Category Archives: Trailer

More plywood on more rafters…

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In an attempt to preserve our sanity, my dad and I opted to avoid any and all things window related today and instead put our efforts towards getting plywood on the rafters. It snowed 6 or so inches throughout the day yesterday so there was a fair bit of shoveling just to get to my house, but the sun was blindingly warm and melted a lot this afternoon. Thankfully, the plastic wrap we have covering it all seems to be doing a dandy job and everything inside has remained dry.

I would say we got ‘only’ 4 sheets on, but then I remember  fighting them up there after far more preparation than anticipated and I feel quite pleased with our 4 sheet progress. One issue to be addressed in the preparations is that a trailer is only legally allowed to be 102″ wide without a special permit. The house is within the limits, but when we took the original measurements for the rafter length I forgot about the facia board that is supposed to go on over them and inadvertently made all 22 too long to accommodate. 

There goes 3/4″ from each end. But hey, what’s one more thing to saw off my house? 

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Weather and walls…

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It has been rainy as of late, the warm, summer type with lots of thunder and lightning so my wee house has been under wraps waiting for the sunshine. Today was dry and beautiful but the afternoon air brought an undeniable chill that signifies fall has made its entrance and aims to proceed with its plans, regardless of mine.

My dad and I have been taking the walls in sections and though we have a good few done now, have opted not to attach them to the floor yet so it’s easier to cover. The tarps on the the trailer did their best but some of the water still sank through, stained the ply sub floor and probably got to the sheep wool below; good thing I didn’t use fiberglass…

Today we plowed onwards with the second back side wall and those over the wheel wells. Said wheel wells aren’t exactly the same dimensions on both sides but by some stroke of miracle, the wall seems to work on either one  just fine. I’m fairly sure I can’t tout this to excellent carpentry or previous planning but at this point we’re just happy it’s playing along.

I have also uncovered a silly mistake. I’m not sure how exactly I managed this, but as I realize it, at least a fair amount of the corner braces should have been used to secure the framing to the trailer boards and not just themselves. It would occur to me after I have neatly screwed all the plywood down so tomorrow’s excitement will be unscrewing them, getting more braces (oi), navigating through the insulation, nailing them in and re-screwing the plywood.

I have a delightful little brown bruise on my thumbnail from last week (courtesy of my careless hammer wielding skills) but I shall hope to have become a marvelously masterful hammer-er in this time so I can avoid a repeat performance 😀

One step forward, two steps back…

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Yesterday was a great day of progress. Having bought as many materials as would fit in our lumbering 69 pickup truck the night before, my dad and I started early with plans in hand and spring in step. Despite the fact that said plans had to be completely altered to accommodate the wheel wells on my trailer, we went wild with the tape measure and were able to cut and make the 3 sectioned floor framing equal to the overall length as stated so that all further dimensions shouldn’t need to be changed.

We also got the extra trailer rail off with a metal grinder and a shower of bright orange sparks. Kind of like fireworks J The only worrying thing is that the metal edges of both ends of the trailer are a little raised. It’s not by much so we figured they might not be that big of a deal.

Today was a bit more challenging. We did get the wheel mount ground off and stapled down most of the aluminum flashing on the framing but for one reason or another we seemed to spend more time taking it apart than putting it together. First we forgot that the area where the porch will be (this part shouldn’t have any flashing to allow for water) is not in the same place when you turn it upside down to put the aluminum on. Enter re-do number 1.

More importantly, the issue of the little ridges on the ends of the trailer didn’t solve themselves and with the floor framing resting on it at about a centimeter higher on both ends than the decking, we couldn’t ignore it. Well, I guess we did ignore it. We actually ignored it until after we had put down the flashing on both framings so that when we decided to discontinue ignoring it we had to backtrack and extract all of my meticulously placed staples to get at the 2×4 framing below. My dad says leaving it would make the walls squint and throw everything off balance so, enter re-do number 2.

What we ended up doing was using a router to take off about a centimeter from any wood in contact with the higher level so that the whole thing would rest on the decking and not on the raised edges. This one took forever.  On the porch end it was just little notches in each 2×4 hanging off the trailer but on the other end were two lengthwise, 7’ 4” 2x4s to be dealt with and the whole thing had to be shorter. It’s not exactly pretty now, but I hope we’ll be glad we took the time to fix this while we still could. And I suppose when there’s a house over it, pretty floor framing isn’t really pertinent. 

Making a level foundation…

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When I got up in the morning, it seemed like a pretty straightforward set of to do’s with a pretty straightforward goal: get the trailer level in the driveway and grind off the extraneous rails.But things that should be straight and forward have tendencies to go not only crooked and backward but also slightly bent and sideways, and that was the way things played out with this ‘simple’ task.

Getting to the driveway itself was our first obstacle and by the time we (my stepdad and I) sorted though the half finished projects, moved my mom’s horse trailer and navigated traffic cones, a bunch of old buckets and a large pile of pinecones it was already 2:00.

As luck would have it, our driveway isn’t level in the stricktest sense but with a little problem solving, my dad and I constructed a plan. We’d get some more gravel, pile it up where the wheels would be on the lower side, stick some cinder blocks under the corners and there you go! It was a good plan (I think) that appears to have worked in the end but it was definitely not as simple as we thought.

After backing the trailer in (no cake walk in its own right) not only did it take about an hour to get the gravel piles even, but just after we were rewarded with the beautiful little green bubble smack in the center of my dad’s leveling stick we realized that we hadn’t left enough space for the horse trailer to pull in alongside.

Gravel is also a nasty, dusty little collection of beasties and I inconveniently forgot to buy leather gloves at the hardware store. I ended up in a pair of terrifying blue latex gloves we had buried somewhere in the garage, though I can assure you that the purpose of these must not have been gravel shoveling and I felt something like a deranged dentist.

Operation park-the-trailer was successful by the time it got dark and we now have a darn close to level foundation to start on. Grinding the rails will have to wait until another day…

And it starts with a trailer…

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This is the biggest, most terrifying thing I have ever bought. In all likelihood, it is also the least likely thing I could ever have imagined myself buying prior to my grand plans of entirely inexperienced house building, and yet there it sits; parked in my driveway. I’m pretty sure it’s glowing, and it’s easily the most beautiful 18’ long, 83” wide flatbed trailer I have ever seen.

 After two and half very intensive days of prolonged trailer research I found my gold ticket in the form of a brand new, PJ C5 5” Channel Car Hauler with a straight deck. It has a spare tire mount on it right now and a rail at the hitch which will need to be welded off but all in all is the best thing I could find on my fly-by, ‘let’s get it now!’ track.

It is also worth mentioning that 18’ trailers suitable for my purposes were decidedly difficult to locate and after what seemed like an obnoxious number of listings for perfect 16’ and 20’ers, I felt the need to leap upon finding this one.

 I opted to go to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Los Angeles (super great, by the way) before purchasing any of my materials. A wise decision, though it has brought me right down to the wire as I’m hoping to get started next week. Lucky for me, a trailer dealer called American Loan Masters in Ridgecrest California were not only helpful with my scattered questions, but extremely quick and I had my little beauty picked out, invoiced and delivered to me free of charge (over 100 miles away) in a matter of hours.

Had I felt more confident in my knowledge of trailers I would have ordered a custom one several weeks ago but having missed that costly boat, I am darn happy with my shiny purchase.

 + One trailer -$2947.52  Holy impending house building, batman!