Mhaighdean Mhara Dry Docks


Side View

Okay, so here is the trailer as seen in the back lot where it has lived for many months. (Yes, that is recently sandblasted metal with a fresh coating of primer all over it, more on that in a moment...) The story behind finding it is fun. I called several metal shops and custom trailer outfits around Charlotte and surrounding towns nearby. Basically I was looking for a reliable shop nearby that was willing to do a single, custom commissioned trailer frame. Not as easy as I had imagined.

** The first few were cold to the idea. So I call this shop, last on the list, and basically explain the project (I got good at getting the point across to these shops quickly) as "you know those Ren Faires and how they have those shops you can buy gifts and things at? Well we want to put one on wheels." **

Fore to Aft

Here is a shot looking down the length of the frame. And yes, after seeing this I returned the next morning to inspect what appears to be a terrible misalignment in the back trailer forks. I am no perspective artist but as bad as the picture appears it must be the cameral angle and such since in person the frame is square.

** Since Charlotte has a Ren Faire he basically got it. I further explained that this one would be in the shape of a large pirate ship. He happily looked over several pictures I had of the Dancing Dexter and Twilight Mistress. The Dexter's construction pictures, as it showed basically the frame in good detail (the part he was going to build) helped get the image across and he quickly became warm to the idea.

Actually, warm is an understatement as he started sketching and actually offering suggestions to how the design could be modified to improve the project overall. Funny enough but he actually had a couple ideas that made it into the final design spec's.

That is where it got interesting. He looked at me when I asked for a ball park estimate on the cost of constructing this trailer frame and asked, "you interested in a deal?" Well, of course I am, I thought. He said to follow him and off to the back storage lot of the factory we went. **

Tongue and Hitch

The view looking at the tongue. I originally was thinking of a straight tongue but this will actually work very well since I will need a curving floor to help form the bow. This will provide plenty of support. The slight bends in the angle supports were from the removal of some extra bars, his crew will be straightening them out for me. The tongue lift jack is brand new, and he will be attaching it to the frame as part of the customization work.

** So we get to the back lot and there she was. A fresh trailer frame in nearly the perfect shape. Minimal extra framing but very solid. Imagine the kind of luck we felt we had happened upon by accident! We walked the frame, noted where adjustments would be necessary for the project and got to price. **

Aft View

From here you can see that he will need to add cross supports welded in to support the flooring material. It will also provide squaring and strengthening to the frame overall.

** Of course, the addition of the uprights to support the weight of the upper deck and the additional flooring joists would add additional cost but the completed frame will be delivered for around $1,000, which puts me $1,500 under budget before even starting the project. Happily the frame is almost exactly what I had been designing to be scratch built so who could complain. Okay, so it is four feet longer than I originally planned...... but it will all work out. I had budgeted $2,500 and his cancelled project was ready to leave his factory lot for $500 (plus customizations). Huzzah! **

Tandem Axle, Port side

A look at the axles. Obviously this beast would need tandem axles to properly support her. Oh, yes, the shot primer everywhere. That would be why the electrical needs rewired. Seems the kid doing the sandblasting did not quite grasp that little wires and sandblasting do not really get on so well. Then sealing the battered remains to the frame with primer didn't magically make a clean path for power to travel. Upon review, the primer comes right off the rubber of the otherwise new Goodyear tires.


Axle Close-up

So here they are close up. We are checking into the classification, but at a minimum the Plant Manager uses tandem pairs of 3,500 pound axles which gives me a 7,000 pound trailer load capacity...... far, far more than where the Mhara will weigh in at even fully loaded. Over a year of planning and material selection will ensure that. UPDATE: The axles are 5,000 pounders each.....happily I will never come close to needing a 10,000 pound load capacity......(nor would I want to press the 7,300 pound tow package anywhere near the top end)

Another joy, both axles have electric brakes which makes me much more comfortable given this is a very large trailer to be following along behind the truck.

Finally, the frame extensions (see where the frame gets smaller) run two full feet into the forward struts for strength and I can put in some wooden boards so I get a flat level run fore to aft to place the sub flooring on (meaning that little step down will be gone).


Oddbit Extension

Okay, this little bit was part of the original project before me. It takes the length (without the tongue) from 18 feet to 18' 8". So it will be cut off as part of the custom work and framing.





Contact the Captain!

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