No, not the site. It’s not been updated but just because I’ve been extra busy (and/or lazy). Rather, our family is moving to a new home.
As part of the effort, I decided I should just bite the bullet and purchase a small trailer. We need to put a lot of items into storage for this move, but there was no way we could do it all in a day (thus, making trailer rentals extra pricey). So I purchased a 4’x8’ folding trailer, which collapses down (up?) to so it can be stored off to the side of a garage. Probably the most popular trailer in the “small folding” category is the one at Harbor Freight. Well, there at least out of stock anywhere within 100s of miles of me (so I assume very popular). So I purchased the very similar but slightly more expensive model from Northern Tool, branded as an Ironton trailer. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly the same as the Harbor Freight, but I did note a few structural differences in the two. Otherwise, this is the black one where the one from HF is red.
The trailer comes in three boxes, each of which weights in at around 75 lbs. Suffice it say, despite being a “light duty” trailer, this thing is assuredly made of solid steel. The frame is about 1/4″ material, mostly channel shapes. It required some larger metric sockets than I had, so I be prepared for that as well (It’s a product made in China, which should surprise no one at this price, so of course it’s all metric). I broke down the boxes to give myself a work surface for assembly. The frame assembly itself is relatively straight-forward. The instructions, while not great, are relatively well written and illustrated. I didn’t find myself putting any parts in backwards or anything as a result.
I had to purchase a sheet of 3/4 plywood for the decking surface, along with the associated hardware. I’ll be garage storing this trailer (and by the nature of it being open, only using it in generally good weather, too!). So I just bought some standard pine plywood and zinc hardware. Still, with the current price of lumber, that set me back about $100. I did have the big-box store cut the plywood into two 4’x4’ squares. This is to facilitate the folding action, but also makes it easier to get home if, well, you don’t have a trailer. I measured out the holes for the decking as accurately as possible and then just started bolting the carriage bolts into place. I wanted the bolt heads to have a low profile; but didn’t really have any of my tools handy to countersink large bolt heads. So carriage bolts worked well. Honestly, they’re usually my preference for bolting lumber, anyway. For holes I didn’t get quite aligned, I just used the frame holes as sort of a drill guide and slotted the holes out a bit. The steel is much harder than the wood, of course, so this works to easily get the mis-aligned holes corrected.
The wiring was pretty simple, though I was a bit disappointed that the trailer kit didn’t include a connection harness. It’s a $5 part, at most, and pretty standard I think. The last bit of assembly I did was to drill for and bolt on four D‑ring style anchor points on the sides of the trailer. Probably another $20 for the anchors and hardware, but pretty essential for my planned usage of the trailer. Another issue was the casters; or rather attaching them. Most of the bolts are nylon locking which is fine in most cases. But I couldn’t think of a way to attach the casters with this nut type. So I just bought some more metric nuts with split/lock washers. These I were able to tighten up with the impact driver without the caster bearing just spinning in place.
And with that, the trailer was ready to roll! My brothers came over to help me with the first real use of loading it up. We took some furniture off to the storage unit. The real test came next: moving my wife’s upright piano! We all had our own guesses on how much this thing weighs, but I think we sort of settled on around 400 lbs. Now, there is no ramp on this trailer. So even I backed it up to the curb edge, we still had to lift that piano over a foot off of the dolly and on to the deck. We had to call over our friend Adam to lend a hand! But the five of us (Angela wasn’t going to let us move her piano without her direct supervision and assistance), we managed to do so. We did rough up some of the finish on a lower panel when getting it off the trailer, but it still played great. Stayed in tune, even! And I’d say with a 400 lb piano and five adults on the deck, we were definitely putting the load capacity of the trailer to the test.
Ultimately, this trailer is going to get used to move sheet goods and lumber home from the hardware or big box store for projects in our new house. It takes me about 10 minutes to get it out, bolted secure in the “trailer” mode, and hitched up. And that’s a lot faster than trying to get sheet goods cut down & then loaded into my SUV (even when that is possible). So, I’d plan on another $150 or so in wood, hardware, and wiring on top of the price of this trailer (and that doesn’t include any picket rails, which I may make later) if you’re considering this or the Harbor Freight option. Otherwise, it’s a great investment and a solid trailer.