Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So where are we at now?

It was back in July that I emailed Terri a photo of a beautiful, finished wood teardrop camper in the glory of a misty forest campsite.  I told her, "You have to talk me out if this."

Her negotiation skills could use a lot of work!

The first order of business was to find a trailer.  The used market was very limited, and since we decided to go for a 5x10-ish design, a custom trailer seemed like the only way to go.  Trailerman in Abbotsford is doing the thing, and so far he's been very helpful and easy to deal with.  In Canada, we need VINs for trailers, so that eliminated a lot of the mail order ones commonly used for teardrop builds in the States.  The rest of the new models were too expensive and too heavy for what I hope will be a sub-1000 pound camper.

Lead time from mid September was 14 weeks, or early in the New Year.  We're at 6 now.  I'll use the time to plan the build, research sources for the many parts needed, and wait impatiently.

There's a lot to learn and buy, and I'll be happy to not have to run to the store every time I'm ready to begin a new step.  The forced pre-planning period will be good for the final product.

I've bought a lot of the electrical stuff, some odds and ends, and I've ordered the windows.  I've sourced about 80% of what I need, including some of the stuff that's hard to find in Canada.  The rest has been cost estimated, so we know a little of what we're up against.  I've got a decent design going, based largely on what I've seen and read, but with just a little original flair thrown in for good measure.

I've been keeping track of all expenses (down to the last nut and bolt) in a live spreadsheet.  I think it'll keep me honest, and it's very interesting to see how much money can get drained away in the little parts we don't consider at first.  Grey costs are estimates.  Once the trailer is complete, this will be an interesting record for a future builder, especially in Canada.

For the time being, I'm consciously eschewing some expensive options, such as:
  • Marine plywood substrates
  • CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer)
  • Proper marine enamel, like Interlux
  • Pre-made doors (though I am ordering windows)
  • Epoxy joints and surfacing
It's a cost thing, largely.  I think that the trailer will be plenty durable enough the way I'm building it, and I'm trying not to overkill it.

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