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Ceph and Cass

SnakeyJ's Obsy Build Thread


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Well I'm finally on the road with this, with a cleared site (sans tree stumps) and thanks to Roger (Bizibuilder) a very nice observatory kit all the way from deepest darkest Norfolk. When I say kit, I have nearly an entire 6'x6' observatory, complete with a very nicely engineered roll off roof - however, this is in rather more bits than expected and lacks full instructions.

I have to do some fence repairs, build a foundation for the pier, steel pier, 6' x 6' concrete slab and a door. Additionally I shall be laying on mains electricity which will provide the usual white and red lighting, and a couple of double sockets. The supply for the mount and cameras will be run through a 2.2KVA UPS to protect the expensive bits and keep things running through any minor power cuts.

Time scales are a little vague as the slab will be built using hardcore from my garage - which is being rebuilt on the car insurance after a minor reversing incident (hoping this will start for the end of the month).

Quick picture of the cleared site:


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Have fun! :cool: . I hope you weren't using that mattock with bare feet - you may need to count your toes!!

Not as sharp as an adze fortunately - I was more intent on missing the children who were getting very excited about daddy digging up odd bits of pottery and bone (treasure). Feet now very muddy, but ten toes when last checked!

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Good luck Jake, I've seen, said stump on another thread, a substantial piece of wood.

Lucky it's not Japanese knot weed. the shrub that just keeps giving..

Any thoughts about running mains power to the obsy? now would be the perfect time

to bury cable before you start any footings


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  • 3 weeks later...

Time flies when you've two kids home for the summer, but some modest progress made last weekend and I'm now ready to pour some concrete. Missed the deadline for delivery this weekend, so my cement, ballast and the replacement fence posts and panels will not arrive until Monday. Just time to run some ducts in underneath to feed power and data for the mount - I'll stick a couple of extra conduits in for good measure/future use. I've just gained 600m of 32mm low friction conduit from the local council, that insisted I pull it out with some old voice and fibre services we were replacing.



I had quite a lot of spongy ground due to rotten tree routes, so have spent quite a lot of time digging out and refilling/compacting this site. the pier foundation goes down 30 inches below the base and is into very firm/hard clay so should be okay.

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Excitement today as the sand, ballast and cement arrived - together with the fence posts and panels for the west side fence. So excited I had to take the day off work and have worked through the rain :p I've carried everything in around the side path, trimmed the hedge back further and dug the three post holes for the 100x100 concrete post stubs.

Backs aching a bit and I've a few blisters (soft southern computer geek hands), but nice sense of contentment now things are really moving. Nice to sit back in a nice warm bath and soak for a bit ;) I'll have to take another day off towards the end of the week to concrete in the post stubs and pour the base for the plinth - Wednesday would be good as this may allow me to pour the slab for the obsy over the weekend.

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Gosh no time for pics - it was a hard work day and very wet for the most part.

Looked like I'd just got back from a festival this evening ;)

Hope to take Weds off and press on, but will get some more pics uploaded whilst the concrete sets!

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Just managed to get home early this evening and get the 3 fence posts in and fixed with postcrete - always used concrete before, but the postcrete is much quicker to work with and saves bracing the timbers up. I think perhaps 4" posts were a little overkill, but probably won't be so noticeable once the panels are fixed and they're cut down and capped.

Two quick pics, though not that much progress evident in these:

looking West:


and looking South:


Dad would be pleased to see that his B&D Workmate is still giving good service - must be almost 30 years old now ;)

Yes the paving slabs are hastily laid, just to avoid some of the mud as things got rather wet yesterday.

Meetings and site recce tomorrow @ work so unable to cry off, but have booked Thursday and Friday off and managed to borrow a small cement mixer for the slab. Conduits ready to go in and have decided to use steel re-enforcement, rather than waiting and smashing up the hardcore - not sure my war wound will stand up to too much of that sort of abuse ;)

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Cement mixer all loaded in the car c/w some steel re-enforcement bars and some grid I found knocking around. Out of office set for the next two days and ready to go home.

The weather looks ok tomorrow, but not great for Friday and Saturday - though it will have to rain quite hard to put me off and I have a big tarp on hand to cover the slab if needed. Think I have everything needed, though may have to nip out for a few more coach bolts if the builders merchant doesn't turn up with the diffi's in time.

Hopefully one big push this weekend and I can start assembling Roger's old observatory next weekend - at least that's the plan!

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Some progress today and the weather was quite good after a cloudy and drizzly start.

All set up and ready to go:


Concrete Poured for the plinth:


And even some fence panels fitted:


I actually got all three panels in, but the last picture has not uploaded yet. Steels are cut and ready to go in for the re-enforcement and the conduits are in for the plinth.

I also did some tidying up - what else can you do while the concrete sets?

I'll probably leave the plinth tomorrow to allow it to cure off a little before removing the timber frame - though patience isn't usually one of my virtues and I'm fighting off more implulsive instincts to push ahead ;) May just rethink tomorrow evening if the weather holds as Saturday looks wet and I'm getting desperate to shift the remaining ballast so that I can park my car back on the drive.

If any of our cats come in with cement on their paws it'll be biscuits for the rest of the month ;)

BTW the white figures in the last picture are not the local morrismen. but the bowlers having a last outing of the season - judging by the singing that went on this evening they won their match!

Edited by SnakeyJ
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Managed to get the grunt done by late Friday night, though was finishing off in the dark and rain and ended up 10kg short on the ballast - think I must have been short changed by the builders merchant for a short ton ;)     It was hopeless trying to get a good finish on the slab as the rain was washing the cement out, so I settled for more or less level and left a small hole to fill on Saturday morning.      However, all seems to have set off nice and hard - though will leave it for the next week to cure off properly before removing the timber and starting on the reconstruction of Roger's famous observatory.

Quick shot of the finished plinth foundation - I had made a bit of school boy error, screwing the timber framing up from top and bottom - what was I thinking.   However, some gentle work with jemmy and I was able to open it up without spoiling the edges:


I had a rather odd selection of scrap iron for the re-enforcement, though sure it will do the job - many cable ties used for securing the armature!   I've isolated the plinth with some 18mm cable lay foam (similar to neoprene), this will be cut back below floor level and I shall caulk around the join with some black sikoflex.


Finished works - shan't be entering this for slab of the month, but sure it will suffice - if the weather had been kinder I'd have polished this up with a plasterers float, but the surface will be safely concealed below a wooden floor and black safety mats.


I spent the best part of this morning cleaning up the site/garden and making a couple of dump runs, so all now looking rather tidier and ready to receive the observatory next weekend if the weather looks ok.   The rest of the day was spent moving everything out of my garage, so that all is ready for my builders to come and repair the damage from my unfortunate reversing accident a couple of months back.    This may delay me a little as they may occupy my drive and make the access difficult, but fingers crossed they make a quick and decent job of things or at least leave me room to get the van and observatory in ;)

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Just to keep my focus, here's the new (formerly Bizibuilder's) obsy, dismantled and loaded on one of my works vans from 8th August.    Looks like a comfortable fit, but a good deal more dismantling was required to get it in as the panels and roof had to be stripped down.    Thanks to my brother Ben for doing most of the grunt and getting this in, whilst I chatted with Roger about the new build.



The obsy is currently stored on pallats in my cabling unit, hopefully I can get this moved over on Friday and start of the rebuild.    

I've decided to leave the completion of the plinth out until I can re-assemble the observatory and confirm best height with the heq5 on its tripod.

Also have to make the door and complete the electrical fit before I can consider making things permanent - but the end is in sight at long last and hopefully I can be back up and running for the end of the month.

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James - certain you will get your obsy in the not too distant future and sure you will put it to far better use than I will manage (due to work and family comittments!), though there's a lot of far bigger and more exciting builds than mine to be envious of here on SGL!      When the time does eventually arrive, I shall be following the thread with considerable interest and undoubtedly some envy of my own - especially if you can find a nice dark southern hemisphere site for the new home and obsy!

One things for certain - I shan't be laying the concrete for another any time soon.    Think I've learnt my lesson and will be buying in the grunt and concentrate on the planning and assembly in future!


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