Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

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Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:44 pm

And so it begins...

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Hey everybody. I'm Brooks. I live on a little mountain in NC called Barrett's Mountain with my wife Natalie and daughter Delia. I've been lurking here on and off for a few years, but it's finally time to start making some sawdust. I just picked up my Northern Tool 5x8 trailer kit yesterday.

Here is a screenshot of the profile I'll be using. I was going for something between a Grumman 2 and the Atma Travelear:

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To fit my side profile I'll have to extend the frame a little over a foot in the rear, but I have a few ideas for that. I'll probably extend the tongue too. As far as features go, I am going to build a bed that converts to a sofa, similar to the Gidget or the Vistabule. In sofa mode, it will face the rear. There will be under floor storage below the bed/sofa. I'll probably work in some type of small table to use while in sofa mode too. Here's a proof of concept I mocked up to check my design.

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That's my main man Toby, in Winter Mode.

Instead of interior cabinets against the galley wall I am going to put in removable bunk, army cot style, for my 5 year old daughter. Once she gets older and graduates to sleeping in a tent next to the tear, I'll probably put some cabinets in there. I may go ahead and install some french cleats in preparation.

To make up for the lack of rear cabinets, I plan on making a tongue box that is accessible from inside the cabin, or at least part of it. I'll probably try to squeeze an air conditioner in there too. I haven't fully decided on how I'll do my electrical yet. I will have 12V and 120V for sure. I may add some solar too, and possibly wire it to charge while towing. We'll see. Right now I'm leaning towards an all aluminum exterior. I also haven't decided how I'm going to build the walls yet either. I could probably have them CNC'd if I wanted by one of our suppliers at work (I work in Product Development at a Furniture Factory), but we'll see when I get to that point.

That's about it for now. I'm trying to wrap up a remodeling project at the house, so it will probably be a slow start. I would like to have this thing finished by next year's camping season though. Right now I just need to find the time to start bolting that trailer together...

-Brooks
Last edited by brx017 on Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:35 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby greygoos » Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:11 pm

Good luck with your build. I am looking forward to seeing the results
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby tony.latham » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:55 pm

Brooks (& Toby):

Looks like you're off to to a great start.

...I am going to put in removable bunk, army cot style...


We've never needed a kid-bed in our 'drop, but I've been impressed with Ryus' slider bunk he put in his:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=59086&start=195

Maybe it'd work for you or maybe not, but it's something to think about for a moment.

I'll be stalking your build. :thumbsup:

Tony
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby Mushin » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:57 pm

Watching this on for sure, welcome aboard!

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:20 am

tony.latham wrote:Brooks (& Toby): We've never needed a kid-bed in our 'drop, but I've been impressed with Ryus' slider bunk he put in his:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=59086&start=195

Maybe it'd work for you or maybe not, but it's something to think about for a moment.
Tony


Tony, thanks for the link... Somehow I never saw his great build journal. There's a lot of great ideas in there. I may have to borrow a few.

I'll tell Toby you said Hi. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of him, he likes to photo-bomb. You may see some pictures of our chickens and ducks too, they like to come in the garage and check things out when I'm working with the door open.

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:06 pm

I've got a couple quick questions for you old-timers on here.

1. Has anybody on here ever used anything similar to cardboard instead of lauan for skinning their outer sidewalls and/or roof before putting on their aluminum?

I bought some specialty cardboard from work today to make my sidewall template out of. I was thinking it might be tough enough to use as a skin underneath my aluminum, especially if I go with thicker aluminum anyway. At work we have 4ft x 5ft sheets that are .054" thick, and 3ft x 4ft sheets that are .080" thick. The cardboard is called Kraftex. Think of it as REALLY THICK kraft paper... it's dense, similar to tempered hardboard, only thinner and more flexible. It's used to make fabric and leather cutting patterns for furniture at work, and the thicker stuff is actually used structurally on some of our frames like the outside of arms. Also other places that need to be bent to shape, like wings on wing chairs, barrell chairs, and as other fillers. The best part of this stuff is I can get it for $2 a sheet. I think if I put my roof spars a little closer together it will be fine to use. What do yall think?

2. Anyone have experience using Norbord Tallwall for sidewalls? it's exterior rated OSB that comes in 4x10 sheets. I think it's either 7/16" or 15/32" thick.

3. I want my sides to cover my frame. I also want a full 60" on the interior, or very close to it. Let's say I cut my side walls out of the 7/16" TallWall mentioned above, skeletonized, then skin with .054" kraftex and then .040" aluminum. That's a total of .53" thick outside the frame x 2 walls + 60" frame is a finish width of 61-1/16". I'll be using 60" wide aluminum on the roof. Can I do this and easily find aluminum trim wide enough to safely cover the edge of the walls? Or would I be better off hacking an inch or so out of the width of my trailer frame so my roof aluminum come all the way to the wall edge? I need a plan of attack before I start bolting stuff together Saturday.

The family is leaving for vacation this weekend without me. :cry: Unfortunately I've got to work for at least a few days next week, then hopefully I can join them. :worship: My hope though is to take advantage of my alone time in the evenings and at least get the frame assembled, and possibly the floor done.

Tomorrow I'm going to print out my side profile full scale on the plotter at work, glue it down to some kraftex and cut it out. That way I can get final approval from the wife before I get too deep in the interior and galley design.

Stay tuned. :banana:
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby KCStudly » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:04 am

GPW has championed the use of chip board over in the foamie forum, but to my knowledge no one has used it extensively. There was a guy who built a large TD for a family of four entirely out of corrugated; I think that was an Aussie build, and IIRC it didn't last as long as more traditional methods.

I built (am building) 64 wide so that I could maintain a full 60 inside width, and even though I am skinning the outside with epoxy/glass, it would have been much more efficient to stay at 60 wide overall.

Good luck with your build. The sofa/bed looks interesting. :thumbsup:
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:48 am

Brooks:

Your mind is definitely cranking in teardrop build mode.

I'm guessing that at least part of your planned internal width of 60" is based on mattress size? For what it's worth, our teardrop's internal width is 57.5". A sixty-inch foam mattress fits in there fine and it's an easy task for the two of us to change the fitted mattress cover. (It works well enough that when my wife and I built a second 5x10' for a wedding gift we stuck with the same 60" external width.)

So if that's the underlying issue, here's a bit more input. I do know of someone on this board that went with a >60" external and dealt with the aluminum roof gap somehow.

That cardboard? I'd throw it in a bucket of water and see what happens. (Or seal it with whatever and put it in the bucket.) I'm a believer in using materials that don't mind getting wet––sealing the heck out of them and then building in a fashion that prevents water from getting inside. Both the 1/8" Baltic birch and the 1/4" subfloor plywood I use do just fine in a bucket for weeks. And that's untreated.

We just got back from a trip to find that we'd left the drain plug out of our cooler (that's in the galley) and I'm guessing we must have lost a pint of water. That entire area is coated with epoxy and was dry as a bone once the mess was cleaned up. No damage.

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:38 pm

KCStudly wrote:GPW has championed the use of chip board over in the foamie forum, but to my knowledge no one has used it extensively. There was a guy who built a large TD for a family of four entirely out of corrugated; I think that was an Aussie build, and IIRC it didn't last as long as more traditional methods.

I built (am building) 64 wide so that I could maintain a full 60 inside width, and even though I am skinning the outside with epoxy/glass, it would have been much more efficient to stay at 60 wide overall.

Good luck with your build. The sofa/bed looks interesting. :thumbsup:


KC, thanks for giving me the right "keyword" to search on here... chipboard gave me some decent thread results to read up on, especially on the foamie side like you said.

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:03 pm

tony.latham wrote:Brooks:

Your mind is definitely cranking in teardrop build mode.

I'm guessing that at least part of your planned internal width of 60" is based on mattress size? For what it's worth, our teardrop's internal width is 57.5". A sixty-inch foam mattress fits in there fine and it's an easy task for the two of us to change the fitted mattress cover. (It works well enough that when my wife and I built a second 5x10' for a wedding gift we stuck with the same 60" external width.)

So if that's the underlying issue, here's a bit more input. I do know of someone on this board that went with a >60" external and dealt with the aluminum roof gap somehow.

That cardboard? I'd throw it in a bucket of water and see what happens. (Or seal it with whatever and put it in the bucket.) I'm a believer in using materials that don't mind getting wet––sealing the heck out of them and then building in a fashion that prevents water from getting inside. Both the 1/8" Baltic birch and the 1/4" subfloor plywood I use do just fine in a bucket for weeks. And that's untreated.

We just got back from a trip to find that we'd left the drain plug out of our cooler (that's in the galley) and I'm guessing we must have lost a pint of water. That entire area is coated with epoxy and was dry as a bone once the mess was cleaned up. No damage.

Tony


Hey Tony. Yes, unfortunately for my wife, my mind has switched gears from our house remodel to teardrop mode... BEFORE I finished the remodel. Oh well.

The main reason for going 60" inside is just because that's the width of the Northern Tool trailer kit I bought. I like the looks of having the sidewalls covering the side of the trailer, so I thought I would just slap them on. Then it made me think about trimming it out, whether I could find trim wide enough.

As far as the mattress situation goes, I've got that part covered. I live in an area in NC that is a furniture manufacturing hub. My Mom works for a company that does foam pouring among other things, plus I work in product development for a furniture manufacturer. With my sofa bed design I think I'll end up going with a "mattress" that is in pieces, similar to how Dusty Mark just did his. I can get the foam needed for free most likely, and I'll probably just get a memory foam topper to go over it while sleeping.

I decided to modify the frame, and narrow it to 59", so I should be right around 60" with my 1/2" sidewalls.

Good idea on the soak test. I think I'll try coating some scraps in titebond and see what happens. I actually scored three free sheets of roughly 1/8" 5x5 plywood out of the junk pile of pallets this week. I guess something we import in was crated up with them. They are not very pretty, but they could be used under the aluminum on the roof or something.

Awesome camping pic! And I'm glad to hear the cooler incident was a non-event. As my Dad likes to say, "It's always something."

I had to work Saturday and Sunday, but I was able to start putting my trailer frame together in the evenings. Update with pictures to follow.

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:27 pm

Last week turned out better than I expected, so I didn't have as much time as I had thought to work on the teardrop. The good news is I got 2 more days off work than I was planning, and that meant 2 more days at the beach! 8) My parents, wife and daughter had already made the annual pilgrimage to Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Surfside Beach, SC (just South of Myrtle Beach) without me. I snuck down there on Monday (5 hour drive), and surprised them by showing up at the swimming pool in the middle of the afternoon. They weren't expecting me until Wednesday night. My Daughter asked me what I was doing there, and I told her I was on my lunch break and just thought I'd see what they were up to. :R She believed it, too and thought I was going to have to go back to work.

Anyways, before leaving for the beach last Monday, I did have a few nights alone to spend on the teardrop.

Friday night I started by taping two 4x5 sheets of Kraftex chipboard together. Why did I use aluminum duct tape you ask? Because I have rolls and rolls of the stuff I got for free. I live close to the Shurtape headquarters / factory, and know several people that work there. They make "Duck Tape" and "Frog Tape" brands there, and about every kind of specialty tape you can think of too. Their employees get to take home the offcuts from when they slit the wide rolls down to normal size. I dont think I've bought hardly any tape in years:
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I also live near Whiteside Machine Co, and have friends that work there. My best friend is a CNC machinist there, he cuts router bits all day. FYI, Fine Woodworking rated them the best value and best overall several times. I hope to use a few of their bits during my build too...

Then I used some Elmer's spray adhesive to lay down the bottom half of the pattern. I aligned the bottom edge on the board, and the outermost point on my galley hatch on the left edge:
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Then I laid down the upper pattern half, aligning it carefully along the center reference line, and each corresponding vertical intersecting line. I tore away excess as I went, to have less sticky paper to fight with:
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Once it was lined up to my liking, I rough trimmed it with a box cutter. Here you can see my little stitch and glue lauan boat hanging up too... I call it the SS Booger. She's a sheet-and-a-half boat I built a few years ago:
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Here's a closeup. Even though it's wrinkled a little in places, I still have good alignment. I left the lineweight on this plot is very light, so I could be more accurate:
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I'll take the pattern to work to cut it precisely with a nice pair of patternmaker's sheers. After this, I'm ready to start on the frame.
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby Mushin » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:58 pm

Nice to get the extra time with the family and the teardrop!

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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:04 am

Saturday night it was time to really get started. I took the pattern to work and cut it out precisely before I left. Once I got home, I opened up the boxes from Northern Tool and got to work.

Step One - VOID WARRANTY:
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Offcuts. I sure hope I did that right:
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I decided to narrow the frame an inch, to compensate for my 1/2" walls. This will keep me right around a true 60" overall width, which will work out better when I go to skin my roof, etc. So, I had to cut all the crossmembers down 1", and redrill the holes on the ends:
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Once my cutting and drilling was done on the crossmembers, I temporarily bolted the floor together so see where they feel in relation to my profile and folding bed design:
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I put tape on the frame wherever I wanted to make a mark, so the marks wouldn't rub off. Here's a little better shot of my profile too, standing up:
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Once I decided on my crossmember placements, it was time to take it back apart, to do some more warranty voiding. This time, the side rails were the lucky contestants:
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After I got all the holes drilled, it was time to bolt it all back up again:
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The large opening in front of the axle will be in floor storage, and a place to put our feet when in sofa mode. I'll probably put in a removable center brace for supporting our weight while sleeping.

You can see I relocated my axle too:
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And I lowered the trailer by flipping the axle to be above the leaf springs. I did this because I intend on upgrading to larger wheels and tires, and this will help offset the increase in ride height some. Plus, I like the low slung look:
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Narrowing the frame an inch also gives me an extra 1/2" clearance on each side for my tires. This will come in handy when I upgrade wheels and tires, too.

Here's a cameo of a few of our chickens. If the garage door is open, they love to come check things out:
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Please excuse the mess in the garage. We are remodeling the house right now, and the other half of the garage is just a pile of junk... vinyl siding, sheetrock, doors, lumber, you name it. I cant get to anything, or reach to put anything away. That's why there are kids toys and camping gear laying all around. Working 60 hour weeks has really cut into my "straighten up the garage time" lately too!

Once I got everything squared up, I tightened her all down good and snug. But, my frame is still only 8 feet long at this point. This is as far as I got before I headed towards Myrtle Beach for the week. The next step is extending the tail end.
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:22 am

Tonight I decided to go ahead and extend the tail of the frame out. I did this by cutting my left over crossmember in half, drilling a few holes and bolting them in as side rail extensions. They stick out 13" past the side rail:
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Here's the Foreman inspecting my work:
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I need to resquare the frame still, then I'll snug these bolts down:
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Once that was done, I needed to bolt up the tongue:
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I'm going tomorrow to pick up some square tubing, to extend the tongue out farther. I haven't decided yet how long I want to make it. I will be building a tongue box, and I want to have enough room to clear if I jackknife while backing at least. My tow vehicle right now is my 2003 Honda Pilot. I need to measure it again, but I think I need over 36" to clear if the trailer is 90 degrees to the car.

That's as far as I got tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can get it squared up again, tighten all the bolts then flip it upright so I can do some cipherin' on the floor, specifically the storage compartment and sofa/bed.
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Re: Brooks' 5x10 Barrett's Mountain Build

Postby brx017 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:24 am

Mushin wrote:Nice to get the extra time with the family and the teardrop!


Yeah, I've been working a ton of overtime at work lately, and I thought I was going to have to work all through vacation this year too. It was a nice surprise when the boss told me Sunday that I could have Monday through Sunday off!
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