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I'm a welder... This means that I have a tendency to grossly overbuild everything. For once I want to build something properly.

I need to come up with a better solution for storing my truck camper when it is off my truck. Right now I am using a stack of long sheet metal pallets. They were free to procure, and they do work well, but they are extremely difficult to work with because they are very heavy. I need to come up with something easier to work with. I have been contemplating building a pair of steel saw-horses 36" tall. The extra height is so I'll only have to lift the camper an inch or two in order to gain enough altitude to clear the back edge of the truck's bed. My jacks are all manually operated and it is a lot of work just to lift the camper half a foot.

I guess what I am looking for is advice on materials. Left unsupervised, I will end up building the horses out of 1/4" wall 2x4 box tube. Even I know that is overkill.

Camper weighs 1400# empty. Probably less than 2000# loaded.
Saw-horse height overall needs to be 36" and total span needs to be 50" wide.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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I used regular home-built saw horses for years very successfully. Of course they were used in conjunction with the factory jacks. And S&S campers are heavy.... This one was 11.5' and weighed about 3k.

S&S Camper.jpg
 

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Here is a pic of 2x2x1/8 square tube saw horses holding easily more than the weight of your camper in steel.



I had my heavier, but, shorter 4x6 wide flange beams under the steel in case it rained, and the soil got soft.

I have had over a ton on the 2x2 saw horses many times,, but,,, that was on concrete.

The biggest concern in saw horse design is what the saw horse is sitting on,,,, :dunno:

The 2x2 saw horses are easily moved,, the 4x6,, not so much,,,, :flag_of_truce:
 

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What I did when I had one of those was build square tube steel bases for the jacks themselves. The jacks slipped in to the tube, and the tubes took all the "slack" out of taking it in and out of my truck in my building. The front ones biased a bit towards the outside so I could drive in and out, the back ones had a wider foot print for added stability. I don't have any pictures and they went with the camper, but imagine an H base foot print, with a raised middle section to accept the jack. I made them just short enough to fit under the jacks all the way up, so I didn't have to do much cranking to get it in and out of my F250.

I'm not sure I'd want to have a pants off dance off inside it on those jacks I made, but they were plenty stable for storage and loading stuff in and out before a trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm very impressed that wooden sawhorses can take that sort of weight. Even with the camper's landing gear down, that's still gotta be a heavy load.

We have literally tons of 2x2 1/8 wall tube at work. As confident as I am with my woodworking skills, I'm way more confident in my welding skills. One of the nice things about the shop I work in is that they will sell their employees steel at their cost, and scrap is free. At around $2/foot, I can build a pair of sawhorses for pretty cheap.

Whatever route I go, they will always and only be used on concrete. My soil is a sandy loam; good for gardening, bad for supporting lots of weight with a small footprint.
 

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If you look closely, you can see the saw horses were sitting in sand/gravel. That's not very supportive. Really what they were doing was stabilizing the camper probably only taking half the weight. They sunk in the gravel a bit. They really should have had some sort of foot that connected both legs. That would've made them immensely stronger. They worked for many years. I would shovel the roof off of that sucker a few times a winter. 18" wasn't uncommon to shovel off. That's a lot of weight.

That being said, I like your steel built idea better. :bigthumb:

My suggestion would be to connect the legs together to create a foot on either end of the stand and to make them a super strong triangle shape. If I were to do it all over again, that's what I'd do. :hi:
 

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My suggestion would be to connect the legs together to create a foot on either end of the stand and to make them a super strong triangle shape. If I were to do it all over again, that's what I'd do. :hi:
And, for stability of something that might catch the wind,,,
the base needs to be W I D E !!

I would make the spread of the legs at least twice as wide as the ones in my pic,,,
 

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I'm not an engineer, but I'm married to one and have absorbed some of the concepts. If I asked her, here is what she would probably say:

The problem is not carrying the dead weight (you could probably hold the dead weight with bamboo scaffolding). The problem is dealing with wind or someone bumping into it with a vehicle. If you are nicely sheltered from winter storms, it won't be as big a deal. But if you are exposed, then you need something that will resist racking forces (she calls them "moments"). Usually after I hear the lecture, I just go overbuild whatever I was asking her about.

I'm in favor of your original plan to overbuild.
 

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If they don't need to be portable, why not build 2x2 triangles with a bottom leg flat on the ground with the top piece sitting on top of the triangles flattened out at 2" across the top of them? With the radius on the tubing that'll give you a nice bead groove. If you really want side stability, add a cross bar halfway down your triangles and weld a gusset of 2x2 to them up to the top beam. That'd be real nice, Clark! I have a tow behind, now. We had a truck camper when I was a kid and had similar steel horses under it, top was c-channel, legs were 3" pipe, feet were worn down disc blades. Solid as a rock, 2" difference from horses to truck. You're right when you say it's a lot of work to make the 6" difference. My brother and I got to do the crankin'. Best wishes! Kinda like this picture, but a solid 2x2 at the bottom.
 

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