My version of a Teardrop Trailer

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Project by BenchDawg posted 06-06-2012 06:27 PM 67845 views 99 times favorited 73 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We call her “Fern”.

Okay, so this project isn’t completely made of wood, but it’s mostly wood. This is a 4 ft. by 8 ft. cedar Teardrop trailer. I used a rusty old homemade trailer frame I found in field as the foundation for this project.

My goal during the building process was to preserve a “vintage” look. I tried to build this much in the same fashion as the pioneers of this genre did back in the thirties and forties. Nothing fancy. No extras, just simple form and function.

The floor is three quarter inch plywood, with laminated cedar stripping. The walls started as half-inch plywood with eighth-inch cedar strips laminated on both sides to bring the thickness to three quarters. The pattern for the sidewall and door profile was taken from a late forties trailer, and was purchased online.

The walls were attached to the floor and one-inch by two-inch oak support spars were fastened every 12 inches from the front bottom of the sidewalls, up and over to the hatch opening. I used quarter-inch by two-inch cedar strips for the headliner as well as the roof. The strips were bent into position and screwed at each spar.

I love the beauty of cedar, however, if I ever do it again, I’d be more inclined to use a wood that is a little more flexible. For the most part the cedar cooperated but in some spots, I took it to edge of what it could do!

The hatch frame was constructed from three-quarter inch oak plywood. Four main ribs make up the frame. The same quarter-inch by two-inch cedar stripping used in the headliner and roof made up the inside and outside skinning if the hatch.

The shelves in the galley and the cabin are solid cedar. All moldings were fashioned from my raw cedar stock along with the shelves and cupboards in the cabin. I suppose I could have made my own cabinetry in the galley, but I could just imagine some old codger, back in the day, robbing an old sewing machine cabinet and installing the drawer sets, which is what I opted to do.

All surfaces were finished with four coats of varnish, which I’ve discussed in previous posts. The small vented cabinet inside the lower left of the galley area, houses the electrical service for the trailer.

It was a fun project and took roughly nine months to complete. It tows like dream.

73 comments so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3535 days

#1 posted 06-06-2012 06:33 PM

I would love to see a blog as to how this was made. This is awesome!


View Kookaburra's profile


749 posts in 3511 days

#2 posted 06-06-2012 06:39 PM

This IS awesome – and beautiful. I love the vintage look and the wood takes it over the top. How much does it weigh? I bet I could pull it with my car :)

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 4405 days

#3 posted 06-06-2012 06:44 PM

Fantastic, that is what camping is all about, simple and natural, what a masterpiece, Have lots of fun and get out there, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3762 days

#4 posted 06-06-2012 06:45 PM

this is cool….:-)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View BenchDawg's profile


38 posts in 3880 days

#5 posted 06-06-2012 06:47 PM


I have written a book about the build. Not yet ready for publication. 251 pages and over 731 photos. Will keep you posted when it’s ready.


Teardrops of this size usually weigh in around 900lbs or so. Admittedly, mine weighs a bit more, probably because I used a little more wood and my trailer is beefier than most. Probably 1100-1200 lbs or so. Still, I pull this with a 4 cylinder Ford Escape and barely notice it back there.

View tonny's profile


15 posts in 3578 days

#6 posted 06-06-2012 07:23 PM

Agree with LumberJoe, a blog will be nice.

Your work is just beatifull, Awesome!!!

View JohnMeeley's profile


255 posts in 3620 days

#7 posted 06-06-2012 07:58 PM

The grain selection you incorporated gives it the feel of being in motion while it is sitting still. Anyone fortunate enough to tow that masterpiece would automatically sit up a little straighter and smile a little wider while driving. I think your left arm may grow tired from waving at the folks who give you a ‘beep beep’ of appreciation.

-- "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot do."-Walter Bagehot

View bondogaposis's profile


6069 posts in 3638 days

#8 posted 06-06-2012 08:02 PM

Pretty darn cool! You won’t have to worry about moths w/ all of that cedar.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4546 days

#9 posted 06-06-2012 08:07 PM

What a wonderful job on the cedar. For me no other wood is as beautiful.

View DS's profile


3995 posts in 3707 days

#10 posted 06-06-2012 08:33 PM

This is super cool!
I keep thinking someday I’ll build me one of these and redefine the genre.
You did a pretty good job with that cedar instead of aluminum.
Neat-o, groovy and all that…

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS

View will delaney's profile

will delaney

332 posts in 3922 days

#11 posted 06-06-2012 09:16 PM

Now this is a dream project. The cedar brings this teardrop over the top.This is the nicest one I have ever seen. You have to be so pleased at how this came out. Great craftsmanship. From cedar Adirondack chairs to a cedar teardrop.

View bibb's profile


332 posts in 4818 days

#12 posted 06-06-2012 09:41 PM

Hey Dawg,
Please put me on your list for your book. I will happily buy one. I have wanted to do a tear drop for years and got revved up again last month when Sunset magazine showed one. Yours looks like just what I have been looking for.
Very nice work sir.

-- you may only live once, but if you do it right that's all you need

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4323 days

#13 posted 06-06-2012 10:04 PM

Absolutely Beautimous!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8348 posts in 4640 days

#14 posted 06-06-2012 10:14 PM

Someone already said but I’ll say it again!!! Fantastic!!! And what head turner! Very attractive!!! Sharp looking too!!!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Alongiron's profile


654 posts in 3980 days

#15 posted 06-06-2012 10:15 PM

You forgot the Kitchen sink! Awesome!

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

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