Why buy a Drifta Drawer?
Is timber strong enough?
Can you put a fridge slide on top of your drawers? Can you use a drop slide?
What sort of different drawers can you do?
How much internal space does your drawers have?
Should I go for a vertical or a horizontal setup?
How do you fit your drawers in?
Are your drawers on bearing runners?
What about I make my own?
Well, really depends on what you want. We are not trying to compete with the larger drawer companies. Mostly I got into building drawers cause people kept asking me to make them things , that simply weren’t available from anyone else.. it wasn’t until a few months of making them, when we got good at it, that I realized what a big market there was. Now , it has grown to be at least half of our work, and we have built 2 standalone factories and 3 dedicated fitout bays, to help keep up with demand. But there are several main reasons why our drawer units are so popular.
….One, some people simply can’t justify spending the money on a set of fitted drawers. Our drawers are budget priced. They are beautifully made, and will do the job perfectly.
….Two, they slide incredibly well. The slide system we developed, where the drawers slide on four lengths of Teflon type material, works surprisingly well, eliminating the need for expensive metal runners. It’s a simple case of a simple design being much more practical than existing methods.. a bloke here today, when he saw how easy it slides, commented that it’s like ‘sliding on ice’. You know how easy things ‘glide on ice’, well it’s a bit like that.. this HDPE hard ‘teflon’ running on each other, with a bit of silicon spray, glide amazingly well. They cost about $15 for the four strips, can’t break, won’t wear out, and take up 5 mm of space! That’s design at it’s greatest..
….Three , our drawers are light, and can be lifted in and out as needed. Many people want to be able to do this. I can take my vertical combo out on my own, in less than a minute… it’s just a few turnbuckles to undo. If I lift out the kitchen, then take out the drawer and table, the carcass is then very light to remove.
….Four, we can easily custom build , often without having to charge extra. As you can see in the photos above, many people want a set of drawers just that little bit different. We can literally make any design/ size, and much of our work is custom, which means you get exactly what you want. Many people find that custom work is extremely expensive, but many of our custom drawers are the same as a standard price!!
….Five, our internal volume space in our drawers is far greater than for standard steel drawers. Because we build exactly to size, we don’t use metal bearing runners which take up a lot of space, and because our drawers can sit directly on the floor, not on rails, you end up with much more volume space!! There are huge gaps around some steel drawers, up to 100-200 mm on length, 100 mm on width, and about 30 – 40 mm underneath for some units. This is because they use standard sizes for different vehicles, and just fill out the gaps with sidewings. It wastes a lot of space, and that is the whole point of getting drawers. Drifta drawers have much more volume space, but not only that, if you want it say slightly higher, or lower, we can easily do this.
….Six, we have now many new designs that you simply can’t buy anywhere else. Like the carback combo’s, they are such a great setup, and are unique to Drifta. Also, the table, which all our drawers come with, is just so handy, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever buy.
….Seven, our drawers are lightweight, won’t start to rattle with age, and our slides are maintenance free and won’t be affected by dust. Greased bearings once dust has gotten in can be a real problem.
….Eight, our drawers are pretty much dustproof!! Particularly with twin cabs where there is no dustsealing on the tailgate, dust is a real issue.. inside our drawers are dustproof, particularly because of the way the carpet folds around creating a seal. Some of the big name drawer companies with their Chinese made drawers have about an inch gap at the top of the drawer. ?? dust is just going to pour in.
….Nine, we can supply the drop slide.. the MSA platinum drop slide is fantastic, and is very popular.. we currently build 15 – 20 drawer sets a week, and use about 5-7 drop slides.. yes they are a big more expensive, and not for everyone, but unless you are 7’ tall, they are great.. you will get your moneys worth out of them very quickly.. other big drawer companies rubbish the drop slide, cause they want you to use their built in one, and generally won’t fit them. But we love installing the drop slide, and people love using them..
….And ten, well you get the chance to own a Drifta! We are becoming well known around Australia for building high quality innovative Australian products, that are always very practical to use. We have over 90 staff, everything is built in our factory complex in Gloucester, where we have become the town’s biggest employer. With so many manufactured products coming from china, and now some of the big name drawer brands shifting to Chinese production also, it’s nice to have such a practical well made product made in Australia that you can be proud of…
Some people wonder whether timber kitchens or drawers are strong enough. From my experience, I can definitely say in many cases timber is stronger than steel !! it all depends how it is made.. of course, we don’t use any chipboard or MDF, if we did , they would fall apart. But ply is a very different product. The marine / exterior 12 mm 5-7 ply product we use is incredibly strong and light. We all know that steel can crack, especially on welds, or riveted joins can come loose. But a butt-joined 12 mm ply screwed and glued join will almost never come apart. The modern glues we use are extremely strong.
Ply has a few big advantages over metal… One, ply absorbs shock. A kitchen on a tailgate, or a drawer in a 4wd, will cop a hiding on rough roads. The nature of ply absorbing the shocks helps protect the joints. Steel can’t do this, and this is where metal fatigue begins, or where rivets work loose. Two, Ply is much quieter than steel. It also absorbs noise. After some years, metal drawers can become very rattly. Ply doesn’t have this problem. Three, ply joins are stronger. see the photos below, the 12 mm ply joint, once the glue has set, because of the width of the joint, is structural not just for separating, but for up and down movement also. This is really the secret of why our products are so strong. Each joint helps keep the whole unit secure. Steel only has strength one way, it can’t brace for up and down movement, as it’s only about 1.5 – 2 mm thick. Four, ply fixings are internal. All our screws for joining and fixing, are contained within the ply itself, as it is 12 mm thick. This is much neater, and the screws don’t get in the way of other things.. metal needs to be mostly riveted or bolted. But the ends of these rivets and bolts/nuts impact a lot on the design, as they obstructs other parts. That’s one reason why Five, our designs are simpler, more practical and cost effective than a similar unit in steel. Most of our designs simply can’t be made with steel, or if they were, they would be very heavy and very expensive. Take a simple kitchen cutlery drawer. We make dozens a week for our various kitchens/ 4wd drawers. We can cut them out on the panel saw, pin/ screw them together very quickly. A simple kitchen cutlery drawer is a fiddly, time consuming expensive job if made from steel. So that’s why, you’ll never see a steel 4wd drawer manufacturer put a table in their drawer, or add an insert drawer, or a combo with a kitchen, or any of our other dozens of unique designs. Using steel, you simply can’t make these designs. And Six, because of many of the above reasons, ply products can be custom made, and are very cost effective. Ply is easy to work with, is very cost effective, and very strong. This is reflected in our huge range, our ability to modify much of what we make to suit exactly what the customer wants, and our price. ie, our D2DWT, drifta two drawer with a table, is about $1100, less than half the price than some steel drawers made in china, without the table.
Yes, you can bolt a fridge slide on the top of any of our horizontal drawers. You need to make sure that the type of fridge you have will fit on top of the drawers. You need to leave at least an inch room for the slide itself, and an inch clearance from the top of the fridge to the top of the vehicle. We can make the drawers pretty much any height, but standard for a two drawer is 275 mm high, or the combo is a bit higher at 340mm . Most slides can just screw to the top of the drawers, or you can bolt them on also.. if you want to be able to take them in and out, then we can supply some “captive nuts” (a flush fitting nut that fits underneath) so you can just undo the bolts easily.
We have in stock and can supply waeco slides, ors slides, as well as the MSA drop slides ands Clearview and EasySlides .
One of the markets we have found is people wanting something custom made, which the traditional drawer companies struggle to do. Because we make these drawers from ply, we can easily make any size. Mostly for slight variations we don’t even charge extra. Here are a few examples below of some we have done recently. You’ll see many more of our different options on the other pages. Make sure you click on the photo’s in the products page, that goes to more info on each setup.
Because we build to size, if say a Hilux has the tub liner removed, our drawers will be wider than if the tub liner is in place.. steel drawer companies can’t do this, as they have limited models. Often this also will impact the length of steel drawers, as again they only have so many models to suit all the vehicles. So, a set of Drifta drawers to suit a Hilux like shown, at 275 mm high, will have 0.336 cubic meters of internal drawer space. From their website, the biggest steel drawer company in Aus, has 0.247 cubic meters. That’s 26% more space in the drifta drawers. When space is always a premium, this adds up to a lot of extra space in our drawers, simply because we can build to size, and our unique Teflon runners, take up no room.
The photos below will show you the difference between a vertical set of drawers with a fridge box next to it, or a horizontal set of drawers with a fridge on top.. the difference is really because of the fridge. You wouldn’t normally get a vertical setup unless you wanted a fridge next to it.. then you really need a fridge box also, so adds to the price (fridge box $350). The main advantage of the vertical setup is the fridge is at a perfect height. The fridge box allows you to still stack gear on top. Although you really do need a cargo barrier for a vertical setup. This allows you to pack right to the top of the vehicle. So if you are doing lots of touring, then I think this is a better setup. We have the two drawer vertical, or with a table, or as a combo with the kitchen also. The disadvantage of this vertical setup, is it does take up more room inside the vehicle. Ie, if you have kids and want to be able to chuck a bike in the back, then you may not have room. So the horizontal drawer setup, mostly you would have the sidewings also, you don’t really need a cargo barrier, although it’s probably a good idea. This gives you more space when you don’t have the fridge in place. Ie, in between trips. The problem with this setup is always the fridge is going to be high, if you are using one. It’s still ok if you are tall, if not you can use a small stool, or stand on the tow bar etc. You really need a fridge slide, as you wouldn’t be able to lift the lid inside the vehicle. Slides are about $300 – 350 for a 40 – 50 ltr fridge, or $400 for the 60 – 80 ltr. Or the drop slide is about $550, so bit more expensive, but certainly brings the fridge down to a good height. The horizontal setups are a bit more common than a vertical, are a bit cheaper, and for overall use probably better. With fridges, myself, I think a 80 ltr fridge is too big for a vehicle. It takes up too much room. If you put it on the floor next to a vertical setup, then because it is so wide, the drawers would only be about 400 wide – too narrow. If sitting on top of a horizontal setup, then again just too big. I’ve had a few people come here wanting say a 80 ltr waeco on top of a combo in a pajero. There just isn’t room. So I think really you need to stay with a 40 – 50 ltr fridge. Remember, setting up the back of your vehicle, there are many options, but you can never get the perfect setup for all applications. Every advantage of your setup will have a disadvantage. You have to compromise somewhere with some things. You’re not going to fit everything in exactly where you want it. Ie, a 50 ltr fridge, by the time you have food, some drink, won’t be space for half a carton of beer. But if you get a bigger fridge, you won’t have room for other things also. So just try to get the main things right first, and then work out a compromise on the smaller, less important things.
If you want to drill holes and bolt the drawers in, then we have some stainless steel, countersunk 8 mm bolts and SS nuloc nuts that we can supply. You could also use the existing rear seat mounts to bolt them down. You would need to buy some countersunk bolts that fit the threads in the floor. You’d also have to drill the holes in just the right spot, but the drawers come wrapped in 3 mm MDF, so this is perfect to use as a template to get the holes in the right spot. If you’re not sure of anything, then feel free to call me anytime… ta luke
No, definitely not. We don’t use load rated heavy bearing runners. These are basic drawer systems. We use polyethylene plastic skids underneath the drawers. They are a very neat fit, and slide very well. You will be amazed how well they slide. They certainly won’t rattle, and are very light. Also, say you get back from a big trip, (especially with a twin cab, or older vehicles where dust sealing on the tailgate is a problem), you can pull our drawers right out, and easily clean them.. but once dust gets in greased roller bearings, you can’t clean them.
Sure, if you think you can, go for it… things to keep in mind though through my experience… we sell kitchens to plenty of tradesmen like cabinetmakers/ carpenters/ shopfitters. They always tell me, “I could make one, but the time it takes to work it out, and get all the right materials together, it wouldn’t be worth it.” there is ALWAYS much more involved than you think… it took me 3 ½ days to build my first drifta, and it was crap. At shows , I meet lots of people. Often, a lady will come up to me, and say, ” we saw you last year, my husband tried to copy your design, but it is so heavy, we cant hardly pull it out, and it doesn’t work” this is a common problem, most people I have heard of use 18 mm. its VERY heavy.. we use all 12 mm ply, but its not as easy to work with, screws have to be exactly in the middle etc.. some of the kitchens look simple, but I can tell you, there is a lot of design involved. The only way you can work out the design properly, is by trial and error. When I designed the DPOR for example, it took me several attempts to get it right.. there was a good example on a website forum recently I saw, I think it was on something swag.com ??? about trailers.. a bloke tried to copy the DSO. He built one after several attempts, stove didn’t fit, a few things wrong with it that didn’t work, and he even cut the end of his finger off on his saw, (he posted a photo of it) . so you have to be careful you don’t spend a lot of time, a lot $$ on materials etc, and end up with something that doesn’t really work , or doesn’t last .
I’ve seen a few posts on forums, where people have said ” I made one for a hundred bucks”… this just isn’t right if you use the same materials as we do. The material cost for a kitchen, to make it the same as ours, would be about half our retail price. So a DPOR for $1000 would generally cost $500 for materials only. Also, we use a large range of different types and thicknesses of ply. We use a combination of 4, 6, 9, 12, and 13 mm ply, some BB, some BC, some 5 ply, some 7 ply. So it’s not just a case of buying a sheet of ply from bunnings, if you want to end up with something similar to what we make. Another thing with materials to keep in mind… you can’t buy the leg system, I designed that myself, and we manufacture them here… the plastic we use for the runners , is $500 for an 8×4 sheet. Its quite expensive. Its very hard to buy retail, only plastic specialists have it, and they often only sell w-sale, plus you have to have special cutters to router it.. we put them through a spindle moulder 4 times to get the correct shape. The brass elbow catches we use for inside the draws, you can’t buy retail. Laminate is worth $45 a square metre, and again, hard to get retail. The hinges you can’t buy retail, we buy them in 1200 lengths and make them up here. You can literally spend days just driving around trying to get all the parts together. There is dozens of different types of ply, paint etc, you have to make sure you buy the correct one.
Some people e-mail me and say they have copied my kitchen, but ask where do I get legs/ runners etc.. or ask to buy them of us… I have to say “sorry, but we don’t supply them” . the legs are made of tent pole material, $15 retail for the correct ones, and you need a dozen of them. See, it adds up very quickly.. $180 for steel, $80 for laminate, $200- $250 for ply, $50 paint, $100 for the skids, $35 for the pump, crikey, theres $700 already, without any screws/ hinges, glue etc..
so there you go, a few things to think about.. again, if you reckon you can, give it a go, but I know a lot of people who have done so, and wish they hadn’t, if they had it again… if you’re on a bit of a budget, let me know and we can do a payment plan if that helps…. Ta, rgds Luke
We’ve been working a lot with Daniel from Mulgo Expedition Vehicles and Equipment lately. Dan does all sorts of conversion work, particularly on land rovers, but also on any vehicle. Check out his website if you need any custom modifications to your vehicle..