Bear's Lair

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Bear's Lair

Postby Nobes » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:55 am

Hey boys & girls. I started today!

My wife & I are campers from way back, but we've always used tents. My parents had RVs--it always seemed like cheating. I've even had my wife out there backpacking with me! She is a trouper, and I am one lucky guy. But, as the years roll on, I wonder how long we can keep that up...

So one night we're watching TV & we see a show called Flipping Trailers. The little trailers they work on are intriguing, so we start talking about it. Next thing you know we find pictures of teardrops and are looking to see if any are for sale near us. We find a few, but they are in horrible shape. We keep searching, and discover that tons of these are home made. I'm a woodworker, and I think "I can do that."

Then I found this site and had to be reminded I have a full time job! We settled on a design and had a goal for finishing the build by Easter. Then I tore up my finger so instead I am starting at Easter.

I bought a HF red trailer, which has been sitting for 2 months. Today I finally began assembly. I have the frame bolted up and square, tomorrow I will add axle, tires, tongue, etc. hopefully I will also get the floor assembled as well so this week I can work on treating it with The Mix and hopefully get it bolted on before next Saturday.

My design is a 5x8 Grumman. I made the front & rear curves into the floor a little less severe.

I am planning on plywood sides, but I wonder if solid walls would work--edge-joined ash. Maybe a little heavier, but I save tons of worry on sealing the edges. Let me know what you think.

Here are a few pics. It went well today, a good start. 139673139674139675139672139676
Last edited by Nobes on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby noseoil » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:39 am

Welcome aboard! I used skeletonized plywood on mine, but ash would be good also. It's tougher & harder than plywood, but the weight would be an issue for me. Plywood is faster to build with, since it's a full size panel already. It can be hollowed out if you want some insulation in the walls.

You mentioned sealing the edges, but what will you be using for a covering? Is it going to be aluminum skins, paint, canvas & paint (PMF or poor man's fiberglass) or fiberglass & resin?

Since you're a wood worker, it should be fairly easy for you to make a good box, but I would still do a full scale mock-up of the build to get a handle on sizes (mattress, bulkheads, shelves, etc.) on some cardboard.
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

137905
User avatar
noseoil
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1311
Images: 89
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:46 am
Location: Tucson

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:47 am

Crazy idea this morning: what if I lengthen the trailer to 4x9 using the 2 center crossmembers to stretch the sides? Right now they are bolted into the sides to strengthen where the design was for 'folding.' What does this do from an engineering perspective? Do I need to move the wheels? I have no welding skills/tools, so I've read about many of you lengthening the tongue but I'm thinking that is not an option for me, unless there's a bolt-in way to do it.

I've read several posters say you'll never be sorry you went a little bigger. The TV is a Nissan Fromtier so that's not an issue.

Then, with edge-joined ash as the side walls, it's easy to make the TD 9' long. Also, it's easy to go up 6" more. 2 doors, Wiley windows, maybe a stargazer window, cabinets & hatch. For electricity I'll use the super simple system I've read about here, battery powered lights for cabin, still debating on whether I wire it for DC power from a battery.

My top is going to be sandwich style with plywood 5x5 1/4 or 1/8 if I can get it. I'd like to find a piece of metal to attach to the wall-roof joint to feel better about water penetration, but I havent found anything yet, at least nothing that I can get way out here in the desert without paying $100 for shipping.

I will stain the sides to give it the woodie look. I will paint the top.

Ok what are the problems with doing this?
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Vedette » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:47 am

Yes, as many have said before on the Forum.
"You will never regret going larger" :thinking:
And, another regret you will have is if you scrimp on the wiring!
I thought there might not be a need for 110 power when I built Miss Piggy?? :NC.... But, I didn't want to find that out after the fact.
Went ahead thinking I was over wiring MP .......just to find out that it was "Not" over wired, as we use every electrical outlet, switch, and light I put in.
And once we started camping with out new Teardrop, we found out how are camping style and needs had changed......we love shoreline power! :thumbsup:
GO with both AC & DC......and as much as you can! Wire is cheap!
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
Here is a link to my Build Journal
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=50912
Image109106109111109110138766
User avatar
Vedette
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 5107
Images: 443
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:28 am
Location: Westbank B.C.
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:33 pm

Great progress today. I lengthened the 4x8 trailer to 9', and finished it except for greasing the hubs, attaching them to the axles, & putting the tires on. Electrical is run and it works. Several posters have said they ground each light separately, and I wondered how they did that. I attached the ground wire as instructed--how do you get/add additional ground wires?

I put the axle under the leaf springs as instructed in the plans. I considered putting it above the springs but I want the tires a little lower as I am building a 5x9 floor that will go over the tires. I installed the fenders, as I would rather have water spray from the tires hitting the fender instead of the bottom of my cabin.

Next step is to get the tires on then get the trailer registered, then add 1 or 2 wooden crossmembers to the center. Hopefully I can get those things done before next Saturday.

I bought 1x4s to raise the floor, but they fall about 5/8 below the top of the fenders. I will trade them out for 1x6s and trim them to the exact height needed. I'm going to follow jseyfert3's floor system. My son suggests I use 2x material for floor supports. Let me know what you think. He also says my 3/8 OSB for the floor will be too weak, but i think I'm ok because no one is walking on the floor.

Trying to upload the pics from today... But nothing exciting.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:41 pm

139703
Axle under the springs

139702
Extended from 8 to 9' with the 2 extra crossmembers

139704
Wiring may not be artful but it works. And you'll never see it when I'm all done.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby KCStudly » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:42 am

Resist the urge to over build. It is not a garden shed or a stationary home. If your son is still in doubt, direct his attention to many of the fine builds here and the builder's comments that they feel they have over built (after their sub-1000 lb goal turned out to be a 1300 to 1500 lb heavy weight). Seek out Sharon's and Angib's excellent trailer weight chart to find the average build weights for campers in your size category, then go look at those builds to see what 'schedule of construction' (sizes of materials and build methods) they used and compare it to your planned methods. There are a lot of very sturdy campers being built with less wood (= less weight).

On wiring, trailer lighting is one of the most typically unreliable systems on almost every trailer I have been involved with (that I did not wire myself). The manufacturers of cheap trailers provide cheap wiring and fixtures. They make the wires look the same as good quality wire by making the insulation extra thick, but inside there are only a very few strands of (relatively expensive) copper. They save several feet of wire per trailer by not providing a dedicated ground system, and to appeal to the masses of home assemblers that have limited patience with things electrical, they provide... wire nuts... and/or blade splice style connectors, both of which make me shudder. Another ridiculous thing they do is provide about 4 wire ties or metal clips to secure all of the wiring. That is just not enough.

Okay, full disclosure, I may have used some wire nuts and/or splice connectors on my ultra thrifty Charcoal Briquette UT resurrection, :NC but I cringed :frightened: doing it and at least wrapped them in tape. That was a different level of priority than my camper build.

With cheap shoddy wiring don't expect more than a season or two without having a failure, at least not if you live in wet environs where they salt the roads in winter. Without some upgrades (better wire, solder, shrink wrap, better connectors and secure mounting), and additional attention during install expect corrosion and/or damaged wires to cause failures within a year or two.

Bare minimum, I would wrap some electrical tape around the wire nuts to seal them up (better yet assemble them with dielectric grease first) and around the wires where they pass thru those bolt holes. The tape will wear away and unravel eventually, but at least it won't cut the insulation and short out in the first 10 minutes.

To ground your light fixtures, look at the back of them to find out how they are intended to ground to the chassis. Some just rely on the metal bracket grounding but they are usually painted. I've even seen where they used a grommet shaped sticker to mask around the mounting hole during paint, but then didn't bother to pull the masking off afterward. Scratch the paint off around the mounting holes for a better ground. Some fixtures will have a brass grommet connecting the ground buss from the socket to one of the mounting screw holes. If necessary take the lenses off and look at how the light socket is connected to the fixture. Some fixtures will already have a notch in the trim ring to allow a wire to get behind on a surface mount application, others require a hole thru whatever they are mounted to. To attach a dedicated ground wire you need to route it to the back of the fixture and preferably solder it to the grounding ring, negative buss, or even to the shell of the socket. Option B would be to pinch a ring terminal between the grommet and mounting screw. If you don't already have a wire hole thru the chassis, or a notch in the back of the fixture trim, you can probably file a notch in the plastic to let the wire out w/o it getting pinched.
Last edited by KCStudly on Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
TnTTT ORIGINAL 200A LANTERN CLUB = "The 200A Gang"
Green Lantern Corpsmen
User avatar
KCStudly
Donating Member
 
Posts: 9124
Images: 8114
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Southeastern CT, USA
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:23 am

Thanks KC. The wiring I have now is only so it can get registered--all will be replaced/reworked for the actual TD, through the sandwich roof (or maybe the floor, see below) not in the trailer chassis. I'm hoping for rear lights built into the hatch. I will make sure it's all done right in the end. Good to know on how to ground each light. Lots of time till then.

Tonight I worked on greasing the hubs. Bought the grease. The bearings on the outside came out easily, I got them cleaned up and ready to grease. But the ones closer to the axle, with the seal, are still in the hubs. I even went and bought one of those $15 seal puller tools and still couldn't get it. Plan A's failure has a lot to do with having zero grip strength in my left hand. I hope. I bet I can get that 27 year old strong as a bull son of mine to stop by tomorrow and pop them out...if Plan B doesn't work I'm not sure what I'll do. I do need to get replacement seals tomorrow, and an extra bearing set for 'just in case' on the road.

So here are the 2 things I'm trying to figure out:

1. Putting a 5x9 TD on a 4x9 trailer. How do I build the floor?

I've looked at bobhenry's build, and he has the tops of the fenders sticking through the floor. Not crazy about that, because those inside humps would interfere with the 54" full mattress I plan to use. But, this may be the way to go.

I also looked at jseyfert3's build, and I really like what he did. (Basically, he attached 1x4s on their edges to the trailer and put the floor on top of the 1x4s, thus raising the floor above the wheels. He did not install the fenders, and I would rather use the fenders because I think spray from wet driving would be far less likely to damage to my underfloor if I have fenders.)

My crazy idea is to build under-floor storage under the ENTIRE floor using his method. The top of my fender is 4 1/2" above the trailer, so 1x4s won't work, so I bought some 2x6's. The idea is to cut them to approx 5' lengths (allowing for width of sides, etc), then attach locking doors on the ends for access to the storage. This would give me 3-5 compartments running the width of the TD, with 5 1/2" usable space in each. The compartment behind the fenders would be inaccessible, and that's OK. I can store lawn chairs, fishing gear, tarps, misc camping gear, etc in the compartments. Maybe find some tubs that fit and slide them in. I would attach plywood to the top and bottom of the 2x6s, then install the locking doors on the sides (basically create a large box). But how in the world do I do that? And, what does that 6 1/4" (5 1/2" 2x6 + 3/8" bottom ply + 3/8" top ply) extension do to the look of the TD? I need to get the wheels done and on so I can put the trailer on the ground and see how high it sits. Will it be comfortable to sit down in the door when on top of the trailer is 6+" of floor/storage and 4-5" of mattress? That may put the kibosh on this whole complicated idea.

Maybe the whole idea is just too much and I should forget it.

2. This is way down the road, but...roofing question. I'm hoping to get 5x5 plywood for the roof. So far, I can only find it in 1/2", which is too thick. Let's say all I can get in 1/8" thickness is 4x8 sheets. I need to cover a 5' opening. Do you cut a 5' piece and run the grain across? That sounds like it looks funny. Also, plywood doesn't bend as easily in that direction. If we end up painting the top--a definite possibility--no problem. But it we want the roof stained, like the rest of the TD, do I put a seam in the middle? How do I seal that seam?

If I could do that CAD stuff I'd draw it up for you but I was an English major.

I look forward to hearing ideas!
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Redneck Teepee » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:04 am

Nobes wrote: But the ones closer to the axle, with the seal, are still in the hubs. I even went and bought one of those $15 seal puller tools and still couldn't get it. Plan A's failure has a lot to do with having zero grip strength in my left hand. I hope. I bet I can get that 27 year old strong as a bull son of mine to stop by tomorrow and pop them out...


Put your wheel back on the hub and then the axle spindle, then leaving the outer bearing and washer off put the retainer nut back on then give the whole tire and wheel one swift jerk outward and it will pop your inner bearing and seal right off. :thumbsup:
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiot's.
User avatar
Redneck Teepee
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 853
Images: 21
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:00 pm
Location: Central Ca.
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby KCStudly » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:48 am

2x6's? :NC :?

Resist the urge.

We have a saying around here; think airplane not tank. :worship:

Why not 1x6's cut down? :thumbsup:
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
TnTTT ORIGINAL 200A LANTERN CLUB = "The 200A Gang"
Green Lantern Corpsmen
User avatar
KCStudly
Donating Member
 
Posts: 9124
Images: 8114
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Southeastern CT, USA
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby KCStudly » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:52 am

I like the way desertmoose did the under floor storage on the Desert Moose.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
TnTTT ORIGINAL 200A LANTERN CLUB = "The 200A Gang"
Green Lantern Corpsmen
User avatar
KCStudly
Donating Member
 
Posts: 9124
Images: 8114
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Southeastern CT, USA
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:05 pm

Progress and decisions today:
My son got the seals off the bearings. The bearings are now cleaned, packed, installed, and the tires are back on. Eventually I will take the tires off again and paint the rims black. 139784139785

I took the 2x6s back and got 1x4s and insulation for the floor. I already have OSB for the decking. I will use the jseyfert3 method with hurricane hinges to install the 1x4 risers on the trailer, then place a sandwich floor on top. I will frame around the tires so there will be no lower decking or insulation directly over the tire, giving a little more distance between the tire and the floor. I will attach the trailer's metal fender to the deck above the tire. The top of the 1x4 is 2 3/4 above the tire. 139786

By framing out the lower deck and insulation of the sandwich floor above the tire, the deck above the tire will be 4" above the tire. Plenty of room.

The storage under the floor idea is dead. And I am happy about that.

Next is get it registered, then start building the floor and weatherproofing and getting it installed. Hopefully the floor is completely done by Sunday night.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:29 am

I got a lot done tonight, and it was an absolutely gorgeous night to be outside.

I hooked up the trailer to the truck and drove it a few miles. It bounced and jerked pretty bad. --positive thinking-- that will go away when there is some weight back there.

I decided we are going to have a queen mattress, which gave me the measurements for interior & exterior widths of the cabin & allowed me to set the floor/deck dimensions.

I made 2 new crossmembers from a 2x4, and tenons on each end to fit the trailer side rails. I trimmed about 1/8" from the tops so they fit flush.



I cut 7 1x4 support rails--5 singles and one double where I will join the extra length of the deck to get it to 9'. Then I cut doublers for each end so the rail will be 1 1/2" where it attaches to the metal hangers that tie the supports to the trailer frame. Then I glued and screwed the double rail and all the doublers with titebond3 and exterior deck screws.

Finally, I made my list of tasks for each day to get the deck waterproofed and installed on the trailer by Sunday night.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:44 am

I also got it registered & put the plates on yesterday. Here are pics from yesterday's work.

139826
Supports with doublers attached. The doubler sits on the trailer rail and extends to the edge of the deck/floor.

139827
Since the deck is 9', I have to join ply to cover the whole area. The support that is double width will support the joint between the 2 sections.

139828
I used 2 metal crossmembers to make the trailer non-folding, so I built 2 crossmembers out of a 2x4. I cut tenons in each end and trimmed the tops to sit flush with the sides of the trailer. These will be weather proofed before final installation.

139829
2 cross members around the wheels--I will "frame out" the area above the wheels. This spot will have no lower ply or insulation, just the top ply. This will provide plenty of clearance for the tires and still give me a flat deck for building the cabin.

And last, while I know my exterior dimensions, now I face a final decision on side construction. Stick/skeletonized ply, solid ply, or edge joined lumber. I have till Sunday night to make a call. I've read all (well, a lot anyway) the threads about pros and cons. I just have to make up my mind.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Re: Bear's Lair West Texas

Postby Nobes » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:27 am

Progress tonight:

Bought MORE stuff at Lowes.

Installed the metal brackets that hold the 1x4 supports to the trailer--used self-tapping 14x1 bolts--that took a while. Measure, place, mark holes, tap the metal to set the start point, drill the bolt, remove the bolt, drill through the bracket to enlarge the hole in the bracket, install the bracket. Lots of time, not much progress. Plus try all that with 1.5 hands and see how fast you can go.

139852139851

Temporarily screwed the 1x4 supports in the brackets

139853

Measured, cut, and glued/screwed extra 1x4 supports to frame the space around the tires. Finally got to use my much-ballyhooed Kreg pocket hole jig.

139850

Cut the bottom layer of OSB for the decking. I did it wrong. I put the seam in the middle, which means the cut offs aren't big enough to fill in the extra space at the back of the trailer to complete the 9' deck. When I put the top on, I will use one full sheet and one of the cut offs to complete the deck side to side, then I will use my final/4th sheet to cut the top and bottom pieces for the back of the trailer.

Made my list of next steps. I'm a list person. I have lists of lists. I love scratching things off my lists. We have family coming Saturday, so tomorrow night is helping Mrs. Nobes get the house ready. I will work on the trailer Saturday morning, till company gets here, then I'll be off with guests till Sunday after church. Looks like I will not make my goal of finishing the deck by Sunday night.
Last edited by Nobes on Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nobes
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 212
Images: 508
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am
Top

Next

Return to Build Journals

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests