The roof of our camper was built in a few easy step. Since were are using the “inside out” method of construction, we actually put the inside ceiling in before we added the framing.
After we assembled the walls, one of the last things that we did was to cut a small strip of wood out of the top of the side walls. This would provide a ledge of sort for the ceiling to sit on once the walls were stood up.
Because of the unique design of our camper, there are 2 steps to the ceiling structure
- Standing the walls up temporarily and constructing the front bow
- Adding the ceiling and spars to the roof
The 1st step involved 2 parts. I used 3/4″ baltic birch to cut two ribs that matched the front profile of the camper. These would serve as the rigid frame for the other parts to attach to that form the front curve of the camper. I could have framed this up with “studs” like conventional house framing, but I preferred this method as the visual appeal at the end would end up being better.
Below you can see the top rib, temporarily attached, with the 2 front corner posts holding it up.
The 2nd step. This involved using 3/4″ nailer strips, 3/16 oak plywood and foam to build the front curve.
Basically the nailer strips were cut to match the front curve. They were cut from 3/4 thick baltic birch. They were then glued and nailed in each of the panel sections, left and right top and bottom, and middle top.
The panels were constructed (on the inside) of 3/16 oak plywood. The plywood we had available had a foam core, and we were able to wet it down and bend it to the radius of the front. It was tacked in on the inside and glued.
Once these panels were in place, the areas for each were filled with 3/4 foam that had been kerfed so that it would bend. It was also glue and tacked with strips to hold it in place until the glue dried.
For the ceiling (inside)
We first joined 2 sheets of 3/16 plywood, cut to the correct width and length, to make the top of the camper. This was easily done with a small piece fo the same material glued to the back. This makes a very strong joint, and it is easier to lay in a well joined large piece, rather than trying to join the pieces for a tight fit while the piece is over your head.
Next, was to lay the ceiling on top the ledge that we had previously cut. It was glued and tacked into place with the nail gun.
Then the spar cross members were cut to length for the roof, as well as the front curved framing sections. These were all made of material that was 1 1/2″ thick (pine). This area is where all of the wiring was eventually ran, and insulation was added.
All of these pieces were glue and screwed together.
This photo shows all of the roof framing installed. Everything in this area is, or has been ripped down to be 1 1/2″ thick. This will allow for plenty of support as well as double 3/4″ insulation. Also, you can see that we have begun to run some of the 12V wiring in the ceiling.
I almost forgot, a key point here
- Previously we had cut a piece of the top of the wall out (minus the skin). This was then cut into pieces to fill in in-between the spars. These pieces serve two purposes. They help to old the ceiling down onto the ledge that we cut, and they also provide attachment for the trim edging on the roof once the aluminum is installed later.
For more information about our trailer build, and if you missed the earlier posts in the series, please checkout the links below. If you have any questions feel free to comment, or email me here. I will contact you back asap.