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JamesF

JamesF's observatory build

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First dry day for what seems like ages today, so I was back out at the crack of mid-morning (well, it is Sunday) with the paintbrush to finish painting the rolling roof frame with Hammerite.  The light was considerably better than a couple of weekends ago when I started so I also found a few bits I'd missed first time around that needed patching up.  By the time I finished I had about 2mm of paint left in the bottom of the can, so that worked out pretty well.  I also re-fitted the wheels with the stainless nyloc nuts I bought some time back, so hopefully there should be nothing that can go rusty now.

By the time I'd done all that it was clear that I wouldn't get very far if I started putting the OSB on the roof.  Whilst it is still daylight (just), the temperature falls quite significantly once the Sun drops behind the roof of the house, so instead I spent the rest of the afternoon gluing the EPDM on the warm room roof over the lip at the top and trimming it to size.  I thought the cooler temperatures might give me a bit more time to play with the contact adhesive, but even at today's temperatures (about 11C) it still went off very fast and didn't leave much time for messing about with lining things up.

At the moment the forecast for this week looks unusually warm and dry for the time of year, but for a bit of rain tomorrow.  I may well be tempted to take a day off to get the OSB on if things work out.  Given that the forecast for this weekend changed pretty much every day last week however, I shall not be counting chickens.

James

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Good to hear you've been able to start getting the EPDM down ? 

I'm hoping to get the edges of mine done this week then I can move inside and the weather can (almost) do what it likes. Oh yeah, I ought to try and get the door on as well I suppose!

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It was my intention to take the day off today, but as it was I was on (work) phone calls until 11am and had to leave at 3:30pm as I'd said I'd go to watch my children swim at a school competition taking place an hour's drive away, so I didn't get to take advantage of as much of the dry day as I'd hoped.

I did at least start to get the OSB in place though.  I'd guess I'm just under half done, though the next sheet to go up is a full one which will mean I'm well over halfway there.  The self-drilling screws are (mostly) great.  I've had a small number, half a dozen at the absolute maximum, that just didn't want to cut through the steel and got thrown out.  Otherwise they've been very easy to use.

With some of the roof on I'm a little concerned about it becoming  a sail as the winds are forecast to be a little brisk this evening, so I've clamped it to the top of the walls under the tarp.

No photos yet.  I just ran out of time.

James

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Taking photos is great and we obviously all like to see them but, when pressed for time, cracking on with the build is far more important ?

Sounds like great progress!

EDIT - actually, you've now made me a little anxious. I untied my roof so that I could wheel it backwards and forwards while painting contact-adhesive along the edges (quicker than going up and down ladders the whole time). Just realised I forgot to tie the roof back down ?.  I hope we're not in for strong winds before I can get back out there. I guess the side capture mechanism would stop the roof coming off completely, but if it came off the rails even slightly there's going to be damage.

Edited by Astrokev

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It's going ok so far this morning.  I have the next full sheet fixed down which might actually be the most difficult part of the entire roof.  Just had lunch and then it's back out to see how far I can get before insufficient light brings a halt to proceedings.

James

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On 13/11/2018 at 21:28, Astrokev said:

Taking photos is great and we obviously all like to see them but, when pressed for time, cracking on with the build is far more important

Personally for me I always make time to document a project on a pictoral level as in the past I have been so annoyed that I didn't get that before and after shot and let's face it, it takes only a couple of seconds to snap a shot with your phone these days. Its great to look back in years to come and see the project move along, well for me it is anyhow. 

Great weather up in Yorkshire, hope you industrious folk are having the same and cracking on.?

Edited by Guest

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I agree about documenting projects pictorially.  There are times in the past when I've been so busy that I've forgotten and regretted it later.  Anyway, it does you good to take a break every so often.  Sometimes I wish I could take my own advice!!! ?

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Well..  Nice try, but no cigar.  Nearly got there and I was working until the shadows cast by the setting Sun were all but horizontal.  There's just a little bit more left to be finished on one side of the roof before I can put the EPDM on, though I think I've probably missed the window for actually gluing the EPDM down this year now.

Lovely day to be doing things outside, too.  I can only hope tomorrow is similar.

James

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2 hours ago, LeeRich said:

Personally for me I always make time to document a project on a pictoral level as in the past I have been so annoyed that I didn't get that before and after shot and let's face it, it takes only a couple of seconds to snap a shot with your phone these days. Its great to look back in years to come and see the project move along, well for me it is anyhow.

Yes, I think it's good to keep a record this way.  I'm not too worried about missing the intermediate stages of getting the OSB in place though.  Assuming I get everything done tomorrow I'll certainly be taking photos then :D

James

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2 hours ago, LeeRich said:

Personally for me I always make time to document a project on a pictoral level as in the past I have been so annoyed that I didn't get that before and after shot and let's face it, it takes only a couple of seconds to snap a shot with your phone these days.

I always try and take pics at all stages of my build too, for the same reasons. I've got hundreds on my PC but only post a few to SGL. 

My comment was just acknowledging that on this occasion James was clearly too pushed for time to get the phone out - and that's fine. With my build at the moment it's a race to get stuff done before the light goes. I skipped lunch today to maximise the daylight hours. I was really just trying to say that if it's a toss-up between taking a few photos and finishing a task then I think the latter is sometimes more important. Having a few photos of an unfinished task can be pretty frustrating, especially if you're working on your own and time is so precious ?.

 

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It does tend to focus the mind, this getting dark early thing :D  Lovely as it is not having to wait all evening for astronomical darkness, at the moment the opportunities for getting things done outdoors feel quite restricted.  You can't have it all ways, I guess...

James

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Today it has been beautifully sunny all day.  Barely a cloud to be seen.  Sadly the sunshine was accompanied by a rather chilly north-easterly wind that definitely took the edge off the warmth from the Sun, but another layer under the overalls took care of that and it was once again a pleasure to be outdoors.

First task of the day was to finish all the OSB on the roof.  I'd ordered five sheets of OSB, knowing that I had two plus offcuts left over from the Beer Shack project and that should be sufficient for the entire roof.  One of the older sheets plus some offcuts went on the warm room and having used all the new ones this morning I pulled out the second left-over sheet and cut it to size.  As I stacked the offcut with the two from previous sheets that I'd cut to the same size I had a moment of panic when I realised my new offcut was a couple of inches bigger!  Berating myself for being an idiot unable to use a tape measure I rushed out and measured the piece I wanted to find that it was in fact the right size.  It was only when I read the sprayed-on labelling that I realised my old sheets were Imperial sizes (8' x 4' sold as 2440mm x 1220mm) whilst the new sheets are metric (2400mm x 1200mm).  Panic over, I got the last two pieces up on the roof and screwed down.  I couldn't reach the last few screws on the end over the warm room roof from my ladder, so ended up crawling out onto the warm room roof through the gable and working from there.  And here it is, all done:

obsy-build-48.jpg

I'd kept the tarp out in case I ran out of time, but I really wanted to get the EPDM in place if I could.  I was starting to feel tired at this point though.  I've had a mild cold this week and despite being really nothing much it seems to have taken a lot out of me.  I was struggling to lift the 30kg of EPDM when I'm normally quite happy to carry two 20kg bags of chicken feed around.  As it happens my father-in-law wandered out and offered to help, so I decided to have one more go.  We re-folded the sheet a different way and I slid it out onto the warm room roof, following it out the same way as I had done earlier.  Then it was just a case of lifting it two feet onto the rolling roof at which point it unrolled itself as planned down each side.  After that it was just a question of dragging it along the roof, which was relatively easy, and squaring it up.  It fits very neatly with the edges wrapping under the OSB sheets far enough to reach the steel frame.  Anyone might imagine I'd planned it :D For now it's just held in place with some battens and clamps.  I'll sort something a bit better out shortly as I think it's going to be a while before the weather is reliably warm enough for me to use the adhesive.

obsy-build-49.jpg

Darkness seems to fall very quickly these days, so I got in a quick bit of astrophotography whilst I was at it:

obsy-build-50.jpg

Finally, because it wasn't quite pitch black yet, I got one run of breathable membrane fixed on the walls before calling it a day.  It really was dark by the time I finished that.  The camera couldn't even find anything to autofocus on :D

obsy-build-51.jpg

Did I mention that it was dark? :)

I'm so pleased to have got this far, albeit three weeks later than I was hoping.  There's still some way to go before it is weatherproof, but it's mostly jobs that can be done in small pieces now, whereas the roof has been something of a marathon.

James

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Great to see the roof on James!

Although not glued down, it's obviously now weatherproof. With the generous overhang you've designed in, it should do a great job of helping keep the inside dry. 

I was really chuffed when I reached this stage. I was getting so fed up of hauling the wet tarp on and off the roof. 

Hope you manage to get the walls covered before the weather really starts to turn south ?

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Starting to take shape, I know what its like when you crack on and then have to stop for a while, very impressive cant wait to see it completed.

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Guest

Looking great James, it's always nice to see something bespoke too, your design is very impressive and sets it out on a different level to the norm in my opinion.

kudos.

 

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2 hours ago, Astrokev said:

Hope you manage to get the walls covered before the weather really starts to turn south ?

Getting the second layer of membrane on the walls should be pretty quick to do.  I have to take some time off on Wednesday afternoon to go to school to discuss my son's options for the sixth form, so I might take a bit more time and try to get that done beforehand.  The rest I can probably close off piecemeal to keep the rain out and use a bit of the tatty old ply that I currently have on the floor inside to make up a temporary door.  Progress is likely to slow down over the next couple of weeks though whilst I catch up with other stuff that I haven't done thanks to focusing on this.

James

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And thank you Alex, Gina, Kev M and Lee for your kind words :)

James

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I'm sure I used to have a copy of that :)

I can only find "In Flame" and "The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome" at the moment though.

James

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Ah, Slade - my favourite band back in the 70's. They were the first band I saw live, in Liverpool, and I've still not been to a gig that was louder ?.  Their early stuff, just after they changed their name from Ambrose Slade and before they went glam, was much better than their later stuff. 

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I saw Slade in 1984. A good mate of mine who had dropped out of uni but stayed in town promoted them in Aberystwyth. I got to be local crew and see the band close up, and we watched from the best Private Box in the building (it would have been more fun at ground level) ?

I'd seen lots of bands like Sabbath, Motorhead, Jethro Tull, Rush, Stranglers etc. etc. etc. but for some reason, I'd assumed that all the 'Top of the Pops' bands of my teenage years like Mud, Sweet etc. weren't 'proper' rock  bands.

Slade put me right on that...

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Thank you, Alan.

I know I was planning to wait until Wednesday, but there's some rain forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday, so I sneaked out this afternoon before shutting the chickens in for the night and did the second layer of membrane on the walls.  Once again it was pretty much dark when I finished.  It does mean that the only gaps for rain to get in now are the gables and the sides of the rolling roof.

Need to come to a decision about cladding in the very near future so I can get that ordered.

James

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