Thursday, October 7

Trailer – Getting Started.

Today I formally start work on fitting out a trailer with storage devices so that David, a landscaper will be able to better organize the trailer and have improved access to his tools and equipment.
I’ve had possession of the trailer for a while to take measurements, work up a plan of attack and order the supplies and hardware I’ll need. As you can see the interior is now quite empty. Equipment storage was just a matter of tossing everything inside and digging out what he needed when he needed it.

I also have a list of landscaping tools and equipment he will be wanting to store in the trailer to help me design appropriate storage. The problem with custom designing storage for a set of tools is that if you don’t allow for expansion or some flexibility, the whole thing becomes obsolete as soon as a new tool is purchased. Also, if I rig it so that it is a system of “this tool has to go here and no where else” then that can be frustrating when a number of tools have been taken out and have to go back exactly where they came from or they won’t fit.

I start by designing the “rack” that I’ll use to hold the tools and making a template out of thin plywood. After it’s laid out I cut away the waste with a jig saw and sand the cuts smooth so my pencil will run along the edges without snagging. I leave the bottom of the hooks as solid circles with a hole in the center that will be used to punch the center of the circle so I can use a Forstner bit to make a nice smooth, round bottom of each hook.

Then I cut some four foot blanks from a piece of ¾” cabinet grade birch plywood. This plywood is solid birch (quite hard), has many thin layers and is solid all the way through, unlike construction grade plywood which is made of fir or pine (quite soft) does not hold together well when cut up and has many voids inside. The birch plywood is very expensive, but will do the best job of these hook racks which need to be dimensionally stable and lot susceptible to snapping off if banged with a tool as solid lumber hooks might be.

I use the template to lay out the shape and mark the center of each hole, then use a Forstner bit to bore the holes. This bit bakes very clean, smooth holes with little or no tear-out.

Then I take the blank to the work bench and cut out the hook shapes with a jig saw. It is slow going in this ¾” thick birch plywood. I spent the afternoon making just two racks.

But that is enough to test them out and make sure they’ll work as predicted. Looks good. By alternating tools so that the “head” on alternate levels are pointing in opposite directions, there should be little difficulty on storing tools of various sizes in these racks. The arms of the hooks are tall enough to keep the tools from jumping off the hooks while the trailer is being towed over rough roads or off road.

Time to call it quits for today, two more sets to make tomorrow. See you then!

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