How to Build a Teardrop Trailer

Part Two

To recap, having ‘spent up’ on a cycling holiday in Austria – five weeks last spring – I’m sure I told you, money will be tight, for any future trips, no B&B no YH, even campsites are very expensive now all are now out with my budget – a small sleeping pod would be better than a tent but sadly the car is a convertible, no solid roof – drat and double drat.      

I searched the internet and found some old plans for making a teardrop trailer. American of course and an old set of plans, using such material as angle iron rather than square hollow section (which is much lighter) and wooden framing covered with ply and aluminium sheet – I would use ‘stitch and glue’ once popular in small boat building (before cheap plastic and fibreglass) and rather than ½ inch ply (being American it is still in old money) I will use 6mm but it gives me dimensions to work too and the lad had made all the schoolboy mistakes for me.

I would then cover the outside with epoxy and fibreglass cloth, (the epoxy saturates the very thin fabric making it invisible – more like a good varnish job), and will protect the ply, so I will not require expensive marine ply just external ply. Teardrop trailers are traditionally four feet wide, perfect for one; it will be a bit cosy for two.

There’s a firm in South Wales that makes kits (and ready-built) teardrop trailers – they are so busy that they can not guarantee delivery. The kit is £2,000.00 (I don’t know what they take for the finished article) so there seems to be a big demand for small teardrop trailers – however, most start at around £5,000.00 (ready-made) and go up to eye-watering.

I am hoping for a figure around £500.00 for all the material – I started with some small sketches. Once I had something I liked I made a full-size paper template for the sides, (best to make your mistakes on paper, all that time spent playing around with old wooden boats was not wasted after all) you learn a lot getting it wrong, first time, most of the time, however education is never cheap.

Of course, being lightweight it will be fine to sleep in but if you wish to use it to take loads to the recycling centre then this is not the trailer for you.

I went over to Cupar and bought what material I required £200.89 (33.48 of that for the VAT man) I also ordered epoxy from East Coast Fibreglass a tad over £60.00 but that is more or less all I need since I have a small motorcycle trailer, had it for years and I can adapt that (after a few practice welds – been a while) so the final bill will be around £300.00 (you will not get much in the way of accommodation for that) the whole thing will weigh in at around 2 cwt. I am hoping to sell my motorcycle to pay for it all along with the ferry tolls and petrol.

I have already started and the plywood sheets have just arrived.

That will get the tongs wagging

You never know, I may get a few days in and around Scotland over the winter – Scotland can be beautiful on clear days with the snow on the upper slopes of the mountains, mirrored in crystal clear lochs. (And of course free from those two pests – midge and tourists.)

I did make a start with what I had lying around but first things first – measure the bedroom window, how silly would I look if I built the pod only to find I could not get it out of my bedroom?

I had to reduce the width to get it out of the window but not by much. The base/floor is now complete – I used 29X45 batons, to strengthen the 12mm plywood floor, I had a job, the plywood fought me all the way, for it had a big bend across the width, now that I see the size it is not going to be as poky as I thought it might be.

And no, it’s not a mistake the batons are not evenly matched for the rear end of the trailer will only be carrying the weight of your legs, your body will be at the front end of the trailer so that is where the supporting batons need to be. Oh, we are not just a beautiful face.

I need a dry day now to get out on the grass to clean it up and fix the side panels (temporarily) enabling me to fit the roof and epoxy that in place – then I will remove the top from the base so I can epoxy the ribbon inside along the joints, it would be a hellish job otherwise. Thankfully the epoxy only takes around 20 minutes to go off (longer when cold).

Danger: small boy at play – play safe.

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