Lathe riser blocks

Just a quick update, Installed the riser blocks and tray under the ML7 and reassembled the lead screw assembly the other night with the help of Josh.


Started off by lifting the lathe with one person at each end and then slid the tray under it with a cloth to prevent huge scratches.

After that it was a cast of lifting the lathe one end at a time and sliding in the sandwich of aluminium and rubber (to make sure that fluid doesn’t drain out the bolt holes) before bumping everything around to get it aligned.


After that just a simple case of bolting everything down.


This results in a lot more clearance under the lathe for cleaning, should stop the bench from absorbing as much oil and most importantly gives clearance for the change gear cover to be removed.


General Update

More of just a general update this time, actual caravan progress has been minor as a result of the cold weather. Overnight most nights the temperature is dropping down below the minimum temperature for the Titebond 3 glue and given that the sections being glued at the moment give most of the strength to the structure we want to make sure that everything sets to full strength.

First off, Bandsaw.


This was purchased a couple of months ago for use on the caravan project, specifically for when it came time to cut the ribs for the rear hatch, whilst this could have been done with a jigsaw the benefit of the bandsaw for the price was hard to pass on. When I purchased the saw the seller advised that the motor was potentially too small for the saw as the saw bogged down when cutting. Given that it was a 3/4 hp motor however I couldn’t see this being the case and sure enough all the issue turned out being was a stretched and therefore slipping belt.

This fixed it was time to turn it on for the first time (for me) and make some sawdust. This lasted all of about 30 seconds before the blade jumped off the wheels hitting the front guard giving me a hell of a fright.

Turned out this issue was the tires, they were decently old and made of rubber and with the glue being of similar vintage they had stretched from being spun properly for once and so had caught the blade and thrown it off.

A replacement set of Urethane tires was sourced from Amazon which arrived mid last week and so the process of fitting them began.

First step was to clean up the wheels removing the old glue and rubber, from this…


To this…


After that the tires had to be softened in warm water and dish washing liquid in order to stretch a 12 inch diameter tire onto a 14 inch wheel. 5 minutes at 40 degrees did the trick.


I don’t have any photos of the actual fitting as it required both hands but basically you clamp the tire on at one point and then hold the tire on the wheel a further 90 degrees around in one direction. You then work around the wheel in the other direction levering the tire onto the wheel. The supplier of the tires actually included a special tool for this, a piece of 20mm dowel approx 100mm long with a 100mm nail stuck in one end with some plastic tubing on it. Primitive but exactly what was needed. Once the tire was on I ran this around the wheel (between the tire and the wheel) to even it all out.

Process complete for the top wheel


and then for the bottom wheel


Final job required to get the bandsaw running was to make some new throat plates as the original ones were missing. a few quick measurements resulted in a 3D model which was then printed on the i3. One advantage of using a glass bed is that you get an almost glassy smooth finish on the bottom of the part.


The part is basically two concentric circles (here printed upside down). Only the top circle is actually needed but the bottom step gives extra strength to the part.


Almost mirror finish which will help in work not getting caught on the part.


Part installed and just needing the slot cut in it to make it a true hero clearance insert.


On the Caravan front the only progress has been gluing on one of the side walls. Both the cabinets were removed before everything was masked up (left hand wall being glued here).


The wall was then removed and wax paper installed between the wooden base and the trailer frame. This is to hopefully prevent parts that shouldn’t be glued being glued accidentally.


Decent amounts of polyurethane glue was then added before the wall being reinstalled and screwed to the base with a total of 13 stainless steel screws along the length of the wall. The next job was to reinstall the front cabinet with again a decent amount of glue before spending a further half hour dealing with squeeze out.


In all this seems to have done the trick, giving the wall a shake shows that its stuck pretty well to the floor, hopefully when the rest of the gluing between the cabinets and walls is complete the structure should be solid enough.

Final work recently has been on the ML7. The drip tray still hasn’t been installed because some rider blocks were needed to raise the lathe above the tray sufficiently. These were cut from a length of aluminium stock before being faced and drilled on the ML7.


The lathe was then unbolted from the bench which required the removal of the change gear quadrant, headstock lead screw bracket, tailstock lead screw bracket and finally the lead screw itself. I now need to work out how to lift the lathe off the bench enough to get the tray, blocks and rubber isolating washers all installed before lowering the lathe back down. I suspect this will end up being some overhead gantry contraption to lift the lathe the 100 odd mm required.

(Almost) Finished Rear Cabinets

Again another weekend of progress, It’s amazing how much you can actually get done when dedicating two full days to a build, at the same time however “haste makes waste” was definitely the theme of the weekend with one part cut incorrectly no less than 5 times.

Saturday saw the test fitting of the kitchen cabinets with the bench top. The back of the cabinets forms the dividing wall between the kitchen and the sleeping area and meets the curve roof at the top which requires the top of this panel to be cut to meet the roof profile.


At this point the bench mounts haven’t yet been glued to the underside of the bench and so clamps are required to stop the assembly rolling forward.


On the inside the base for the interior cupboards then got inserted into the router slot in the back of the dividing  wall, braces were needed to support everything whilst trying to get it level.

Looking underneath the base you can see where the dividing wall meets the bench (joint held together with blue tape) and then the lower dividing wall (hinged) under the bench for the mattress to slide in and out of.


Currently there are slight gaps between the hinged portion of the wall and the outer walls / floor. This is so the hinged section can be opened regardless of any distortion of the walls / floor. A trim section will be put in here to help seal these gaps from the inside.


With the flap open there is a decent amount of room for the mattress to slide in and out, this will also help with cleaning.

After stuffing around with trying to get the interior shelf base in the right place and getting everything square it became apparent that more glue up of the already cut components would be required to make a decent job of the next components (read 5 pieces incorrectly cut because things kept moving)

To that end attention turned back to the front cabinets with the fitting of the cabinet doors as well as some cleanup and sanding


Final task for Saturday was to glue up as much as possible of the rear cabinets for further work Sunday.

Theres a saying “If you can’t tie knots, tie lots” same goes for when needing to substitute tape for clamps, use lots.


Sunday saw more success with less wind and no rain. Front shot below showing final state of the front after finishing up on Saturday, both doors fitted with knobs attached.


First stop on Sunday was to fit the rear cabinet assemble back in. The kitchen cupboards are now fixed to the bench with trim pieces installed.


After that the base for the rear interior cupboards was refitted and given that everything was more solid now it was a lot easier to start building up the walls of these cupboards


The walls of the cupboards need to match the side profile of the caravan walls given they will be meeting the roof. A flush trim bit on a laminate router was used to get the outside pieces right before they were then used to get the inside pieces right.

Two shelves were then cut to fit in the side cabinets, Aside from a box to house the wiring and fuses for the power, the middle section will remain full height at the moment. I was thinking that it may be useful to drill a series of holes in the walls allowing pegs to be inserted for a removable shelf but we’ll see.


Shot from the door showing finished (apart from glue up and doors) rear cabinets


Looking at the week ahead the next challenge will be finding a time to glue all this up. Whilst it won’t be a long job the recent cold snap has made temperatures plummet well below the 8 degree C chalk temperature of the glue that I’m using. This morning for example the car registered an exterior temp of 2 degrees C which is going to cause issues if it doesn’t get warmer.



Rear Cabinets and Door cutout

Made much progress this last weekend. I think one more weekend should see the cabinetry finished making building the roof a not too distant task.

Cutting the door out was a pretty fun exercise. Firstly had to attempt to work out the placement and size of the hole, there was a bit of fiddling around here as at this point the location of the rear cabinets hadn’t been fully determined and we ideally wanted the door in the middle of the front and rear sets.

Got that figures out eventually and after marking out the dimensions it was time to start cutting out the opening. Corners were done using a laminate trimmer with a radius guide and worked better than expected.


Two corners and the top of the door cut out


Finally a completed cut. Given that the entire sheet was 18 mm thick it took a few passes at each cut to make it all the way through.


This was the final state of affairs on Saturday evening. Door cut, front cabinets finished bar two little cabinet doors and several pieces of the rear cabinet (not in shot) glued and ready for further assembly on Sunday.


Fist job on Sunday was mounting the kitchen bench.


We took a slightly different approach here and decided to hinge the dividing wall between the kitchen and the sleeping area to allow a mattress to be slid in and out.


The rest of the day was spent making more parts of the rear cabinets (below glued and drying). These will hopefully be mounted to the read bench assembly tonight.


Many clamps are useful for this project,  not only to hold glued parts but also gluey plans


Front Cabinets

After at least three weekends of no action on the Teardrop there was a decent desire to actually get something done. To that end both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend were dedicated to the cause.

The next step in construction was going to be building both the front and rear shelving units given that both these need to be complete with some parts varnished before the roof goes on. These units are built out of 12 and 18mm Paulownia plywood to save weight.

First step then was to purchase a sheet of 18mm MDF and mount the larger router upside down on it. Given that most of the joints are shouldered dados it made sense to create a jig which would allow us to rip a 6mm square section out of one end of one piece of the joint to create the tongue whilst a 6mm router bit in a laminate trimmer with guide allowed us to create the dados in the other.



The fence at the back is designed to angle in and out to allow different cut depths, the handy black depth gauge at the back of the show made it really easy to get both the height of the router as well as the angle of the guide set to get the desired cut

From here it was a case of interpreting the intent of the imperial plans and converting that to work with the metric materials. Pieces were cut and test fitted to build up the cabinetry, then assembled into smaller sub assemblies before all being glued up together at the end of the day.


Front shelving at end of Saturday


Front shelving sub unit mid-day Sunday


Front shelving end of Sunday


Rear shelving ready for glue-up

There are a few more pieces that need two be glued onto the front set of shelves and then that will be finished. I’m hoping to be able to get those on this week and then start gluing up the rear shelves next weekend. Initially there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working out where to cut all the joints to not only hide the ends of the dados but also end up with a strong joint but hopefully cutting our teeth on the less complex front unit will put us in a good position to tackle the rear unit.

Walls – Second Cut

First wall glued  up ok so we repeated the process with the second wall, i.e spread glue, clamp and then rest old lathe bed on top of the middle of the joint to apply some pressure there.

This weekend’s work consisted of two processes, bolting the wood floor to the trailer frame and starting to route the recesses in the bottom of the walls.

Bolting the frame down went really well, only thing that went wrong was the snapping of a 3mm drill bit so all in all I’m pretty pleased.


The floor can’t be fully bolted down yet as we still need to get it galvanised, I’m thinking that I may drill the holes out a little larger in order to maintain sufficient clearance once dipped.


A total of 10 M12 bolts will be used to hold the floor (and therefore the rest of the teardrop to the frame) so I don’t think there is much risk of something going wrong.


I didn’t get many photos of the second process, I will take some of the finished walls at some point but it basically consisted of sitting the wall in place, drawing up the back of the base where it meets the wall and then across the top.


This was then routed out at a depth of 11mm for a distance of 80mm from the edge, then stepped up to 9mm for the remaining 36mm until reaching the line. The reason for this recesses to so that when the underlining is painted on to the underside of the floor and the walls there will still be room for the trailer frame to fit. Four small recesses were then cut to house the heads of the bolts.


Walls – First cut

Vicks and I started work on the walls over the weekend. The maximum size of plywood that is available to us at a reasonable price meant that both walls needed to be made out of a couple of pieces joined with a lap joint.

First task was routing one half of the joint on one piece approximately half the depth of the plywood before fine tuning the depth and routing the second half of the joint on the other.

Once this was complete we marked out the profile of the teardrop after which we cut this profile out with a jigsaw.


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From here it was a simple task to rinse and repeat for the second wall using the first as a template.


One wall section was then able to be glued up, we’ll hopefully glue up the other one tonight given that the first will have had 24 hours to set.

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