Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Need A Beer...

This weekend officially kicked my butt.  I became a regular at Ace Hardware.  The fellas in the store agreed that I should just bring my home improvement project to the back parking lot.  Then the clerk added, "Don't worry, you're not the only one who comes back a million times."  I think I popped my head in there on five occasions on Saturday.  I even left once, drove a half mile and then turned around because I realized I needed something else to go with the very thing I just purchased.

One of the employees couldn't resist.  "Whatchya buildin'?"  "An R.V," I replied.  "An R-V....okayyyyyyy,"--- a doubter, for sure.  I was waiting for the more traditional response, "Why don't you just buy one?" 

The last time I did any sort of carpentry with purpose must have been six years ago.  Man, am I rusty.  I wanted to put a nice facade on the backside of the bulkhead door.  I displayed the sliding door in my last post, but here it is, again.

I know a seasoned carpenter could probably whip something up in a few hours, but my poky tortoise ways elongated the whole ordeal into a day and a half.  I had to bust out my Porter-Cable router to get the job done.  Can you believe I've had it for five years and never used it?  I first needed to put the darned thing together!  That took a few minutes, along with yet another trip to the store to get some router cutting bits.  

But, I am pleased to announce that that facade came out pretty nice. 


The greatest hurdle lies in the fact that the door has varying degrees of slope on a few different planes.  I  thought that the gluing and screwing of each individual board would serve as an efficient way to wrap the facade around the contours of that bent metal cage door, but in hindsight, building the frame with mortise and tenon joinery and adhering it after the fact would probably have served the whole process much better.  As I said, I'm still rusty with the woodworking skills.   

I like the way the latch worked out.  I had to route out the wood from behind and do a little creative carving to reach the hook through that hole.  But, I'm pleased.


Then, I needed to accommodate the floor guide -- back to the table saw!

The door weighs a ton -- probably not more than the maximum sixty pounds that the sliding rails can accommodate, but pretty close.  The thing feels like an old groovy solid-core warehouse door -- great for setting the tone of my build.  

A few more things arrived in the mail, this week.  


This is the solar charge controller.  It has the "MPPT" technology which stands for "Maximum Power Point Tracking."  The unit scans the solar panel and pulls from the brightest producing cells, based on  a multitude of factors, and boosts the available power to charge the batteries in the most efficient manner. 

And you can monitor the controller from anywhere you choose, with this digital remote screen.  It attaches with a normal phone cable. 


This thing will tell you the charging state of the batteries, amperage draw and all kinds of other nifty stuff.  It's all pretty remarkable technology.  I sure hope it works.  We'll see. 

I also received my roof racks, although I have yet to open the box. 

The solar panel will bolt to the crossbars, along with a basket for whatever comes to mind.  The bars span the roof at 8" tall which gives me plenty of clearance for the roof vents.  Funny, how things just seem to work out, sometimes.    

With a few minutes left before returning the truck to the storage lot, I took the opportunity to mill a bit of the lumber stash.  I can't believe that this stuff sat locked in an aluminum truck for a week during summer in California, and hasn't dried out.  I burned more calories pushing those heavy wet planks through the table saw than I did on the lifecycle at the gym last week.



And I'm still not done, milling.  I need to take another inch off that pile on the left.  Whew!

So, what's next, you ask?

Why, what else?   :)


  1. Wow, great job on the door! However long it may have taken does not overshadow that it looks like a million! Keep up the good work.

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thank you for the encouraging words -- much appreciated.

  3. Freakin cool, dude. Keep on keepin' on.