Trailer Build Six- the Skin!

IMG_2706The exterior of the trailer was probably the hardest part for me only because it exposed my mistakes.  I previously stated that I had built the trailer sides to be connected to the trailer’s wooden frame.  My thinking at the time was that it would give me a slightly bigger interior and I didn’t know at the time, that decision would come back and bite me.   I wrongly assumed that sheet metal could be bought at pretty any length and width.  Of course it can if you have thousands to spend.  The size of sheet metal (finished) is usually 4 x 8 feet or you can find some specialty sheet metal that is 5 feet wide up to 10 feet long.  Because the wood frame set outside the 5 x 8 trailer frame, I needed 5 foot 2 inch wide sheet metal.  Needless to say, I could not find it at a decent price and was lucky to find even the 5 foot wide metal close by.  I did have to travel about 75 miles to pick it up.  If this becomes your situation, be careful, make sure you have it tied down on a pallet and strapped to the vehicle.   Not that it will blow off (it will) but because you don’t want to have any creases or bends in it.

Once I got the metal home, it was easy to set a few nails in between the metal trailer frame and wood frame.  This is what I set the metal sheet on and aligned it with the trailer side.   Once I had the skin set, I screwed the end piece to the wooden trailer side and slowly worked my way down the side.  Along the way I would put a screw in the top and bottom at the same intervals.  Since the door and window openings were already cut out, I also put a screw at each corner of the door and window openings.  After getting the entire sheet attached, I used electric sheet metal scissors ($20 at Harbor Freight) and cut the excess off.  It was actually pretty easy.   I used no glue and figured that with that many screws there was no way it would come off or ripple.  It also allows the metal to expand in the heat.

By this time I had already put luan on the top and created a good base to apply the top sheet metal.  Since the top was probably where any water would have its best chance at getting into the trailer I took some spare house wrap and placed it on the sides and rear deck points and also included the cutout for the fan.  So in reality, my top had only the fan cutout that water could get in.   Again, I started in the rear and slowly laid the metal over the top with it going from back to front.  My 10 ft in length metal only made it to the halfway point of the front but I didn’t mind because that was also going to be covered in sturdier material to keep the metal from being damaged from rocks and debris while travel.

I did have some help with this part because it was difficult to work the metal over the top.   I also needed help with the slight bend in the metal that corresponded with the cuts on the sides.  Again I used screws to ensure the top was square and could be attached properly as I worked my way down to the front of the trailer.  After a few minutes, it was done.   Take your time and you will have a pretty good finished product.