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Samtheeagle's Nest


samtheeagle
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No not yet... I've been debating how I'm going to run mains out to the obsy. I have two choices, armoured cable straight in the ground, or standard cable through 40mm waste pipe. I think I'm going to go for the waste pipe approach, as it'll make future maintenance or upgrades a load easier. But it is ofc going to cost me more money :S I've just ordered the "Caution Buried Electrical Cable" tape that I need, so once that arrives I can start digging an epic 25-30m trench all the way down the garden :S My father-in-law is visiting next weekend, and he's a qualified sparky, so my intention is to get the hard work done before he gets here so that he can do the dangerous stuff that requires some skill. If the waste pipe is already in place he can post the mains cable through... It's going to be a busy few evening me thinks, just hope I get a few dry ones.

I found this little item that I was going to ask him about: http://www.towsure.c...#specifications It seems like a nice little bit of kit for the obsy, a weather resistant plug block with a circuit breaker built in.

Today I'm going to see about removing the shuttering from my footings, and trimming off the excess moisture sheet :)

Edited by samtheeagle
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Today I'm going to see about removing the shuttering from my footings, and trimming off the excess moisture sheet :)

Speaking of which...

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So now I wait for the warning tape. In the mean time I need to think about how I'm going to floor the obsy. As far as possible I'm going to observe the KISS principle, so it's not going to be anything fancy. Unless I dig out a good depth from the centre of the footings, which will undermine them, I'm not going to get any wooden frame in there, so my current thinking is a series of breeze blocks to act as floor supports. All protected with moisture barrier of course, as they're like sponges.

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Cheers Tinker, I'll see if I can find those locally. They're not showing up too much in google searches though. I'd want to be able to pick them up, as I'll need less than 10, so getting them delivered wont be cost effective.

Given the unexpectedly good weather today I decided to crack on a do a bit more. So I spent a hot hour or more clearing off the top inch of two from the centre of the obsy area. Once it's all levelled off and suitably compacted I'll get some weed matting down to keep mother nature at bay :) The forecast for the rest of the week here looks like solid rain, so that's going to slow things down. That said, it should help to settle the soil where I've been hacking around today, so it's not all bad.

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The Celcon Blocks should be sold in most builders merchants, get yourself a length of clear plastic tube, fill with water and use it as a water level, tape it to one block then use the other end to level all the other bricks that and a spirit level to get all the others spot on level and flat...:)

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There are loads of good products for getting electricity out to your observatory. I've used these in the past http://www.toolstation.com/shop/Electrical/IP66+Rated/IP66+Outdoor+Power+Kit+2G+Sw+Skt++Cable++RCD/d190/sd3138/p27175

You can also get IP66 rated enclosures that you simply put a normal 4 way extension block in - toolstation generally have a good range for this type of thing, they are cheaper than screwfix and also delivery is free if you spend over a tenner.

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@Tinker1947 - Super, I'll see what buildbase have to offer, as they're just down the road.

@Enrico - I must give ToolStation a look. They were pointed out to my by my dad too, and luckily we have a branch just around the corner from our screwfix :)

Today I have been thinking about the concrete plug that the pier will affix to, and whether different shapes might work better than the default cube type most people go for. For example, would a smaller top surface area with greater depth ( a ) be more stable than a large area but shallow design ( b ) I was also thinking about a cross design, so that the base is wider, much like how tripod legs spread apart for stability. Any thoughts?

( a ) side views show here in awesome ascii art

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( b )

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I'm afraid your "ASCII art" has not come out :(

Don't give up your day job in favor of becoming a ASCII Artist........ :)

One shows a tall narrow block, the other a squat wider block? Or was that not what was intended?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow progress :( I'm currently "enjoying" digging the 25+ meter trench for the main feed. I've done about 4 meters, and boy is it hard work. The weather has been less than ideal for cracking on either, so just recently not a whole lot has been done. Still, I've got a wee while until the nights start drawing in again :)

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  • 1 month later...

Soooooo... Extremely long time no update! Life has been rather hectic of late, but in a very good way :) I'm very happy to announce that my wife and I will be enjoying the pitter patter of tiny feet come the new year! :D So obviously this has been occupying a lot of our attention, that coupled with our fabulous British summer, and very little progress has been made on the obsy. But I've got this week and next off work, and all being well I hope to break the back of this project during that time. SWMBO is cracking the whip good and proper now, as I need to get this wrapped up and then get on with decorating the middle room as the nursery :)

So today has been spent buying more timber, concrete and some breeze blocks, making shuttering for the pier plug, digging the pier plug hole and finally making a brace for the pier bolts. I must say it feels good to be getting back on with this project again, I'm all excited again about how awesome it's going to be when it's done! So here's the result of todays efforts.

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I've hammered a length of old iron bar that was cluttering up the garden into the bottom of the hole. Just a little something extra for the plug to hold on to. I've not gone for a massive plug, this one is 40x40x40cm, which I'm hoping the ~175kg of concrete I have will be able to fill. Into that I'll be dropping the pier bolt bars :)

Progress at last!!!

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Congratulations on the baby front:) Its definately a good idea to get the obsy done and dusted before the baby arrives, trust me on this! I started my build the other side of the birth:( :D

looks like you've made some good progress today, keep up the good work:)

Chris

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Right then, so my preferred merchant, buildbase, have finally entered to modern age! :) I found yesterday that they have at last got online prices and ordering, and was very happy to see that they came in a tonnes cheaper than anywhere else I'd looked at. So £155 and about 18 hours later a palette of lovely timber arrived on my drive :) I'm posting this update now as a few rain showers are blowing through and have curtailed my wood treatment efforts for the time being :( I had hoped that I'd be able to continue working inside the garage, but it's so chock full of obsy materials atm it's not easy to do much of anything in there... Still, I have got a bit done, 4 and a half our of six corners posts are done, but boy there's plenty more needs doing!

I've not been idle the last couple of days either, even with the biblical down pours that were visited upon us yesterday. I've got the pier concrete poured now, and was that ever hard work! As I was mixing the stuff up I realised that my hole could be a bit deeper, so I took out about another 10cm from the bottom of it. I was pleased that my guestimation was pretty spot on as I only had a small amout left over once the hole was filled.

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My other important job was getting the shed base rails affixed to the footings. I hope they're square enough. They're not exactly laying flush to the footings, presumably because of the slightly bumpy nature of the surface. I'm not going to seal the edges yet, as I think that when the structure is weighing down on the base rails they'll be pressed down, and so I'll seal then.

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Right then, the sun appear to have returned for now, so I'd best get back on with treating the timber :)

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12+ hours on my feet today and I'm wrecked! :S Much progress has been made however. A massive thank you must go to my dad for helping out pretty much all day, and for coming back tomorrow to (hopefully) finish off (major construction at least)!

I spent the first few hours today from 8am till about half ten tinkering about in the garage, trying to get as many component parts made up before the old man arrived. So the doors were made and some of the roof parts too. Then with the "expert" was on hand we got down to the proper graft. We had to do a fair bit of wood cutting, and an INSANE amount of screwing, and a good dose of winging it when things didn't quite go as planned. As we're deviating from the normal shed construction, due to the roll off roof, we had several points where we had to don our thinking caps. We're using bizibilders blog as a guide, and are pretty much trying to do things the same way, but we had a couple of areas where I think we've gone our own way on the build. But so far so good, it all seems nice and solid, and it's mostly square, apart from one corner at the front that's given us some trouble. We might need to rectify that as best we can when we pick up again tomorrow.

But for now I'm happy. I have something that is slowly starting to look like the obsy I've been planning for months now...

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So play resumes at about half ten tomorrow, don't want to be upsetting the neighbours on a Sunday morning like... We have to sort the one corner that's sitting a bit high, add the roof runner rails and their support posts, and then build the roof and it's rolling frame. If time permits we'll have a crack at weatherboards and maybe the floor, but it's the wifes birthday tomorrow, so I can't be outside ignoring her all day like I did today :S

Edited by samtheeagle
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Looks good to me! If you make sure the interior frame is "true" you can persuade the sheet metal to fit. Getting things square and true may take a while but you will find that the extra time pays dividends when the obsy is in use and everything fits and works properly (except the doors! which are best replaced at the earliest opportunity!!!).

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Heh heh, yes the old man and I have been most impressed by the quality of the doors! They'll do for now, but will almost certainly be upgraded in the future. All in all the sheet metal has gone on to the frame very well, it was just the one side that didn't want to play ball, the one that runs up to the iffy corner. I had to make a fair few of my own holes for the panels to fix to the base rail, and then when we got to the front we had a bit of an overhang. But nothing we couldn't overcome.

Boy do I ache today :S I'm up rather earlier than I would have liked too, I didn't sleep well at all. Over-tired and too achey me thinks. But it will all be worth it in the end!!! :D

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