The Saga of a New Camper Canvas

Okay, so the new deluxe 3 window canvas arrived the other day. In a rare and sudden fit of ambition, I decided to install it on a sunny Saturday morning. What ensued was both education and epic.

First, what it looked like before:

The instructions, limited though they were, said to give 5 hours for the install. It's an amazingly simple proceedure. Remove the screws that attach the bottom of the canvas to the top of the camper, then remove the screws that hold the top of the canvas to the roof shell. Then slide the old canvas off around the top supports one at a time. Then reverse the process with the new top.

Well, that was the attitude I started out with.

I began unscrewing screws at about 9 am, fortified with a can of Coke and two cd's available for the discman. Shortly before noon I was done removing the old canvas, the Coke was gone and I'd played both cd's. I was pretty psyched thinking I was halfway through the job and simply had to repeat in reverse what I'd just done.


Of course if you've done anything like this you're laughing at that assumption, but it's human nature. Well, it's much easier to unscrew something over your head than hold something up and put the screws in. And when you're removing, the holes are already there and the canvas is already lined up.

So it's starting to get warm, I've been turning a screwdriver for 3 hours already, and the worst part of the job is still to come. This is the point at which depression sets in. Perhaps I can close the top and resume the job after a nice relaxing nap. Or maybe I can pay someone else to do it? Wait who would be that stupid. I'd have to pay them a -lot.- Well, I guess I'll just have to continue.

Credit goes to the manufacture in this case. The top I got was from Go Westy. As I was installing the top edge I marvelled at how well it was actually laid out. The seems lined up with my corners precisely and although laborious, the top edge was completed without incident.

The bottom edge started the same. Start in the front center and work to the corners. Then I came to the only design flaw in the pattern. The rubber bead that runs along the inside of the bottom edge was continuous through the corners. Now picture fabric stiched to rubber, bend the fabric so it goes around the corner and the rubber on the inside has no where to go. Nowhere to go that is but everywhere you don't want it to. First it tried to go out (no seal when you can see daylight). Then it tried to go up (daylight in another direction). Then it went every way at once. The corners sucked. After much struggle I finally got them more or less laying down with the bead sitting where it should be sitting.

By this time it was after 3pm and I was glad leave Dax in peace for another time.

Now I know a small amount about auto apolstery, a very small amount, but I can tell this pattern was well fit and well suited for it's purpose. Yes, it was a time consuming task, but I can imagine how much worse it would have been if the canvas didn't quite fit as well. I'd still be out there.

Last, what it looked like after: