Trailers come in handy for busy craftsmen and homeowners alike. Whether it is hauling a riding lawnmower or a college student's treasures, a small trailer can be invaluable. Constructing a versatile trailer is not beyond a good home workshop. The actual construction can be accomplished in a weekend, and the materials are easy to procure.
The easiest and most versatile trailer for most tasks is the six-foot-long, four-foot-wide stake body. This unit will carry a piece of furniture of virtually any size, or a large lawn tractor. With its four-foot-high stake sides, it will hold a large refrigerator up straight and secure.
Required Materials: Trailer Specific
Torsion suspension axles with four-bolt bearing hubs, 4.80-by-12-inch tires mounted on steel wheels, light kits, fenders and hitch couplers are available at local trailer parts outlets or online.
The basic frame is constructed from galvanised two-by-two-inch steel square tubing and galvanised two-by-two-inch angle available from a metals supplier. The floor is made from treated one-inch-thick by six-inch decking, and the vertical stake sides are pressure-treated two-by-fours. You will need an assortment of 3/8-inch galvanised carriage bolts, and half-inch galvanised hex-head bolts of various lengths.
Cut all parts to size and arrange them on the garage floor. Purchase 20 per cent more fasteners than you count. Beg, borrow or rent a small drill press, along with a handheld metal cutting band saw. This is not a job for hand drills or hand tool hacksaws.
Cut two eight-foot sections and one nine-foot section of the square galvanised tubing. Cut the galvanised angle to six four-foot sections, one two-foot section and two six-inch sections. The nine-foot square tube forms the spine and runs from the hitch to the rear of the trailer. The two eight-foot sections run from both rear corners at an angle until they touch the nine-foot piece near the front.
Drill half-inch holes and bolt a four-foot angle to the top of the three square pieces to form the rear of the trailer. Similarly, drill and bolt both six-inch angles to the three tubes, top and bottom, where they come together at the front. Then form a square with three more of the angles with the angle at the rear, bolting each angle through the square pieces at each intersection. Turn the frame upside down and install the remaining two four-foot angles on the bottom of the square tubing two feet from the rear to make bolting lands for the suspension axles. Attach both axles per instructions.
Turn the trailer right side up and attach vertical stakes to the outside of the front and side trailer-bed angles using galvanised two-by-four retaining straps at 24-inch intervals. Join the verticals with three levels of horizontal two-by-fours using carriage bolts and nuts. Install the decking in the square angle frame, each piece going left to right. Construct the tailgate similarly to the stake body sides, except that it has three verticals sliding into the bottom straps and tailgate corner clips at the top.
Mount wheels, fenders and hitch ball receiver, and install lighting, wiring, side reflectors, all per accompanying kit instructions. Register the trailer and check applicable local codes for hauling. Have plenty of rope or hauling straps on hand. Now it's time for your first moving project!