Truck Topper project

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
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Two Harbors, Minnesota
I am far enough on my truck topper project to post a few photos....since we're stuck her for a while it's something to keep me busy. I build a cedar strip topper for my 2011 Dodge a few years ago using northern white cedar that I cut off my own property. I picked up a 2011 GMC, and decided to use eastern red cedar for this one. I found that it is a bit more difficult to work with, but it sure is purdy.
I made a post a short while ago, but somehow deleted it. Hopefully it will go better this time. This is a "stitch & glue" process, just like boat building in the ancient times except that now we use glue and staples instead of cord and oakum.
Ripped about 140 1/4" X 3/4" strips out of planed boards
Built a topper frame to fit the truck box
Glue and staple strips to the frame and to the next strip; leaving spots for a window and rear door
Pull out approx. 1,500 1/2" staples
Sand, sand, sand, repeat
Mix sawdust & glue to fill staple hole, cracks, and any imperfections
Repeat the sanding cycle
* The last couple photos here are after I wetted the wood down with water. This raised the grain for the final sanding, and shows the color of the wood after it
is finished. Later it will be fiberglassed and epoxied, the protected with spar varnish. Update to follow.IMG_1834 (2).JPGIMG_1835 (2).JPGIMG_1839 (2).JPGIMG_1840 (2).JPGIMG_1841 (2).JPGIMG_1848 (2).JPGIMG_1849 (2).JPG
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,254
340
Two Harbors, Minnesota
That looks really nice! Any idea on weight?
The last one I made weighed only 40-50 lbs. Because of its size it is difficult to weigh, but my wife and I have no problem putting it on and off the truck. I expect this one to weigh maybe 10 lbs. more because the red cedar has more resin, and I put an extra 2x2 on the top rafters.
I've slept many nights in the other topper, and after glassing it is totally waterproof.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,254
340
Two Harbors, Minnesota
That’s is beautiful. What did it cost?
I spent a fair bit more for this one than the first one that I did because I had to buy the wood. I also had salvaged the hardware from an old aluminum topper before, but had to buy those parts this time. I had to buy some fresh epoxy, and then the spar varnish is $53 a qt., etc. So, when complete it looks like in the $400 range. I did the last one for under $200. The first two coats of epoxy are laid as well as the fiberglass. Today I will flip it over to give the inside a coat of epoxy, then tomorrow go back to the outside for the final coat. If I added in the cost of my labor, I would have to charge $2K for it.