s.o.l.

It’s Standards of Learning, not what you were thinking. Though after a very long week of proctoring and teaching students who had just taken a series of summative, state mandated exams it is time to try and wrap up the school year in a productive manner.


The camper seems to have hit that point where dramatic changes and large leaps of forward progress are few and far between. Today the shop was a toasty 85 degrees, and it was hard to get people moving when they only felt like melting into their seats. I think that gym class is the only class that the students are used to sweating in. I know I lost a few pounds sweating as we skinned the trailer in a flexible roofing material.


It’s an interesting product. It combines a layer of tar adhesive, a layer of rubber sheeting, and a layer of reflective aluminum. It seems like it will do an excellent job of keeping the weather out as well as reflecting some of that summer sun. As we were putting it on, we noticed that the aluminum layer was a bit more fragile than we had expected. The roller we were using to place pressure on the material slipped, and one of the students dug a groove in the outer layer. Luckily I had ordered a backup roll, so we simply put on a second layer perpendicular to the first.

It’s happy accidents like this that can sometimes teach us the most. What we learned is that this material has some weaknesses that balance its strengths. If this were installed on a roof, it would definitely not be safe to walk on for fear of damaging that skin. The damage seems like it would have been mostly cosmetic and the ding did not seem to breach the rubber, and tar layers which is definitely a good thing when creating a good weather barrier is the goal. The students learned quickly, and we were all much more delicate installing the second layer.


Needless to say, when working with new materials it can well worth the time to experiment a bit before you jump right in. Next year we will revisit the leftover scraps of this material and see if we want to go a different direction. If I can find them locally, I am wondering if fiberglass panels would be easier to work with to achieve a nice, smooth, and low maintenance outer shell.

Next year we will have a lot more flexibility considering we will have an account full of funds from the sale of this camper. Well, if we can get it done and sold before the end of the camping season.