I have been busy with multiple woodworking related and household projects this Spring, which is mainly why I haven’t been on Lumberjocks in that time. Previously I posted two small projects worth mentioning. I am currently working on a commission for a new neighbor. One project that consumed a month of my time was the building of the Harbor Freight 4’x8’ Folding Utility Trailer with a custom-made stake bed.
I needed to be able to haul 4’x8’ sheet goods from the box stores to the workshop, pallets from around the area, equipment too big for the insides of my SUV, and of course junk to the landfill and recycling centers. The Franken-Rack I built last year was a temporary fix that gave mixed results. It was time to get that trailer I always wanted and desperately needed.
Here is the finished trailer, less some tie-down hardware I have been too preoccupied to screw into place.
For those of you interested in how this was assembled (the HF kit) and the construction of the stake bed, Let me know and I will point you to my Goggle+ posts that show over 50 images of the build from start to finish. I am only adding the walk-around here.
I build the stake bed with a dual-gate design. The hinged gate is enough for sheet goods and some items that might be longer than the 8’ bed length.
Carabiners are used to secure the hinged gate’s latches when the stake gate is used, otherwise I can use the padlocks when without.
To minimizer flex in the stake bed side and keep them from compressing when tie-downs are torqued tightly across from side to side, I created cross braces that sit atop of the top horizontal frame and latch into the stakes via sliding latches. To keep the latches in place, carabiners are used. Effective. Simple in design. So far, fool proof and very convenient when I need to remove them or store them inside the SUV.
Here are some pre-finished pictures of the trailer in use. You can see the racks sides, tailgate and stake end are unfinished, but this shows how the rear end can be accessed.
Two ancillary devices were purchased that have been very helpful. The first is the swing-away trailer jack, seen in the finished project pictures. The second has become a necessity since I can’t back into my driveway and need to disconnect and move around the trailer by hand.
This trailer and stake bed have been an interesting project and challenge. I had some unexpected problems during assembly. How to build the stake bed to fit my needs was not obvious and took some out of the box thinking. For instance, the trailer dimensions are exactly the same as a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood, which required half-lapping the first rail into the stakes to keep the inner dimensions the same. I also wired it differently, seeing as this will never be folded and can’t be as I built it. The trailer does not come with washers or lock-washers, with a handful of exceptions, so about 200 of each were purchased. Extra hardware alone cost half again the price of the trailer kit. When done, this cost me a little over $400.00. Not bad, compared to the competition.
Would I recommend the trailer kit? Most definitely. Be prepared to upscale. Anyone interested in how to do that, let me know.
-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA