Trailer Deck

I have the honor of owning the ugliest trailer in the neighborhood. If there were a competition, I could probably take the all-UP honors as well. I bought this thing for $40 some years ago. I had sat in a farm field for several decades before I was lucky enough to buy it. The tires were shot, and were, of course, obsolete. I searched the internet and came up with The M. E. Miller Tire Company, which specialized in old obsolete tires, especially for farm equipment.

trailer2I gulped when I learned the price for a new pair of tires for the trailer… $200! This $40 bargain was starting to cost some money. As soon as the tires arrived and were installed, I purchased and installed some RV tire covers so the tires wouldn’t rot away in the sun. I used the trailer for many years without any sort of deck, and it worked out ok for me.

Well, this summer I decided it was time to put a deck on it, since I needed the trailer to haul pallets of firewood from the powerlines project. Step one was to locate some lumber. I found some nice 2″ x 12″ x 14′ long slabs in the lumber pile I’d made with my sawmill, carried them to the shop, and cut them to length. I was about to paint them when my neighbor stopped by on his vintage John Deere A tractor (out here we don’t even bat a lip when our neighbors drive up on 50 year old tractors.) As we got talking, he asked about the trailer project and I told him I was about ready to get out the paint brush.

“No, no, no,” he said. “Used motor oil is your friend.” He explained how when he was a lad working on the farm down the road, they always treated their trailer decks with used motor oil. He said if I added a coat every spring, it would hold up for decades.

trailer1I happened to have some used motor oil and a brush, so I took him up on it. As he predicted, the lumber was very “thirsty.” I did all six sides of each plank, and by golly, by the time I was done, that trailer started looking pretty good.

If I don’t watch myself, I may lose my standing as the ugliest trailer in the UP!

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