Lots of things keep me busy but woodworking is one of my favorites. Here's the build of my teardrop camper. I'll share all my custom tooling and critique my design decisions here as I go. I'm a software engineer, not a cabinet maker, so I continue to learn as I go and reserve the right to get smarter.

Yesterday’s big accomplishment was not so much getting the deck permanently mounted on the trailer, but figuring out how to do it without an extra pair of hands and without making a caulk mess of the project.  I came up with an idea that made it very easy and worked perfectly for the soloist…

  1. I took my 4 metal sawhorses and lowered them all the way, to just about 6 inches higher than the trailer.  (BTW… These metal adjustable horses are the probably the most used item in my garage.  I use them for painting, for a catwalk to walk above my pool table to add a light fixture over the table, temporary work tables, in-feed table stands for my planer, and 1000’s of other projects.  They are foldable and not that expensive.  Got them at Home Depot so not hard to find either.)
  2. Placing one pair of horses in the rear and one pair in the front of the trailer I put a 2×4 across each pair.
  3. I then lifted the deck up onto the 2×4’s and could roll the trailer in and out easily.  The plan at this point is to put a good amount of silicone caulk on the trailer frame before mounting the deck to keep water from getting into places between the metal frame and wood deck.  I dropped a carriage bolt into 4 mounting holes in the deck so that I could immediately assure alignment when I mount it.
  4. With the trailer rolled out, I caulked the water tank into the tray and then laid a thick bead of caulk on every rail of the trailer.  This required 5 x 10 oz. tubes of caulk.
  5. Ready for mounting, I rolled the trailer back under the deck lining up the corners exactly.  One small thing to note is that when I painted the underbelly, I painted the bottom 3/16″ to 1/4″ of the sides (where walls will mount) to ensure waterproofing but maximize bare wood for gluing sides.
  6. Using one hand to lift the deck I used the other to slide the first 2×4 out of the way and gently set the deck down on the trailer.
  7. I ran to the rear of the trailer and repeated what I just did at the front to the rear to let the read of the deck down.
  8. Using a small hammer I tapped in the carriage bolts.  This was all previously assembled so all the holes were already drilled and ready.
  9. I added a flat washer, lock washer and nut and tightened them.  I added 3 more carriage bolts to the front edge, one more to each side, and one to the rear.  There are now a total of 10 3/8″ carriage bolts holding the deck to the trailer.
  10. By moving quickly I was able to see pretty even “squeeze out” of caulk at all contact points.  I clamped a couple middle rails that don’t have carriage bolts to squeeze out caulk everywhere. After letting it set to about 25% cure, I used a scraper to remove the “squeeze out” on the upper side of the perimeter of the deck. The visibly squeezed out caulk is a sign that any voids between the frame and deck have been filled with something waterproof.

The next step will be mounting the water pump and connecting it to the system.  Since the pump is just hanging below the trailer I’ll probably add a metal debris deflector ahead of it from the cross member ahead of it.  The tank is pretty well protected by the tray and trailer frame.