets, the 'public clamor' will get the bureaucrats involved...
... and next thing you know...
... The Cabinet Police will 'perform' 'random' 'spot-checks'.
Immediately thereafter, the sign bureaucrats will emplace millions of 'WATCH FOR LOW-FLYING CABINETS' warnings.
.
My opinion on your floats?
Video helps explain a good story.
 
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