Enough sawdust to make a few sheets of plywood.
Covered in enough sawdust to make a few sheets of plywood.

Greetings from, still wicked hot, South Carolina.

Thanks for stopping by.

They tell me it’s fall, but it’s still in the 90’s here.  A friend of mine was just telling me, earlier this evening, that they’re expecting -30F in Minot, ND in the morning.  I’ll sweat out the 90’s, thank you very much.

Well, the great finish debacle has finally been settled.  Now maybe I’ll be able to sleep again.

After months of research, I’ve finally decided on three coats of marine epoxy over all the skin, with all the seams fiberglass taped, then a marine primer and a couple coats of marine topside paint.  I looked back, fondly, at all of these pictures over the last eight weeks, as well as considered the enormous amount of time and money I’ve put into the project, and decided that the finish would be the absolute worst place to skimp.  After all the time I’ve spent building Nosty’s Nook, I don’t want to use it for one season, then have to tear it down to repair wood rot or water damage.

I may have been a little bit overzealous last week when I, foolishly, thought I’d be able to get to the finish this weekend.  I’d forgotten about the skirting and fender covers I still needed to make; on top of the door fab and rear door build.  Conservatively, I could actually get to the epoxy tomorrow, (Sunday), but I’ve come too far to start rushing now.  I’m new to epoxy.  I want to be certain that I do it on a day when I have the entire day to be on top of it in case Murphy’s Law rears its’ ugly head and things go awry, (which, in my case, is almost a given).

Yesterday and today were spent getting the side doors built and hung, getting the skirting on the lower rear, as well as insuring all the windows were going to fit.  They did, (thankfully!).

Left door framed out.
Insulation on board.
Yeah! It fit!

I managed to get the fender covers built and installed tonight, but by the time I finished, it was too dark to take any pictures.  I’ll get one tomorrow.

I ordered the epoxy and all the associated hardware, online, last Monday and was pleasantly surprised when the UPS driver knocked on my door Thursday with all the goodies.   Raka Epoxy out of Ft. Pierce, FL, came highly recommended by a great many of the good folks on the T&TTT Forum; and I now know why.  Obviously, being a first-timer where epoxy is concerned, I had a few questions.  I called Raka and was amazed at the time and patience Larry, the owner, took to insure I had the correct blend of epoxy and hardener for what I was doing; not to mention the time he spent talking to me about a few of the tricks of the trade.  In this day and age, few businesses offer that kind of one-on-one customer service.  Thank you, Larry.

And, of course, by ordering the epoxy and all the associated gadgets and doo-dads, ($260.33), and, including a trip to the Home Depot for additional sanding pads for the orbital sander, sanding belts for the belt sander, denatured alcohol, (for cleaning the epoxy off skin, (a given), and tools), and a few hardware odds and ends, the cost of the build has now reached $1961.88.  That’s not a gripe, believe me.  I’ve had ten-times that amount in fun alone, and I’m still thousands below the cost of buying a ready-made TTT; and I wouldn’t have bragging rights on the finished product if I bought a ready-made.  Again, nothing against buying a ready-made.  Building was my choice.  Others may not care to build.  All power to them.  The ultimate goal is to get out in the woods and start enjoying the many wonderful aspects of the camping hobby.  However you chose to do that, as long as it isn’t breaking any laws, is just fine.

After reading a few of your emails this week, I started doing a little calculating.  I’ve already picked out, (and priced), the light fixtures I plan on using inside the camper, and have already purchased the paint and most of the interior furnishings, (or had them already), so, excluding any unforeseen expenses, Nosty’s Nook should come in at approximately $2200.00.  That’s figuring in a little fluff for a stick or lumber here or a box of screws there, (and includes the marine paint and primer).  Again, I’ve been buying everything over the last three years, (and buying new, not used, so someone more frugal than I could build for considerably less), so it isn’t as if I’m sitting in the dark because I couldn’t pay the electric bill, waterless, eating potted meat and saltines every night.  I work for a living, so an expenditure of this magnitude, all at once, would be a real stretch.  If you’re considering a build, this is an important issue to ponder when you enter into the planning stages.  Another thought to consider would be that a ready-made of this size, comparably outfitted, (new), would have a starting price of around $6000.00.  Obviously, a used unit would be much cheaper, initially: until you have to start doing repairs.  Been there, done that, got a tee shirt.  That’s what put building my own over the top for me.

Another important consideration would be time.  To date, I’ve invested 200-plus hours into Nosty’s Nook.  That’s a conservative estimate.  I work on it three days a week, minimally eight hours a day.  Usually, it’s actually between ten and twelve hours a day, (I’m going by crock pot time.  I usually put something in the crock pot before I start in the morning, set it for 10 hours, and, almost always, come in to a finished dinner with the crock pot all ready finished and on warm).  That’s not including the trips during the week to pick up this or that for the weekend.  I love the work and, frankly, I’m having a ball.  It’s therapy and a mental health vacation all wrapped up in one fun bundle.  You may not have that kind of time to invest.  Just some food for thought.  I’m addressing these issues because these are some of the most common questions I receive via email every week.  I hope this, along with the facts and figures in the previous weeks’ blogs, gives “y’all” a somewhat better understanding of what’s involved in a TTT build.   Clear as mud? *laughing*

Sunday. Framing the galley doors.
Skirting and fender covers finished.
The front window fits! Whoo hoo!

Today, (Sunday), is probably the muggiest, hottest day since I started the build.  I’m trying to do small tasks so I can come in for some cool air breaks while glue is drying or caulk sets.  I made the foolish mistake of going at it hard right off the bat this morning and started experiencing the telltale symptoms of heat exhaustion.  And I know I drank at least a gallon of water.  Summer still has its’ claws in SC pretty deeply and, looking at the extended forecast, there’s no end in sight.  We shall persevere!

Quote of the week: “My kingdom for some straight and true lumber!”  I’m one of those guys you probably grumble about when you go into Lowes or the Home Depot and find 2X4’s or sheets of plywood laying off to the side because some *&^*%# picked through a whole bunch of it.  Sorry about that, but there’s nothing like a warped 2X2 to make an otherwise precisely measured and built project look like something you’d find imbedded in the side of a barn after a twister.  And that’s the stuff the stores claim as “top grade.”  I’d hate to see their economy grade.  What I brought home looked good in the store, (after the aforementioned cherry-picking).  Apparently, it wasn’t fully dried.  One week in the shed, in this heat, and I’ve got a bunch of walking-cane shaped, useless lumber.  The right side door now has a bow at the bottom that wasn’t there yesterday.  Looks like I’ll have to take it back off, clamp it up, and pray for the best.  Thankfully, I’m coming into the home stretch.  Most of the structure is completed.  The only lumber I should need from here on will probably be hardwood facing for the cabinets.

Well, I survived the heat and the sharp objects yet another week.  I didn’t get as much done today as I would have liked, but better to fall behind then to fall out in the back yard.  My only hope of survival would be if my massive bulk hitting the ground caused enough of a tremor to alert one of the neighbors.

Galley doors roughed in.

I rough-finished the galley doors and got them hung on their hinges.  I still need to do some adjustments and alignments, but they’re on.  I didn’t dare brave the inside of the TTT to do any of the painting I’d hoped to do today.  It had to be 20 degrees hotter inside than it was out.  I’m in the home stretch with the rough carpentry and I’m extremely happy with the results thus far.  A few more minor jobs, like installing the flip door for the electrical cable and water hose, and it’s on to the finish and the finish work.  The whole time I’ve been working, I’ve been planning and making decisions on how and where I wanted this and that.  There’s another benefit of building your own to add to the “pros” list.  When it’s done, it’s about as custom to your wants and needs as it can be.

Baring any disasters or atmospheric disturbances, next weekend will consist of sanding and, hopefully, epoxying.  I don’t know whether it’s really all the other things I’ve wanted to get done, or cold feet over tackling the epoxy job that keeps me from starting, but I seem to be hesitant to start.  I’m almost always up for a challenge, but, given the time and effort that’s gone into Nosty’s Nook so far, it would, literally, break my heart to screw up on one of the last steps.  I can only imagine what would be involved in completely removing 200 sq. ft. of gooey epoxy from plywood because I screwed up on the mix ratio or something equally stupid.  Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Stay tuned for film at 11.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  More importantly, I hope I’ve answered some of the questions you’ve been asking in your great emails.  I will be posting the grand total spreadsheet when I’m finished with the build.  It’ll include all the money I’ve spent and all the time I’ve put into it.  I’m probably not a good example, time wise.  I tend to be a little anal when it comes to the details, so I’ve gone back and redone, or replaced, some of the things that some might have not even considered an issue.

As always, keep those cards and letters coming. *laughing*  Email any questions or comments to me at doc@bgreenleaf.com.  I do answer all emails and I really enjoy reading your comments and questions.

Belly laughs on every page. One final note.  If you’re nearing 40, past 40, or concerned about the changes you’ll incur when you get there, and would like to laugh til you cry when you find out the answers, stop by the book store and order a copy of my latest book, Born Bent Over:  Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age. It’s available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com or through my website, bgreenleaf.com .  I can guarantee that, if you have a sense of humor, and love a good belly laugh, (snorting optional), Born Bent Over is just what the doctor ordered.

Until next week, may your days be filled with happiness, and your life filled with love and laughter.

Adio,  Brian

©Brian Greenleaf 2010.  All rights reserved.

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