We don’t have an extended length van so we need to maximize space usage. We will have a ~38” deep garage with facing 24” bench seats next to it. The sliding bed covers the garage during the daytime and slides out at night to cover both the garage and bench seats which we don’t need while sleeping. I am 5’9” and Helen is 5’6” so E/W should work no problem.
Parts list we used:
- 4 Ikea Skorva bed rails
- 2 sets of Ikea Luroy twin bed slats (total of 32)
- 1 8 x 4 sheet of 3/4” Baltic Birch plywood cut to 2 pieces of 80” x 19”
- 2 8’ pieces of aluminum u-channel 3/4” x 1” x 3/32”
- 64 machine screws, washers and nyloc nuts to anchor the slats to the skorva rails. (we had on hand 10-24 x 1” machine screws but you could get away with 3/4”
- 8 2” bolts, fender washers and nyloc nuts to connect the Skorva rails to the wooden slide blocks
- 24 1.5” 1/4”-20 bolts and large fender washers for the wall bolts and
- 24 1/4”-20 pre-bulbed plusnuts
- 13 1/4”-20 hangar bolts. Use the shortest ones you can find as it makes it easier the shorter they are sticking out of the plusnuts.
- JB Weld Plastic bonder that works for wood and plastic
We also used some scrap 2x4’s to create our wooden slider blocks (between the skorva ends and aluminum rail) and some thin shims to get the aluminum rails nice and tight on the top of the 3/4” walls. I’m probably forgetting something but this the vast majority. Total cost was right around $300 CAD.
It took a few days mostly due to us currently staying in a rural community (it’s a 1 hr drive each way to buy stuff) and me having just broken my ankle in 2 places. First job was to install the plusnuts using the astro tool. I originally installed them using a DIY approach but the ones for the bed I splurged on the tool and was very happy for it. I over tightened one of the plusnuts on the passenger side (you can see one marked with an “X”) but we had so many on that side (14) that losing one wasn’t an issue. Next we put hangar bolts into the plusnuts and carefully pressed the 3/4” baltic birch into them leaving indents showing where the bolt holes needed to be drilled.
One thing that helped immensely with this was cutting 2 pieces of 2x4 which were the exact same length so that we installed the side walls the same distance from the floor. They also helped to rest the 3/4” sheets on so we didn’t have to hold the weight. I also used a piece of 2x4 with a hole drilled through it to help align the drill bit on the hangar bolt marks and stop it wandering. Used a jigsaw to cut out the pillar notches and painted the plywood on all sides before hanging. Once we had done a test fit and were happy we press fit the aluminum rail using some wooden shims and then a couple of self tapping machine screws on each end (inserted via the back side of the plywood so you cannot see them). Also attached some ez-cool to the back of the 3/4” walls with 3M77 to reduce any wood/metal contact squeaks.
Now that we had the walls up with the aluminum capped rail on top, we needed a way to have the Skorvas slide on the rail. To do this we cut down some scrap 2x4 blocks and bolted them to each end of the Skorvas using 2” 1/4-20 bolts, fender washers and nyloc nuts. Our cordless drill had no problem drilling through the Skorvas using a set of Titanium Nitride coated bits. I used a center punch on the Skorvas to prevent the drill bit from wandering. Ideally I would have liked to have used some UHMW or HDPE plastic blocks to slide on the aluminum vs. scrap 2x4. I could not source it locally so will probably swap these out later. The height of these blocks is critical as you do not want the Skorvas touching the aluminum rails. Also keep in mind that the bowed Luroy slats will twist the Skorvas towards one side when you bolt them down so add in some extra block height for that (1/4” ‘ish).
Once you have the slider blocks attached to the Skorvas you are ready to attach the Luroy slats to them. This required a ton of thinking, measuring, re-thinking and re-measuring. We numbered the Skorvas 1-4 starting at the rear door. Skorvas 1 and 3 are attached to each other with Luroy slats and are fixed in place, while Skorvas 2 and 4 are also attached to each other but slide within 1 and 3. Your layout might be slightly different so make sure your measurements can handle your required closed and open bed layouts. The slats connecting fixed Skorvas 1 and 3 were 4 inches longer so they could support the mattress in the rear door area.
The first Luroy that we attached we used 2 equal size wooden blocks as spacers between the aluminum rail edge and the first Luroy to keep everything aligned. When laying out the rest of the Luroy slats onto the Skorvas, we used 2 large 1/4” fender washer of about 1/8” thickness as spacers to the previous Luroy. When we tried to open them up the first time, there was some binding. I marked the ones that were binding and took a small amount (1/16th) off 6 of them on the table saw and then it all slid back and forth with no binding. The wooden blocks were a bit grippy on the Aluminum slide rails so I found some old plastic trellis that felt nice and greasy like a cutting board and epoxied some pieces to the slide surfaces of the wooden blocks bolted to the ends of the Skorvas. To epoxy plastic to wood we used JB Weld plastic bonder that works for both wood and plastic. We scuffed up both surfaces with sandpaper before bonding. These plastic sliders made a huge difference!
We ended up with 37.5” of space below the bed for the garage and 37” above. Hopefully enough height for a couple of folding e-bikes and stored gear. Here is a video showing how easy it is to slide the bed in and out with one finger. The pieces of plastic we epoxied to the sliding surface of the wooden blocks made a huge difference in noise reduction when sliding and also drastically reduced the amount of effort needed to slide the bed in and out.
Finally, since we are still working on the van we made it so we could lift the bed off the rails. Weighs around 60lbs and is easy to remove with 2 people. Neither of us want to try removing it by ourselves as it is too unwieldy and we’d probably scratch the heck out of stuff as we tried to manhandle it down.
Ordered some spring loaded latches and cut out baltic birch profile pieces for the front and rear of the bed. Rounded all the edges of the front piece with a round router bit as it will be grabbed when opening and closing the bed. Drilled 1/4” holes for 4 bolts in each profile piece. Also drilled 4 holes on each end of these pieces for the latches. Came up with wooden spacers to make sure the profile pieces are centered on the bed and up off the side rails and then drilled 1/4” holes through the metal Skorva beams using the 1/4” holes in the wood as guides. Then we bolted the front and rear wood pieces to the Skorvas using 1/4”-20 bolts with nice flat heads and nyloc nuts. Attached the closed latches to the front and rear profiles with bolts, washers and nyloc nuts. Put some dark paint on the end of the latch pins and opened them, turning them as much as possible to leave nice circles were the latch pins contact the wood. Used a 1/2” forstner bit and the paint marks to drill holes in the 3/4” walls for the latches to lock into. After doing this in the open and closed bed positions the bed now locks securely into place when either open or closed.
Once the boxes are built for the head and foot of the bed, we will have to remove the 2 profile pieces with 4 nyloc bolts on each in order to remove the bed.
Things that we have left to do for the bed:
- FIXED: Come up with a way to lock Skorvas 1 and 3 in place but still have them easily removable.
- FIXED: Locate some tough plastic to replace the wooden blocks for smoother sliding on the aluminum rails. Maybe the plastic decking that looks like lumber?
- FIXED: Add a Baltic Birch face on Skorva 4 with 2 handles so we can pull it out and push it closed easily.
- FIXED: Add latches on each side of the face to lock it in the open closed positions.
- Build boxes for the head and foot of the bed.
- Find a 3”-4” mattress that will work in the 73” x 60” queen bed space and be comfy and foldable.