How to mark a custom wood shape to fit in roundish hole.

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Old 12-30-17, 02:44 PM
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How to mark a custom wood shape to fit in roundish hole.

I have a hole in my minivan floor where the third row seating can be stowed but I will be removing the seats so the hole may be used for storage. I'd like to fit it with a piece of plywood on 2 or 3 hinges. The hole is oblong and roundish--no square corners. Ideally the new lid will be flush with the floor when I'm done.

How do I get the shape of my hole drawn out on a piece of wood so I can cut a custom lid that fits nice and snugly?

I'm sure I could figure something out but I suspect there must be some known method or tricks. I have a jigsaw and I'm dangerous enough to use it!
 
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Old 12-30-17, 05:10 PM
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Get some brown kraft paper or use supermarket paper bags and cut them up and tape together to make it bigger than the hole.
Tape it or hold it down with something over the hole and using a pencil, hold it beveled and trace along the edge, all the way around. Cut it out neatly to make your pattern. You'll probably need to leave a little excess around it so it fits snug in the hole so as not to drop in. Better to leave some excess. You can always trim a little extra off it you need to, but you can't add on.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 05:59 PM
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Using a similar idea, get a piece of cardboard, put it over the hole. Cut a 6" hole in the middle... put your hand/arm through the hole and trace the shape of the opening from the inside with a pencil. Then cut it out and see how it fits. If it's not right, make adjustments to the template. Then use that as a pattern for your lid.

I imagine that hinges might be too complicated... I'd just cut a couple hand holes in it so you can pull it open as needed.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 05:48 AM
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I imagine that hinges might be too complicated... I'd just cut a couple hand holes in it so you can pull it open as needed.
That is an excellent idea. You could also make a "table" of sorts with 4 legs to prop it up to the level of the rest of the interior bed.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 07:28 AM
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Good ideas! Another thing I have done as space permits is cut the piece of plywood or whatever I am using to the width that will fit between the fenders or whatever outside obstruction you have, and to the length of the opening. Lay that piece so that it half covers the opening, and use a compass to follow the outline of one side of the opening, then move it forward or back so that it exposes the other half of the opening and use the compass to scribe that side. The only trick for getting a good fit is to make sure you keep the compass square with the piece, and I said compass, although I'm picturing something larger that you would use a beam compass for, and if you don't have one you can make one with a stick with holes for a nail and pencil. And I like the idea of a couple of finger holes too.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 08:18 AM
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When you do cut the hole use a skill saw and put a taper 2 to 3 degrees less on bottom side.Will make opening and closing easier.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 08:27 AM
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ut a taper 2 to 3 degrees less on bottom side.
Never thought of that. I'll need to keep that trick in mind!
 
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