Galley Hatch


There are alternate methods for constructing this section of the trailer..

The following method of construction was utilized  for simplicity and solid construction.   Also, this is the method of hatch construction used by Glen Johnson, while building  his 1956 Sherwood, and since his pattern is being used, the hatch design appeared to fall in the realm of good construction practices.   I also believe this method has been used by other builders in the past.  The upside of this type of hatch or galley lid construction is that it is extremely easy to construct.  

hatchframe.jpg (30253 bytes) Just frame the entire trailer from front to back with roof spars. Make sure to install the hatch support spars and temporarily install the hinge.  Make a cut on each side from the rear below the spars, moving your saber saw or router forward, and you have a completed hatch when finished cutting.  Basically it it is like building an enclosed box and cutting it in half in order to make the instant lid.   Just make sure your cut is below your roof/hatch spars!  

Read on:  

gagemarks copy.jpg (71913 bytes)  You will notice two separate lines drawn on the side of the trailer.  These were drawn with a homemade marking gage deigned for curves.  The lines are drawn at 2" and 3" spacing.  Even though you can use any size lumber for roof spars, it is quite common to use 1" x 2" or 1"x 3 "  Since my roof spars are a measured 1" x 2 1/2", I  used the 3" mark for the hatch, and drew the 2" curve for explanation purposes.  This dimension will allow ample clearance between the saber saw blade and roof/hatch spar supports.   Note: the diagonal line is where the center or joint of the hatch hinge plates meet.  It is also assumed that you have temporarily installed your hatch hinge and all roof/hatch spars.  These curves are drawn on both L & R sides of the trailer.  I also drew them on the inside of the galley to make sure that my saber saw blade was not flexing as the cuts were made.  The saber blade leaves a very small foot print which will be taken up with a (weather strip used in the sealing of glass to metal frame of sliding glass doors).  WX strip thickness will depend upon the the type of tool used for cutting the hatch lid away from the body. 

curvegage1 copy.jpg (161418 bytes)The gage is very important as it will keep your line exactly at the proper distance from the bottom of the hatch lid to the top.  It  operates on two nylon rollers that follow any curve or contour including minor variations.  Stanley patented this gage which was  invented by an employee of theirs in the late 1800's.  To my knowledge it was never marketed by Stanley Corp.. You may be able to buy one, but I can't offer a suggestion as to where.  Here is a picture of the gage if you want to take the time to build one.  It took me about 30 minutes.  Fabricated with scrap wood and used nylon rollers from a sliding screen door.  Best of all, the price was right...Nada.  With a little imagination, you will find several other uses for this gauge while building the teardrop.  It's great for transferring pattern information from one place to another.

hatchgage copy.jpg (111233 bytes)Crude but effective gage for curved surfaces.


 glttgalley3.jpg (31905 bytes)This image depicts the hatch lid and basic framework for the galley.  It is easy to see by the framework how this style of galley hatch is built.  The two black harnesses on the R&L upper are for the rear DOT lighting system and an overhead galley light.  The weather strip mentioned above is also shown.

 The grey box on the left is the 110 volt AC breaker box, and the wall mounted walnut box on the right is the 12 VDC breaker box for all wiring supplying power to the onboard electronic equipment such as lights, TV, and Stereo inside the cabin .   I found that there was insufficient space for the wiring inside the homebrew breaker box and will have to remove and replace it with something more substantial.

The icebox is on the lower left.  It holds a 10 lb. block of ice and has a drain through the floor.  The ice lasts about 2.5 days in an average of 80-90 degree weather, and 4.0 days at 50-70 degrees.

A built in two burner stove and Oak cabinets to the right of the ice box (not shown in this picture) are also part of the mobile kitchen.  There are also two sliding doors in front of the electrical boxes (also not shown) that also double as a small pantry. 

glttgalley.jpg (26707 bytes) This is a view of the roughed in galley.  I have no plans or intensions of installing holding tanks for potable and gray water.  I may possibly add a sink at a much later date.

Frame face for upper trailer galleyThe frame face for upper galley.  Upper section is for four sliding doors, and the lower section is for four cubby hole storage compartments, approx. 9" x 12" each.

Front view of teardrop galley frame faceA front view of the same frame face.

Sliding door tracks for frame faceView of sliding door tracks for upper galley frame face.  These were cut on a router table with a 3/16" bit.  To the right of center is the frame partition for the cubby hole doors.  In lower left corner is the frame for the bottoms of the cubby hole spaces.  The sliding doors are 1/4 red oak ply, and cubby hole doors are solid oak with Euro style hinges.  In addition to storing dish towels, cereals etc., the sliders will cover the A.C.  breaker box and all of the D.C. circuitry including battery charger and A.C. oulet.

sliding door tracks end viewAn end view of one the four sliding door tracks.

AC outlet wiring for electic heaterAfter cutting, staining, and installing the doors in the upper galley frame face, I thought it would be a good time to add an extra A.C. outlet in the cabin storage area for an electric heater, or whatever utilitarian electrical appliance might be called into service in the storage area.

elect heat outletElectrical outlet mounted below the upper galley lower frame.  This is used for an electric heater located behind the sliding doors in the storage compartment at the foot of the cabin sleeping area.

upper redoak cabinet frame face completedUpper galley cabinet completed. Note the two sliders at bottom of photo.  They are at the foot of the cabin and are mounted in 1/2" aluminum channels.  The space between the sliders and the back of the lower galley cabinet is storage of approx. 14"D x 18H" x 55L".

d.c. side from power supply or batteryUpper galley right side contains the D.C. supply from power supply located inside of cabin, and battery in lower galley cabinet.  The charger is hardwired to the battery.

lower teardrop galley cabinet frame.The lower cabinet frame was constructed of 1" x 2" and 1" x 3" pine. The reason for the 1" x 3"  is to accommodate the rear support brackets for the drawer sliders.   The lower frame face is constructed from red oak.

lower galley cabinet face frame with ice box, cabinet back and sides After cutting, staining, and installing the panels for the cabinet dividers and cabinet floor,  I installed the Ice Box in it's dedicated and well insulated compartment.  I discarded the foam housing that came with the Ice Box and made my own insulated compartment, while tripling the insulation factor. The back side and ends of the lower cabinets are also insulated with foil faced 3/4" rigid foam.

teardrop trailer ice boxA close up of the Instafreeze Ice Box (no longer in business).  I don't remember the price as I purchased this unit about six years ago.  The adjustable upper compartment is for block or crushed ice.  The drain tube is 1/2" and as previously stated, goes through the floor for drainage.    It's an extremely convenient and efficient cooler.  

teardrop trailer battery compartmentThe battery is installed in the lower right cabinet.  A single 1/2" hole was drilled for a single set of 10 guage wires.  The shelf above in the same cabinet is removable for easier access to the battery.  The battery is hard wired to the charger.  In the past three years I have only added about 1 1/2 quarts of distilled water to the cells.  It will last a long time with a bit of maintenance.

Center cabinet drawer brackets The 16" drawer sliders (made by Accuride)were purchased from Woodcraft, and are rated at 100 lbs.  Also,  just above the sliders is the bottom of a drop in stove, and associated regulator.   Below is my distilled water jug and a home made propane bottle holder for Coleman 16.4oz. propane cylinders.  It is my understanding that two one pound bottles are legal to have inside of a residence, hence the two cut outs for the one pound disposables.  The flex hose is directly behind the bottle, and stays disconnected when not in use.  The flex hose is connected to a regulator mounted above at back center.  

Right side galley cabinet doorInstalled right side door on face frame.  The latch is a ball bearing (mounted inside edge of face frame and door) mechanism purchased from Woodcraft.

Solid Oak galley utility drawerDrawer and drawer face were made from 1" x 4" and 1" x 8" respectively.  The dimensions are 14.625" W x  15.75 D  with an inside depth of 4.75 inches.

Galley near completionAfter staining the utility drawer, I assembled the rails and stiles along with the 1/4" red oak ply for the lower cabinet door.  The drop in stove is visible at center.

Drop in stove for teardrop trailer galleyThe drop in two burner propane stove by Suburban.  This company is located in Tennessee, and has a web site.  The counter top is 1/2" plywood covered with Formica.   I added an Oak bull nose molding to the front of the countertop to create a nice visual effect.  The molding was created out of a scrap piece of 1" x 2" red oak.  It was ripped on the table saw and the chamfer was done on a table router.

Suburban propane stove.A closer view of the stove.  This unit can be operated from either the Coleman one pound propane bottles or a 20 lb.  propane bottle used for outdoor grills.

Note:  This stove is not sold with the regulator.  In order to operate this unit from propane, it is necessary to purchase and plumb the regulator to the stove with 3/8 copper tubing and flare fittings.  I have had no problems with the stove and installation was a breeze.  

Because the stove is surrounded on three sides by the trailer and an overhead hatch, wind has not been a problem.   It takes 12-15 minutes to percolate 12 cups of coffee using Coleman's heavy aluminum coffee pot.

LED's for counter top lightingI began experimenting with LED's for lighting.   A teardrop is a great place to experiment, especially with electrical items.  The six LED's with their current limiting resistor, and junk box switch, are mounted on a homebrew etched pc board.  This picture was taken in daylight. with LED's turned on.

LED's in off positionA close up of the six LED's turned off.  These draw a minimal amount of current and provide enough light to grope around the counter top and help find things inside the upper galley cabinet.   These LED's are clear green and keep the bugs from bugging me.   I beginning to think we all use far more light than necessary while viewing in diminished light.  I have  drawn up a 42 LED array for use in my trailer galley area,  and should have it completed after the New Year 2007.

Teardrop Trailer Hatch PropI have used gas props, and sliding props for teardrop trailers, and had problems with both.   Invariably, a gas prop will leak, and a sliding prop will slip if not properly tightened.  The hatch on this trailer is constructed of 1" x  3" oak, making it extremely heavy, and a safety concern while standing beneath.  

 I found a teardrop website that depicted a safe and sturdy homebrew galley hatch prop, but I don't remember the website address.  The author utilized a kick down door stop on both ends joined in the center with electrical conduit for the vertical support.  I found these doorstops at True Value hardware and they work great with a bolt at the bottom and top to prevent the wind from lifting the hatch from the props.  I used 3/4" electrical conduit for the vertical hatch supports.  When not in use they simply fold down onto the counter top in the closed position.  The water pipe insulation wrap prevents them from scratching or marring surfaces.  

Completed Teardrop trailer galley cabinetThe completed teardrop galley with all of the doors and compartments open.  It took some time to complete this galley as plans were made one day at a time.    Most of the time was spent with a cup of coffee and staring intently at the empty space.  My first  objective was to make use of all the space available, and secondly to provide individual space for those small items that get lost in the bottom of a junk drawer. 

The material cost for this Galley was approx. $400.00 which does not include left over oak stock from other projects.  Scrap was minimal due to to measuring everything four times.  

galleyclosedSame view with doors, drawer, and compartments closed.

Joining of cabinetry was primarily pocket hole, as well as lap joints.  Major power tools used were plunge router, table router, radial arm saw, table saw, hole saw,  jig saw, and orbital sander.  

Cabinetry was stained with a 60/40 mixture of Mineral spirits and  Red Oak stain by Minwax respectively.  The mixture dries quickly and resembles pecan with a peach hue.  This was then hand rubbed with a 1:1 three coat mixture of shellac and linseed oil.   Five coats are desired ....... when I find the time.

Personally,  I like to keep things simple. An ice box, stove and a jug of water work for me. 

In recent years there has been a surge in a movement toward teardrop trailer ownership.  I suggest looking on the web for additional information regarding more elaborate galleys.  




Currently,  this is all the available images and information available for the Great Lakes Teardrop. 



Copyright 2000 2011 Richard Flake All Rights Reserved

Page last updated on 01/18/2011