Your touring sounds like a great endeavor -- and I like the thinking and
"engineering" that will go into your planning. :)
My thoughts for a workbench were similar to Erik's (below), but with a
twist: give your workbench two legs (with some blocks and shims, for
levelling purposes on uneven ground), and figure out a way to "lock" the
other end to the van (through the back door or side door -- such that the
stability and mass of the van contributes to the stability of the
workbench. Maybe removable tusks or wedges, that go into a receiving
component in the wooden framework in the van?
If you had a raised platform inside the van (half a foot to a foot), you
could mount the workbench like a drawer, accessable form the back or side
of the van. You could either have another level above this, as your "tool
drawer", or perhaps have the back end of the workbench be like a tool tray
with dividers, which holds your tools below benchtop level (which means you
could use that area as workpiece support, if needed. Alternatively (or in
addition), have a series of small Anarchist toolchests -- small enough that
you could actually lift them! -- possibly separated not by tool type (e.g.
**not** "hammers + mallets"; "saws"; "chisels"), but rather by task (e.g.
"joinery = backsaw, chisels, trysquare").
An alternative for the benchtop (which I thought of before, when having
similar musings) is to design something like the milkman's workbench (i.e.
just a slab), but make it so that it clamps to a standard picnic table.
Have a corner bracket or "stop" on the underside of one corner, along the
length oftwo sides, to help lock it into position against the picnic table
top. (The downside of this approach is that it requires a picnic table --
so you could only use this at parks and campgrounds.)
The "drawer" approach is inspired by the conversations that my dad did to
an old Studebaker mail truck back in the '70s, for family camping trips --
, but without the funky wheels , where there was a large pull-out drawer,
accessed from the back, a sleeping platform above the drawer, and a bunk to
the right (as standing at the back of the truck).
Also to echo and expand upon Erik's thoughts: you'll need a space of
lumber -- both what you bring with, and the nifty bits you pick up along
the way (whenever my grandfather visited Oregon (from Seattle) he'd come
back with a trunk full of myrtlewood).
Are you going to leave behind various things you build -- kind of like a
Galooty Lone Ranger? ("Who WAS that masked man?" "I didn't get his name
-- but he left behind this dovetailed jewelry box.")
--Travis (Brisbane, AU)
On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:18 AM, Erik Levin via OldTools <
> An admirable goal that I will enjoy seeing progress on.
> A tool that I have found very useful on the road (not traveling for me,
> just for some of my side jobs) is a trailer hitch receiver and workholding
> devices that mount into it. You have probably seen the vise on the back of
> a power company truck, and the fold-down platforms for carrying an electric
> scooter that mount in a receiver. The vise has been of great use to me, and
> I can see other possibilities even where hand tools are involved, if for no
> other reason than supporting one end of a bench with the truck makes for an
> effectively massive bench with little actual weight, making it easier to
> move and store.
> If you have the head room, you might consider what one contractor I
> worked with years ago did (he was nuts.... he fit more in a small van that
> I could fit in an 18' box truck, but that is a different issue). He had
> most of his regular kit in a slide out tray on long roller slides that came
> out the back door. Raised the floor about 6" for a 4" deep tray. Tray came
> out about 4 feet (long reach from the side to get least used things...
> couldn't make it from the back), with the most used tools (hammer, saws,
> squares, levels, etc) near the back for easy access without pulling the
> tray all of the way out.