April 11, 2012

Raising the walls

With the walls framed, we were ready to finally make the trailer look like a trailer!  Each of the walls was carefully placed on the trailer frame and held together with temporary support made out of scrap 1x2’s and clamps.

In order to get a more rigid frame, we decided to make the horizontal supports or spars out of 1x2 oak.  We had been using inexpensive pine for the rest of the trailer. Since these spars would be taking most of the stress as we drive down the road, we figured the stronger the better. On each end of the spars, we drilled 2 pocket holes – one on each face of the face of the spar at opposite sides.  This way we could screw into the side walls at two different angles which seemed like a stronger attachment.  We used 1 ¼” screws so that we could get maximum depth without poking out the other side of the Okume.  (Site note – Kreg Jig makes special screws for the pocket holes that come in all sorts of lengths.  You could probably get away with using standard screws, but we decided to play it safe and use their screws.) 

In order to determine the spacing for the spars, we laid everything out in CAD and modified as needed in the field. When we framed the walls, we simply brought the laptop down to the garage and dimensioned it out.  For the most part we tried to keep the spacing around 6”-9”.  This may have been overkill, but it turned out a very rigid structure in the end.

The only spot we had to be extra picky about the spacing was where the fan would be placed.  Most teardrops have a ventilation fan mounted in the ceiling.  We had already ordered one (a VentlineVentadome 12v Fan – it was one of the less expensive ones but also did what we wanted) so we needed to maintain the 14 ¼” x 14 ¼” rough opening.  After laying it out we did a test fit and everything worked out great!

Once all of the spars were installed it was time to finally bolt the sidewalls to the trailer.  First we ran a bead of gorilla glue along the wood frame, then set down the walls and lined everything up.  The trailer ended up being a little skewed and was slightly narrower at the front then at the back so we evened up the gaps with wood shims.  Finally we used 1 ½” stainless steel screws spaced 1’’-0” apart to screw directly through the face of the Okume into the wood frame.  We plan on running some sort of trim along the bottom, so having the screws visible didn’t matter.

We didn’t take an overall shot when we were done for the day, but it looked amazing!

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