28. Re-do

This is what happens when things dont go right.


The glued up heavy cloth ended up bubbling and lifting away from the walls. There was no fixing it so I gave it a pull, or 5, and off it came. I’ll re-use it somehow.

So I went in search of sheets. It took 3 quick stops at motels to get a large, well-used cotton sheet for free. It was 8×7′ so I got both sides covered. Clearance shelves at a discount store always have sheets and I got a nice cotton  set at 1/3rd the regular price. (:

This time I soaked the sheet with the glue/water mix and placed it carefully, smoothed it with my gloved hand, then rolled it tight with a sponge roller. It looked nice.

The first side I did solo; Holly helped on the second cutting the time it took by well over half.



At bedtime it still looked pretty good.


27. Covering

First order of business was finishing the electrical connections to the tongue box.

Then I cut and prepped the front skin to cover all the electrical.  It was glued and pinned with the airnailer.

I was at a loss as to how to procede with the canvas coating. There are just no instructions for what I was doing.  So this is what Ive tried:

1. Paint the wood with 1/1 water and Titebond.

2. Pin the cloth on the side and roll more of the 1/1 stuff on, pushing it through to touch the wood.

3. Go back over it and reglue some parts

This method gave only fair results  not all of the cloth was stuck down.

The other side I treated differently. Same step 1, but to get more 1/1 into and through the cloth, I put the watery glue in a bucket and dumped the cloth into it squishing and absorbing almost all of the wet.

I then proceeded as before, smoothing and tugging intil the cloth was tight.

I’ll give it a 24 dry before messing with it.

26. Little stuff matters

Started the day with removing the clamps on the front skin that had loosened. Use good wood beams; a crummy corner will not work, especially at a joint. I added a support piece, screwed in.

Next came replacing temporary battery leads with 6 ga. cables. Probably overkill but it won’t hurt. I slid them through the blue looms, entering the tongue box through two rather protected holes. The cable ends fit nicely and attach quickly to the battery.


I covered a ceiling seam with some simple trim. Oops forgot to finish it first.



Spent some thinking time with the galley shelves and how the hatch will fit. With that decided, I was ready to use the router to neatly trim the cabin edges.


Im ready for the cloth covering!


25. Twist and Shout

Most of the hatch went together as planned, but I noticed that some of the skin had not sealed and was pulling away from the frame under tension. I poured glue on the crack and shoved it into the gap with a putty knife.  Clamped, it is doing just fine.  image


I clamped, glued and nailed the 18″ ceiling piece in place.  Working on one’s back, reaching up 4′ to work is not much fun.   A bit more appreciation for the Cistine Chapel coming. That blue thing is a wire loom that holds the hatch light wires.  Had to have a flexible device to go between the hatch and the ceiling.


Not a banner day for liquid nails.   The front of the birch top let go.  When I saw it, I yelled, AHHHH! But then I got busy with a clamp hack and wedges to push it all back.  I think a cap over the edges, screwed into the beam will do it.  For now, lotsa glue and brads liberally applied are working.image

So I’m at the point of starting in on the doors.   Hmmm.   Cannot for the life of me figure out how the window goes in.   I’m thinking a call to the seller  in the morning will be worthwhile.


24. Unhinged

It went as planned but thank goodness the glue wasnt too quick-setting, I had plenty of clamps and a airnailer. I laid the hinge end and clamped it, then clamped the middle section and lastly got close on the bumper end.   Then after much comparing and nudging, I started in with short brads via the air nailer.


It worked.  nice and tight.

After finishing the nailing, I lifted the whole hatch and made sure it fit neatly between the galley walls.  Satisfied, I set the hatch back level to dry.   By 8:00 or so I was able to remove the remaining clamps  and set the hatch in its rightful place.


You can barely see the 4′ mark where the hatch door meets the roof.  I was more than satisfied.  It evoked a fist pump or two.

The hinge came today.  It is a hyper-strength, super-duper long piece of plastic.   They SAY it’s awesome.   We’ll see.

23. Fitting the hatch together

Trim. Trim. Trim.

Getting the hatch to fit meant trimming and sanding the walls down.   I wanted the hatch to be a little higher to account for foam or trim so adjustments had to be made.

Once satisfied about the fit, I glued and nailed the crossbeams in.  That was easy.


The hinge was hung up, I thought, in delivery.  Then an email arrived that UPS had somehow damaged it.  The hinge company  had already re-sent me the product and it was due tomorrow.  Cool!


22. Hatchling

Removing all the clamps to the top skin was interesting but uneventful.  That much curve causes a lot of strain in a piece of plywood.  I guess I used the right kind and amounts.  Everything held beautifully.


I drilled a hole in the fan space for the router bit and was kind of amazed at how well it cut a beautiful square. Some things just work. One side needed glue ; the clamps helped and squeezed the connection shut.


I used the same bit on the hatch overhang and with a little coping saw work got a nice clean edge over which the covering and plastic hinge will be placed.

I am very grateful for the blogs and Pinterest links that I have used a LOT!! In one link a man chided most builders for making the hatch build so hard with carefully arched vertical beams.   He suggested that continuing the horizontal beam system in the hatch that most builders use is easier, faster, and looks just as good.  I agree.

I bought 2 1x8s for the sides, shaped them to match.  WAY easier.  I cut clean 1x2s as cross beams.



I used the cutaway part of the walls to mark out the pair of 1x8s which must match exactly the 4′ curve of the galley end.  Instead of using a slow jig saw, I opted to raise my skill saw blade and use that.   It really worked well.   Lots of sanding commenced.



21. Put a lid on it!

Holly was kind enough to help me steady a 4 x 8 sheet of 3 ply birch while I ran around gluing, clamping, strapping and screwing the thing down to conform to the 2′ radius of the front of the camper.   It worked!!  First time.

I had prepared with 4-16′ nylon straps.   The ratchets pulled things in tight and the crossbeams put extra pressure where it was needed.   A few brads with the airgun and then screws made it a tight fit.

I used mostly Liquid Nails as on the inside skin but ran out with a 6 foot run to go.  Titebond to the rescue.  It was satisfying seeing the goop squeezed out of a good bond.

The rain let up long enough to get the job done and I was elated to be at this point. A 24 hour cure will do it. The cap piece is on and lots of little, but meaningful things to do.


20. Day of Fut!

No pics today because I didn’t want to take a picture of a terrible mistake in cutting.  If the Titanic was my router all passengers would have made it to NY; missed the targeted beam by a mile.

The inner skin  hung past a beam.  Trimming it is very difficult. Measuring it impossible. But cutting it wrong was a piece o’cake. FUT!  Fortunately I know what a scab is and can cover the booboo with some trim.  I grimaced but wasn’t to bent about it.

Bruce at church suggested zip-tying all the wires.  He’s an electrician so I listened.

The real FUT! in the day was my truck dying at Menards, having to have it towed to a shop and tomorrow paying a bill likely worth more than the truck.   But it WILL start, so that’s good.