Wife and I just got back (well, last week) from a 6 day journey in our little homebuilt (but not by us) wooden teardrop "Bubbles." Had a fantastic time driving through (and camping in) some of the most beautiful parts of the country: Denver to Pocatello, ID, to Culver, OR (near Redmond), to Grants Pass, OR, then through CA to Reno and on to Ely, NV and finally back to Denver.
It was a great trip and we loved having the teardrop. However, we are starting to realize that, although the guy who built it was a real craftsman, he cut a lot of corners and we are going to have to upgrade the trailer if we want it to last and to suit our needs.
So, I'm just wondering if someone can direct me to some retailers or web sites that might have the supplies we need to work on our trailer.
Right now, the biggest issue is the wood. I don't know what kind of sealer he put on it it (he gave us the name but I don't have it with me.) Whatever it was, it's wearing badly. The plywood top has several badly worn patches on it. where the waterproofing has obviously worn thin. Not sure what the reason is but it's bad. So bad that we went ahead and put the trailer in the garage so it doesn't get any more water on it until we can figure out a fix (I'll try to post pics of the damage later.)
So what kind of sealers would you guys recommend? We want to keep the look of the wood, it's absolutely gorgeous. When we were in Grants Pass (at the Jefferson State Tear Jerkers birthday bash) we saw a gorgeous wood-sided teardrop with a finish that was like glass - she said it was urethane? We picked up a can of some kind of spray urethane but I'm thinking that for ours we need something we can brush or roll on, don't we? Again, any recommendations on sources or brands?
The other problem is the trailer's stance. As you can see from this photo:
The trailer sits very high. So high that the counter in the galley is at my chest level and it's almost at my wife's chin level - way too high. It's also got a very heavy mobile home axle with hubless wheels that require frequent tightening of lug nuts. Finally, the axle is mouned with the spring on too of the axle tube.
I'm thinking that it might be smart to (a) go to a smaller axle that is not as heavy, (b) put the spring under the axle so the trailer sits lower and (c) go to a more conventional hub that can use a conventional trailer wheel (which would also simplify mounting the spare - currently our spare has to ride in our tow vehicle as there's no practical way to carry a hubless spare wheel on the trailer.) A lower riding trailer would also give less wind resistance and hopefully slightly better fuel economy. It would also mean I wouldn't have to put our jacks on top of a 4x4 in order for them to reach the trailer frame.
So, any recommendation for a place where I can check out axles?
The final thing is a little hard to describe. As you can see by the photos, the windows are cut out of the plywood with the edges of the cuts left exposed. This has led to some cracking and peeling where the exposed edge meets the window. I need some ideas for some kind of edging or molding to run along the window edges to protect the wood - any ideas? I guess black rubber would be OK but I'd prefer something that looks a little nicer. Eventually I'd like to run some molding along the top edge of the trailer itself since, again, it has exposed plywood edges which doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
Anyway, I've never built a camping trailer before and neither has the wife so we're sort of learning this as we go.
Thanks in advance!