12. Building the Body - 1

October 5, 2007

I began the stripping with the natural straight center lines of the vehicle, just as I would do in stripping a boat, at the keel and the waterline. Even with all the test strips I did previously in order to design the forms, I can't anticipate what problems I will run into as the stripping progresses outwards to the "corners." I have to admit I am totally improvising, hoping for the best, fearing the worst. The cold wet weather has descended, and I've purchased some Titebond III glue for working in low temperatures. I've sealed up the canopy as best I can, and when the sun comes out, it gets right toasty inside. 

October 25, 2007

This was fun! I developed a taper jig to cut the strips on the bandsaw down the middle to get two long triangular shapes. 

November 10, 2007

Every stripping pattern evolves as a solution to the capabilities of the strips to twist and bend around the forms, and the forms evolved as a solution to the minimum envelope that wood strips could create around the given structure of the frame. Every strip gets planed with a block plane to fit precisely as I can get it into its place, and then they are edge-glued and stapled to their neigboring strips. It's very tedious, with a trial-fit after every several strokes with the plane, and it's very satisfying when the fit is good. 

The body is making visible what was only imaginary before, and I like the curvatures I see. The smell of cedar pervades the air, a most delicious smell. 

The wheel well will be cut after the fiberglass is applied and holding everything together. The body curve actually intersects the front part of the tire, so it will project out beyond the body in front. As my son would say, it will look "bad ass." 

January 6, 2008

During a mid-winter break in the weather, I was able to get a little more wood on the body. I used liquid nails, which eventually let go, to hold the strips to the metal frame of the windshield. I redid the connection with small sheet metal screws. In the foreground are some larger screws used to twist the strips around the corner, and these were later replaced with the smaller screws. 

May 30, 2008

Finally, warm weather has me going again, and I've completed the front "deck." 

Viewed from a lower angle, the strips under the front "stem-piece" are visible

Now that I have opened the tent to let out some hot air, I can see the XP-Humm-E from the side. Looks like a boat! 

June, 2008

June 8: After the first disc sanding with a 60-grit disc, it's important to fill all the staple holes and gaps in the strips to prevent air bubbles rising in the epoxy. 

June 19: 
Finally, the first step in epoxy-coating the wood, the primer coat, deepens the colors and brings out the natural beauty of the wood. System Three Clear Coat is used because of its low viscosity and blush-free cure. 

June 20: 4 oz. glass cloth ready for the lamination coat of epoxy. 

The length of cloth hanging down the side is held in place with small pieces of masking tape which come off during the lamination process. Small gusts of wind are enough to move the cloth, so I kept the tent sides closed. 

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