Found In the Woods

December 23, 2017

HOWTO: Registering a Harbor Freight Trailer in Maryland

Filed under: Projects — bsullivan @ 11:04 am

NOTE: At this time, the trailer has been removed from the HF website due to out-of-spec tires. (more on that here

HF 40.5" x 48" HaulMaster trailer

HF 40.5″ x 48″ HaulMaster trailer

Back in 2016 I purchased a 40.5″ x 48″ HaulMaster trailer from Harbor Freight with the intent of using it to haul a large aluminum canoe, junk to the dump, wheels/tires/tools to HPDE’s and other hauling duties. I constructed the trailer, built the deck and sides and after a while prepared to have it titled and registered. Unfortunately the MD MVA site is a bit vague on how this is done and specifically what you need to accomplish this. After gathering my documents together and heading to the MVA with a hope and a prayer, I was successful but not without a bit of difficulty. For those who may be attempting the same thing as me, I’d like to give a brief run-down of what you’ll need to get your trailer registered.


First up, visit the official MD Titling & Registration website, here. Download the VR-005 form and fill it out ahead of time. They consider this type of trailer a new vehicle. When you fill out the form you will fill out the Applicant’s info (your personal info). Then in Vehicle Description section you’ll fill out the year, make, model no, body style, VIN, and check the box for TRAILER. Fill out the Trailer section. Under the section for whether or not there is a lien on the vehicle you will write “NONE” in the first box.  Under the APPLICATION FOR NEW REGISTRATION PLATES… section check “new tags”, you can write in your insurance carrier info and then leave the signatures at the bottom for when you are at the MVA itself. If filling out any of this form makes you uneasy, leave it and do it at the MVA. It’s up to you. If you mess up, they have the forms there as well.

What to Bring

  1. Your MD Driver’s License.
  2. Form VR-005 APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF TITLE – You can download it here. Fill out as much as you can.
  3. Your insurance informationTechnically this is not required. I went to one window at the MVA and the woman told me I did, so I had to go to the car, call my insurance provider who told me I didn’t need coverage; that the trailer was covered under my insurance policy for the car itself. So I went back in to the MVA with my insurance card in case I needed it. The next service agent I spoke to told me I did not need my insurance information. So, YMMV. Bring your insurance card in case you need it.
  4. The bill of sale – You’ll need the original receipt from Harbor Freight (or wherever you purchased your trailer from). This will indicate the purchase of the trailer and that you paid tax on it.
  5. The certificate of origin – this is the paper that came with the trailer when you purchased it. If HF did not give you one, you need to contact them immediately and obtain it. It looks like a title document but it’s not a title document. It states the origin of the trailer, the type, manufacturer, capacity and more details. It looks like this.
  6. Credit card/payment – Title and registration is not cheap, unfortunately, in MD. The total cost for me was $195.70. Ouch!

Some tips/thoughts

  • Make copies of everything, if you are interested in having copies. I was not aware of it, but when they process the paperwork they will take the original bill of sale (receipt from HF) AND the certificate of origin for the trailer. You won’t *need* them after the MD title is issued, but if you care, make copies before hand.
  • Bring a pen in case you need to go off and fill out any extra forms. It’s just handier than having to search for one at the various windows/shelves.
  • I went to the MVA on a Friday afternoon before Christmas. The visit, including the snafu where I had to leave the building and go back in, took me about an hour and a half. On a good day I would say about an hour is what you’ll need to get it all done. Having the paperwork ready makes it faster.

As usual, the disclaimer: this is not official information so take it for what it’s worth. I’m sharing it because it was a stumbling block for me and I hope it may help others who are considering the same process. The trailers are inexpensive and quite versatile. You can bust on me all you want for paying nearly the same amount for the trailer as it cost to register it, but I like being on the up-and-up with this sort of thing should an accident happen. The registration is good for two years at which time it will need renewal and that can be done at various places, including the kiosk located in the lobby of the MVA. One more note on the MVA – the folks I dealt with were very helpful and patient. I’m thankful for that. Good luck, everyone!

April 24, 2011

Wiring, insulation and framing is nearly done

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 1:22 am

With the incredible help of my father in law and my buddy Kelly we’ve been able to make amazing progress on the workshop/layout room. Framing is nearly done as is electrical and insulation. Doing drywall and installing fixtures are the biggest jobs left. Very excited!

April 8, 2011

Some basement progress pics

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 1:39 pm

I know these aren’t that exciting, but for me they are. 🙂 Also, it’s hard to see here but all the old wall along the back and side walls of the house are gone. Also, the wiring in the room has been removed. Next step is to make some calculations, remove a few more wall pieces, clean up some stuff and get framing the new walls and roughing in the electrical. Stay tuned.

March 29, 2011

Workshop Update

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 9:30 pm

My father-in-law Bruce came over today and helped me knock out some serious work on the workshop room. My model RR will be in this room, along with the HVAC unit, the water heater and my work bench/storage. The room was originally part of one large basement room. At some point in the last 30 years the previous owner split the room in half and turned this side into a workshop. He was a serious woodworker and had some large tools (evident by the 220 40A circuit we removed today and bolt casings in the floor) so it’s plenty big. I decided to strip it down and turn it into a combo model RR room and workshop.

When we moved in I set to work removing some of the old storage units, shelves, walls, etc. Unfortunately, there were also some circuits that needed removing around the room and due to a lack of funds after being laid off, this sort of got put on the back burner. Thanks to the generosity of some friends and family I’ve been able to get some building materials and make a go of getting this taken care of. Back to today, Bruce & I traced out circuits, chased wires, rerouted one circuit to combine some lights and removed a lot of old wire. I was even able to remove all the remaining studs from the room (finally) and get things cleared out a bit. The next step is to continue removing wires, random nailed boards and some other shelves/cabinets still in the room. Things are moving along really well. More pics next time. Thanks!

March 27, 2011

LRDG redux

Filed under: Projects — bsullivan @ 3:47 pm

The original Tamiya LRDG 1/35 scale kit fetches a premium these days. I put one together back in high school and at the time it was one of my prized models. It was also one of the few that survived the great “younger brother knocking over the shelves that held all my models” tragedy.

I was recently inspired to take stock of some of the older projects I have and see if I can complete them. The LRDG stood out to me as a really neat kit that could use some work. Yeah, by high school standards I did an OK job, but the model deserves so much more. Much of it was unpainted, poorly weathered, half-done and a little rough around the edges. Finding a ton of really amazing builds online has inspired me to redo this build.

I first took the pieces that would come off and set them aside. I next started with some of the glued-on bits. Thankfully I didn’t do a very good job gluing things back then, so some of the details came off without a fuss. Others required a little bit more persuasion and will require some filling & sanding. Probably the biggest problem is the wheels – the rubber ones that Tamiya supplied were glued and then mounted to the hubs. This invariably caused them to crack as the rubber shrank over the years. None of my original wheels survived this fate and it makes the model look tacky no matter what you do. I found some replacement resin wheels on eBay and snatched them up. I also sourced some decals for the instrument panel. Here are a few photos of the teardown. Expect more soon!

February 16, 2011

Building Building

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 10:16 am

Since I was laid off back in November, things have been different. Suddenly I’m playing Mr. Mom while a tenacious Ms. Dad has gone back to working full time to pay the bills while I search for a job. In my rare spare time I’m trying to finish up some modeling projects. I cleaned up the basement workshop room enough so that I could sit down at my table and take a stab at finishing a few projects. I did!

Life-Like Proto 2000 Hopper kit nearing completion

The P2K War Emergency Hopper Car is one I have had for years. It is a pretty nice kit. The details are exquisite. Lots of really well molded detail parts, grab irons and  a nice overall appearance. I brought this kit to Cape Cod with me last summer and never completed it because I ran out of time. It sat on my workbench all Fall and I finally picked it back up. I only had about 20 minutes of work left to complete it and the finished model looks great. Now it just needs a little weathering and it will be good to go.

Suydam 4 track car barn kit

This Suydam kit has a bit more history attached to it and I’ve decided to make it my next project to complete. This kit belonged to my father until I absconded with it years ago when he left the hobby for the most part. It’s identical to a kit that I destroyed as a child (a story for another time) and one that I’ve had half-built for about 12 years now. I picked it out one day many years ago and decided to try out the task of soldering the metal roof sections together which is something that I’d never done. It turned out so well that I painted and lightly weathered the roof. When I assembled the side walls, construction stopped. When this kit was produced, back in the 1960s and 70s, it was really nice. Card stock walls with printed brick patterns and lucite windows with printed on mullions were all relatively good looking. Now, they just look silly. In this day in age when superdetailing is at a mind boggling level, just putting a little effort can take a model like this to a whole new level.

What I’ve decided to do is complete this kit with a few modifications based on a prototype that interests me. This kit is modeled after some Southern California traction car barns. My layout/interest is with the Georgetown Branch of the B&O. I have a photo of the Chevy Chase & Kensington Electric Ry. car barn that once existed at the crossing of Connecticut Ave. in Chevy Chase, MD. The car barn was later repurposed as a car dealership and probably a host of other things before it was eventually torn down and replaced with an apartment building. My goal here isn’t to model the car barn exactly as it appeared but build a car barn model that will represent it with some degree of semblance. As such, even though it’s a very different design overall, I’ll be using this Suydam kit as a basis and adding some details that will give it a feeling of the old Georgetown Branch structure.

First up I’m ditching the old card stock walls. I’m going to replace them with Evergreen Scale Models styrene clapboard siding. The windows and doors are going to be represented with laser cut designs from Rusty Stumps doors and windows. I’m not sure how this will all turn out in the end, but if I can pull it off I think this will be a very nice model with lots of detail appeal on the layout. Who knows, I may even try to squeeze a traction line into the layout plan!

June 20, 2007

HOWTO: Structured Wiring

Filed under: Projects,Tech — bsullivan @ 9:54 am

Over the last couple years I wired my whole house up for Ethernet, Phone and Cable. It was a fun project and I learned a lot along the way. Photos of the install are up in my Gallery. I don’t post links too often, but on this subject, which can be very complicated (trust me) having a good how-to is very important. A friend is doing some network installation in his new home and I was poking around looking for things related to the process. Here is a great guide I found:

If anyone out there ever has questions or needs tips, please feel free to ask!

February 25, 2007


Filed under: Blogging,Projects — bsullivan @ 12:08 am

Folks, I know it's been a long, long time since any photos were posted to my Gallery . (See previous post for main reason) Well, I'm hoping to get back into the habit of doing so, and I have a LOT of photos to share. So be patient with me (if you're reading this, I think you already are) and keep bugging me to get more up!

First up are some pics of Kyle & Anna from this winter, the College Park Aviation Museum, Christmas @ Bruce & Dotz's and some recent work on my model railroad. I hope you enjoy.

October 2, 2006

Back in the Booth

Filed under: Blogging,Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 9:59 am

After many, many years, I got my airbrush back up and running. A couple years ago I built a booth for it but never got around to spraying anything. Over the last several years I've also been slowly collecting Airbrush parts such as valves, water trap, pressure gauge, hoses, fittings and nozzles. Last night, inspired by some free time I had, I got everything up and running and did some trials on some old HO scale engine shells that I had stripped years ago .

The results were promising. The booth performed pretty well, although when spraying, I had to hold the model up high to allow the spray to vent through the duct. If I held it low, the spray tended to circulate around and exit the booth. Oh well. The good part is that my wife could not smell anything upstairs while I was spraying.

I did a simple coat of Floquil Railroad Colors Primer Gray which I thinned with 25% Dio-Sol. This was a real adventure, as I've never been very precise with my paint mixing before and now I'm totally into it. I used Testors Pipettes to measure and distribute the paint to the spray jar. The paint dried a ilttle "chunky" or "dusty" on the model, and I'm not sure why. It seemed that I could wipe it off the model in some places. I think the air-paint ratio was off, but again, I'm still learning. Overall, I'm super satisfied at just getting it running again.

I am excited to continue painting. I plan on painting the two diesel shells up in B&O livery and the trolley shell in DC Transit livery. The DCT trolley will definitely find its way onto the layout some day. Next up, I hope to do some weathering practice on some rolling stock and engines.

September 29, 2006

New Life

Filed under: Projects,Tech — bsullivan @ 10:28 am

My iPod has what so many iPod owners have had, a senile battery. I purchased this 15GB iPod back in March of 2004. it's a 3rd Generation model, with the four buttons above the scroll wheel. The only series built with this configuration. The next generation used the single click/scroll wheel; a design they still use today.

So this thing gets an awful lot of use. I installed an interface in my VW so that I could take it on the road. I've since stopped listening to CDs and the radio. I got a set of Etymotic Research ER6i headphones so I could listen at night and not disturb my wife. I plug it in when i get to work in the morning and remove it when I leave. Every day. I use it for listening to music, calendar, address book and for transferring files. It's a tool I use every single day and I love it.

So, a few weeks ago when it started misbehaving, I knew it needed a new battery. The strange, recurring behavior that really pushed me over the edge would happen nearly each night as I was listening to the iPod going to bed. When I turn it on, the battery level looked fine and the unit behaved fine. When I would select a song, it would begin playing and then the iPod would suddenly reset itself. On one occasion it reset itself and then started playing with the volume turned all the way up. This is particularly nasty with the in-ear headphones. Ouch. This reset behavior would happen 3-5 times before the unit would finally play a song. Then the battery indicator would read "empty" and would begin to go up. Occasionally after a song or two, the unit would reset itself again. This even happened a few times in my car while plugged into a charger adapter. I'd had enough.

iPod on the operating table

So after considering the Apple $66 iPod Battery Replacement rip-off I decided to go with a tried and true source, Other World Computing. My friend Paul reminded me of their iPod replacement batteries which sell for $30 shipped! And, they come with a set of nylon DIY tools. There's even videos on their site to show how to do it (and just how EASY it is). I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone who's iPod battery is on the fritz and is willing to crack it open and have a try. The install only took me about 5 minutes and was incredibly simple thanks to OWC's instructions and tools. It's also fun to see the guts of the iPod.

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