August 5, 2014
DIY Dog Platform for Back of Ram Truck Cab
I don't even know what to call this project, so let me just explain the problem it solved. But first let me preface the explanation of that problem by professing my love for our truck. It's practical for our rural life, especially in this part of the country (did you know there were 850 deer/vehicle collisions in the area for 2010?). We have to bring our own garbage to the dump, and we obviously buy huge sheets of plywood in bulk (for projects like this, this, and this), so we've really come to rely on this guy - we even towed a stalled car and boat from the boat launch on the weekend! Go us. More importantly, I feel like a total badass driving such a tank. It's a Ram 2500, which is pretty beefy. People are (bizarrely) shocked that a woman can maneuver such a beast - with manual transmission to boot. I love smashing ridiculous sexist stereotypes! It helps make up for those times when I'm not the best feminist.
Did I mention it's a sparkly dark grey with a hint of blue? I bet you like it now, too!
Gushing aside, what I hate about the truck are the storage compartments under the rear seats. We love that the seats flip up because it's a perfect spot for Szuka to ride, but then the random little in-floor storage compartments make putting any type of cargo in the back (like groceries) a nightmare because the surface is uneven so nothing stacks, piles or sits neatly. We have to squash stuff into gaps.
Plus, it's lumpy for poor Szuka. We tried to pile up a bunch of blankets to even up the floor, and then laid an old dog bed on top of the blanket heap, but after a bumpy ride to town and lots of squirming, she ends up with this (please ignore the mess - we cleaned it after I snapped this photo, I swear):
To solve the problem, Hubby and I came up with an easy solution: an upholstered platform to place on the floor of the cab.
Now when we flip up the backseats, we have a perfectly flat surface which is also cushy for Szuka. In a pinch, we can flip down the seats and someone can sit back there without us having to remove the platform - it just means that person's legs will be a bit higher than normal. We rarely have passengers because we almost always have Szuka and she's a space hog, but we wanted a solution that wouldn't negate the possibility of giving someone a lift somewhere. For longer car rides we can easily remove the platform and stash it somewhere.
Basically, we took a sheet of 3/4" plywood and cut it to fit the shape of the area. Then we attached some wide legs with wood glue and screws so it wouldn't be tippy, and then attached some brackets to catch on the cargo compartment edges, so the whole thing can't slide around. Here's a peek at it's underbelly, and my explanation will all make sense:
After building it, Hubby and I slapped on some quilt batting and then upholstered it with a durable fabric from Mom's fabric stash. An outdoor fabric would work perfectly, but we had this on hand already. We just did it quickly, but you can check out this post for a better upholstering tutorial. One thing I did differently: once everything had been stapled tautly, I folded over the edge of the fabric and added some more staples so the frayed edges are hidden.
A friend suggested we sew a quilt and then attach it with velcro so it's removable, but for now we just stapled it. Next spring we'll likely remove the fabric and try my friend's suggestion (because it's genius!), but we have been itching for this solution and wanted it done right. this. minute.
Know the feeling?
I actually lost my cool bringing home groceries last week after the bags went toppling every which way. I'm not even sure I put away the eggs before whipping out the staple gun.
In all likelihood, none of you will benefit from this project idea. I almost didn't share but I thought that if there's even one person out there, at some point, who is looking for a solution to the same kind of problem that aggravated us, it will be worth posting these photos. You could easily adapt this to fit any vehicle with flip up seats and under seat cargo nooks.
But, more importantly, I like that this project reminded me about the spirit of DIY. Doing-it-yourself isn't always about knocking off someone's idea (although I love a good knock off), or trying to copy something less expensively. Sometimes it's about finding a personal solution to a problem - making something when you can't find what you need or want on the market. This isn't an incredibly pin-able project, or an especially genius one for that matter, but it's made our lives so much happier and simpler. Now, if only we can DIY a way to keep Szuka from getting into trouble back there...
Now it's your turn: what's the weirdest, most personal, maybe most creative DIY project you've tackled? I'd love to hear!!
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