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Windy Knoll Observatory - My Build Thread


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Over here the original wall ties ( in the distant past ) were just iron/steel bars splayed at the ends. Many houses have had to have them cut out as they rusted and rust is 40 times the size of the steel it replaces. So they found that the bricks were being forced apart and structural damage resulted. The galvanised wall ties replaced the steel ones around the 1910/20s I believe. But theses have also been found to have corrosion problems over the years and just rusted away in the cavities. This meant the inner and outer walls were not tied together and so could either bow apart or cause collapse problems. So now all mortgage providers require that they are replaced with stainless steel replacements. Hot galvanised metal in the past was of much better quality and much heavier deposit than the presently used processes that attempt to save money. Just have a look at barbed wire that has been wetted over the years. You will see the rust.

It was just a suggestion that may be a bit over the top, but it is what I would do to preempt any failure.

Derek

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Thought I'd try and resurrect this thread and post a couple pics of the ROR.  You may be wondering why it's been 5 yrs. and that's a long story. Let's just say that life got in the way but now I'm rea

Thanks Jim, I really enjoy posting updates because it helps keep me motivated knowing folks are interested in Windy Knoll’s progress. Things are moving along nicely. In the evenings last week - the tw

Darn it! I probably should have added a couple more tons of concrete and a few more miles of rebar but oh well - maybe it will hold up for a little while...

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Looks Fabulous!!! Its nice to see a fellow "builder" taking the time and effort to it right. So many take short cuts, or use inferior materials to save money. You'll have a nice

observatory when you are done, something to be proud of!!!

Kim

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Question about V-tracks for ROR’s – Where do you find tracks long enough not to require multiple splices? The only lengths I see available from gate companies on the web are 6 ft & 9 ft which means I’d need at least 3 splices per side for my 12x12 observatory. I’ve got the rollers covered – just ordered a set of these today - but are multiple splices in ROR V-tracks common & if so, do they interfere with smooth operation of the roof?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/V-Groove-Wheel-4-Double-Bearing-Heavy-Duty-Slide-Driveway-Gate-Roller-8PCS-/321703604509?hash=item4ae707711d:g:7AcAAOSwPhdVNUdL

http://www.laornamental.com/Store/Gate%20V-Track.html

Looks Fabulous!!! Its nice to see a fellow "builder" taking the time and effort to it right. So many take short cuts, or use inferior materials to save money. You'll have a nice

observatory when you are done, something to be proud of!!!

Kim

Thanks Kim – giving it my best shot. Fellow builder? not really, I’m a plumber by trade. But working in construction all my life, guess I’ve learned a little bit about building along the way. Now I work in the local building inspections dept. but my job is just to keep folks from screwing up their plumbing, HVAC & gas.  :smiley:

Something to consider is a lot of folks on here aren’t trying to put up permanent structures. Some of our friends across the pond who plan to “move house” just want a functional observatory that can be moved or disassembled if need be. But guys like us who aren’t planning to move are ok with throwing a few extra yards of concrete in the hole or a few extra studs in the wall.

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Something to consider is a lot of folks on here aren’t trying to put up permanent structures. Some of our friends across the pond who plan to “move house” just want a functional observatory that can be moved or disassembled if need be. But guys like us who aren’t planning to move are ok with throwing a few extra yards of concrete in the hole or a few extra studs in the wall.

Question about V-tracks for ROR’s – Where do you find tracks long enough not to require multiple splices? The only lengths I see available from gate companies on the web are 6 ft & 9 ft which means I’d need at least 3 splices per side for my 12x12 observatory. I’ve got the rollers covered – just ordered a set of these today - but are multiple splices in ROR V-tracks common & if so, do they interfere with smooth operation of the roof?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/V-Groove-Wheel-4-Double-Bearing-Heavy-Duty-Slide-Driveway-Gate-Roller-8PCS-/321703604509?hash=item4ae707711d:g:7AcAAOSwPhdVNUdL

http://www.laornamental.com/Store/Gate%20V-Track.html

Thanks Kim – giving it my best shot. Fellow builder? not really, I’m a plumber by trade. But working in construction all my life, guess I’ve learned a little bit about building along the way. Now I work in the local building inspections dept. but my job is just to keep folks from screwing up their plumbing, HVAC & gas.  :smiley:

Something to consider is a lot of folks on here aren’t trying to put up permanent structures. Some of our friends across the pond who plan to “move house” just want a functional observatory that can be moved or disassembled if need be. But guys like us who aren’t planning to move are ok with throwing a few extra yards of concrete in the hole or a few extra studs in the wall.

Understood. I am not a "true builder either," just a retired software engineer, living a life on the ranch and learning to do what was necessary as I went along. I have a few friends that are also into the less permanent structures, and it works out great for their needs. I honestly

wish it would work for me, save a lot of $$$, but alas, this needs to last for awhile, so I put in a bit more 'crete  :smiley:

Kim

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Hi Scorpius,

My vTracks came in 9ft lengths.  I just screwed them down end on and there isn't a noticeable transition between the pieces when i move the roof. The Trick that I picked up on here was to screw one end down and then move the roof over them to get them to self align.

"Wow" is all i can say is about your build. you are doing a stunning job on putting your observatory together. It looks a lot better than some house builds that i have seen!!

Cheers John

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Hi John - thanks for the advice. Sounds like 9 ft tracks are standard & splices aren't a problem if you get them properly aligned. Really don't want to order them online because of shipping costs & the potemtial for them to get damaged (bent) during shipment. Did you order yours online or find them locally so you could pick them up yourself?

Thanks for the kind words but keep in mind it's just a shed on wooden posts not a true structure on concrete footings like the one Kim's building over in Cali. The 4x6 treated posts should last at least 20-25 years (maybe more) but they'll never last as long as concrete, especially below ground. Guess you could say mine is sort of a hybrid between a pole barn & a house-like structure which should be around for a good long time before deterioration of the supporting posts becomes an issue and reworking of the foundation becomes necessary.

It occurs to me that out of all the build threads recently started - yours is the only one with a roof! Guess that leaves you the only one high & dry at the moment so my compliments on your practical, no non-sense approach...  :smiley:

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Well fellow stargazers - FedEx dropped off a 34 lb package today containing 8 rollers for my observatory roof which brings them in about 4 lbs a piece. When they said heavy duty on the website - guess they weren't kidding & thinking maybe I'm guilty of overkill once again?    :icon_scratch:

Anyway, ready to order the v-track but it comes in galvanized or aluminum. Any suggestions which is better for a ROR?

Looking great!

Thanks Tim, this weekend - the siding goes up, good Lord willing & the creek don't rise...  :smiley:

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I love those wheels, just can't imagine anything that will derail that puppy... ooga shaka ooga ooga!!!!

I would suggest steel, aluminum is nice, purdy and light, but paint the steel and it will be there forever...  :smiley:

Kim

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I love those wheels, just can't imagine anything that will derail that puppy... ooga shaka ooga ooga!!!!

I would suggest steel, aluminum is nice, purdy and light, but paint the steel and it will be there forever...  :smiley:

Kim

That's kinda what I was thinking but shouldn't have to paint it if it's already galvanized. If you mean painted black steel angle iron - you'd have to weld on some flat iron (with hand drilled holes) to have a way to mount it. I know how to lay a bead but not planning to waste time on that right now since the manufactured stuff is made specifically for this purpose. Besides, if I stopped to do the welding - that would give you more of a chance to catch up...  :grin:

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Well, the deed is done! Six - 9 ft sections of 12 gage galvanized steel v-track ordered & on the way. This observatory build is turning out to be a real money pit :sad:  but isn't that the way with just about everything in this hobby? Will let this thread rest for a while now until there's some more actual progress pics to post...  :smiley:

Cheers,

Scorpius

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Said I was going to let this thread rest for a while but need some advice pretty quick. I’ll be purchasing the siding this evening after work and although I thought my mind was made up, I’m starting to second guess myself now that the time is neigh. I’m going to use 4x8 sheets either way for ease & speed of installation & the two choices are what we call T1-11 which is basically an exterior grade plywood that requires staining or painting but is 5/8” thick & heavy duty. The other option - which I’ve never used - is an Engineered Treated Wood Siding Panel called SmartSide that comes pre-primed & is treated with zinc borate and marine grade resins added under pressure during the manufacturing process. The big concern I have with this new-fangled stuff is it’s significantly thinner – only about 3/8” compared to the 5/8” thickness of T1-11. I’ve used T1-11 a number of times over the years & it’s considered the old standby around here for sheds, outbuildings & such. As a matter of fact, I installed it most recently on the 4 season gazebo you may have spotted in some of my pics. However, I’ve noticed it’s starting to discolor – but not deteriorate or rot - in certain areas & is well past due for a fresh coat of stain. However, this newfangled stuff supposedly maintains its appearance for a long time with the coat of primer that comes on it, even if not top coated for several years. Whatever I use, it’s going directly over the roofing felt against the studs - with no underlying sheathing - which is why I’m wondering if this new stuff is really thick enough for the job.

The engineered stuff is a just over a dollar more per sheet so cost won’t be the determining factor but its suitability for the application & long term durability certainly will. I know it’s ultimately my decision but interested in knowing which of these two products you would choose if they were you’re only two options?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_12957-44903-NA_1z0vj9vZ1z11pro__?productId=3010839&pl=1

http://www.lowes.com/pd_55897-132-27874_1z0vj9vZ1z11pro__?productId=3058153&pl=1

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Said I was going to let this thread rest for a while but need some advice pretty quick. I’ll be purchasing the siding this evening after work and although I thought my mind was made up, I’m starting to second guess myself now that the time is neigh. I’m going to use 4x8 sheets either way for ease & speed of installation & the two choices are what we call T1-11 which is basically an exterior grade plywood that requires staining or painting but is 5/8” thick & heavy duty. The other option - which I’ve never used - is an Engineered Treated Wood Siding Panel called SmartSide that comes pre-primed & is treated with zinc borate and marine grade resins added under pressure during the manufacturing process. The big concern I have with this new-fangled stuff is it’s significantly thinner – only about 3/8” compared to the 5/8” thickness of T1-11. I’ve used T1-11 a number of times over the years & it’s considered the old standby around here for sheds, outbuildings & such. As a matter of fact, I installed it most recently on the 4 season gazebo you may have spotted in some of my pics. However, I’ve noticed it’s starting to discolor – but not deteriorate or rot - in certain areas & is well past due for a fresh coat of stain. However, this newfangled stuff supposedly maintains its appearance for a long time with the coat of primer that comes on it, even if not top coated for several years. Whatever I use, it’s going directly over the roofing felt against the studs - with no underlying sheathing - which is why I’m wondering if this new stuff is really thick enough for the job.

The engineered stuff is a just over a dollar more per sheet so cost won’t be the determining factor but its suitability for the application & long term durability certainly will. I know it’s ultimately my decision but interested in knowing which of these two products you would choose if they were you’re only two options?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_12957-44903-NA_1z0vj9vZ1z11pro__?productId=3010839&pl=1

http://www.lowes.com/pd_55897-132-27874_1z0vj9vZ1z11pro__?productId=3058153&pl=1

I agree with you regarding the T1-11, and have heard good things about SmartSide, which is what I'm using, only the shiplap style instead of panels. It is a tad bit more expensive, but

I think in the long term you'll be more pleased. So basically you are good to go. If you don't shear the building make sure you block it well, pretty easy and cheap to do.

Just my .02 sense  :smiley: 

Kim

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Went with my gut & got the old standby T1-11 (14 sheets) if for no other reason than shear mass. Checked out the SmartSide but looks like nothing more than glorified OSB with a special coating on one side plus it’s thin & very light. Sure it’s pretty to look at & all – and would be easier to install - but if it’s rated as structural siding , you could have fooled me.

So thankfully, that moment of indecision is over! Know what I need to do now & no more posts til it’s done...  :thumbsup:

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Took off a couple hours early Wed & today to finish the last few pieces of siding which didn’t get put up last weekend because I ran out of time. Each panel was primed (2 coats) on the back side as well as all edges to protect against moisture. All corners will get trim boards but not until after the roof is complete. In the meantime, all joints have been sealed with heavy duty exterior caulking & it took just over 3 gals of good quality paint to cover the finished side since T1-11 soaks up paint like a sponge. I’m confident the siding is now well protected from the elements so will start working on the ROR supporting framework tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain.

Still a little early to say I’m coming down the home stretch but think I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...  :bino2:

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Seriously, it really looks great! You are right about the siding really soaking the paint up, can make you a bit neurotic trying to get it looking decent at times  :smiley:  Have you decided

on the roofing material yet? I opted for steel, OSB for the  sheathing, and be good with it. I have no snow load issues here, so it will be fine.

I notice your four-legged night-time cohort ready to move in  :smiley:

Kim

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Looking really great! Looks like another washout weekend for me.

Thanks Steve - been pouring the rain here as well but they claim it will clear off tonight - possibly giving me an opportunity to get something done on the obsy tomorrow. Even so, I was able to attend the local Veteran’s Day Parade which was a somewhat soggy event. As it turns out, I was born on Veteran’s Day, & served 3 yrs in the US Army, but this year’s parade was especially memorable for our family since our son participated as a member of the 116’th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Virginia National Guard  - a unit that traces its linage directly back to the famous “Stonewall Brigade” of the American Civil War - in which his great grandfather (times 3) - William Grass Kesterson enlisted at the age of 16, served throughout the war, & was still under Lee's command at the surrender in Appomattox. We were a little surprised to learn he was part of the color guard - since he’s a relatively new recruit – & his assignment made him part of the first group to pass by in the parade. The live action shot’s a little blurry but he’s on the far left, closest to the camera, & quite a sturdy young fellow who’s made his old man very proud!  :grin:

So how’s it going with your build? Did you get all the siding on yet?

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http://www.military-history.org/articles/early-modern/stonewall-brigade.htm

A Hah!!! You've been a busy man!!

I'll letcha bask in your well earned glory until tomorrow morning  :smiley:

Looks great!!!!

Kim

That’s mighty neighborly of you Kim, but don’t let progress reports on my little shack discourage you from updating your thread. You’ve obviously been boring with a big auger so deferring to me would be like 50 cents holding up a dollar!  :smiley:

Seriously, it really looks great! You are right about the siding really soaking the paint up, can make you a bit neurotic trying to get it looking decent at times  :smiley:  Have you decided

on the roofing material yet? I opted for steel, OSB for the  sheathing, and be good with it. I have no snow load issues here, so it will be fine.

I notice your four-legged night-time cohort ready to move in  :smiley:

Kim

Thanks - haven’t decided on the roofing yet but leaning toward a product named Ondura (another new-fangled material) due to its lightweight & supposed longevity. Thought about metal – and may still go that route – but might be noisy if you’re tinkering about in there when it’s raining - plus it gets really hot in the summer (not a good thing I’ve been told) - and it’s heavy, although not as bad as conventional sheathing with asphalt shingles.

http://ondura.com/

Hope you won’t keep us in suspense much longer since I’ve got a feeling yours is already under roof which makes me quite envious of your progress. But I’ll eventually get there my friend and when I do, the vast majority of work will have been done with my own two hands - without the use of power nailers, heavy equipment or four man construction crews on site for consecutive days. What say we let the competitive tone of our past posts take a break since the time & resources at our disposal are quite different IMHO? That's my wife's pooch - Wally - he's a friendly little feller but oddly enough, it takes him a little while to warm up to Californians...  :grin:

I'm lovin' it

Thanks Tim – did you miss my response to your PM or just been busy planning your future observatory? Can’t say as I blame you since prior planning can save you a lot of heartache once actual construction begins. I’ve already hit a few bumps in the road but problem solving is one of my strong suits – since it seems like I screw up so often...  :icon_scratch:

So it’s onward & upward for Windy Knoll - or as old Stonewall himself might have said - press on men and show no quarter to the enemy seeking to desecrate the sacred soil of Virginia!  :boxing:

If you’ve never seen the flick “Gods and Generals” check it out. It more or less realistically portrays the history of the Shenandoah Valley during the early part of the war including the forced march of young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute on their way to & during the battle of First Manassas where General Thomas J. Jackson famously received his nickname. It’s a great movie I’ve watched countless times in which Stephen Lang plays a great role as Jackson & Robert Duval does a pretty good job portraying Lee as well. Gettysburg’s not a bad either but this ole valley boy would choose Gods & Generals every day of the week & twice on Sunday...

Here’s a link to a free live stream: https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C211US0D20140916&p=gods+and+generals

It's the one that says 1 of 6 - Video quality’s not that great but if you click HD & choose the highest resolution it’s not that bad. Matter of fact – since rain continues to fall in the Old Dominion – think I’ll go ahead & watch it once more...  :bino2:

Cheers to all & clear skies,

Scorpius

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Hey Scorpius;

Well, there is some green type stuff on the top of the building, and if and when the rain comes in the morning, we'll see if it does its job  :smiley:

I had the help of a few friends Thursday and Friday, and another good friend came by today, and things look really good. I will post a few

pics in the morning (Sunday).

Kim

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We just finished dinner, so its family time, and in the morning I will post a dozen or so. We actually got going so fast with 5 people working, I missed

getting a few shots, but hey, we got a lot done  :smiley:

The Ondura really looks interesting, and probably a decent product. I went with the metal for weight, and will have insulation on the inside of the ROR

that should keep it quiet  :smiley:

Kim

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Well fellow stargazers – this weekend was a bust for me. Rained on Sat then had other commitments to take care of yesterday but did manage to get over there in the afternoon & cover it with a huge tarp since they’re forecasting rain the next two days with a chance for more on Thurs.

I’m off from work this coming Fri - so hopefully the weather will improve so I can start working on the ROR this weekend...

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