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The Bark’s DIY First Place Winner—Advanced Level


Lightly sand the primer, mark, mask off, and paint the interior portion gloss white, both sides. Make a piece to act as a jack stand for the front of the tongue. You can use some closet rod or make something of your own (I made a piece that followed the shape of the tongue itself) and cut to length according to the measurement you made and noted. Attach to the tongue with that brand new air brad nailer. Mask off the white painted section and paint the tongue and jack stand gloss black. Each of these gloss finish coats will have to dry overnight, being oil-based enamel. When dry, insert into the body, lay that on its side, drill and countersink six screws, three on each side, through the ⅞” support piece and into the bottom, and secure with screws. Turn the whole thing back upright and take a step back and admire - you're almost done!

Installing the aluminum top:

Now it’s time to install the aluminum top (flashing). The laminated bending plywood top is not perfectly smooth, even when clamped and massaged into place when glued up. This would cause wrinkling in the aluminum flashing and I didn't want to go to the length of fairing the top completely smooth and even, so I don't glue the aluminum flashing down – I only secure the ends. If the front end is secure and the flashing is stretched tight for the rear end to be secured, the flashing will find its own level and lie flat, bridging over any unevenness or slight undulations in the top. It's not like the puppy camper is going to be hauled down the road behind a small doggy car or have to be wind and waterproof like a real camper.

Glue the front edge of the flashing with a bead of silicone and tape it in place with a wide piece of masking tape across the joint and also with three or four long strips vertically, so you can pull against it to stretch the material tight without worry that it would let go. Then stretch it as tightly as you can, using tape strips for handles, massaging from front to back, and secure the other end in the same manner with silicone and wide tape. Use enough silicone to glue securely but not so much that you have a lot of squeeze out to clean up. Let this set up overnight.

Making the trim:
The paint line between top and bottom colors is the center-line for the trim. Measure the various lengths of the side trim, subtract ¾" from each end, and cut each piece of trim to length (one for the left side, two for the right side). Taper or round each tip of the half round to suit your taste. A stationery belt sander will make quick work of this, but a hand belt sander clamped to the table will do, or just shape it by hand with rasp, file, and sandpaper. The two pieces for the front and rear are cut to be a snug fit between the sides and the ends stay square. Paint the trim aluminum, a can of metallic spray is easiest. Locate the paint lines (trim center-line) on the inside by drilling small holes on the line from the outside (being careful to move in from the edge to clear the kerfing inside), counter sink from the inside.  Install the trim with small wood screws from the inside.

Making and installing winglets:

Make and install the two "winglets". These are a signature feature of the old 50's Shasta campers (Google vintage Shasta camp trailers to find some photos). The winglets are purely for show, which is why I like them. There is a pattern for them on the drawing. I routed the edges of both sides of these with the ⅛” round-over bit. Position each winglet and mount them from the inside with small finish screws like the trim.

All that is left is to install the memory foam pad you ordered in time for the grand finale and coax your lucky doggy inside with treats.




PDF: Download a PDF including instructions and sketches.

Michael has been a woodworker for over 45 years. He began to make vintage camper birdhouses for fun, prompted by an avid interest in bird photography. Now he sells his birdhouses and dog houses on Etsy.


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