4X8(ish) Benroy Build

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

Almost ready for glass

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:18 pm

Thanks Brian!
I'm trying to remember to document stuff that I would want to know and stuff I want be sure I remember for the next one.

Like this bit...I ground away the damaged areas of the cracked skins today. The coring in these 3X7 plies was made up of veneer strips rather than sheets. That's not really a surprise since they're intended to be used on the flat (not too many curved doors around) but doesn't bode well for trying to bend it over an 18" radius. Sure enough, it was along these inner seams that each failure occurred. I would have been fine to run the second layer of skin horizontally as well, staggering the joints so they don't line up.

I sparked up the fiberglasser's favorite weapon: an angle grinder spinning a 24G sanding disc. It made short work of the bad spots and I kept going until I got back to a solid bond. This is what I ended up with and what I'll need to repair:
Image
Rather than try to torture more of this cheap ply into that curve, I'll glass in a layer of mat, a layer of roving (coarse 90 deg cloth) and then the final layer of mat over everything. That will fill the space and that radius will be the strongest part of the trailer !

I also got the front window filler ready for its new sheathing of glass. I sanded it back to bare wood and feathered the edge back so I can lay in a strip of mat while I'm doing everything else. When I go around with a pallette of filler putty before the glass, that seam will get filled.
Image

I also rounded the roof-to-wall corners for the glass to wrap over them and used the trim router to cut out the roof openings. The forward one is for a hatch and the rear one is for a fixed plastic skylight that will be raised up on a curb (just like a residential skylight). I plan to take a piece of 1/2" ply and cut out those openings to leave a ring frame that will be attached to the top of the roof. I'll round the outside corners and wrap the glass up and over it so any standing water has to be min 1/2" deep before the hatch or skylight seals are sitting in water. The front edge won't stick out past the front edge of the hatch's mounting flange but it will still need to be shimmed a little because it's right where the radius to the front wall begins.
These are the cutouts (hatch in front, skylight behind):
Image

As you can see, I'm already started to cut the glass out - getting excited to start that part of it !!
I kept an eye on the temps today and it got up to 10 degC in the sun on the roof, which is the minimum temp I need for glassing. It was only there for about 2 hours, but I should be able to stretch that out by cranking the heater inside the trailer to warm up the wood. I'm going to try it on the repair section and see how it goes. It's supposed to start warming up in the next few days anyway so it'll be done soon one way or the other (apparently I've decided not to tow it to the shop to glass it - subject to change on a whim...)

I also took out the bathroom scale and lifted the trailer at each of its 3 supported points to get a SWAG of the weight. The sum of the three weights came out to 457lbs - which puts me about on track with the goal. I figure I've got about half of the weight in now, not including the 120lbs of battery. If you back out a couple hundred pounds for the trailer frame all the tools and stuff that are in there at the moment, I don't think the 1000lb target weight is out of reach and I'll be focusing on weight in the interior as I try and use up my 1/8" offcuts. Still, it's just like our eating habits at this time of year: the weight sneaks up on you
:lol:

Besides the hatch/skylight curb and the doors, I will be spending some time on the roof of the house this afternoon. A couple years ago, I got a 60W solar kit on craigslist - it's actually 4 15W panels, and octupus to join them, and a 7A controller. None of it is anything fancy, but it still cost me far less than what my wholesaler could have put together as a 'starter' solar kit. For the last two years, I've had them up there feeding into a battery on the deck, then to a cheap Xantrex inverter into which my coffee maker is plugged. Every morning since then, I've been making my coffee on solar. I recently checked the battery with my load tester from work and it still reads like a new battery. I have no worries that it will be more than adequate to maintain the batteries in the trailer.
So now I'm off to pull the panels off the roof so I can lay them out on the trailer and make up the 'rails' that I'll glass onto the roof to mount them to.

Thanks for following along and a happy and healthy New Year to everyone!
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:48 pm

Hopefully everyone's made it through the holidays unscathed and got in a bunch of time with fam and friends.

I'm waiting until early next week for it to warm up enough to glass the roof, so I've been doing some stuff inside. I got the doors ripped down to width, the galley counter made up, the upper cabinet face and top measured out, and the hatch/skylight curb glued up.

I also took the solar panels off the roof and tried them on the trailer roof. There's no way in (somewhere really warm...no, not AZ) that all 4 will fit on the roof of the trailer. I *might* be able to squeeze a bigger panel in across the roof behind the skylight, but I'll have to crawl the interwebz a bit to see what sizes I can find. Otherwise, I'm looking at stowing the 4-15W panels in the tongue box and putting them out at the campsite which, to be honest, seems like a PITA.
Image

On the doors, I realize now that I should have made the stiles from 1X4 rather than using 1X2 to allow room to cut them down if need be.....and need be'ed.
I ripped them down and reshaped the radius on the upper corners to accommodate the final width (22" instead of 24"). With the 1/4" ply and glass on the outside and the 1/8" on the inside, I think the doors will be plenty beefy, though I will probably brace the corners before putting the skins on.
Hmmm...apparently no pic of that - I'll have to owe you that one...

I ripped the galley counter out of the rest of the 1/2" sheet I got to replace a dead box spring. I figured I needed to add about 3-1/2" of height from what I originally allowed for, so I cut a couple pieces of 1X4 that would sit on top of the original framing. I then glued and pinned a 1/2"X3/4" backer for the 1" nosing on the counter top.

I had a 2" X 8' strip left over after ripping the counter top to width so I used that for the hatch/skylight curbing instead of cutting it out of a piece of ply that would probably be better used in the cabinets. I have a scrap of Lucite that I'll cut for the glazing and I figure I'll secure it with double sided foam tape and some clips cut from aluminum angle. That way it can float as it expands and contracts but still has the clips to keep the seal compressed. That said, it's a small enough panel it shouldn't move that much...

I also made up a couple of thresholds for the door openings. If the dimensions work, I'll rip some out of hardwood later (or not...)
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This is a 'multipurpose' pic:
The taped-together strips on the right are the thresholds and the hatch/skylight frame is clamped to the underside of the counter top while the glue dries. I still need to rip the 1/4" for the upper cabinet in the galley and its top but, given my space constraints, it's worth the $0.75 per cut to get the yard to rip a sheet to the widths I need.
Image

The plan for this weekend is to dry fit the counter top and get the face and top for the upper cabinet fitted. Then I can make up the backs for the upper cabinet and for under the back edge of the counter. I also need to cut the outer 1/4" skins for the doors and I have one inner skin left to do, though I'm not going to fully assemble the doors until I have all the latch hardware and windows dry fitted. The windows are going to be fixed pieces of smoked plastic glued in. Between the three opening windows and the roof hatch, I figure I have lots of ventilation for such a small space without vent windows in the doors as well.
For now, I'll glass the outer skins so that they're ready when it comes time to make them permanent.

When all that's done, the cabin portion will be closed in: that's what I'm shooting for by the end of the week.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:52 am

We're rapidly nearing the end of the week and, while the weather cooperated yesterday, Murphy didn't. The thermometer I keep on top of the trailer was reading 16 degC (under the black tarp) by yesterday afternoon so it was just warm enough to get my glass in gear.
I got the glass into the repair area on the radius and started on the rest of the roof when my phone rang...and then again....and again....
Well, I was suited up and had resin mixed so the clock was ticking. I finished off the second pot of resin I had already mixed up and cleaned the rollers with acetone before the resin could cure on them. I checked my messages and it was my wife trying to get a hold of me to see if I could go look at a place (we're looking to move), then calling back to say she'd set it up for today instead...so I could have kept on with the glassing while I had the temperature on my side.

Today I've got the landlady's contractor coming in to look at the rickety deck and we're viewing the new house early this afternoon, so today's probably out. It's supposed to start cooling off again so it looks like I will have to take it to the shop to glass it inside, which means I won't make the goal of having the glass done by tomorrow.
:x

Here is a shot of the radius with the glass on it: a layer of 1oz mat, a layer of 18oz roving, and another layer of mat. There will be some fairing to do before I paint it but it seems to have filled the missing ply pretty well, though it'll show up better when the (temporary) topcoat of grey-tinted resin goes on.
You can just make out where I also got glass onto the first section of flat roof on the far side of the hatch. That's right when the phone started going off...
Image

I have been working inside after it cools off in the evening. Over the last couple nights I've made up some door hinges from a piece of 2" SS piano hinge I had:
Image

I got the first door's outer skin ready for glass and the second one cut out as a blank. The other one will be a bit tricky because I've already glued the inner skin on, so I'm using this one to figure out the sequence to put the other one together. The problem is that I'm gluing a window into the door and there's a return that goes in to fill the rest of the door's thickness. If I glue it together, I would have to pass all of that through the window hole so I need to glass the skin off the door, glue the window in, then glue and clamp it all together. Here's the filler that needs to go between the inner skin and the window. Only the inside edge will be visible and that will get either black paint or fir tape before it goes in...or maybe fur tape instead ?
Image
Anyway, here's the first door that will get glassed tonight:
Image
The window is as small as it is so I can replace it with an aluminum-framed glass one eventually. It's low in the door so that, when it's tinted, it will blend into the black 'swoosh' that will come down the side of the trailer and so that one can see out when sitting up in bed.
That's the vision at least:
Image

For door handles, I want to go with these door latches, but they're a bit pricy so I won't be buying them for a bit yet.
Image

In the meantime, I came up with an alternative that ought to work without butchering the door too badly.
On the outside, I'll use SS cabinet locks that I have laying around, along with a small pull handle:
Image
The shock cord will be doubled over and used on the inside as a door closer and also on the inside will be a barrel bolt as a privacy lock.
The only part of the door that I'll need to rework when I do get the proper latches is to plug the 3/4" hole for the lock cylinder with a piece of dowel.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby KCStudly » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:20 am

A note on the barrel bolts, I seem to recall someone having a problem with their inside latch bouncing closed while going down the road. Not likely to happen to both sides simultaneously, but something to be aware of just the same.

If your barrel bolts aren't snug fits in the retracted position, you may be able to put a half hair pin clip thru the housing to hold the bolt in the retracted position while going down the road.
Last edited by KCStudly on Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:40 pm

Thx KC, that' a really good point. Upon ruminating over it, maybe a gate latch would be a better idea. The 'handle' is a bit bigger and I could clip a carabiner through the padlock hole to lock it open.
I can just imagine a long drive to a remote site and having both doors locked from the inside. And that WOULD happen to me. "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all" is something of a personal motto... :lol:
Stanley makes one of these that ought to work:
Image

After the contractor's visit this morning, I was able to get one door skin and the two thresholds glassed. I'm heading out shortly to pick up the wife and we're going to look at the house so hopefully the smell should have dissipated by then since I did them downstairs in 'the shop' where it was warm enough.

In other news, I was cleaning up down there yesterday (more like 'draining the swamp') and ran across a few pics from my first trailer build. It was a steel stud and OSB TTT that I did in 1996. They're 35mm prints so I'll post them once I get around to hooking the printer back up and scanning them...
Edit: here they are.
It was light but it squeaked every time you moved around inside so it didn't see too many trips. I salvaged a set of blue appliances for them from an early 70's camper - they were about the coolest looking RV appliances I've ever seen.
Last edited by Wobbly Wheels on Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby KCStudly » Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:03 pm

That's the same style latch I have on my shed. Much better choice for your app than what I was picturing, and the 'biner will have a handy place to stay when the bolt is closed. :thumbsup:
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:57 am

Thx KC. Fortunately it'll only be a temporary thing until I get the latches I want. I'll figure out something different for the receiver socket, but I think it'll work for the time being to get it campable.
After all, they're never really 'finished'...
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Re: Yesterday Was The Day

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:13 pm

I finally got the roof and front wall glassed yesterday:
Image
There's a bunch of little bits still to do but the bulk of it's done now

This is one of the outer door skins ready to be cleaned up and overcoated with the tinted resin. The other two pieces are the thresholds that I ripped - not sure yet how well they're going to work.
Image
The next step on the door is to glue the window in and glue the outer skin onto the rest of the door, then I can hang the door and trim out the opening.

I started laying out the electrical panel as well.
Image

I'm thinking about relocating the battery compartment from the tongue to under the galley right near the axle. I'll have to mull over whether that's going to be a good thing or bad for the weight distribution. I've still got the space on the bridle for a tongue box so I can build that up as needed and move stuff up there to trim the weight: cooler, cast iron, etc.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:11 pm

Hard to believe it's been a month since the last post...
I've been doing a lot of shop work rather than working on the trailer proper, one of the reasons being that it's usually dark and raining when I get home from work. This weekend has been a long weekend and I've been plugging away, though I'm on the 'puter today because my back is bugging me. I tried getting on the job this morning but after fighting it for an hour I called it quits. Being shorthanded at work means I need to be on my game tomorrow morning.

I've been plugging away on the hatch ribs and the tongue box. For the ribs, I laid out the geometry on a half sheet of doorskin and and did the glue up right on top, using cello tape to keep the glue from sticking to the pattern. I did them in two glue ups of 3 each, after doing the first one on its own as a 'tester' to get the routine down. Of the seven ribs, one will be screwed and glued to the wall skin on each side of the galley as a stiffener and will have a groove routed down its length for the weatherstripping that will seal the hatch sides though I haven't decided on the profile yet. The other five will give me 12" centers on the hatch. This is a dry fit of the wall stiffener before the inner arc was cut:
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This is the first stack roughed out.
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I started with 1X4 pine and used 3 dowels in each joint between the pieces. When they're all done, they'll get screwed together and sanded at the same time to keep them the same. I'll make up the hinge spar for the hatch from another piece of 2X2 clear fir like the mating piece I used for the last roof spar where the other side of the hinge will land. Speaking of hinges, I got my 6' of 3" SS piano hinge for the hatch. I'll need only about 52" of it so I'm thinking about making shorter hinges from the rest of it for the doors or the tongue box. I also have a length of gasket to seal the hinge. It's a cloth-reinforced strip of some kind of rubber (vinyl?) that looks like it might be pond liner. I've also got a couple gas springs that should work for the hatch (at least to help lay out the geometry) and 100 ft spools of 16AWG marine wire in red and black.
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I've also got two stainless wallplates for the light switches in the cabin. One switch will be for the dome lights and the other will be for either courtesy lights or the floodlights above each door.
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I managed to scare up a set of roof racks for the boat. I'll need to cut them down a little, but they should be perfect. I'll need to find some of the extrusion that's used in lieu of rain gutters. I remember seeing it on one of the vendors' sites. The forward load bar will have a floodlight on each end facing outward, which will put it right above each door. For those, I'll pick up a pair of driving lights and swap in LEDs for the H3 bulbs. I've ordered the bulbs already, along with 5W LED arrays for cabin lighting.
Image

I figure I'll probably make up my own fixtures and I've been playing around with a chunk of broken diffuser for a flourescent:
Image
Not only can you rip them on a table saw if you keep the feed slow, you can shape them with a heat gun without them turning milky or bubbling the way many plastics do.

No pictures of it yet, but I've also started on the battery drawer in the tongue box. It is sized for two Group 31s, though I have a 29 and a 27 for it now. It will be sealed from the rest of the tongue box and serviced through a top-hinged hatch on the curb side. The cables will come through the top of the compartment into the battery switch which will also be in the tongue box above the battery compartment, along with the the 1000W inverter and a (3A) fuse holder for the stereo's memory circuit.
The 16AWG wire I'm using gives me a 19' run on a 15A circuit before I hit 10% voltage drop. I'll run an 8AWG cable through the bottom of the tongue box, back and up through the floor of the trailer and up to the 6 gang ATO fuse panel mounted on the front wall. I'm figuring around 50A max, so 8AWG gives me 36' of run and 80A max. The 16AWG wire I'm using gives me a maximum run of 19 feet on a 15A circuit before the voltage drop hits 10% (per ABYC). The only place it'll be close to that is the 12V outlet in the galley but if I'm careful about routing it I should be fine. It's surprising how much wire adds up when you start pulling it around corners. For the 5A lighting circuits, I can run almost 60' of wire before I hit that limit.

I am thinking about running the inverter's 12V+ lead through an automotive start relay. That way, by leaving the inverter's switch on, I can switch the relay from the galley where the AC outlet will be without the inverter running in standby all the time. I already have everything I need to do it, so it's just a matter of pulling an extra pair of wires through the roof when I run everything else (and the 14/3 AC wiring, of course).

Tomorrow or Wed, I plan to pick up the 2X2 I need to frame the hatch and get started on that. I already have the skins cut and I'll cut the blocking as I go. I'll also pick up the mat I need to finish glassing the doors, which will probably happen on the weekend if I don't go camping. I don't mind tent camping in the rain so much now that I know I won't be sleeping on the ground by summertime when camping season kicks into full swing :thumbsup:
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:07 pm

Some pics of the battery compartment in the tongue box. Still more to do yet, but you get the idea. The face you're seeing is the curb side of the box and the back face is to the left. The back face of the box will close off the compartment and the entire compartment will be glassed to seal it and vented through a hole in the top of the door covered by a stainless clamshell. The slot in the front of the battery tray is for the strap that wraps under the shelf, up the back and over both batteries. There will also be cleats screwed on around the base of the batteries. That will make it easy to switch to the bigger Gp31 batteries when these ones need replacing.
Image

Drawer pulled out to service batteries - the drawer is 16" deep but the slides are 12". I had 16" slides on it at first but wasn't comfortable with the weight out that far, especially when it doesn't really gain you anything. I can still pop the caps on the back battery and removing it just means removing the front one first: no big deal.
Image

There's still a nosing to go on the front edge of the compartment wall to the right. The bottom corner of it will tie into the cleat running along the bottom to secure up that corner. The back edge of the compartment's top panel runs past the back wall about 1/2" to give me a flange to attach cable clamps to. Whatever I don't use will get trimmed off with the router when I round over the corners before glassing. The cables will run from the battery switch, along the top of the compartment under the inverter, then drop into a vertical conduit that takes them out through the floor of the box. From the batteries, the cables will loop inside the compartment to allow enough slack to slide the drawer out, then pop out the top of the compartment and into the bottom of the battery switch. The two grounds will be tied together and run up to ground post which will also carry the grounds from the inverter and from the fuse panel. The bus bar I posted in an earlier pic is total overkill here so I'll save it for another project.
Image

The 1X4 top rail of the tongue box is on now because it sets the height of the box. With the forward corner of the battery compartment located, I can figure out what radius I have room for for the curved lid of the tongue box. I was concerned that that corner of the compartment would impinge on that radius.


I am thinking about running a piece of the same material I'm using to weatherproof the hatch hinge along the lid-to-box seam as well to seal it.
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby KCStudly » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:54 am

Making some good progress there. :thumbsup:
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:08 am

Thx KC. The battery compartment/tongue box layout ought to look pretty familiar to you ;)
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Vedette » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:17 pm

Hi Brian
You look to be making great progress! :thumbsup:
Sorry I did not check in on your build when we got back from holidays, so I am a little behind. :cry:
Your batteries are going to really increase your tongue weight aren't they? :thinking: I have stayed behind the axle with Kermit's
battery. :NC As it is one of the heaviest components of my build.
Toongue weight on "Miss Piggy" is 210 lbs....and although I love the hitch weight and how it effects the towing, I am aiming for a little less with Kermit (around 150 lbs) as I am getting too old to be lifting over 200 lbs all of the time.
Will your propane tank be in the tongue box? And how big of tank will you carry?
Keep up the Great Work! :beer:
We look forward to your full tour at the Farm Gathering's "Show n Brag" Saturday 11:00 ish! :wine:
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Wobbly Wheels » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:36 pm

Hey Brian,
Like you, I've been plugging away but nothing really pic-worthy. The hatch frame is done and I'll dry-fit and skin it this weekend. It's supposed to warm up so maybe I'll get some glass on as well - I'll put up some pics prob tomorrow night. Had the dog into the vet's last week and had to replace the fuel pump in the truck this week so the build budget has taken a wallop, but I've still got lots to do with the materials I have on hand.

I built the box for 2 group 31 batteries - the Interstate deep cycles are about 70# each if memory serves. I recently put the tongue and each rear corner on a bathroom scale and had 150# at each point. I'll have about 10 gallons of water and a cooler full of refreshments at the very back of the trailer and not much additional weight in the cabin. I'll definitely have to play with the trim a little to fine tune it, but I don't expect the tongue weight to be unwieldy (famous last words, hehe)

I'm not plumbing any propane, so no bottle. I will be using my old 2 burner Coleman army stove (white gas), but I'll probably go with a canister stove down the road. I want to be able to move the stove to the picnic table so canisters are the way to go...and they get the 40lbs of a bottle and gas off of the tongue. I'm thinking of a wine rack where the bottles are slung under the counter with 5/16" shock cord. That will give me space for a few extra canisters as well without everything getting tossed around on logging roads.

11am Saturday, eh? Unlike many, I now have a specific TIME to have my build done by, not just a date ! Looking forward to it :thumbsup:

Enough loafing - gotta get back to work
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Re: 4X8(ish) Benroy Build

Postby Vedette » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:46 pm

"ISH"
Good Roads
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