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.

As you can see in image, the wheels that come with utility trailers give the whole project the appearance of a toy.  Scanning through hundreds of images it struck me that the wheels are what really make the teardrop pop.  I needed to make up my mind on this before I moved forward on the build because the size of the wheels dictate the size and location of the fenders, which in turn dictate where the doors can be.  Because this whole thing is my own design, I pulled the trigger on 3 wheels (one is the spare) and today I started on the wheel and axle upgrade.  I am planning on getting a 3500 lb. Dexter axle with brakes, but for now since the bolt circle for these new rims are the same as the wheels that came with the trailer, I can use the existing axle for doing the planning.

The first order of business was getting the rims paintable.  They were shipped with an oily coating and there was residue from the welding.  The edges were pretty sharp too.  I smoothed them down with a couple grades of sandpaper and then used brake cleaner and clean white rags to wipe them down repeating the cleaning until the rags stayed white.  The one on the left is clean and the other is just as shipped from Jegs.  They’re 15″ x 6″ rims that support either a 4.5″ or 4.75″ bolt circle.  Also, I wanted smoothies since they have a really nice retro look to them.  These came with little baby moon chrome hub caps that cover the bolts and hub.  I think they came in at around $180 for 3 rims but later when ordering the tires I found them primed from Coker Tire for the same price.  The welds are good but not entirely thrilled with the seams and finish of these rims from Jegs.

All the rims clean and ready for paint.

I just used a single can of rattle can lacquer paint to do the backside and inside of all three.  I’ll go over it again with another coat and then when it completely dries I’ll flip and do the outside (that shows) last.  This gives me some time to experiment with this paint and then do the part that shows last so it never has to be face down during any more painting.

The tires I ordered from Coker are here but not risking messing up the whitewall or rubbing paint off the rim during mounting so going to let the paint harden for a couple weeks before I mount.  I think I should have gone for a slightly narrower rim since the tire size brought the price up to about $230 a tire.  Only got 2 because the spare will likely have a cover over it and not need to be fancy.  I’m trying to keep it to a period look like they were made back when they were first popular.  Here’s the general look I’m going for…

Paint not perfect but good enough.  The paint has a nice deep wet look and dry to the touch touch.  Set one of the baby moons on the rim to see how it’s going to look…