Posted on 30 December 2017

 Tags: blog 

It's been a few months since my last post, however work steadily continues. Here's how it's currently looking:

Tent 1

Just needs windows

The tent is finally made with the exception of the side windows. The zips for those are on order. Here's what's happened in the last few weeks...


Sewing Machine

I borrowed an old (1920's) Singer industrial sewing machine to make the tent. I knew this would sew through canvas and webbing without breaking needles.

Sewing Machine

Incredibly, you can pick these up on eBay for under £100

Material

Next decision was, what material to use? After looking at the poly-cotton, nylon and polyester alternatives I went for regular cotton canvas simply because it

  • would resist abrasion and wear reasonably well
  • absorb noise better than the man-made materials
  • provide good water resistance

I bought 20m of 280g canvas from Attwoolls Manufacturing. Plus a reel of poly-cotton thread and 5m of window mesh. It actually turned out that 20m was an over-estimate. There was less material used in the seams than first thought, so 15m would have been more than enough. However it opens an opportunity to create an enclosed awning under the lid, or perhaps a shower curtain in the future.

Webbing

To keep the loops of the frame in place I used lengths of webbing with velcro at sewn at each end. These pass through D-loops riveted to the camper body and lid. In addition to positioning the frame the webbing also helps shape the tent and supports some weight of the lid when fully open.

Tent 2

The photo above shows one of three lengths (or panels) sewn together that extend over the tent frame (below).

Tent 4

The excess material was then trimmed at each corner and a seam sewn from top to bottom. At the bottom edges, I folded the canvas around 30mm polypropylene webbing to add a bit of weight there and provide a strong mounting for the fasteners.

Tent 5

Seams

This is the method of stiching I used to sew the canvas together.

Fasteners

I used two types of fasteners to secure the bottom edges. On the box side I used 80mm black Stayput shock cord loops normally used for tonneau covers. The lid does not have space for these, so Q-Snap fasteners were used. All these I got from http://www.contender.co.uk. A tool to fit the Q-Snap fasteners is included in this kit from Amazon for under a tenner.

Fasteners

The last thing was to add some additional canvas at where it contacts the frame for reinforcement and hide the top of the seams.

Here's an internal view.

Inside the tent

Windows

I'm just waiting for the zips now so I can fit the four windows (2 per side). To enable each to open I'll need a zip on the outward-facing material and the mesh. Once these are in I'll post an update.