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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trailer Completus


Sometimes things that seem so simple are surprisingly complicated.  I sure learned (re-learned?) that this past 2 weeks. 

It seemed simple.  Put plywood sides on a metal framed hauling trailer.  Put tops on the exposed plywood top edges.  Big deal.  Um, not quite.

Yuo remember the Six Million Doolar Man where "they" could make him betteer faster and all that?  Right...  It doesn't go that easy even with simpler things.  All I wanted to do was put sides on the trailer and top the plywood edges on the top so they wouldn't rot so quickly.  And the idea is to make the trailer so that sand won't fall out as I drive home from the landscape supply place.  Not that I buy a lot of sand, but if sand won't fall out, mulch won't and I do buy a lot of mulch.

The sides were easy.  Sort of.  I bought two 4'x8' panels of T1-11 exterior plywood siding.  The stuff is great.  Stable, solid, straight.  I had the lumber store cut the sheets in 20" lengths (there are more details but I won't bore you with those).  And I bought 2"x'4"x8' boards.  Home I went...

The first problem I re-discovered (I probably learned this when I originally did the sides 20 years ago, but forgot) was that the metal frame around the trailer was NOT square in ANY direction.  That means I had to craft the pieces into place.  I made a few errors.  I corrected the errors "pretty" well by hand sawing some cuts to the sides to accommodate the metal welding bumps, but I did a couple of sawings that I shouldn't have done.  At least they were small errors.

After I got the sides to fit, I got at the 2x4 tops.  That was trickier than I thought.  I knew I could cut dadoes (stacked saw blades that make a thick cut -5/8" [20/32"] in this case) on my table saw to fit the 19/32" plywood.  It would have worked great except that the plywood was a bit curvy along the entire length.  Not much to see by eye, but the dado cuts sure could tell.

It took two more days to get the dado cuts to fit over the plywood edge tops.  And THEN I had to adjust all the lengths to fit exactly.  Did I mention I wanted all the corners to join with miter cuts?

And the back panel has to be removable.  There are 2 rectangular welded shapes that are supposed to pit a 2x4 set into them.  They don't, of course.  The inside edges are curved.  So I had to shape 2x4 pieces to fit inside lossely enough to go in and out easily but also fit tightly enough to remove easily. 

That took an hour.  And then I had to attach those pieces to the back sheet squarely enough so they both matched the rectangle metal fittings AND were firmly attached to the back.  That was easy enough except I had to go back into the basement several times for more tools.

If I did this more often than every 20 years, it would be a lot easier.  I almost wish a neighbor would come over now and ask me if I had any experience at doing this.  I sure do now! 

Tomorrow, pictures!

1 comment:

Megan said...

Ah, Mark - but give yourself points for sticking with it, not walking away in frustration.

Sydney, Australia