Building the Galley Hatch

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The skin was attached using Loctite PL Premium construction adhesive. This was used instead of glue because the fit is not tight enough for traditional wood glue to bond correctly.

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I needed to stretch the 1/8″ birch panel to the inside of the hatch so it didn’t deform the ribs and then become permanent when the PL Premium dried. I used a tie down strap to ensure the contour remained correct while the PL Premium dried. The inside hatch skin was cut a bit larger than necessary so I could come back and use a flush trim bit on a router to even it up perfectly.

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After the skin was trimmed.

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Dry fitting the hatch to make sure the contour was still correct.

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A better view of the gap for the hatch struts.

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The hurricane was then cut down to size leaving 3/8″ extended over the edge on both sides for proper water drainage.  The extension at this point is 1/2″ to allow for the outside skin thickness.

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Drilling the pilot holes to fit the the hinge on the trailer. The hols were spaced 12″ apart for fitting but later the amount was doubled to 6″ spacing for the final install.

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Here you can see the 3/8″ gap while the hinge is in the closed position.

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Here you can see the positioning of the struts and the need for the reinforcement on the hatch in this area.

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The galley lights were installed so they didn’t come into contact with the counter top.

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  • Bob Mesenbrink

    Ryan, I’m thinking about the galley supports. You used gas struts. Have you seen the spring supports at http://teardroptrailerparts.com/Galley_Props_Large.html? Might eliminate the cutout in the sides of the hatch for the struts when hatch is closed.

    How heavy is the galley hatch? Is it light enough to be lifted without the gas struts and held up with some manual method? Thanks.

  • Jenna Blinn

    Ryan, thank you so much for posting such great detail on your teardrop build. My husband and I have enjoyed following your plans and building our own. You have created a great teardrop!

    If you are interested, I created a CAD file for CNC cut sheets on the cabinetry, sidewalls, and hatch struts.

    We purchased gas springs that match your specifications on the itemized list. When we test fit everything prior to staining/varnishing, we installed one gas spring and could not get it to compress. Before we start drilling holes for the second gas spring, I wanted to get your input. Is there a trick to the springs? Should they compress without difficulty?

    • Very cool! I would gladly take your CNC specs and add them to the website. Email them to me at ryan at teardropbuilder dot com. If you want to send some pictures my way of your build I will post them as well.

      The hatch struts are a fickle beast. You will likely not be able to compress them (safely) until they are both installed in the galley. You will have to ensure your clearance and angles are correct and hope for the best. I have a couple extra small holes near my mount in my galley as proof of this where I was forced to remount one of them because I got the clearance wrong.

      Good luck!

    • Martin Peat

      Jenna, I’m embarking on some pre-planning… would be interested in the CAD files if you’re willing to share… martinpeat at gmail dot com

      • Ryan

        Hi Martin,

        The CNC files have been uploaded here.

  • Ken

    Ryan,
    I see you used quite a bit more support framing in your galley hatch than in your main roof. Then, in some comments, I see you say that if you had it to do again, you’d make the hatch lighter. Do you think the hatch would be sufficiently strong and stiff if it were framed more like your main roof, with ribs on the sides only (maybe one down the middle)?

    • Weight is a killer for sure. The roof is reinforced by the walls and the hatch doesn’t have that support so I would recommend at least a couple ribs in the center to prevent the frame from twisting. If I did it again I would use 2 internal ribs instead of 4, and reduce the number of cross supports as well.

  • David

    Ryan,
    Your camper is awesome. I noticed that several people on this site as well as other sites have had a problem with cold temperatures effecting the support shocks. Has anyone ever tried hood support springs? A couple of years ago I built a hog cooker. I know we are talking about teardrop campers but this will make sense when you see the picture. When I started gathering information I heard and read about similar comments about the shocks and temperature causing failure. While looking at other builds I saw hood springs on one build so that is what I used. I’m not sure what my grill lid weighs but I can say it is heavy. For my grill I turned them around backwards because I installed them on the outside away from heat. Anyone who owns a GM or Caddillac pickup or suv has seen these.

  • Thomas

    Hi Ryan-

    on the gas springs: would you recommend going with the 130lbs force version or with ones with less or more lbs force? I assume the gas expands/ contracts when it’s cold or warm so wondering if 130lbs is the best choice. How has your experience been so far?

    Thanks!
    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas,

      It all depends on the weight of hatch and the angle of your mounting. For mine I started out with 90 or 100 and ended up moving to 110, 120, and finally 130. There is some guesswork so make sure you order them from somewhere that takes returns like McMaster-Carr 🙂

      Cold weather affects its lift capacity by 15% so make sure it has plenty of strength if you are building and testing in the warmer months so you are not surprised in the colder ones. Also after a couple years you will notice some loss of force as some gas naturally escapes over time.

      Hope that helps you out!