Tini-Home vintage trailer gets smaller and smaller.

Posted: March 10, 2012 in Tin Can Tourists, Vintage trailers

The trailer looked pretty big , untill I started building cabinets in it yesterday, now it’s getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller inside.  I got the dinette booth bases built yesterday, and the wardrobe cabinet.  I was able to save the door from the wardrobe, and used the tops of the booth bases, but otherwise it’s all new.  There has to be SOME of the 1953 trailer to actually call it a ’53 Tini-Home, right?

I’d originally planned to use the original fridge door on the new fridge (it’s not actually new, it’s a yard sale find that’s been in the garage for several years, not being used), but it’s two inches narrower than the original.  You can see the cook-top is wider, it originally sat right on top of the fridge.  So, I had to come with a plan “B”, but we’ll get to that.

The wardrobe is also a little different that the original, although I was able to save the door.  Originally there was a “Panel Ray” propane radiant heater just inside the door.  I sold that, and in its place is the pantry cabinet, at left.  It’ll get shelves, and a door, with a small door at the bottom compartment.  I also bumped it out 2″ deeper than original, so it’s more useable as a closet as well.

Plan “B” for the sink base cabinet turned out pretty well.  The big change was making the cabinet base 6 inches longer than original.  This shoves the fridge right up against the dinette booth, a common layout in Canned Ham trailers, rather than having a big “dead” space at the end of the counter.  Rather than having the cooktop then set on the fridge, we moved it to the back-end of the counter, and I extended the counter top over the fridge cabinet.  This meant raising the cabinet height 2″, which means I have to change the location of the plug-in that goes on the back-splash below the window, but it’s do-able. 


The sink is 12×17″, and will be directly beneath the window, mounted narrow end towards the window, as original.  This will give a enough counter space between cook-top and sink to set utensils down, and to the right of the sink, almost three feet of countertop.  Pretty good for such small camper.  I like to cook, and a useable work-space is important.  I was able to use the original drawers (they’ll get new faces) and beneath the sink will be double doors.  The wheel-well takes up lots of the under counter space, but there is still some useable space there.  The lower drawer is shortened 6″ to allow room for the under-cabinet plug-in for the fridge.  I couldn’t move the wires, so the drawer had to be shortened.  An easy compromise.  There’ll be a small door under the drawers, with a matching face and hardware, for access to that small space.

Looking to the rear, at the end of the counter, and below the bulkhead cabinet, will be the A/C unit.  I wired the trailer for this location, but we then talked about putting the A/C under the table and letting the unit be exposed out over the tongue.  Two problems with this, no wiring up there for it, and no (easy) way to add it without a chase, and it would eat up valuable leg room due to the inward curvature of the front of the trailer there. 

So, back to the original plan.  I’ll pull the rear section of the bulkhead cabinet out a couple of inches, and build a cabinet below that for the A/C, which will be a small window unit.  Almost all small campers now use this set up instead of the more expensive roof mounted RV units, that’s what we’ll be using.  Our local RV dealer is going to get us the roof stack and outer vent cover for this.  Since I wired the trailer for it, have the wall built for it, it’ll be better this way.  The cabinet will be based on a shelf that’ll extend from the rear of the countertop for support as well, and it’s at the foot of the bed.

Here, Kim and Ari give their stamp of approval to todays work.  Another day and I should have the cabinet doors made, the upper cabinet finished, the bed frame in, and the rest of the interior work done.  Kim found a 3/4 bed mattress from “Mattress Mart” for cheap, so that’s out-of-the-way too.  I have to get the A/C unit before I build the cabinet, but everything else is on hand and ready to go.

It’s supposed to be in 60’s and 70’s next week, so with any luck, it’ll be wearing three coats of varnish by the weekend!  After that, all that remains is to cut and mount the skin, get two new tires, wire up the running lights, and we’re “Ready to Roll”!

Stay tuned, it’s getting fun now!


  1. Ray Coleman says:

    More Impressive Progress !! Brian, you make it all sound so easy…………..Looking forward to seeing the finished project.


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