Topper Update

Here are a few images to clarify some questions about the wooden topper.  It is not a work of art.  It was to be used for a single field project last summer but now I really like it so it will be a permanent part of the rolling home.

topper1Here’s the overview sans roof rack.  It has received about five more coats of spar varnish after a good sanding.  It is built from recycled lumber so there is some small shrinkage checking and a little discoloration from some mold or fungus but it hardly visible.

topper2Tacomas really suck for attaching racks and toppers for a couple reasons.  The top rails of the bed are plastic over some fairly unsubstantial metal and there are no stake holes.  There is however, the nifty rail system inside the bed that is secure.  To attach this topper, I used some construction straps from the Big Box Store which are screwed in behind the rails.  This is the forward view, blemishes and all.  The rope is for hanging up wet stuff like towels, swimsuits, etc.

topper3Here is another strap at the aft end utilizing one of the bed bolts in a reenforced spot.

topper4And finally, here is an image of one of the knee braces that are screwed and glued to the frame to strengthen the door area.  I hope this helps if someone else wants to construct something like this.

Wooden Truck Topper

A couple recent inquiries prompt this quick post about a wooden truck topper.  The question that came up a few weeks ago was “why would you make a topper instead of just buying one?”  Well, I’m not wealthy and making something costs a lot less than buying it.  Also, if you are a woodworker, it’s easy to end up with surplus wood from projects.  Often, the next project is virtually free.  That’s what happened here.

DSC_0028Sorry for the grime in this photo but I live on the southern Plains.  What can you do?  I tried to streamline it and match the curves of the pick-up but honestly, I didn’t put too much effort into any aspect of the topper.  I just needed something to get me through last summer but I’ve liked it enough that it is now a fairly permanent fixture.  The arc of the roof approximates the arc of the truck, created by eyeball and a pen on a board.  There is no better tool than the human eye in the creative process.

DSC_0027While making the shell, it became apparent that the Toyota bed tapers to the back.  I decided, upon reflection, to be lazy and just ignore this inconvenient truth and keep the shell square.  I did, however, match the front of the shell to the slope of the cab and allowed the back of the roof to overhang slightly.

DSC_0026This interior shot shows the three frames and sill that are essentially, the skeleton of the whole thing.  Also, highlighted is the eternal mess in the back of a working truck.

DSC_0025Here’s the basic part list that I used: 2x4s for side and front sills, 2×4 frames, tongue and groove yellow pine for sides, front, and hatch, western red cedar roof.  Lexan front and rear windows, hinges, closures, and various fasteners to hold it all together.  For the roof exterior, 30# tar paper and a canvas truck tarp.  The whole thing is varnished with exterior spar varnish. I think the whole thing can be made for  a couple hundred dollars as opposed to a couple thousand from the store.

DSC_0519And besides, it matches the house…

Good luck!  Hope this helps somebody out there.