The Dog House, a.k.a. new truck topper


Okay, it’s not really a dog house but was made to hold my dogs in some sort of comfort on a long road trip without the wagon.  I have had the back of the truck open for a couple years now which is very handy for hauling things, but bad for storing or protecting things.  This also limits the ability to sleep in back comfortably on long road trips.

The entirety of the structure, other than four 2 x 4s for the frames and one 1 x 12 used on the door, was built from upcycled, recycled, or leftover lumber from the wood shed.  I was lucky to have a good, waterproof canvas tarp that I could sacrifice for the roof-covering which saved about $60.  The roof canvas is underlain with 30# roof felt.  I had some leftover bits of Lexan from previous projects to make a front and rear window and a passenger-side blind-spot window.

If I like the topper and decide to keep it for the long run I’ll probably get some gas shocks to hold the door open, but for now, a couple old lid holders will suffice.

As seen above, it’s not a real beauty but is more-or-less streamlined with the shape of the cab.  The hardware on the door is not recycled and is the most expensive part of the whole project.  It is standard Stanley gate hardware from the Big Box store.

The inside view shows the roof made from leftover tongue and groove yellow pine.  The lower three strakes of the sidewalls are oak.  This provides a lot of strength and stiffness.  The roof is strong enough to support a person’s weight but will need to be reenforced to hold heavy loads.  All the planks are caulked with black flashing caulk that stays flexible, works as a glue, and is removable should the whole thing be taken apart.  I added an LED light from Harbor Freight that I intended for another project.  Very handy when fishing around for groceries or tools.

The next step will be to add a vent or skylight to let moisture out and attach a roof rack for lumber, ladders, etc.  Updates to follow.


About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee fiddler...mostly
This entry was posted in art car, DIY, house truck, truck topper, woodworking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Dog House, a.k.a. new truck topper

  1. Oldfool says:

    I’ve lived with and in various campers, camper shells, toppers and pickup bed covers pretty near all my adult life but that is the prettiest I’ve ever seen. I somehow seems wrong to call a shell pretty but I think it qualifies. I don’t have one now because Ms Oldfool is dead set against them on HER pickup. Nice work (as usual).

    • Paleotool says:

      Thanks. It’s the varnished oak that makes it beautiful. It seems I often need an open back when I have a topper on and want a closed top when the truck is open. It’s never perfect. And, of course, the SHE is always right.

  2. Mick Robins says:

    Nice work! That’s one lucky dog.

  3. Dave says:

    This is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. You should draw up some plans and sell them. You’d make a killing, there’s nothing like it out there.

  4. Dave says:

    Day jobs suck.

  5. Atomkinder says:

    Just found your website while I was searching for some sort of rough instructional about doing exactly this! Lumber is fairly cheap, and I can’t find a topper to fit my truck for any sort of reasonable price (or one I consider reasonable anyway). Any tips? I’ve done very little work with wood overall, but this seems like a fairly simple project, and I’m a machinist by trade so already handy with tools. Definitely wanted to include windows and was thinking about picking up some slider camper windows locally for the task.

  6. Pingback: Sort of OT? Building a pickup topper from lumber.

  7. Pingback: Woodworking Shows 2013 Scotland | SyukaDesign~

  8. Nathaniel says:

    Did you build this on the truck? Or off, then set it on?

  9. This is brilliant. After looking for months for a camper for my Frontier I had almost come to the painful realization that it might cost me a mortgage payment to buy a fiberglass camper. Not anymore.
    I love this design and will definitely be embarking on a similar project within the next month. I have a couple of questions though. Could you post a couple of pictures of how you constructed the lip that attaches to the bed w/ the C-clamps? The lip attachment and roof construction are the parts I’m most hesitant about. I’m pretty handy and do a lot of woodworking for projects around my house (back yard pergola, chicken coop, butcher block countertops, etc). Would you consider posting a couple pictures of the more detailed pieces of this camper? Again, great design and craftsmanship.

    • I no longer own this one so I can’t take more photos. This topper and truck went to new homes several years ago. Have faith. If you can build the rest, I’m sure you can devise a way to attach it. If you have stake holes, that is always a good option for safety. Otherwise, I would run a lip from the sill down inside to bed for extra security.

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