The first thing I’m going to knock out is adding the blocking to the frame. These are pieces of 4″ C channel – the same as the cross members. They are cut to fit between and one end is notched. Most of the logs that I pick up only touch the trailer at 2 or 3 points which means point loading. These pieces will help distribute load to the adjacent cross members.
The nice thing about these pieces is there position isn’t too critical. I can simply align them by eye with a string. I’m also using the sawmill bed to ensure these end up flush with the cross members. I have them sitting on one of the sawmill’s bunks.
Next I can start on installing the hangers. I fabricated a plate which will go between the hanger and the trailer frame. It has 4 plug weld holes and will help distribute forces from the hanger into a wider area of the frame. I’ll install one side first and set the other side’s so their axis will be perpendicular to the center line of the trailer. These need to be spaced 29.5″ OC. I position each of the three hangers and tack them into place.
Using the center of the tongue for reference, I can adjust the position of the hangers on the other side until the axle mount is equidistant.
As one last santiy check, I use a string to confirm that the distance in indeed equidistant.
Now these hangers can be tacked on as well.
Next I want to start working on the coupler area which will involve cutting the tacks which hold the two tongue members together. Before I do that, I’ll install the brace which will reinforce the connection and hold the jack. The jack will be bolt on so the brace is tapped for 3/8-16 bolts.
The ends of the tube are prepped for welding. I opened up the area between them so I could weld them into the plate which will cap the tube and transition the tongue into the adjustable coupler.
Next I can install the adjustable coupler. I opted to go for one that is formed from 1/2″ material vs the standard 3/8″. This makes it a bit wider to cover more of the plate.
With everything tacked in place, I can now switch to stick and start making the connections permanent.
Back at the tongue, I can add the gusset plate which will further connect and reinforce the connection between the two tongue members, the place, and the coupler mount. Here I’ll also install the safety chain mounts.
A few small things to go before the frame leaves the sawmill bed. I’ll move the frame a bit so I can install the last piece of blocking along the back of the trailer.
And lastly, I can drill some drain holes in the bottom of the tubes.
Now it’s finally time to move the trailer off of my sawmill. I used a come along to drag it off the sawmill and onto some rows of blocking on the ground.
Next I gradually raised the frame into the air a bit over 3′ using some jacks, blocking, and eventually the Super Jaws.
I raised the frame and positioned it so that I could mount it on a rotisserie allowing me to spin the entire frame as needed. I had plenty of left over steel from when I built the sawmill that I could put to use. I used 3×3 angle with a 1/4″ thickness to support a post which is 3×3 with a 3/16″ wall thickness. I cut a v in the top of the post to support a short piece of angle which will cradle a piece of pipe.
Now that I had some stands, I needed to make the mounts that will allow the trailer to rest on the stands. At the front of the trailer, I took advantage of the coupler mount. I used a short piece of 2×3 tube (which I had to mill down to 2 7/8″ to fit in the coupler mount) which I welded to a piece of pipe.
The rear of the trailer is somewhat similar. I cut a pipe at 45 degrees and welded it to a plate. I then welded the plate to the back of the trailer. When I’m done, I’ll cut the mount off.
After a bit more raising and removing all my blocking, I could give the rotisserie a try. I was absolutely shocked by how easily the entire frame moved and more excitingly was how well balanced it is. It would hold at any angle. This is going to make this project so much nicer!
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