Drifta Drawer Style Build (Toyota Prado 120/ Lexus GX470)


Thanks for the posting the details about your build. I'm currently planning to build drawers and a fridge slide largely based on your design. I have one quick question about the depth, you built 37" deep drawers, was that with the 2nd row seat backs unreclined? Does it recline at all? I reclined my seats a little and measured 34" deep. Although I'm building my drawers to ~20 inches high, so that's less space when seat is reclined.
Hey There,

I measured with the seats reclined big pimping style. Plenty of laid back riding. Though I am not sure how far you are looking to recline your rear seats. I don't have kids or anyone that will be riding in the back for long road trips.


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Hey There,

I measured with the seats reclined big pimping style. Plenty of laid back riding. Though I am not sure how far you are looking to recline your rear seats. I don't have kids or anyone that will be riding in the back for long road trips.
Awesome, thanks, I will measure the depth again to be sure.


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Looks real nice, nice tight fit on the wings. Did you plan on the carpet thickness or just get lucky? Well done either way.

I still need to get around to figuring my own sleeping extension. I might do similar folding panels as yours. The Suburban second row, the seat bottom tips up and forward, the backs fold down and forward, a bit of a wedge fit. I'm looking into either bridging the sleep extension to rest on top of the seat bottom, or have another hinged panel that slips down between the seat portions, 'insert Tab A into Slot B' style. And make such a platform extension on each of my two separate drawer modules. OR just make it span both modules and only install it when I plan to use it.


IMG_4399.jpgIMG_4393.jpgIMG_4405.jpgIMG_4408.jpgThanks so much for the inspiration GXWagon! I used this thread for some of the tools and supplies needed also. I busted the drawers out in 3 days before our big Utah trip and sooo glad I did. They made things so much easier than using containers in back and I increased storage too. I still have more to do like sand and coat the panels and box in the fridge better but when I'm done it should look nicer than now. I really like the table you built and need to carpet the top and inside. Did you get the carpet (liner) at HOme Depot? All in, $300 and about 90 lbs. 1/2" Russian birch Love it!


Thought I'd throw this in for anyone looking to build this in the future out of 5'x5' Baltic birch plywood sheets. Here's the layout my program came up with. The free version only allowed so many parts, so the Table shelf- 20"x36" and rear panel 12"x42" are not on the diagram. However, you can see how the table shelf fits on the bottom and the rear panel fits on the right of Sheet 1. List of parts is the final picture.



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Bummer, pics are all down. Was just about to start my drawer build using some of these ideas. Any way to repost pics?


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Given that this thread seems to be a hostage of the Photobucket ransom I thought I'd repost for GXWagon with updated photo links. Hope they don't mind :) The photo upload per post seems to be 10 so this is post one of a few.

Welcome to the Idiots Guide to the Drifta Drawer DIY Build
...Under $300


I'm gonna call these Thrifta Drawers. 90lbs of amazing.

I found out I wasn't able to get Drifta Drawers shipped to the USA so I will be building my own. I will be doing my best to get as close as possible to the drifta style, including the slide out table and using HDPE for the slides. Here is where I will detail my adventure. My goal is to make this easy for anyone to build these. I am not a professional carpenter by any stretch of the imagination. You will see my successes and mistakes. Feel free to send me feedback or hate mail along the way.

Here we go,

Supplies You will Need
3 - 4'x8' sheets of 1/2 Ply (Sanded Ply) ($130 price includes cut to custom sizes)
1 - sheet of 1/4 Ply (Sanded Ply)
Wood Glue - ($5.37)
Screws - ($4.14)
Sand Paper ($5)
Black Stain ($5)
Clear Lacquer ($5)
Foam Brush ($1 a piece)
8 x 1/8" thick HDPE (For the sliders) - ($26.21 price includes cut to custom sizes)
Trunk Liner Carpet (I got mine for $6 per yard and used 6 yards)
Automotive Spray Glue for Carpet ($5)
2 x Locking Paddle Latches - ($8 each on ebay)
Folding Table Legs
Ball Beraing Latch for Table ($2)
Spring Loaded Sea Dog Flush Pull Tie Downs ($15 for pack of 10)

Tools You will Need
Measuring Tape
Drill Bit
Countersink Drill Bit
Pen or Pencil
Chalk Line (Nice to have but not necessary)
Orbital Sander (Nice to have but not necessary)
Chop/Mitre Saw (Only if you want to make the pull-out table)

Step 1:
Measure the H x W x D you would like your drawers to be. I will be building mine 12"H x 42"W x 37"D
The interior of the left drawer slot will measure 11"H x 20 1/4"W x 37"D
The exterior measurement of the left drawer will be 10 3/4"H x 20 1/8"W x 37"D
I account for 1/4" on the bottom of the drawer for 2x 1/8" pieces of HDPE.
I account for 1/8" on the width to leave 1/16" on each side of the drawer.

Step 2:
Lay out the blueprint of all the pieces you will need to get cut from 1/2" ply. 1/2" ply is what drifta uses for the shell and drawers.
As you can see I have laid out all of my pieces and set them into 4' x 8' panels so I can make the best use of the wood, I will need to purchase and cut. You can see I need three pieces of 1/2" ply
You will also need a piece of 1/4" ply for the compartment that the pullout table will snuggle into. You can buy the smaller pieces that Home Depot sells.
(IGNORE the 30"x36" labelled "house shelf" I am putting shelves in a closet in my house and figured I would get them cut at the same time.)


Step 3:
Bring Blueprint to Home Depot or another hardware store of choice. I will be making this as easy as possible for myself and you by bringing my blueprint to Home Depot and having the saw guy do all the cuts for me right there in the store.
You can have Home Depot cut everything with the exception of the frame around the table. These need a chop saw or mitre saw to cut 45 degree angles.
It cost me $12 for him to make all the cuts. To me, that is well worth it. I know they are perfect and I don't have to worry about clean up etc.
You will also need some wood glue and screws. I used 1x6 screws and will be drilling pilot holes, so we don't crack the lumber.


Step 4:
Get all your materials together
Wood Glue
Drill bit (just smaller than the screws you will use)
Counter sink drill bit
Screws (I used 1x6)


Step 5:
Let's Begin Construction of the carcas.
Start with the bottom, then add your side middle and rear panels. You will save the top panel and table shelf for last as you will need to lacquer the inside and glue your HDPE slides first. Measure and mark where you are going to put your screws. In my case its right in the middle of the 1/2 ply, so I measured 1/4 and made my mark every 6" - 8". Drill your pilot holes then glue and screw.
As you can see I used pieces of 2x4(found free in Home Depots scrap bin) to easily (No special equipment required) help me hold the boards in place while I, glue and screw. Glue and screw. Repeat this mantra to yourself.
We will not assemble the top of the carcass at this step. We will save that for last to make it easy for us once we get to the stain and lacquer step.



Step 6:
Now we want to put the drawers together.
You are going to drill your pilot holes as well as a counter sink hole if you want. I did.
Lay a bit of wood glue on your pieces then drill them together. Glue and Screw.
In this step, I won't be putting on the face of the drawer yet as I am still waiting on my paddle handles to come in the mail.



Step 7:
Prep for Staining.
Now we just need to fill the screw holes with some wood filler and let it dry.
I find it easier to have some wet paper towel and a glass of water on standby to help me with the application of the wood filler. Wood filler is easier to apply with a wet finger.

After the wood filler is dry, we will do our first sanding. I will be using 220 grit sand paper. I will sand all the holes where I applied the wood filler. I will also be sanding the outside of the drawers to give it a smooth feel as well as the interior of the carcas.You can sand by hand or use and electric sander.
This is our preparation for applying the first coat of stain.



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Step 8:
Now it's time to apply our stain. I purchased a stain and lacquer all in one. Since this is just going on the inside of the box and outside of the drawers, there is no need for the perfect look you could get with doing the stain and lacquer separate. This is easy, and it still looks great for our needs. Use a foam brush and wipe the stain on with the grain. Make sure not to lay it on too thick, or it will drip, and you will have to do a lot of sanding later to fix that. Let it dry for 5-8 hours.


Step 9:
Sand again. The first coat of stain has a tendency to lift the grain, so you will want to get out your 220 grit sandpaper and give it a nice light sand.
After you sand it, wipe it down with a tack cloth.

Step 10:
Give it a 2nd coat of stain. Again keep it light so it doesn't drip. Let dry for 5-8 hours

Step 11:
Here you can apply a 3rd coat or move on to preparing and attaching the Teflon sliders. Just like drifta sliders, these are not made of Teflon. They are made of HDPE plastic. Sometimes called puck board. I found a local plastic shop that was able to cut custom size strips of 1/8" thick HDPE for me. I had them cut it into 1" wide by 30" long. This is very close to the drifta specs. The 1/8" thick is the most important spec. For the HDPE and the cuts it only cost me $25.

After I gathered my sliders, I now needed to make counter sunk holes into them so I can screw them to the bottom the carcas and drawers. You will not be able to use glue. Glue does not stick to HDPE(It's a good thing). I used my counter sink drill bit then I used a small chisel to scrape out the melted ring around the outside edge to it was completely flat. I found if you went slow with the drill bit it would not melt the plastic, but it was just way to slow for me and scraping out the melted ring worked just fine.




Step 12:
Attach the HDPE sliders to the bottom of the drawers and the bottom of the carcas using 6 x 1/2" screws. I used a 2" wide piece of wood to help guide me where to put the sliders.


Step 13:
The next step is to install your slide out table shelf. If you are not putting in a slide out table you can skip this step.
I cut two pieces of wood the exact height that I needed the shelf to sit at and placed them under the shelf so I could install it easy without it flopping around on me. After I had installed the shelf, I removed them. I drilled pilot holes and used small screws to secure the shelf into place.



Step 14:
Cut the holes for your drawer handles. I used paddle handles. I measured the hole size I needed. Drilled two pilot holes and used a jigsaw to cut the hole out of the drawer face. You can see in the pictures I did a bit of carpeting first, but it will be easier if you do this first before the carpet, so you don't have to vacuum sawdust out of your freshly carpeted drawer. Wait to install the handles until everything has been carpeted. The handles will be the last things to go on.




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Step 15:
Begin laying down your trunk liner (Boot liner). I used automotive adhesive in both spray version and brush on. I used the brush on for the detail work and the spray can for the large areas. I started with the drawers and worked my way out. You are going to want to glue down the liner then wait 5-10 min for it to dry and then cut all the extra off with a very sharp blade. I used a box cutter and had a few new blades on hand. You want to make sure you are always using a very sharp blade as that is what is going to give you that nice clean cut. It makes a huge difference.



Step 16
Install handels.
Once you get your drawers all nicely carpeted, go ahead and install those handles.
Depending on the type of handles you get. You and use screws, bolts, rivets or glue.
I used PL 5x strength construction adhesive to give me that clean look. This glue should never come undone its insanely strong.

Step 17
Begin building your table. If you don't want a bad *** slide out table, skip this and the next step.

Building the table
I used 1/2" sanded ply for both the frame and table. Drifta uses laminate, but I prefer the look of wood, so that's what I am doing.
I measure the width and length to leave just enough space at the back for the spring loaded ball bearing latch (Same as drifta uses) this keeps the table from sliding out by itself.
Home Depot cut my table wood, and I used a friend's chop saw to cut the wood for the frame. You need 45-degree angle cuts, and unfortunately, my Home Depot does not have that capability.
I used a combination of both screws and wood glue to hold everything together. Glue and Screw.
I cut out the pull handle on one side with my jig saw/ hacksaw.
Fill all your screw holes with wood filler and then sand the crap out of everything. Start with a low grit and move up.

Finishing the table
After you sand, go ahead and apply your stain.
I stained the main part of the table with a one coat great stain. I only used a little bit, so I returned the rest to home depot for a full refund. Shhhhhhh don't tell anyone.
The edges I stain with the black lacquer, same as Drifta. I used some painters table to give me a clean edge. Which ended up being a bit of a fail as the stain leaked under in some places. Next time I would just hand paint the clean line and take it slow.
After everything is stained, I applied two coats of a satin clear coat for that extra protection and then buffed with 0000 steel wool.


Now go ahead and screw on your ball bearing latch. I put the ball bearing side on the table (Same as Drifta) My guess as to why they do this is that the ball bearing may get dirt and dust in them and it would be much easier to clean or repair if it's attached to the table vs. way in the back of the drawer.


Hopefulling everything fits.


Step 18
Install your brass catches for the paddle handle locks. I got these brass catches at home depot for under a buck each.


Step 19
Install Sea-Dog Spring Loaded Flush Ring Pull.
I got 10 of these for $15 on eBay. Awesome!!!
These are the same things Drifta uses on the top of their drawers as tie down points for fridges etc. Since I have so many, I am going to install 8 of them. Four over the left drawer for the fridge and four over the right drawer for whatever other cool crap I can smush in there. Maybe I'll just strap my girlfriend in there when she misbehaves. <<< Me driving, enjoying the silence


First, you will have to chisel or router out holes that match your pull rings. Make sure they all fit. Before you decide to screw them in you will need to lay your last bit of carpet on the lid


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Last one...

Step 20
This is basically the last step outside of installation and creation of the side wings.
Here you are going to lay your last bit of carpet, screw in your pull rings, and screw your lid on. I made my lid a separate piece and installed it after the carpet, so if for ever reason I neede to get at the box from the inside I could easily just unscrew the lid and service it.

Here she is in all her glory: