Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

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Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:30 pm

Hi folks,

I'd sure like to grab about $5000 worth of parts and build me a nice $20,000 travel trailer... well that's not happening first go... Don't get the idea I'm wanting a McMansion on wheels though, light and aero, perfectly formed is what I'm after. When the RV industry has the cheek to call 4000lb 19 footers "lightweights" you know if you want something done right you've gotta do it yourself.

So what I want out of the first one, is experience. It also has to make a bit of sense for the future, it's maybe not going to be my "Forever trailer". So what I want for the future, is for my second vehicle to tow the second trailer... makes sense right. No hitch on it, may not be until it's out of bumper to bumper warranty. But that means right now, I've got my eyeball on it's capability of only 1000lb. Which means I want this thing to weigh only about 7-800. However, WHEN I use it with the minivan which has a 3800 rating, I want to load it heavier. I might want a small boat or cargo carrier on top of it. I want it to have about the same frontal area as the 2nd vehicle, which is about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Then hopefully we won't be causing too much drag, may even only lose a quarter of the gas mileage...

So what I think I want is somewhere between the Benroy and the Superleggara. Not that Benroys were super heavy it seems, but seeing pics, they may have forgone insulation, and the modern Benroy using 3/4 ply seems a bit like overkill. However, I'm going to have to "spend" some weight on making sure it can hold a hundred or so pounds overhead. So at the moment thinking a "cage" of 2x4s inside lighter plies would be the ticket.. well cage meaning 2 hoops, by back of envelope I think they'd support 200lb a piece, static, so 100lb over potholes should be fine. This also gives me good doorposts, and an anchor for the cabinets inside, which would mean no nervousness in stacking them completely full of canned goods so I can leave it stocked for quick getaways.

I'm liking the sound of what the local Lowes has got in lauan better than the plywood. They have a 1/4 with exterior grade glue, whereas the regular 1/4 AC exterior ply is described as having a "composed core" ... oh... splinters and shavings then.

Thinking at the moment, of a lauan inside, 1 1/2 framing on that, foam on/in that, tyvek over, finish with sheeting of.... X...... not sure what I'll find that's economical.

Yes, economy, this is going to be a no holds barred pennypinching deathmatch. I've got a bunch of crap, box of lights, bottom half of old popup trailer, saw that will rip 2x4s, and stray pieces of hardware and lumber. May even scratch up window material here, or a whole window.

Shape, well I have "notions" about aerodynamics and don't like the to the floor curve at the back of most 'drops. It looks like is sucks for shape drag/induced drag. Yes it IS an airfoil, but it's lifting you backwards. I want to raise the trailing edge, have a clean edge separation at least halfway up back end.

Thats it in a can so far,

Jagged Edges.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:49 am

I think I have a 2000lb axle on that popup frame, might be 1500, have to check that out, it sort of needs digging out and disengaging from rotted popup box before I can get specs. Not sure how wide it is offhand, wheels are under the edges of the box and I wanna say the box is 6'6". So might end up with half recessed wheels. I kinda like that idea though, and think spatted fenders would be dandy. It's on 8" wheels, but I've got a set of 13" VW wheels I might use on it. I know there's frequent discussions about car vs trailer tires, but on something with the wheels out to the sides, that's not all that heavy, I don't think sidewall flex will make it alllll that bouncy. Gotta try it and see how it rolls anyway. If I'm buying tires, I'll buy bigger wheels me thinks.

Kinda wondering if I want to have the "coach" bolted down to the frame in a way that makes it removable without major drama.

Facilities...

I have a two burner propane stove, and a two burner coleman. I will probably set things up to use either. I have a Koolatron powered cooler, that I want to incorporate, thinking it will get a slide out shelf for easy access, but going to have to figure out venting to let it breathe. I guess I want some kind of grille that a black bear can't tear out, none in my usual camping spots, but with a decent light towing roof, I might want to go longer range. Also guess I want venting the other side for a battery and propane or coleman fuel storage. Water, I've got 5 gallon containers that could be used, be nice to find one of those pump faucets cheap. I prefer those to electric pump shenanigans. 12V battery, I intend to have one, I may later add a couple of hundred watts of solar but initially will cheap out, possibly with an old car battery, ghetto desulphated and fed a diet of epsom salts. Yah I know deep cycles are better, but what ever is kicking around will get pressed into service, you probably only need an amp hour to use LED lighting all weekend. I also have a 400W inverter that I will leave space for, though initially I may be using a "power pack" thingy that I've got, it's good capacity, takes hours to drain with a couple hundred watt draw. Be good all weekend for a small fan, LCD TV, laptop. Although, I may rig 12V adapters for those. Will go with a 15A "shore power" hookup. Not shore (hur hur) whether I want enough grunt to run toaster oven or microwave... hell maybe I'll make provision for 30A, then when I've got electrical booked I can bring the 2 burner electric and a coffee machine.

Windows, doors etc...

Well I've got a household window kicking around that's "small" but maybe not small enough to really use anywhere. The roof vent is one of the things I might actually spend real money on. Though I want something really low profile, so cargo on bars can clear it. You heard me say a cargo container, but it would likely run empty on the road, there's lots of space in the sleeping quarters, but the sleeping quarters are for sleeping, so "camping junk" that you tend to take on a week long stay might get put in there. Could use empty/fillable tongue tote though. Hmmm note to self, check common tote widths, would be good to be able to get them through doors. So if that's on the roof, it would be good to clear under it, and also open some of the way to retain ventilation. I have seen how nice and simple those Wiley windows are, so I've been straining my brain to make them more complicated :) Well not much more, it just will sound it, and really just uses wedge principle. I am too hamfisted with sketchup so a quick description of what I'm thinking.... quarter round lexan pivotted at corner, free to swing downward, wedge to jam it at side in frame. knob in top corner to raise and lower it by, and to lock in place when closed with catch over it. Wedge would be internal to frame, have a little knob coming through a slot on inside of door to operate. Screening would be outside.

Hinge for hatch... I think I've got a pair of hood (Bonnet) hinges from a minivan in the stash somewhere, thinking maybe I could make those work, make a drain channel all round edge of hatch like car trunk, seal with weatherstrip inside of that. Only argument against those is they steal some internal clearance, but I think there is plenty to play with usually, and that they need "hard" points for mounting as opposed to spreading load. They will leave gap when hatch up maybe, IDK maybe full articulation could be arranged such that edge of hatch touches skin with rubber edge. Hatch prop, well I've got some perfectly good broomsticks...

One thing I'm not liking the idea of, is trailer lights on the hatch, too much hassle with filaments breaking when you slam hatch, wire in hinge fracturing in a couple of years maybe, thinking around that still.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby Vedette » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:28 am

Just sent you a long winded reply with suggestions.....but it seems to have been lost in cyber space.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:26 pm

Awww, yes, this forum seems to be giving me a bit of a rough ride this morning, with failing to load pages etc.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby Vedette » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:27 pm

In short.....I was suggesting to leave the sink, faucet, pump, and inverter on the shelf in your garage.
Buy a good quality "Converter" and make sure you install a 30 amp shoreline.
We purchased a Solar power system over the winter for those times we will camp off of the grid (more times than we had anticipated), but we won't be able to report on this until after the upcoming camping season.
Good Luck with your build.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby kayakdlk » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:13 pm

I'm going to have to "spend" some weight on making sure it can hold a hundred or so pounds overhead. So at the moment thinking a "cage" of 2x4s inside lighter plies would be the ticket.


My trailer is built out of 1x2 and 1x3 pine boards for the frame with 1/8 plywood inside and out and 3/4" foam in the middle. I covered it in epoxy and fiberglass cloth to seal from water. The biggest pieces are the spars that are two 1x2 glue together 5 ' long. I can sit or stand on my roof and I weight 200 lbs so needing to use 2x4 in your build is way over kill. I suggest thinking light. The structure will be alot stronger than you think

Good luck with your build, it sounds like you have lots of great ideas

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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby Chuckles » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:37 pm

Second what kayakdlk said... I used 3/4 inch poplar boards for stick framing infilled with pink foam board. With 1/4 inch birch core ply on the inside and 1/4 inch cedar boards for the exterior. Glue it all up and you have an incredibly strong panel. My roof spars are 1-1/2 inch poplar on 12 inch centers. with 1/4 inch ply inside and out I can stand on the roof. Use the same stress-skin-panel setup for the floor.
108861 109893

I used a trunk style rain gutter setup for the galley hatch and it works great. I did however use the improved hurricane hinge. I mounted the lights off the frame under the angled sides.
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As for the roof rack, I attachYakima towers to the sides of the camper using some home-made "rain gutter" mounts. This way the stress is transmitted directly to the walls. I carry two canoes up there and have no problems at all.
124151

If you want a light weight and inexpensive outer skin go with cheap 1/8 inch luan ply covered with canvas and glue. There are several builds and lots of topics on foamies and canvas covered trailers.

Also, I agree with Vedette, skip the water system. A sink takes up lots of valuable counter space and water tanks are HEAVY. Many also keep the stove portable and cook outside the galley on a picnic table or other portable table . Thats what I do... less mess in the galley and more counter space for food prep etc. With many designs you can't open cabinet doors with anything tall on the counter

Enjoy the build and keep us up-to-date with plenty of pics.

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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby Vedette » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:58 pm

Yes, our stove is stored in the Galley but never used in the Galley! Sandi says she would never cook in the Galley of a teardrop.
We use our stove on the outside table or a picnic table also.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:34 pm

I can see the advantage of not wanting to get the galley all greasy from cooking. However, when I've done early/late season camping and it's 10C or less in the morning with a stiff breeze, it's desirable to have a sheltered area to cook, otherwise your kettle takes half an hour or longer to boil. So I think I will build in wipe clean surfaces and a fold out splatter shield for stove.

The sink need not "steal" counter either, I've seen flip down hand pump faucets, so you can have a top over the sink. Common on British "canned hams". The water tanks were going to be removable jerry cans, that I just dangle the hand pump feed pipe into basically.

I've also been thinking that I'll have an extra 8" flip up counter extension. Wanna be able to do stuff without rubbing shins on the bumper all the time.

and maybe I'm getting too fancy... haven't worked the mechanics out fully, but thinking of a combo hatch prop and spice rack... It would be pivotted off the hatch so it sits in the counter front dead space when closed, then it would lift up over everything when you bring the hatch up, and have a broomhandle across the bottom or stubs out the sides that would be lifted over and engaged into drop in slots higher up, to support it and hold hatch open. Possibly put catches over top so wind can't lift it out. That can be one of the last things I do though. I say spice rack, but just mean cupboard for small, light stuff, I think I'll really only use about a linear foot of it for some basic spices.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby daveesl77 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:39 pm

On your roof rack, a small section of pine/poplar/cedar going vertical from floor to roof, can support a massive amount of weight. Wood, in compression, is one of the strongest materials pound for pound. Mount your roof rack to a pair of verticals. Use these verticals to also make your door / galley support members, then you kill two birds with 4 sticks of wood.

Check out what the folks are doing with foam, while mine is a hybrid, if and when I build another it will probably be a foamie. Light weight, strong, shapely, rot proof, self insulating and cost effective.

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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:30 pm

Yah, guess I don't need much wood across, I was worrying about what that would support in tension as a beam, of course the verticals will support thousands of pounds in compression and should just side mount racks.

I'm still thinking I'm gonna go 3.5x1 actual there though, ripped down 2x4, can get spruce which is 5lb a stick, so can't see that costing me more than about 15lb. Or 10lb over 1x1 sticks. I like the idea of designed in hardpoints to put anythign heavy on. An egg is a strong structure, can take the pressure of a clenched fist around it, but you can push the blunt end of a pencil through easy.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:51 pm

Now, what I am not decided on yet, is methods for attaching base to frame that allow removeability, along with desire to have some insulation under the bed, and how that relates to base construction.

I am slightly unsure if I need to buy the wood, it could be recycled out of the bed platforms of that popup. I think one of them is sound and solid, and I think they were marine ply, the other one has had a leak onto it, and I don't know yet how badly damaged it is, it could just need cleaning up, and frilly edges trimmed up, be mostly solid. Also might find portion of popup floor worth using. Anyway, if I'm buying it, 3/4 exterior ply twill be. Thinking I'll use the router to key butt joins, make it one sheet.

Well where I'm running round in mental circles is, if I bolt base to trailer, then put down foam and bed base, I won't get at bolts without tearing that up... so wondering whether just to actually leave that in loose, sheet foam, 1/8 ply on top. The alternative seems to be framing it and putting bolts right through, which seems like a PITA and overkill. Note, planning to insulate sleeping section only, pointless doing galley. Not sure yet if type of frame that will come out of popup remains will be amenable to being bolted to on the sides, drop down brackets or something. Have a bunch of bed frame rails, could make brackets from.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby tony.latham » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:40 pm

Removability? I'd suggest building your tailer, bolting it down, and leaving it as a dedicated camper. Seven hundred pounds or more of cabin weight can't be fun to move around.

Insulating a teardrop's floor makes no sense to me since a good mattress –ours is 7"– provides more than enough insulation. Standy? You bet.

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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby JaggedEdges » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:03 pm

I think I'd have a concern about damp in the mattress if the mattress was the insulation.
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Re: Initial figgerin' Jagged Edges #1

Postby tony.latham » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:59 pm

JaggedEdges wrote:I think I'd have a concern about damp in the mattress if the mattress was the insulation.


We don't get condensation in our mattress.

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