Tie Downs & Stuff

Welcome to my backyard and welcome back to my series on building my new log hauling trailer. 

Last time we built this super awesome, super capable log loading arch. This time we’re going to take care of all the little details and tie downs and bring this thing through to complete construction. 

Let’s start with the stabilizing jacks. This time I’m going with a fixed square tube trailer jack. On my old trailer I used swivel jacks which can support the weight just fine, but the lifting operations tend to have forces in weird directions. With these ones being fixed, I’m not going to have any pivot point on there, and being a square tube and a little beefier than the other ones, these ones should perform a lot better. These are going to get bolted on to the frame, so we need to make some mounting plates for these things. 

I’m going to grab some steel, cut it to size, and then have a drilling party with the Bridgeport. 

While those are cooling, let’s talk a bit about MIG welding and my experience with it so, because a lot of people have been asking me about that and how my welds are starting to look. They’re starting to look a lot more similar to my stick welds. They are more uniform now. I am still getting used to the manipulation of the gun because it is more awkward, at least to me. Being able to get the gun in a position where I actually can see the puddle and travel along in a uniform manner has taken some getting used to. I still prefer stick welding because it is a no nonsense process. MIG welding is very finicky, and a lot of things can go wrong somewhere in the system: you know the wire can get stuck, you could have a clog tip, you could have a clog cup, grounding issues, etc. It’s just a lot more hassle.

With the jacks out of the way, I will move on to some tie down stuff, and I’m going to do some stake pockets. I have this extra piece of four inch channel, which is what I used for the light bar in the back. I can make a few cuts on this thing to get our state pockets, which are going to be four inch long, so it’s a 4×4 square, and those can be attached to the sides of the trailer. 

I like using stake pockets because it does give you a good tie down spot for chains, but it also allows you to make sides that then could fit into the pockets, and then you could have an enclosed space. 

I have a few more tie down things that I want to do, as well as a few anchors for the winch. But speaking of the winch, next I’m going to get the winch mounted to the winch plate. 

Okay, I’m kind of sick of working, so let’s have a little bit of fun. Since we have the winch on here, and we have the stabilizers there, the log lift should be functional at this point. Let’s find something heavy to pick up and see how well it works… Yeah, I think this will probably pick up some logs! 

Now for some additional tie down options, I have some D-rings which I’m going to install. These are one inch D-rings, and they are absolutely overkill for this project, but an awesome local viewer gave me some of their extra D-rings. So thanks, El, for the D-rings. This is going to tie in really nicely to the theme of this trailer, which is everything being big and absolutely ridiculous. 

One of the things that I didn’t really like about my old trailer was the fact that I had no tie down options within the fender area. So I want to put a D-ring inside the fender here, which should give me somewhere to tie down in the middle, if I need it. The other great advantage of having an anchor point here is that if I want to use a snatch block over here to pull a log this way, I have somewhere to anchor that. 

So I’ll trace around the backing plate,  cut away the decking, weld that backing plate down, and then weld the actual D-ring to that.

I’m also going to throw a couple of D-rings towards the front of the trailer between those two forward stake pockets that will give me some more options for tie downs or places to hook a snatch block. 

Next I will stick weld all the seams up. The seams are full of junk and a little bit dirty right now, so I’ll go through the wire wheel, give it a quick pass with the cut off wheel to get some bare metal exposed, and then go through and zip up all these seams. 

I did go over a lot of the MIG welds with a stick, just because it just looks better and blends things up better with the stick bead than the MIG beads.

Next I’ll go over the deck with the cup wheel, get all slag knocked off, and clean it off a little bit, since it’s got that rust patina on there. Then I’m going to go around and start cleaning up all the welds on the deck in order to get that looking nice and clean. From there, I’m going to keep grinding. I have a lot of finished prep to do. Just some finesse stuff at this point so these things are ready to go when it comes time for coating. Three flap wheels later, and the trailer is all cleaned up and ready to go. 

Now getting down to some of the last details here, I need to take care of a few more holes for the future wiring for the trailer. I’m going to place all my wiring junction stuff underneath the winch plate. So we have the main junction box that’ll get bolted underneath the plate, and then the breakaway controller will get bolted to the other side that the jack is attached to. So those need to get some bolt holes drilled, which will be pretty easy. I’m more worried about the big stuff. 

The actual wiring harness for the trailer it’s going to need to come into the junction box. So I think I’m going to put a hole right in here, which will allow this wire to pass through and get into that junction box. It’s also going to give me a place to put the breakaway box. I’m also going to need a hole into the lower tube, which is going to allow the wiring to go out into the trailer. I have some larger grommets, and I’ll make some holes for these. 

That’s going to be one hole in the front face of the winch mount, and then one hole up inside to get into the tongue tube, which will allow the wiring to go that way. So I’m going to get under there with a drill and get these holes drilled out. 

While I’m taking care of drilling holes, I want to do one little modification to the arch, and that is to drill a pinhole up here towards the top of the upright. That allows the arch to be fixed in position off the back of the trailer, so it does not move as the winch is pulling on it. That can be useful for pulling things straight up into the air, or any circumstance where you don’t want the arch to pivot, you just want it to lift. So a couple of holes up here will allow that to happen.

The last thing is something that I’ve been going back and forth on, and that is an anchor point for the winch if I want to loop back the cable. On my current trailer, I have some shackle mounts, which are a block with a hole in it for a shackle. I was thinking “okay, I have an extra D-ring, so I can put another D-ring up here and have that as an anchor point for the winch cable.” But I still prefer the shackle mounts because they take up less space. And if I actually want to hook something else to here, I would need a shackle anyway. So I am going to weld on some shackle mounts up here similar to the old trailer. So similar to the D-rings on the deck, I have a backing plate, and I’ll cut back the deck, and get this welded directly to the frame. 

I might have a few holes to drill once we do this final assembly, but other than that, this thing is ready to go for coating! Thank you as always for joining me, I greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on the trailer build or anything back in the shop, please feel free to leave me a comment. As always, I’ll be happy to answer any question you might have, and until next time, happy woodworking!

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