Tower Unit Using Scribing (How To Scribe?)

If you have read previous posts, you will know that we were re-designing the interior of the van. This meant that some of our previously built items would be taken out. This weekend gone, we started work on the New Tower Unit to replace the cabinet we had previously built.

The new tower design meant that we would gain much more storage space, as before a majority of the storage space towards the floor was taken up by the entire wheel arch. Now we have 4 levels of usable space which is not only deeper than before, but spans floor to ceiling. I have already mentioned this before but van living is very space dependant, so maximising the space available is key! This is really phase one, because we are going to be adding on a worktop to the right hand side allowing for food prep and cooking, with some more storage space underneath for items such as water bottle and gas storage. I suppose this is a modular setup and design.


we used a method called ‘Scribing’ this time. Most people know, but for those that are not aware, vans are not rectangular inside. The walls and ceiling in most vans are curved, which when trying to fit things flush against the wall can make life a little difficult. To overcome this, people often scribe.

Scribing is the art of tracing a shape/contour in order to cut an odd and difficult shape making an item or piece of furniture sit flush

We chose to use this option as it would make whatever we created look like it was actually meant to fit where is was secured. In order to scribe, you will need cardboard, pencil, stanley knife and a circular lid. A jam jar lid would work as and example although you will need to make a hole in the dead center. We used an old Tupperware lid.

How To Scribe?

  1. Find the line you want to scribe and hold the cardboard perpendicular to the wall
  2. Placing the pencil through the hole in the middle of the lid, place the lid edge on the wall and pencil head on the cardboard
  3. Run the pencil up the cardboard holding the lid on the wall. The motion of moving up or down should let the lid run and transfer the curve onto the cardboard

It was helpful doing this between two people and may take a few attempts. Remember, measure twice cut once. Good luck!


The design of the tower was really simple but effective. We used two pieces of 9mm plywood for both sides, which were then held together and braced with 2×2. To get the wood cut to size around the curve of the van, we used the method mentioned above called scribing. If the instructions make no sense, you can watch a good video tutorial here. We then drilled 4 holes for each shelve level and then tapped some dowel rods in to support the shelves. Each hole needs to be slightly smaller than the dowel to allow a firm fitment when you tap in with a hammer. Cut shelves to fit and paint, securing the wall and floor with some L brackets. A simple but effective space saving option spanning floor to ceiling.

What you will need…

– Plywood 9mm/12mm (We opted for 9mm as it was strong enough, but 12mm may be better to avoid some slight bowing of the wood)
– 2×2 Wood
– Dowel peices
– Wood Paint
– Small L Brackets for securing

(For Scribing you will need cardboard, Stanley Blade, pencil and a circular lid atleast 4 inches accross)

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