So, where’s the potty? /:
Building a Teardrop camper seemed a great idea: Low cost, easy to tow, as simple as one would want. So I’m doing it and sharing the progress here.
I followed a lot of different designs and, of course, chose the simple one. But with a twist. I often enough use the trailer that the camper is to sit on so the construction had to accommodate a complete removal of the camper top and then re-bolting it on after I was done. Fortunately, I had LOTS of time to think it all through and I think my solution will be very usable.First blog post
In December I happened upon a trailer for sale. It was basically all that I had wanted, right length, potty, shower (actually a tub, too), AC and a dual power refrig. In two days, the new baby -Christmas present to myself- was sitting in my driveway ready to be all learned about. I have just enough smarts to know that reading the manual about plumbing, gas, and electricity on board BEFORE going out for a weekend is a good move.
What to do about my sweet, little teardrop? As luck, fate, blessings would have it, the day after Christmas a fellow from KC called and wanted to look at it to buy…and buy he did, right then and there!!!
Only a little tug on my heart strings as he and his daughter drove off with their new adventure-mobile; they were happy and excited, already with a Mt. Rushmore trip on the table.
Building the teardrop was a great and FUN learning experience. I won’t do it again, I have now all I need, but it was neat.
And now off to new adventures.
I finally got things all tucked in and loaded up for an overnight at Clinton Lake State park.
The trailer travels just fine, even at 65 mph. I did learn that air pressure will pop a door open if it is not well secured. 😬
Everything went very well except I forgot to pack a folding chair so I was stuck sitting on the picnic table. There was no fire ring at my site so I was glad I brought my home-made Swedish camp torch.
When I put a thick memory foam on the floor for a bed it bottomed out. So I did what another builder did and added a thin layer of interlocking floor pads. It looks and feels great even when the mattress is rolled up and used as a sofa back.
I still may add a folding, futon-like chair-back over which the memory foam will drape.
I spray painted a bit on the cabin. More fun than quality, but that is my build motto.
The tongue box was bolted on with square u-bolts, cedar 1x6s sandwiched for support and a tiny bit of cushion
On a family history note, the gray trays pictured below were around when I was a child. Getting to use them again is very satisfying.
Little pleasures make life so much easier: I found a perfect little handle for the bottom of the hatch which makes lifting easier and looks nice.
A little trim covering the joint where wall meets floor. No more worry about losing a drill bit down there. (: I used some old oak corner trim that I’ve had laying around for the front wall/floor joint.
I make a simple double lift system for the hatch. Two 1×2 cedar were just the right height. I added a notch and pin to hold them in place; their base rests on the bed.
The door latch stumped me for a couple of hours. I ended up getting it done, but the words of one builder were stinging my ears…she said just buy the darn things. I agree. Making doors is not for me.
I did get the doors and hatch taped with a rubber sponge-type material so hopefully stay water- and mosquito-proof. Like a lot of my building, we’ll see.
The last task of the day was getting the battery box mounted and bolted on. Two 1×6 cedar will provide a lasting base for it.
I got the call I was waiting for: The camper was ready. The shop guys had paid a lot of attention to the teardrop when I pulled up. They had only heard about the style. It was cute to see the next generation all excited as I was.
Instead of welding the stablizers on, they had drilled and bolted them on. He said if I ever damaged one it could be easily removed, at least easier than unwelding it. I agreed. The rest was given the AOK and I was off again, home!
I practiced backing the trailer without using my rearview mirror, only the side ones. Right into the garage. Perfect. That’s one in a row, as Jim Norris used to say.
I removed the doors and screwed in the windows. Still not sure I did it right, but they seem tight and look nice.
The inside trim for the fan went on really easy, just had to cut it down to fit the thickness of the ceiling.
The last biggie of today was attaching the plastic hinge. No instructions. ): O made my best guess and used LOTS of silicone. It worked the first time and the hatch went smoothly back down, nestled between the walls.
I placed the galley back in, shelves and uprights, screwing supports as I went. Two notches had to be cut in the first shelf to accommodate the sides of the hatch.
And now for lit up galley and cabin views…
I still have the option of removing the galley if that is desired for storage.
I had an 11:00 appt to drop off the trailer at a local garage for a professional wheel bearing grease job. He also will weld stabilizers on the rear sides. Maybe overkill but I’ve heard from various sources that its smart.
Before I left I attached the fan; silicone and screws made a solid connection.
The porch lights with amber covers went on easily. Both doors nicely fit with the piano hinges looking sharp. I spray painted them black.
The snap hasps were the perfect addition. I don’t need to lock them, only put a thick piece of wire to keep any accidental opening in transit.
I must say it was really nice to be able to give the garage a nice sweeping.
The door design came together by adding a 1/2 inch thick frame around the exterior of the door – but not the hinge side, to keep the parts even. A seal will be attached to the frame and also a seal will be placed between the door and its cutout. This will give a channel through which any loose moisture might drain. That’s the plan, anyway
I primed the cabin with my old friend KILZ and then after putting the second door frame together, painted with my house paint.
The doors worked as planned but they will be removed to paint the hinge. Exterior hardware is black .
I needed to secure the hatch but was at a loss until I watched a cute YouTube that used snap hasps to keep the back snug while in transit. I finally found a pair at the hardware store. I could NOT screw the hook onto the edge of the hatch, it being only 1/8″ think so I added a little triangle of wood to which I could easily screw the mechanism without damaging the thin ply.
Yes, it’s all wrinkly, but I don’t really care. It’ll be cozy inside.
Starting to look a bit more presentable, the exterior took a good sanding and then another coat of mixed paint. While that dried I turned my attention to the doors, specifically cutting out and fitting the windows.
These nice windows came with no installation instructions. 😦 I did my best with jigsaw blade and router bit. They now look great but it was not without great effort on my brain’s part.
The thinner cloth covering looks less atrocious than did the heavy dropcloth. The street side looks less bubbly than the other. The top, front and hatch are quite nice. Have no idea why. The cloth was quite stiff and I could easily trim the extra with a utility knife
I put a 1st coat of leftover housepaint on. I used 4 different colors and it looks hilarious, pastel and green camo.