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Trailer Tent for a Small Triumph..


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Evening All,  I've been waiting for a dry day to get on with this trailer ..and today fitted the bill nicely. Not too hot, not too cold - a Goldilocks day  . .


^ Flat-pack into 3d.. The seat support panel and a scrap off-cut piece of joisting timber set the seat to floor level, as well as their orientation square to each other.  Held together with just a few drywall screws into the ends of those temporary battens, this was enough to handle it as a whole.


^ with the first side panel, resting on two end blocks, the floor & seat levels were positioned longitudinally and the little angle brackets used to pull n' hold the side into the shape. 


^ weights served as an extra pair of hands to hold the panels.  Here you can see I've weighted and fasten one end (left hand side in this photo) under no load, and the other end is still sprung up, despite the weight of my black tool case on it.  Nevertheless from here I could easily bend that end of the panel down and with a screw in the little angle bracket - fasten it.  In time the plywood with GRP panel will accept the set. In the meantime the screws are holding it until I can fibreglass into the corner joints. 


^ the two sides and the front now in place.


^ Look Mum I'm making a chariot !  :ph34r:


^ With the little angle brackets taking the strain, I added a screw (through a penny washer) from the outside, at each end - to pull that last little bit of the curve in.


^ next.,  I cut the corner moudings to a rough oversize, ready for their final shaping to fit the box.  


^ and this is one I prepared earlier. 

. . .  The Blue Peter badge presentation will be next week. ;)



^ So there we are for today.  Albeit looking more like a coracle than box trailer ..until the wheel arches are cut. The size is defined and its curved sides work really well to pre-tension the structure ..preventing twisting, so it already feels really tough.

Nothing is glued or fibreglassed in place yet. But it all fits together as planned !  And the outlay (cost) presently remains at : zilch.

yippee  :happydance: progress.


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Slow progress since Thursday. 

It was extremely hot here on Friday and bonding of the panels didn't go at all well. Sometimes things just don't happen right even when you're used to the process and the materials being used.  

What happened was obviously my fault (..there's simply no-one else to blame when you work alone ! :ph34r:) and it started off with my trying to straighten the bowed (recycled remember) floor and seat panels ..after all at some time it'll have to sit onto a chassis.  I mostly did this straightening with a couple of length of 1-1/2" square timber, clamped in place.  I then set about gluing the first side panel on. 

I'm using polyester resin / glass-fibre bridging filler to bond the panels together and the first mix was too hot. It started to cure before I had the panel screwed back in place.  I then over compensated with the next mix ..and that obstinately refused to cure .. despite the heat conspiring to dribble sweat into my eyes.   This second mix was supposed to squeeze out of the joint ..and then I'd simply run a finger along the inside joint corners to create a fillet.  However the extra timber ..to straighten out the floor's bows stopped me getting my hand in to those corners.  duh ! :blink2:

I did get the two sides on, which is half the amount I'd hoped to achieve, but hey., life ain't often a summers day with strawberries and cream ..is it.?

Anyways up, the bxxxs-ups weren't irretrievable, just ugly and a bit of a gap where there shouldn't have been. Thankfully most of the gap is where the wheel-arch will be cut  ..so i'll just ignore it.   -_-  

Most of the ugliness cleaned up with an hour of scraping and sanding . . .


^ the green is the bridging filler shaped as a fillet along the joint between the seat and the side panel.  As this filler has glass fibres in the mix - it's pretty tough.  The fillets, on both sides of the panel will soon be over laid with grp.  That will then be a strong joint.

Today, I fitted the front panel and again filleted those joints. It went much better today, and then just as I was setting things up to similarly bond the front corners in place - we had a thunderstorm and everything was quickly dumped into my sitting room. 

It was just 4 o'clock,  "Don't stop there, there is still daylight left",  and I'm a little frustrated at the slow progress of this trailer - I wasn't ready to stop for the day . . .


^ yep this inside my home, car wheels, garage rack of bits n' bobs and tools ..and now my fibreglassing a trailer body in the middle of the floor :ph34r:  Don't tell Frank ..my landlord.


^ clamps holding things in place while I applied the sticky stuff.   The flat panels are pulled in and held there by the screws into the edge of the seat & floor level plywood. However the top edge of the sides had nothing to stop them springing straighter, so the assortment of clamps, battens and wedges are to pull those top corners into line. 


^ The box trailer's two front corners have now been bonded and filleted on their inside.  I just hope the adhesion is strong enough to not spring / split open again before I manage to get some glass-fibre mat laid over it.  Perhaps I'll get that done tomorrow.

So that's it for tonight ..Time for a cuppa and to cook some supper.  Chicken and chips I reckon. :P




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3 hours ago, Pete Lewis said:

lounge   no worries  My friend Ray built his Burlinton in the Lounge 

its not uncommon



And very nicely done too from what I can see.

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However ..  inbetween times I did get a good start on fibreglassing over the joints. . .


^ not at all the neatest of jobs but ...I could cite at least a dozen reasons why..  blah, blah, blah. :mrgreen:   I'm hoping it'll clean up enough to not be too shabby inside.

Structurally just this front-end of the box is now (mostly) bonded together.  I yet need to lay a strip of grp on the underside corners of the plywood panels.  The laminate schedule is just two lays of 600g chopped strand mat coming up the panels 40mm.  The first strip was a little less width than the second so then the edges of the fibreglass feather out.

- - -

While waiting for the overnight's rain to dry out, and then again when we had a flash downpour I was back onto the computer to change the design ..just a little . . .

  • 1106529612_revisedbottommitres-tofloorlevel.thumb.jpg.774f963826d91aa6cefacaa609657865.jpg

^ The top illustration is as it was previously, with the bottom corners, front and back, cut off / mitred to a 45-degree angle. This was done to make the trailer appear visually lighter. However those corners cut through the floor, so either end of that panel would likewise have to be cut and tilted up ..which would take another day or two of work. 

The bottom illustration shows those corners revised, curving the side panels up .. but only to the bottom of the floor panel, and gives the box a much softer look.  I think I prefer the deliberately more utilitarian look, as it used to be ..but not enough to make the extra work worthwhile.

Right.., the sun has come out - so back to work.


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Pete - Your " not at all the neatest of jobs" is far neater than what happened to my hardtop yesterday. I have still not plucked up the courage to go into the garage to view the aftermath of yesterday's so-called assembly. Yours is still looking good. What you need is a nice tent outside, to work in (I'll get my coat on my way out!!😁)


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14 hours ago, Badwolf said:

Lewis...get your coat too!!!

:D  Don't worry about them..  In the outside world they'd be hanging around a street corner, loitering with intent and making smarmy comments to each other about others who are getting on with their lives and enjoying their interests. 

Here on internet forums - they don't even have to put their shoes on to go out. They can just sit there in their Y-fronts loitering on website forums :blink: ..occupying their day by following threads that are of absolutely no interest to them :mellow:  . . .   No really ..it's quite sad.

They might do well to find an ' intense ' hobby themselves ! 


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3 minutes ago, Bfg said:

Here on internet forums - they don't even have to put their shoes on to go out. They can just sit there in their Y-fronts loitering on website forums :blink: ..occupying their day by following threads that are of absolutely no interest to them :mellow:  . . .   No really ..it's quite sad.

Have you been looking through my windows?

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Having fibreglassed the front end of this trailer's box, and now standing up-ended on that - I removed both the (previously just screwed-down) rear panel and the inside seat support ..so that I might have access to laminate inside there.

P1380856s.thumb.JPG.078bb270e55f2c9a9eefde9c2ab3c5ff.JPG     P1380855s.thumb.JPG.9c452f97189441407b9dc164dd3e420a.JPG

^ This in turn provided the facility to more easily reach down (rather than contort around inside) to laminate the underside length of the seat to side panels. That went well ..inbetween rain showers on Monday.  But again rain stopped play earlier than I might have liked. 

Yesterday I was determined to get one with this supposedly quick job, even though that meant I had to stop every 45 minutes to put rain covers over it . . .

P1380859s.thumb.JPG.ecfc06b59d22189a5ffb0f36d35a67f6.JPG     P1380857a.thumb.JPG.d14072ba97f8cefbf00f1fb806d9e6a6.JPG

^ Rear panel seen refitted ..now onto the bridging-paste adhesive. And the grp corner panels trimmed for final fit.  Again a clamped-in-place cross-brace was used to prevent the side's top corners from flaring out, and the weight of a 10ltr paint container positioned to keep the top-corner of the end-panel bowed-in while I bonded that grp corner in place..   By 3:30pm this was done on both left and right hand rear corners inbetween each (four or five) wave of heavy rain shower and the next wave of black cloud was looming overhead.      


^ Inside filleting with the fibreglass bridging paste, in preparation for when I glassfibre laminate over it.  There's a lot of physical contortion to working inside these corners, But for all the exercise ..I don't feel any the fitter for it ! :unsure:

- - -

"I fought the law ..and the law won"  ..   but the laws of nature did conspire against me !  :smilie_auslachen:   with weather fronts blowing in very quickly & without pity swirling all around, and gravity being a fickle helper who at one moment helped hold panels to their curved shape ..and/or the plastic rain covers in place .. to then suddenly swap sides to work with the weather who had cunningly made various shiny surfaces wet n' slippery.  

Together they highlighted what a right plonker I can be sometimes !    ..especially in those last minutes as the next wave of rain starts and I'm desperately trying to keep the end-grain of plywood dry . . .


P1380867s.JPG.c137565fbf82ac7c9cf9e8459ae7fa99.JPG      P1380866s.JPG.7a7a4e5d0b2d7d4077fdafd9c5b33c03.JPG

^ (Previously) unopened brilliant white wall and ceiling paint 10L.   Barely used masonary paint 5L.   Neither lid came off, both cracked open.

And just to spite me the black clouds flew by without unloading a single drip, and the sun came out to dry the paint quickly. I know.. it couldn't have happened to a nicer chap ! 

And no, since moving to an apartment.. I don't have empty pots which I might have used filled with water, instead of full-of paint ones ! 

I scooped the paint up as quickly as I could into two waste bins and then rushed off to get the garden hose out.  Some of the paint had already started to dry into the concrete slabs, so it wouldn't just brush away with the broom.  Just then the heavens now decided to open.  It bucketed it down.  I donned rain coat, and with garden hose in one hand and cordless drill with wire brush in the other was standing their in the rain trying to clean this mess up. 

Three hours of back breaking effort and the patio looks clean again.  There was splatter on the walls but I spotted most and its all but gone now.  15L of premium paint..that was a costly learning experience. 


This morning. . nicely scrubbed (wire brushed !) patio.  

It's not raining ..and now the sun has the audacity to show it's face !  ..but I'm too knackered and feeling somewhat fkd off and with definite inclinations towards having a bonfire - so I'm taking the day off to bang my head against a wall.

Hope your day was better than mine.  Hey, it's just part and parcel of any job or  ' hobby ' conducted out in the fresh air (fibreglass dust and fumes aside).   And I'll be back bright and bushy tailed tomorrow .. you'll see.

Bidding you a good'n B)



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On 05/07/2021 at 12:51, Badwolf said:

What you need is a nice tent outside, to work in

yes indeed, I was looking on ebay yesterday at gazebos.  I thought of getting a small one just for while doing this work, but then decided that would be a waste of money when I really need one big enough to cover the car (when I get that back) and am refitting all its bits and then getting on with some rewiring.  I couldn't see anything cost effective that might outlast a year of UV and weather bashing.   And also realised that I like sitting out on a patio in the sunshine when a friend visits  ..whereas I wouldn't want to sit in what would in effect be a temporary workshop.   Have to admit.. I know me !  ..it'll just end up full of 'more stuff'.  

An awning rolling out from / recoil back into a fitting on the wall of the house would seem to work, but again the cost for anything of half decent quality / longevity would be more than my (temporary) needs might justify. .   I decided to do without for the time being.. but I'll keep my mind open to the prospect just in case something crops up. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

That's brilliant Andy, I love the class  ..although to be honest it would surprise me to see the owner of a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL actually camping in such confines.    More photos on the Bonham's Auction website < here >.  I'd really have to contort to get into one of those.!  

Unreliable weather (light showers five times a day, or even just keep threatening to ..for a month can be as disruptive as heavy rain for just a week).  I've done a little more and now excessive heat stops play.  I don't trust the quality (value) of cheap gazebo's, so I've ordered a heavy duty tarp and tomorrow will order some 4"x2" to make a 10ft x 8ft canopy / gazebo.  It'll cost me £200 but I cannot waste any more months ..waiting for reliably mild but dry weather.  Later I'll add sides and length to convert my gazebo into a car port.

Now its evening and mild enough to work outside.., neighbours are trying to relax ..quietly sitting out or pottering around watering their flowers on a Sunday evening, so I feel obliged not to go outside to start cutting n' grindin fibreglass. 



^ I tried jury rigging up a sun shade but the plastic sheet I had wasn't big enough to shade anything but the trailer itself. I would still have been in the full heat of the day. 


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Pete - Over the last couple of days we have used one of those very big garden umbrellas, in conjunction with a removable three pointed (four arm versions are available for a silly price) alloy, folding clothes line


with a sheet clipped across the top (use a tarp if raining). Hardley glamping but it keeps the sun off and stores easily. Should be quite cheap from the Poundland type of shop. You could even take the brolly with you on your travels in due course. You could get two brollies instead of the clothesline. Just a couple of ideas to try to help and cut down on the work.

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Aargh... Gazebo !

"Bless you "


OK.,  I think . . .

I was really glad to move apartments.. to then have a patio 8) ..to do various handyman and car jobs on.  However, the weather proved somewhat frustrating for working outside  ..with almost a month of rain squalls and then showers coming across all too frequently. This was not at all friendly when trying to fibreglass together plywood (make a trailer). These past few days have been glorious weather (who said "flipping hot"  :oops: )  ..for sitting in the shade of a leafy tree, but again not so easy for physically working outside in the direct sunlight ..nor indeed for gauging the working time of fibreglass mixes.   In short, and really not wanting to sound like a grumpy old git.. but something had to give.  In this instant it was my bank account in buying some timber and a tarp.

This was my quick n' dirty concept . . . 


^ sun shade gazebo, to be built robustly enough to also serve as an all-weather car port.

4 x 2" frame of 10 ft long x 8ft wide.  Oddly I found Wickes cheaper than Travis Perkins, but even so the C16 grade treated timer + 200 (!) 70mm screws, and a cheap tarp totaled £148.70 (the nice man gave me something like a £16 discount ..because the three 10ft lengths I needed were listed as 'limited stock' on their website, and wouldn't add to the basket ..even though my local store had 25 lengths in stock.  Bottom line was that I couldn't have them delivered, I had to go to the store to buy them).

Anyways up . . .


^ 17:33pm ;  nine 2440mm lengths and three 3m timbers collected ..in the Chrysler shed.


^ 18:18pm This is the first frame, which I screwed together the wrong way around :blink: and had to do again. I cut the legs 11" shorter than bought length ..because I saw no advantage of having this structure any taller, whereas it being lower meant I could reach to put the screws in.!   Note the cunning use of paving slabs as a set square. ;)


18:44pm ;   Three frames roughly in place, with 'workmates' holding them upright. The first 10ft length is presently just resting on top.  Working alone, I then needed to figure out how to hold it in place, while I put fastenings in.  I clamped the offcuts (from where I'd shortened the legs) to each frame, 4" down from the top.  These acted as a ledge to rest and accurately position the 10ft length on.  I then clamped them there, as I set the frame's legs with a spirit level, before screwing the assembly together. . . .


^  20:07pm ;  Finished..  Leg's close enough to true, the two side 10ft length are screwed in place, and the ridge pole raised 140mm higher than the sides and fastened via a few of those off-cuts. 

I'll drape the tarp over it tomorrow.  That'll just be tied on for the time being ..just in case I want to take it off (gale force winds or perhaps to watch the sunset). The assembly is a little less ridged than I'd hoped but then I noted some of the screws didn't pull all the timbers tightly together. Some will need to be loosened, clamped tight, and then then re-screwed tighter.   For winter use with a heavy duty tarp, I'll very likely add some bracing / diagonal battens to withstand higher winds. 

That's all folks.  For much the same price as a cheapo pop-up gazebo off ebay, and 2-1/2 hours work (doing it on my own).. I now have something I'm confident will better withstand the elements, be a useful shelter as I finish off this trailer, and then serve as a car port for my Triumph. 

I expect the cheap tarp from Wilkes will only just last the summer months. Thereafter I'll use a heavier / better quality one for the winter weather (more wet, less UV). The treated-timber frame should last a good number of years.



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I always found wicks cheaper than travis, but wicks timber had to be sorted through as most was twisted! I still have an account  with travis even though i retired from the building trade 20 years ago to pursue another profession. I think most here would have though you would have bought a cheap pop up gazebo from ebay, but credit to you making a more substantial cover. I know from bitter experience when storms came the one i had over my 2000 collapsed and ultimately led to me selling the car in frustration! Hopefully this will give you the cover you need for all those "little" jobs you need to do.

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  • Bfg changed the title to Trailer Tent for a Small Triumph..

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