So I got a little time to work on the trailer and install a simple box. It is amazing how little time that you have to work on these things with 3 children. It hasn’t helped that the wife has been out of town with work a lot lately. I watch my kids during the week anyway but playing Mr. Mom on a 24 hour basis is a major time suck.
Anyway, I got a little time to check off another part of the off road trailer build, the box. When this is all over, I am going to have to do a recap to pull it all together but for now, you are getting it piece by piece.
Here is what we are working with today.
- Metal trailer corners.
- 2×8 boards from lowes,
- Hardware from lowes.
The Trailer Box
The goal is basically just to build a big box, nothing fancy. There will be no lid because I doubt my ability to pull one off that looks to my liking and it will allow me to transport items that are taller from time to time. A tarp will suffice to make it “water resistant”.
The idea that I have in my head is a box with metal corners and stained wood panel sides.
I picked up some 4×4 angle iron from my local Metal Supermarket. Love this place. I got 4 pieces cut to my specs for a pretty decent price. I ordered the corners 26 inches long which would cover the 4 inches of metal frame and allow three 2×8’s to just poke above it. Of course I made a little math mistake, but more on that later. If you do not have a place like Metal Supermarket near you, you can find similar metal online.
Ordered it and picked it up in 24 hours. I wanted to go 4×4 because I am using 2×8’s for the side and I didn’t want to have to bolt them right on the end of the wood plank. The larger size allows me to drill the holes in the board about an inch and a half in which should be stronger.
Unfortunately with a 4×4 piece of angle, you get weight. It is only available in 1/4 inch thickness which is a bit of overkill, oh well. One day I will weld it to the frame and it will help make this thing bulletproof. For now, bolts because I do not have the facilities at the moment to weld or learn to weld.
I got the metal home and it was surprisingly rust free. Still, I sprayed it with some rust converter, and eventually I will follow with several coats of Rustoleum flat black. If you are unfamiliar with Rust Converter, it converts rust to a stable and paintable surface. You just have to spray it on and then give it 24 hours to cure.
Once dry, the angle iron was bolted to the sides with 3/8 inch bolts, 4 on each corner. This would reveal a minor issue. The trailer sides were not completely square and the angle iron flared out a bit. A few washers behind the lower front and lower back bolts on each piece fixed the problem.
All that is left to do here is drill 48 3/8 inch holes in the angle iron. No drill press for me, doing it the hard way.
Now, on to the wood sides. I chose 2x8s and as you probably know, wood sizes are actually different than stated. The nominal width of a 2×8 is actually 7.25 although for some reason I got 7.5 in my head which will cause me an issue in a bit.
Anyway, I picked up six 2×8 x 10 foot boards and went to work. I could have used 8 foot boards but my local store only carried that size in pressure treated. I am going to stain the wood so I didn’t need the pressure treating, plus that stuff warps like crazy.
I got my first coat of wood stain on them and then cut them down to size. Finally got to use a nice trick I learned on the reality show “Homestead Rescue”. If you want to get equal sized boards, place one board on top of another and then make the cut. You get a groove in the lower board that you can follow to get an exactly identical board and it saves a lot of time measuring.
Once cut, I used a couple perpendicular brces on the backside to prevent buckling in the future and gave it another coat of wood stain. Then I test fit the board an discovered my issue. Because I figured the width of the board wrong, they sat just below the angle iron. That looked unpleasant and would surely wrap the tarp when I went to bungee it down.
To correct the problem, I eventually decided to place a 1/4 inch piece of rubber weatherstripping below the boards. I found some good 1.25 inch wide rubber weatherstripping that was actually 3/8 inch thick. This ended up being perfect because the floor of the trailer was not perfectly level and it sealed the gaps.
Finally, I bolted the wood in place with 3/8 inch lag bolts, of course being sure to pre-drill the wood. Don’t want to go to all this trouble just to crack a board.
This is it just before I put the lag bolts in the front panel. Came out just about exactly like I imagined it.
There are still a lot of little things to do.
I ordered trailer lights, metal light protectors to put them in, a custom tarp and the spacers for the wheels. I do not need fenders here in Texas but eventually I will need to address that issue when i start venturing out of state.
More to come.