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Archive for October, 2010

Here it is:  in answer to the most asked question via email this week;  the interior will be green. Hey, “It ain’t easy being green!”  There is a reason, though.  Frankly, the cash cow budget I set aside for Nosty’s Nook has run dry.  So dry that she has turned inside-out!  We are now just over the $3000.00 mark.  Thankfully, I believe the worst of the spending is over.  Due to that fact, I find it necessary to “economize.”  As luck would have it, I happened to have an extra, almost, gallon of the paint I used to paint my master bedroom, so the lucky recipient of this week’s grand prize of an “almost full,” gallon of Granny Smith Apple Green will be………*drum roll*……… Nosty’s Nook!!  (the crowd cheers!).  Hey, I could have lied and said I painted it the same color as my bedroom so that I feel “at home” no matter where I go.  I’d never make it in politics.  Truth be told, I hate the color of my bedroom.  It was one of those colors that looked a whole lot better on the swatch than it does on the walls.  I just rationalized that I can repaint both the bedroom and Nosty’s Nook’s interior when economic times are better.  It isn’t as if I skimped on a structural matter or anything like that.

Hi, and welcome back.  After that intro, I feel it necessary to purge my conscience completely.  I was very bad Friday.  I’ve had a song idea in my head for a week.  Have you ever had that happen to you?  A melody that just won’t quit playing in your head? (I’m told there are medications for that).  Anyway; as I was muscling Das Nook out of the big top Friday, that tune was at max volume in my head and it wouldn’t let go.  Try as I might, I just couldn’t shake it.  So what would any other makeshift-musician do?  What else?  I went into the studio, picked up my guitar and started popping out a few demo tracks.  For shame!  Actually, I don’t feel as guilty as I thought I would.  I did, however, manage to get the tail light brackets fabricated and I mounted the outside lights.  Not a banner day on the build, but I have faith that I’ll make up for it tomorrow and a little on Sunday before I have to leave for an out-of-town trip.  If nothing else, I’ve laid a couple tracks on a song that will, one day, rock the CD business to it’s very foundation.  OK, so it’ll probably never end up on more than my MP3 player, but I had a ball!  That’s what life’s supposed to be all about, isn’t it?

(Saturday)  OK, back to reality.  The obsessive-compulsive voice in my head is back at the wheel.  I got an early start due to a guilty conscience and hit the ground running at around 8AM.  I had to run a separate ground wire from each of the tail and market light brackets to the metal trailer frame to ground the lights because they’re mounted to the wooden body, and run the new harness through the tongue, along the underside of the camper to each of the lights.  Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?  Actually, it went fairly smoothly.  My back and knees may not function in the morning from crawling around the concrete driveway, but it sure beat rolling around in the mud in the back yard.  We had a little rain last week and, apparently, it was the good, soak-in, type because my yard is still spongy.  At any rate, at the end of the day, Nosty’s Nook is now legal with functioning lights.  Whoo Hoo!

Right side with outside light lit.

(Sunday) Reprieve!  I was supposed to be going out of town this afternoon but, thankfully, that was postponed.  An eleventh-hour reprieve from the Governor, I suspect. *laughing*  Anyway, while I didn’t manage to get a whole lot done today, I did manage to break one of the new outside lights on the side while I was moving the camper back into the big-top.  Aside from that, I filled all the exposed screw heads on the inside walls with joint compound.  Here’s a shot with the “submarine” lights, as my neighbor/friend called them, lit.  I’ll be exchanging the regular bulbs for yellow ones when bug season returns.

Tail and marker lights installed.

And here’s a shot with the tail lights installed.  Thankfully, after a day of walking on concrete on my back and knees, the lights worked fine.  The Nook is now legal.

As I mentioned, I was rather lax this weekend, partly over preparing for the trip I now don’t have to make this afternoon, so I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.  I’m still fairly secure in the idea that Nosty’s Nook will definitely be “camp worthy” by Thanksgiving.  It had better be.  I’ve already paid for my reservations at the lake.  According to our friends at the weather bureau, next weekend is going to be clear and cool, (mid-fifties).  Not exactly perfect painting weather, but now that the camper is dried in, I can always start the heater if need be.  Thankfully, as I mentioned last week, the water-based latex I’ll be using inside has a lot quicker drying time than the enamel I used on the exterior so I’m pretty confident the painting, bed frame, bed deck and door moldings will be finished by next weekend.  That’s sufficient to sustain life, so anything I finish the following two weekends will be a bonus.  I’ve got twenty-six days til her maiden voyage.  That’s three weekends.  Wish me luck.  I’ll need it.

That’s about it for this week.  Sorry I didn’t have more to show for the three days, but that’s the way things go sometimes.

Until next week, I wish you peace, happiness and big goofy smiles for no apparent reason at least hourly.  Those are doctor’s orders.

Adio,
Brian
A load of laughs on every page.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.

And, if you’re looking for a great read for the cold weekends ahead, order a copy of my latest book, Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.  I guarantee a chuckle in every chapter.  You can find it at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, or through my website, bgreenleaf.com where you can also read some of my short stories or hear the, quickly becoming famous, Born Bent Over Theme Song.

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Hello, my friends.  Welcome back to Bedlam.

If this is your first visit, I’m in the process of giving myself a long, hard lesson in humility and patience, (and taking a correspondence course in do-it-yourself spleen transplants to enable a friend of mine to be able to, once again, enjoy dirty martinis).  Actually, this is week thirteen of a TTT, (Tiny Travel Trailer), build that I have lovingly and painfully erected from the bottom up.

First off, I’d like to thank a friend of mine, Dan W, (alias Super-Tech), for his encouragement throughout this project.  Dan has suffered through the blog every week, giving me ideas and opinions, and has convinced me that those runs in the epoxy I was so worked up about last week will just add character to Nosty’s Nook and make it unique.  You’re as full of it as a Christmas goose, Dan, but I do appreciate it.  They sanded out pretty well, by the way.

(Friday) Well, the third coat of enamel went on today.  I’m watching it dry as I write this.  I need to get a life.  When the highlight of your day is watching paint dry, it’s time to rethink your priorities.

We are not happy.  The plexiglas-like finish I’d hoped for just isn’t coming to fruition.  Considering that there’s four full coats of epoxy and, now, three coats of urethane enamel on the outer shell, I had hoped for more.  I’m rethinking the use of the foam rollers I’ve used throughout, for the epoxy and the paint, and thinking that I might add one more coat tomorrow using a roller with a nap to, hopefully, fill in some of the little “Oh Craps,” scattered about the skin.  Not that the finish is hideous or anything like that, but it just isn’t what I want to settle for after all the sweat equity I’ve put into this project to date.  Stay tuned for film at 11.

(Saturday) For a break in the doldrums of watching paint dry, I went ahead, threw caution to the wind, and made reservation’s for Nosty’s Nook’s maiden voyage.  Nothing like adding yet another deadline and more pressure to an already rattling pressure cooker.  This Thanksgiving weekend, “Da Nook” and I will be parked just over the South Carolina/Georgia border on Lake Hartwell, soaking up the ambiance and enjoying our first weekend in the woods in a very long time.  Of course, I’ll be taking pictures, (hopefully none of them will be of Nosty’s Nook broken down on the side of the highway), catching up on my reading and working on the blog.  To add to this weekend’s festivities, I’ve got three massive tree limbs in my back yard that look as if they may make great firewood for that weekend.  Time to break out the chainsaw.  Pray for me!

The fourth coat wasn’t a miracle cure, but the 3/8″ nap roller did make a difference.  I can live with it.  I’ve got a little touch up and body work to do next week, but, for the most part, I’m fairly satisfied with the finish.  While I was in a painting frame of mind, I went ahead and got the first coat of primer on the galley walls and on the inside door skins so I can, God willing, get the windows in tomorrow.  The local radio station was having a “Flashback Weekend!” (which they do every weekend so I don’t know what all the fuss is about), but the 70’s and 80’s were oozing from the boom box and I was two-steppin to the oldies with my paint roller.  Did I mention that I need to get a life?

(Sunday) Whoo Hoo!!!  Houston, we have liftoff!!  The past three years have finally come together well enough to make me believe that I will soon be enjoying quiet weekends by the lake, mesmerized by the crackle and pop of a roaring fire and returning to a hobby that I have loved since I was a boy, but have had little chance to enjoy in many years.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Damen und Herren, boys and girls of all ages, I give you the, “outside almost finished,” Nosty’s Nook!”

A view from above

I know!  Pretty cool, ain’t it? *laughing*  Forgive me for gushing, but for me, this is a milestone; one that I’ve been planning and hoping for these last three years.

With the exception of the right side door window, everything today went extremely well.  I must confess to using a few words that would probably get my mouth washed out with soap if my mother were here to hear them, but, tongue in cheek, I finally got the booger to cooperate.  Either the internal ring that came with the window was bent, or I cut the hole a little too small on the inside door skin.  For the sake of argument, let’s just assume the ring was bent or otherwise deformed, and go from there.  However, after I ran the Rotozip around the hole in a few strategic places, the ring finally went in and the window and ring aligned properly and cinched up.

I’ll have to write a letter of complaint tomorrow.  Unfortunately, It’ll have to be addressed to me.  Fortunately, it was one of those screw-ups that’s easily fixed.  Confucius say:  It is much easier to make a hole bigger, than it is to make one smaller.  I don’t know whether he really said that, but it sounds like something he’d say.

I’ve still got some touch-up painting to do around the outer skin but, for the most part, with the exception of the rear doors, all that’s left outside is to install the trim around the doors and add the door hardware.

I can taste that grilled turkey breast, mashed taters and pecan pie I have planned for Thanksgiving dinner by the lake already.

Box installed with hardware

Here’s a shot of the front.  All that remains is to install a locking garage door handle to the top front of the box to make it secure.  I’m having a hard time finding one in gloss black.  I may have to order one online.  The box came out better than I expected and I’m sure it’ll really come in handy given the limited amount of storage space inside the TTT.  In the previous picture you can see the roof vent.  I was really concerned about there being a big leak potential there, so I ran two congruent runs of butyl tape, two deep, around the inside lip and caulked all the screws before I drove them in.  If that leaks, I’ll either be booking package on the ark, or reevaluating my woefully overestimated woodworking capabilities.

Another milestone today was when I said goodbye to that 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete, (my redneck, pool deck, umbrella stand).  I had it sitting inside toward the front of the camper, glaring at me every week, to stop the camper from popping wheelies.  The added weight of the box seems to have solved the problem so, once I’ve installed the remainder of the bed frame and the plywood bed platform, that worry should be a thing of the past.  Have I mentioned that things are finally starting to come together? *laughing*

Thankfully, the weather has been phenomenal throughout the build.  I think I’ve missed three days due to inclement weather.  Now if it’ll just hold out for a few more weeks, we’ll be ready to rock and roll!   Now, with everything in the dry, I can, probably, squeeze inside with the camper under the big top to do small things.  Unfortunately, the big top isn’t big enough to set up power tools or maneuver sheet goods around, but painting shouldn’t be a problem.

“Dear Santa, I know I’ve been a real stinker this year, (same as always), but if I promise to make you a batch of cannoli, would you please bring me a garage?  Thanks, your most “interesting” friend, Brian,”   Hey, he sure didn’t get that fat eating tofu.  It’s worth a shot.

Left view from above

This is the last of the pictures for this week, (the crowd cheers!).  You can see the left door window installed.  I had a picture of the right side, too, but the sun was at just the right angle to provide a great reflection of the idiot photographer emblazoned in the side of the camper.  I buy a better camera and I still can’t shoot good pictures. Oh well, my sister got the photographic skills.  I was cursed with the brains and good looks. *laughing*  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Well, my friends, next week it’ll be a combination of interior work and the outside door trim.  I’m hoping that things will start moving along faster now that I won’t have to wait a day between epoxy and paint coats.  Those steps have been a real bottleneck in an otherwise smoothly flowing process.  I’m using Kilz primer on the inside, which has a one hour re-coat time and water based latex paint which usually dries enough to be re-coated in a few hours.  Now that the windows are installed, and the inside is, basically, sealed off if the windows and doors are closed, I can work on the cabinet faces without fear of flying sawdust infiltrating the wet paint; so I’m optimistic.  I still have to dig out the old Coleman stove and lanterns to insure they’re in working order.  With all the time that’s passed since their last use, I may find them with families of insects, mold and whatnot living inside.

I’d like to thank you all for stopping by each week, and for your great emails and comments.  It has really been fun talking with you, both via email and on Facebook.  I’d also like to thank the folks from the Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailer Forums who have given me so much help in the areas where I was either unsure, or didn’t have a clue, on how to tackle certain parts of the build.   Keep those cards and letters coming.  It’s really a pleasure talking with you.  You can contact me via email anytime at doc@bgreenleaf.com.

Until next week, I wish you peace, happiness and success in everything you do.  Life is wonderful.  Live it to the fullest.

Adio,  Brian

©Brian Greenleaf 2010.  All rights reserved.

A load of laughs on every page.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.

And, if you’re looking for a great read for the cold weekends ahead, order a copy of my latest book, Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.  I guarantee a chuckle in every chapter.  You can find it at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, or through my website, bgreenleaf.com where you can also read some of my short stories or hear the, quickly becoming famous, Born Bent Over Theme Song.

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Hello my friends.  Welcome back.

If you’re new to the blog, I’m in the twelfth week of building a TTT, (Tiny Travel Trailer), from the ground up.

Well, all that talk of patience last week went right out the window this weekend.  I misread the label on the paint I bought, (which, I will say, seems to really be top shelf), regarding re-coating times.  The label reads, “Dry to the touch in two hours.”  That must have been where I stopped reading, ( I have zero attention span.  I probably have ADD).  Once I got the paint home and reread the label, that sentence was followed by, “Can be re-coated in eight hours.”  Typical male: “We don’t need no stinking directions!”  So, yet again, it’s another manic, hurry up and wait weekend.  Thankfully, this may put me a little behind on my personal timeline, but, baring any unforeseen disasters, having Nosty’s Nook ready for the Thanksgiving weekend is a very “do-able” goal.  I’m so convinced of it, I’m going to make reservations this week for that weekend.  That’s probably more a formality than a necessity.  Most people are too sane to be out camping in late November, but I never claimed to be sane.  As a matter of fact, I’m rather proud of my insanity.  I’ve always got a new voice in my head to bounce new ideas off of.

And I’m still having the time of my life.

(Friday)  Guess what I spent the morning doing?  You guessed it: sanding.  Can you detect the note of sarcasm in that statement?  I had to lightly sand the entire outer shell to give the epoxy coat a tooth for the urethane enamel to adhere to.  Before I started sanding, though, I went ahead and drilled out and cut the holes for the door knobs and the electrical cable hatch.  Thankfully, both of those tasks went smoothly.  I plugged my MP3 player into my ears, (the emptiness between my ears makes for a great echo chamber.  Music couldn’t sound any better in a grand concert hall), and went about the three or four hours of roughing up the epoxy.  Then, I wiped the entire shell down with mineral spirits to get all the sanding dust off and had just enough time left to cut in all the corners and tight spots with a brush coat.  Today wouldn’t have been a good day to apply a full coat anyway.  The wind was flat out kickin and I didn’t want to sleep out in the yard, waking every half-hour to pick leaves, bugs and what-not out of the paint.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a much calmer day.

(Saturday)  The first coat seemed to go on extremely well.  So far, I’m very pleased with the Benjamin Moore P22 urethane enamel.  I’m more used to using latex, water-based paints, but I didn’t see a whole lot of difference in the application.  I’m using foam rollers in the hope of getting a smooth, glass-like finish.  This may prove to be a fools errand because, as nice as the epoxy coat appears to have cured, the proof will be when this first coat dries.  The proof, they say, is in the paint, (or the pudding, but if it comes out with the consistency of pudding, I’ve got a whole lot more problems than just a glass-like finish).

(Sunday)  Well gang, I’m guessing the goose-stepping, happy dancing, self-applied pats on the back and the few odd disco moves these old bones still allow me to execute, which I did with aplomb after I thought the epoxy finish was completed, must have irked the epoxy gods; for they have shown their wrath.  I don’t know whether it was my fervent desire to be done with the sanding, or whether I definitely need to schedule an appointment with the optometrist, but the proof was, definitely, in the paint.  There are various and sundry nicks, sags and other oddities laughing at me on numerous spots throughout the finish.  I know big boys aren’t supposed to cry, but I may have shed a tear or two when I spotted that demon plague from hell glaring at me as I rolled on the second coat.  I’m over it, (with the help of a couple of Amber Bock’s).  Before I apply the third coat next week, I’ll take a little wet-sand paper to those spots to try and make them less visible.  As I mentioned last week, I wasn’t expecting perfection.  This was my first attempt at epoxy and, as far as I can tell, the main purpose for using the epoxy was a success.  All the wood has three or four coats of epoxy on it, protecting it from the elements.  The rest, as they say, is eye candy.  Not that I’m going to shrug it off and move on, mind you.  Have I mentioned that I’m a hopeless anal retentive? *laughing*  The finish may still never be showroom perfect, but I’m going to give it the old navy try and do everything in my power to make it as close to one as possible.  This is one area where the 8 hours between coats will come in handy.  If all goes well, I’ll do the repairs next Friday morning and apply the third coat close to the end of the day.  That way, the third coat should be dry by Saturday morning and I’ll be able to move on to the next steps and be that much closer to that camping trip over Thanksgiving weekend.

Now, to answer the question so many of you have been asking. *drum roll please!*  The color is!

 

Ariel view

Top view

 

The color is called Royal Burgundy!  I like things royal.  I’m preparing myself for my inevitable rise to the throne of a small, third world, country.  That, however, is a whole other blog.

Actually, after weeks of perusing paint swatches, I chose this color because it’s really close to the Candy Apple Red on the 68 GTO I once had the honor of owning.  Fortunately, I did a much better paint job on the GTO than I have, so far, achieved on Nosty’s Nook.

 

Look closely. You can see my shame.

 

If you look to the left of the door you can see one nasty epoxy run that wasn’t evident until the paint went on.

 

Right side

 

You can see the hole in the side for the electrical cable hatch.  The bolt-on hatch is white to match the trim that’ll be going around the doors next weekend, (God willing)

I’m hoping that next weekend will be a major transition week for Nosty’s Nook.  If all goes well, and I get all the wet-sand repairs done in time to get the third coat on Friday, Saturday will include installing the windows and the roof vent and, at the risk of being overzealous, the door trim.  That will have her in the dry and I can start concentrating my efforts on the inside.  Thankfully, most of the sanding on the inside has been completed so, with the exception of the cabinet trim, next weekend should be, pretty much, the end of the sanding.  Salute!!

Well my friends, there’s not a whole lot more to report this weekend.  While progress was made, it wasn’t enough to go on and on about.  I tend to ramble so I’ll spare you the details of the drying process, or of the terrible time I had folding the fitted sheet when I did laundry between coats on Saturday or, while possibly more interesting, the outcome of the self-inflicted haircut I gave myself between coats on Saturday.  Wouldn’t be prudent.

Hopefully, there’ll be a whole lot more to report next weekend.  The extended weather forecast is calling for a week of days just like today, sunny and 80 degrees.  It has truly been Heaven here in South Carolina these last few weeks.

As always, keep those cards and letters coming.  I love hearing from you and swapping stories about campers and the wonderful camping hobby.  Contact me anytime at: doc@bgreenleaf.com

And, if you’re looking for a great read for the cold weekends ahead, order a copy of my latest book, Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.  I guarantee a chuckle in every chapter.  You can find it at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, or through my website, bgreenleaf.com where you can also read some of my short stories or hear the, quickly becoming famous, Born Bent Over Theme Song.

 

A load of laughs on every page.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.

 

Until next week, live life to the fullest, love with all your heart and find a laugh in every waking minute.

Adio,

Brian

©Brian Greenleaf 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

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Hello.  Welcome back.

If you’re new to the blog; welcome.  I’m in the eleventh week of building a TTT, (Tiny Travel Trailer), from the ground up.  For the past eleven weekends I’ve been getting splinters, hammering my fingers and coming up with new and amazing ways to stick myself to various and sundry objects with epoxy, all in the hope of having Nosty’s Nook, (the name I’ve given my camper), ready for her maiden voyage on Thanksgiving weekend, (yes, this Thanksgiving).

I’d like to start this week’s diatribe off by asking for a moment of silence for the multitude of bugs who have given their life to insure I had to do scads of additional sanding after they successfully completed their kamikaze missions in the epoxy curing on the camper.  Salute!  In case I haven’t mentioned this before, I hate sanding!

It’s Friday and today has been one of those days you hate to have when you’re nearing the completion of a much anticipated project.  Because it’s been a week since I applied the second coat on the camper, I had to sand the entire outer shell down with 220 grit paper to give the cured epoxy a tooth for the next, (and, hopefully, last), coat to adhere to.  When that was finished, I added some micro-balloons to a batch of epoxy to make a faring compound, (similar to auto body filler), which I used to fill some dents and a few remaining screw holes.  After the requisite four-hour waiting time for that putty to dry, (seemed like forty hours), I’ll have to sand down the repaired spots, then apply the last epoxy coat.  I’m fairly well sure it’ll be tomorrow before I get the last coat on.  It’s almost 5PM now and, at last check, the faring putty was still rubbery.  I did, however, manage to get some things done around the house so, while there were no major visible advances on Nosty’s Nook today, my bathrooms are squeaky clean.

I’m extremely optimistic that, unless something major comes up, I’ll have all the epoxy work completed by the end of this weekend.  I’ll be stopping at the local Benjamin Moore paint store Monday to pick up the M22, urethane enamel that will be the final coating on the exterior shell.  I’m keeping the finish color a secret because so many of you have asked what the finish color will be, I’m holding out to insure you come back next week. *laughing*  A fella’s got to do what a fella’s got to do.

Once the primer coat and two coats of the finish enamel are on, I’ll be installing the windows and the roof vent.  That will, in effect, mean that the outside is complete and watertight, (I hope), and it’ll be time to move on to the inside and the galley.  The galley will be the final, (and probably most fun), part of the project.  I’ve actually had a dream where I was fixing a batch of my secret recipe camp stew, “Kiss the Cook” apron properly donned, cold, malty beverage in hand and completely enjoying a weekend away from the world.   It’s dreams like those that make waiting between epoxy coats so unbearable.  They also keep the incentive flowing.

(Saturday) Patience, thy name is Brian! (My new mantra).  Unfortunately, impatience is my middle name.  It continues to be one of those hurry up and wait weekends.  Thankfully, I got the last, final, coat of epoxy on the entire outer shell and the tongue box today.  Yeah!!!  All that should be left in the epoxy portion of our program this weekend will be a little touch-up and a lot of prayer.  Today should put next weekend’s paint schedule on the calendar in ink instead of pencil, (so, in keeping with my usual luck, it’ll probably rain!).  Drying time between paint coats is considerably less than that of epoxy, so next weekend should show a whole lot more visual progress.

Final epoxy coat on the roof.Looks a little like a freshly waxed bowling alley, doesn’t it?  You can’t see the exoskeletons from the multitude of unidentifiable insects that I’ve sanded, scraped and picked out of the finish but, alas, some still remain.  I know I’ve seen species of bugs, fossilized in my epoxy, that even an entomologist couldn’t identify.  I’m hoping they’ll be sufficiently covered by the primer coat next weekend because it’s going to take an act of congress to get me to take up the sander again on this part of the project, (OK, maybe just a nagging urge, but you get the point).  Maybe their corpses will be a harbinger to any bugs who have similar ideas for the rest of the weekend.

While applying the final epoxy coat I found a few concerning spots so, when it dries, I’ll whip up another batch of Father Brian’s Magic Faring Putty and make those a thing of the past.  In as much as I’d love to end up with a completely smooth, imperfection free, finish, I’m a realist.  This was my first attempt at epoxy and, while it looks great and I’m very proud of the outcome, I’m sure that I’ll be faced with a few “oops” when the primer goes on.  For the most part, small boo-boo’s will usually be covered by the primer and the finish coat is a self-leveling urethane enamel so I’m somewhat optimistic that the finished product won’t have me wearing a fake mustache, dark glasses and only taking the camper out of the “big top” after dark.  The main purpose is to have a watertight, waterproof finish that won’t have me waking up in an aquarium when a torrential downpour comes along.

(Sunday)  Drum roll, please!  Whoo Hoo!!!!  Epoxy finished!  Houston, we have a hard, plastic-like coating over the entire outer shell!  I think I’m going to cry, (must be the ton of sanding dust in my eyes).

I received an email from Dean in Amity, Oregon today.  Dean is suffering from the same affliction I had before the epoxy started.  Cold feet and fear of the unknown.  Dean, I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was easy because, in all honesty, it wasn’t.  On that same token, it isn’t rocket science, either.  I’m certainly no expert and, as I’ve said here on the blog a whole bunch of times, when you need information on anything to do with teardrops and tiny travel trailers, ask the pros on forum, (follow the link).  If they don’t have the answers, you aren’t asking the right questions. *laughing*  The great folks on that site have been of immeasurable help to me throughout this project.

To get back to Dean’s question; the seam taping is the worst part.  I found, through trial and error, that the way that worked best for me was to apply a thin coat of epoxy to the seam first.  Allow it to get tacky, then roll out your tape, stretching it slightly, and wet it out.  Be meticulous in your wet-out and make sure that the tape is thoroughly wet and in full contact with the seam or it will lift.  Then, use a fiberglass roller to flatten the seam out.  I used a 3″ aluminum fiberglass roller.  Also, when you’re finished with a seam, don’t walk away.  Stay with it, checking every  inch of it for at least an hour, (depending on the speed of your hardener).  The same goes for epoxy coats.  Keep walking around the teardrop, constantly checking for runs and sags.  I had to do a lot of sanding after the first coat because I walked away too soon and didn’t see those nasty dribbles and sags.  If you’re anything like me, you want to do as little sanding as possible.

Once the seams are done, the rest of the application is about the same as painting, (only with a lot longer curing time between coats).  I’ve sent you a more detailed explanation in my email reply.

Keep in touch, Dean, and let me know how your project’s going.  It sounds like you’re only about one step behind me.  Best of luck.

 

The Backyard's Halloween Costume

The Backyard's Halloween costume

 

My back yard is all gussied up for Halloween.  It’s going trick-or-treating as Sanford and Son’s junkyard.  Well, if you haven’t made a mess, you aren’t having fun, I always say.  And, as I’ve said time and again, I’m having a ball.  I believe that, in the last eleven weeks, I’ve solved all the world’s problems and at least half of my own.  There’s nothing like getting covered in sawdust, working on something that you know is going to be a definite benefit to your mental health and seeing the fruits of your labor coming together the way you wanted them to.  I’m not going to say that Nosty’s Nook is going to rival the models coming off the assembly line at a camper manufacturer’s factory, but I wouldn’t trade if for two of those.  This is something derived from my own warped and demented mind and has come together due to my own two hands over these last couple of years when the planning started.  It has been a labor of love.  The time I’ve had to think and enjoy the outside, listening to music and planning what goes where and how has been, for me, Nirvana.  I’d even have to say that the untold hours I’ve spent researching this and that, as well as chatting with the folks on the forums, usually during inclement weather, has been almost as enjoyable as the actual build.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

Well, that’s about it for this week.  Time to start the clean-up.  At present, the camper is sitting out in the sun, hardening, (like my arteries).  One piece of advice I feel compelled to pass on is that if you’re planning a build, and you don’t have a garage, get one!  Working outside is great, but having to wait for things to dry before you can roll it into a circus tent, not to mention the armies of bugs I got in the finish coat from having to leave it sitting outside, is a real pain in the neck.  My next project may just be a three car garage.  Why not?

 

Overall view of finished epoxy

 

Tune in next week when you’ll probably hear me say, “Doggone it!”  I say that a lot.  Baring rain or some other detestable act of Murphy’s Law, I’ll be painting next weekend.  May God have mercy on my soul.  Painting is something that I’m usually pretty good at.  Those are the kind of things that are sure to be the hard part when you’ve started on the downhill side of a project.  We shall see.

Keep those cards and letters, (known in the 21st century as emails), coming my friends.  I love hearing from, and chatting with you.  It has really been great to find out how many others out there are in one stage or another of a TTT build.  Fear not!  If I can do it, anyone can.  Email me anytime at doc@bgreenleaf.com.

Until next week, may your life be filled with joy and happiness.  Live long, love hard and laugh always.

See you in the funny papers,

Brian

 

A load of laughs on every page.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.

 

And don’t forget,  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.

©Brian Greenleaf 2010.  All rights reserved.

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Hi all.  Greetings from among the falling leaves, (which, along with the multitude of bugs, I’ve been picking out of the epoxy finish all weekend).  Fall has finally come to South Carolina.

The one that got away

Welcome back.  If you’re new to the blog, I’m in the tenth week of building a tiny travel trailer and sharing my experiences, good and bad, with those interested in teardrop and tiny travel trailers.

Well, there’s good news and bad news this weekend.  The good news is that the epoxy work has been going along quite well, (result-wise, not time-wise),  For a first-time attempt, I’d have to say I’m doing a pretty darn good job. *patting himself on the back*

Unfortunately, there have been some pratfalls along the way which are costing me precious time.  The picture on the left is the result of my not working fast enough.  The intense heat I felt in my hand, coming from within the container, let me know that I might have mixed too big a batch that time. *laughing*  So far, that’s the only batch that went off on me.  I only lost about 4oz, so nothing serious.  That “souvenir” is now a paperweight on my desk.

For starters, I bought fiberglass tape with a selvage edge to reinforce all the seams.  That’s a fiberglass material cloth tape with a seam sewed along one side to keep the tape from fraying while you’re glassing it.  Excellent idea; one downfall.  That selvage edge leaves a ridge of about a 1/16th”.  Until Saturday morning, I did not know that?   Not conducive to hiding the tape under the subsequent coats of epoxy.  Because of that, instead of getting out there Saturday morning and applying a first coat of epoxy over the entire camper in time to be able to let that dry sufficiently to apply the second coat later that evening, I spent all morning sanding that selvage edge off of all the seams, (and I so love sanding!).  By Saturday afternoon, I was able to apply one complete coat.  The temps have dropped considerably here in SC this week, (that’s not a complaint).  Unfortunately, the curing time for epoxy is directly proportional to the ambient temperature.  Anything below 60 degrees F drastically retards curing time.  It’s was forecast, and was, in the high 40’s Saturday night.  There was no chance of getting a second coat on, which meant I had to start the second coat Sunday morning.

Once all three coats are applied, I’ll have to allow the epoxy to cure completely before painting.  That’s usually about a week.  Of course, while the epoxy is drying, there’s little else you can do.  You can’t sand anything within a 10-mile radius or you’ll get the dust in the drying epoxy, (I’m having enough problems picking the bugs and leaves out of the epoxy).  It’s difficult, at best, to get inside and do anything in the interior given the wet epoxy surrounding the small doors and, even if I could work inside, you can’t cut anything with the saw or you’ll create sawdust which will stick to the epoxy.  A conundrum to be sure.

As Robert Burns said in his poem, To A Mouse, (and Steinbeck reiterated in Of Mice and Men), “The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew.”  They said a mouth full!  In as much as I hate to admit defeat, I’m afraid that my deadline is going to have to be changed.  It certainly hasn’t been from lack of effort or poor planning, so I don’t feel too badly.  But I am chomping at the bit to get her camp-able and try her out.

The new, self-imposed, deadline for taking Nosty’s Nook on the road is Thanksgiving weekend.

Roof and front two-coated

On the whole, things are coming together beautifully.  Nosty’s Nook now has a glassy plastic finish that, I’m praying, will take the finish color beautifully.  As you can, hopefully, see from the picture, the front and roof have two coats on them.  The sun shining off the front gives you an idea of the sheen.  The rain started as I was finishing up for the day today, (Sunday), so I couldn’t get any pictures, but the whole camper is now sporting two coats and it all looks like the front.  Unless I’ve really missed my mark, I don’t foresee any water finding its’ way through the, now plastic, finish.

I also managed to get the seams taped and a first coat on the tongue box and lid today.  Next weekend will be spent finishing up the epoxy, filling all the remaining screw holes with body filler and getting everything ready for paint the following weekend.  Between my “exciting” moments, watching paint dry, I’m hoping to get a little more done on the interior and the galley.  In all honesty, I’m beginning to hate painting almost as much as I hate sanding.  I must be suffering painter’s malaise, due mostly to painter’s shoulder and painter’s elbow.  I haven’t found anything to blame the rest of my aching joints on, but I’m working on it.  It doesn’t matter.  The aches and pains brought on from doing something you love are almost always tolerable.  Ten weeks later and I’m still having a ball.  The epoxy coating was a new experience for me and I’ve learned a great deal, both from my personal experiences, and from the great folks on the Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailer forums. I’m living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I just hope that my impending dementia doesn’t cause me to forget everything I’ve learned before the next opportunity to use it comes along.

I had hoped to have more to report after this weekend but, alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.  It’s a little frustrating, but that’s all part of the adventure.  I’m a lot further along than I was last weekend so life is good.

As always, feel free to send any comments or questions to me at doc@bgreenleaf.com

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

Adio,

Brian

Belly laughs on every page.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age.

And don’t forget,  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.
©Brian Greenleaf 2010

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