Hi! Welcome back. If this is your first visit, welcome. It’s great to have you here.
I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend.
I sure did! It must be the fall-like weather here in South Carolina: that, or the fact that my four day weekend was cut down to two, but something lit a fire under me for those two days and Nosty’s Nook is actually starting to look more like a camper and less like some old guy’s pipe dream.
I’ve got to say, old age has not been kind to me. Tonight, even my hair hurts! (What little I have left). *laughing* Those muscles I said I didn’t even know I had are making their presence known in spades.
OK, Tylenol on board, Flexall applied liberally on my back, knees, elbows and neck, heating pad on high and pistol nearby in case all the aforementioned products fail to stop the aching, let me fill you in on the progress made this weekend.
As I mentioned last week, my first task this weekend was to test the electrical system to insure I hadn’t driven a screw through one of the cables. Luck was on my side and everything powered up and functioned without a flaw. And I didn’t zap myself even once.
Not that I’m out of the woods yet. I still have to attach the skin with, you guessed it, more screws. I’m hoping my luck holds and I don’t let the magic smoke out of the system when I fire it up after the skin’s all on. That’s when a minor inconvenience turns into a disaster of biblical proportions.
After the electrical test, I started installing the insulation. I didn’t anticipate that being any real trouble and, luckily, I was right. I spent about five hours total putting it all in. The only pain was channeling some of the Styrofoam for wires to pass through it. Thankfully, almost everything is square so there weren’t many angled cuts or tongue-in-cheek modifications needed. I used the foamboard adhesive on the sides just because. I had to press-fit all the insulation, so it’s in there tight, but I had a couple of tubes on hand so, why not?
After the electrical test and the insulation were done, I was beat. *laughing* Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist), whatever possessed me to put myself on the fall deadline started nagging at me to put another coat of primer on the interior before I called it a night. I always listen to the voices in my head.
I knew that I wanted the sides to go on so that the eight foot length went from the rear to the front, with the short piece at the front. As you may remember from my earlier posts, the last two feet of the camper are added-on to make the 10′ length from an 8′ trailer. By installing it that way, that should add strength from the main framework to help support the rear. Not that it was really necessary. I made sure I built the sub-frame to last, but every little bit helps when you’re working with light weight in mind.
Today, (Monday), I think my guardian angel, Murray, must have, for once, been sober because we rocked the house. Whenever I’m involved in a project, it stays at the forefront of what little gray matter I have left, regardless of how hard I try to squelch it. I spent eighteen hours on the road this weekend and thought of nothing else but the best way to install the side skins. I decided, (somewhere around Brunswick, GA, I believe), that I would put the 8′ lengths of skin on first, (actually second, after the rear section which was, basically, a quick task). Those two pieces, I deduced, would be the hardest part. I figured that getting the worst done first would make the rest of the job that much more pleasant. Fitting the 8′ length sides brought about the added problem of having to measure and cut the holes for the outside light boxes and scroll around the fenders. An 8 X 4 sheet of 1/4th inch plywood isn’t heavy until you try to balance it with one hand, line up a 2″ X 4″ electrical box that’s sticking out so as to fit perfectly in the hole cut out for it, and line up the fender with the other hand, all while using your knees as anchors. Thankfully, I had a few Quick Grip clamps on hand which helped immensely.
After getting everything marked and cut out, I got the sides fitted, then removed them again to slather the framework with Gorilla Glue. Between the glue and the fasteners, the entire camper will be one solid unit, each part drawing strength from the other.
If you’ve noticed in any of the earlier pictures, the roof curves downward slightly from about the middle of the camper to the back. I did this to help with water run-off, so I rough-cut all the skin a little longer and wider. Once the skins were secured to the frame, I routed all the edges with a laminate trimming bit to make everything flush, then cut out the doors. I installed the rear skin first so that the sides would overlap it, and will be installing the front last so it overlaps the sides. This will, I hope, help keep driving rain while going down the road, etc, from penetrating any gap, or the end grain, that overlapping the sides over the front would have made. I’m praying that the finish coat of paint on the exterior will sufficiently seal all the wood and make it impervious to rain, (nice dream, Pops), but I’m hedging all my bets.
Thank God for routers! If I’d had to sand everything flush, I’d have ended up at Happy Acres long before I expected to have to go. I hate sanding! The true Artisans that do such beautiful work with nothing but a mallet and chisel have my deepest respect, but were I to meet one of them, I’d have to ask him/her if they were out of their mind. With so many innovations in woodworking, even an idiot can produce passable work. I’m living proof of that! Speaking of which, if any villages out there have lost their idiot, I’m available, and I work cheap.
Shift to the present.
I took the pictures after I cleaned up the yard, which was a disaster area. Between little pieces of styrofoam, bits and pieces of scrap plywood and other, various and sundry, bits of scrap; not to mention a bizillion tools, the clean-up took up almost as much time as the actual trailer work did. I guess you can’t have it all. When I’m the king, I’m going to have “people” to take care of those mundane tasks so I can concentrate on more important matters.*laughing*
The last task of the day, after I had Nosty’s Nook secured in the “garage,” (OK, it’s a tent, but it keeps everything dry), was to remove the trailer tongue. I’m taking it in to work where a friend of mine will, for a nominal fee, extend it two additional feet. I’m doing this because the added two feet on the back of the camper has lessened the tongue weight to a point where I’m not comfortable pulling it. When the two feet are added to the tongue, (which is made of heavy gauge steel tubing which the additional 2′ will also be made of), and I have it back on the trailer, I’m going to build a large storage box that will mount to the front of the camper and rest on the tongue. This, I’m fairly certain, will better balance the trailer and give me that much needed, additional tongue weight; as well as giving me yet another place to put “stuff.”
That’s about it for this week. Tune in next week when you’ll hear Brian say, “What was I thinking!?” Actually, the only scary part left will be installing the front section of the roof. To avoid another seam, I’m planning on cutting a dado where the front “aerodynamically,” ( I don’t know why I like that word, but I do), tapers down to the front face so I can contour the plywood along the frame without having to taper-cut and fit two separate pieces. Seams are our enemies. I’m trying to avoid them at all costs.
Once again, my many thanks to all of you who have emailed me about the build. I always try to answer any and all emails within a day, and I do answer them all. Unfortunately, this last couple of weeks have been rather hectic so, if you don’t hear from me right away, you will. And to Sharon from Laurens, I believe that’s illegal in, at least, forty-six states, even in a camper. *laughing*
Have a wonderful week and stop back next week to see whether I’m working on Nosty’s Nook, or sporting a paisley straight-jacket, on my way to my beloved Happy Acres. I have a rubber lined penthouse there with my name on the door. If you’re ever out that way, mention my name. You’ll get the “spa” discount. That’s two-for-one shock therapy treatments and a complimentary Thorazine injection.
Until then, may you laugh until your sides hurt at least twice a day, (unless you’re a mortician……wouldn’t be prudent).
See you in the funny papers!
©Brian Greenleaf 2010