The New Garage

updated May 20, 2007

Moving into an RV means a lot of changes. Previously we had a garage with 735 sq, ft. that held my shop. Since we're going to be attending SASS matches and won't have a place to leave the reloading shop, we have to take it with us. A lot of compressing was required to take the essentials from the old shop.

The trailer is a 20 ft. Cargo Mate, made in Waco, Texas, purchased from Trailer World in Katy, Texas. The people there were very helpful. You would think that most trailer dealers would know trailers. You might be wrong. However this one does and saved me a lot of money and anguish. It has a 5 ft. A-frame on the front, making overall length 25 ft. (Some dealers didn't even know that a 20 ft. trailer with a 4 ft. A-frame would hit the corner of a 40 ft. coach in a tight turn.) The axles are each rated at 5200 lb. It has a 50 amp. electrical panel with a 25 ft. cable and 30 amp adapter for power at RV parks (meaning it will work with 30 or 50 amp service. It can work with 15 amps, but the AC must be left off. It has a 15,000 btu AC unit on the roof.

The lights you see on are 115 volts. Additionally there are 12 volt lights. Power for them comes from the connection to the coach, just like brake and tail lights. Outside are two VERY bright 115 volt flood lamps.

View from the back

The interior view shows that the interior walls are finished. The floor is vinyl with ATP runners. ATP parking guides, at the time this photo was taken, were just sitting there until we put the car in and adjust them properly. There were no guides or chocks when it arrived from the factory. The dealer screwed a couple of boards to the floor. Aside from the fact they looked like hell, I tripped over them all the time.

The SUV ties down with 4 straps, 2 with ratchets in the front. The ML320CDI makes a poor "Toad" because it's just too big, but it is such a superb vehicle we built the trailer around it. Yes, a smaller vehicle would give more room in the trailer. No, no work is done in the trailer with the ML in place.

The reloading shop

The workbensh holds the Dillon SL900 on the left and the XL650 on the right. Because of height restrictions neither was able to use the strong mount. I like this working height anyway. The 900 had to be raised so the door below would open, but the 650 cleared the built-in Craftsman 5 drawer tool chest easily. The loading machines block the outside doors of the upper cabinets, but I ordered it with no interior dividers, so we can access the right and leftmost compartments through the center 2 doors.

The upper left middle door has a big convex mirror mounted so the driver parking the SUV can see everything going on in the trailer.

At the time the photograph was taken the "sacrificial" workbench surface wasn't finished. Made from 3/4" Baltic Birch ply, it sits on the standard aluminum work surface. It consists of 4 pieces. The appropriate piece will be easily replacable if we need to change machines or mounts, etc. A gunsmith's vise from Midway USA was mounted in the middle on a removable ply mount.

The 15" flat screen TV receives signals from the "exterior TV" terminal in the coach, meaning it can receive DirecTV, cable from the RV park, or from the coach's antenna. At the time of the photograph we hadn't made the TV Cable inputs. Hence the TV cable on the right of the screen, coming from the coach through the edge of the door.

The 10 BC halon fire extinguisher is mounted near the door. An automatic fire extinguisher will be mounted as well when it arrives (Griot's Garage).

Finished Workbench

Now the workbench is finished with a couple of coats of semi-gloss Spar Urethane after light sanding. (It's a Workbench, not a dining table). The TV cable no longer comes through the edge of the door.

Edging with mitered joints.

Countertop is edged with 1/16" x 3/4" aluminum angle, similar to the 1" angle used in the construction of the trailer.

TV

The TV is mounted on industrial strength Velcro, with the cable to the "external TV" outlet in the coach attached via a plug mounted behind the TV.

TV cable input outside of trailer
The TV cable now enters the trailer neatly at an external plug. It's sealed and caulked.
Gun Cart storage
The middle door conceals the gun cart, which is held in place by buntees to keep it from rolling around. The left door conceals a small Porter-Cable pancake air compressor. It also serves to fill the 6 tires on the coach, 4 on the trailer, and 4 on the SUV. Front tires on the coach require up to 120 lb./sq. in. depending on load.
Escape door
To answer the question of "how do you get out of the truck," we have a 54" escape door on the left side over the wheel wells. Decoration was with metal nostalgic signs taken from the old garage.
Right side cabinets
Right Side Cabinets, lower view
On the right side is a cabinet the depth and length of the wheel wells. Ammunition, components, spray cans, and some tools are stored there.
E-Track
E-Track at 30" and 60" height serves to tie items down such as this 6 ft. ladder. Ratcheting tiedowns keep them there.
Little Giant Ladder storage
The curbside E-Track stores a "Little Giant" ladder, extremely versatile and safer than the other ladder. Remember it takes a ladder to clean the windshield on the coach.
Shop Vac
Mounted in front of the right hand cabinet is a small but efficient Shop Vac. There are no power outlets except at the shop in front (six plugs plus 2 Power Strips with 6 outlets each), so an extension cord is used. Tied to the E-track is a stepstool I currently use for a workbench stool until I get something appropriate that will fit and store.
Hats
In front of the Escape Door on the street side the E-Track currently holds leftover Baltic Birch plywood, soon to be used or given away. 3 CAS cowoy hats store on the wall when the trailer is stationary.
Entrance Door
The main entrance door has some appropriate signs for visitors. "Pets Welcome. Children must be leashed." The small one says, "Smokers will be pummeled with punishing blows all over their bodies."
The shop is not, at this moment, finished, but it is usable at this point. The drawers of the tool chest are fuller than I would like, and the side cabinet is full. This will get sorted out with use.
ML loaded in garage
The ML fits with a couple of inches to spare on the sides. It's tied down in 4 points.
ML tiedown and chock detail
In front the tiedowns ratchet. If you look carefully you'll find a wheel stop of matching aluminum tread plate. This guarantees the truck is in the right place every time. Both sides have stops.
Escape door

In case you're wondering, the driver gets in and out of an escape door on the left side of the trailer. Power folding mirrors come in handy.

If you see us loading or unloading the vehicle at a CAS match, watching is free, but kibitzing results in loss of Margarita privileges.