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JamesF's observatory build


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Some good progress this afternoon despite darkness arriving even earlier than usual thanks to heavily overcast skies and, eventually, drizzle.  I now have the cladding up on the fixed part of the southern wall, and one length at the bottom of the eastern wall just to get a good idea of the measurements.  The first length I trimmed back slightly over the concrete piers so the cladding doesn't touch the top surface of the concrete, but still hangs down about 10mm below the joists.  Hopefully that should keep as much water as possible off the joists.

I've only put up complete lengths so far and intend to do the same on the western side so there are as few breaks as possible in the sides facing our prevailing winds (and therefore the direction the rain usually comes from).  Then I'll do the northern end and try to arrange for most of the joins to go on the eastern wall which is sheltered by other buildings and a stone wall.

No photos (again) because it was too dark (again).

James

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I've been promising myself that I'd build an observatory for years, but life has just got in the way a bit and I never managed to get started.  Given recent events with my brother however (see posts e

By chance I just caught child number one in his wellies as he came in from feeding the chickens.  Overruling his protestations that he wasn't strong enough to help I press-ganged him into assisting me

Not much chance of getting outside and doing anything useful this morning, but I did manage a brief foray to take some photos.  The state of the prevailing weather is evident from the second photo aga

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As a temporary measure I stapled medium-lightweight tarpaulins on the observatory walls for shelter.
They were so cheap they could be treated as [almost] disposable.
Handy to get a real idea of the size of the building before closing it up permanently.
Dark green outside and black inside they could have been left up after I clad in plywood.
They can be quickly removed for ladder access, getting materials or cables inside, or whatever.
While providing instant protection against cold, wind or bad weather.
You can continue working in much greater comfort when you would normally retreat indoors. :thumbsup:

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Another hideously overcast day here, but whilst rain threatened this morning it never arrived and I managed to get out and fix the cladding on the eastern walls either side of the door that I'd cut to length yesterday whilst I was "just fetching some things from the workshop" :D

I also managed to get the northern end done, but for the top two rows.  I need to cut those to fit around the rails and rafters for the warm room and by that point it was just getting too dark so I had to call it a day.

James

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Busy doing other things today (and tomorrow and probably Saturday too), but I found time to take a quick photo since the Sun decided it had better show up before we forgot what it was.  Still have the corners to finish and to decide how I'm going to finish off the EPDM where it comes down the sides of the warm room roof, but other than that three sides are pretty much done now.

obsy-build-58.jpg

James

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1 hour ago, Gina said:

Ground looks much like here - wet!!

It is quite slippery underfoot now :(  Going out to shut the chickens up this evening was like ice-skating.

James

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37 minutes ago, JamesF said:

It is quite slippery underfoot now :(  Going out to shut the chickens up this evening was like ice-skating.

James

Chickens**t on wet concrete. Lowest coefficient of friction known to man (or woman).

Edited by Stub Mandrel
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It was a beautiful morning here in deepest darkest West Somerset with almost completely clear skies, so I took the opportunity of using my last day off of the holiday season to make some progress with the cladding of the eastern wall.  This was always going to be a bit fiddly and time-consuming because it was where I planned to use up offcuts from the walls I'd already done.  I took at bit of time last night to work out how I could use the offcuts in a reasonably efficient manner which helped a great deal and meant that once I'd finished I was left with a very small pile of scrap.

The afternoon became more overcast as time passed and even before sunset it was once again starting to get too dark to work, but I just couldn't let it go that easily and finished off by adding the last two lengths of cladding to the end wall of the warm room where I needed to cut them to fit around the roof rail supports and other bits of the framing.

If the weather stays dry I shall try to get the sides of the roof done next I think.  I do also want to get the end flap done, but I need to think about how I want the hinges to work for that first so I can avoid having the cladding on one side of the hinge foul the cladding on the other side when it opens.  I might also put a strip of EPDM across the join to prevent rain being driven through the gap.

Failing that it's back inside to fix up some temporary lighting (it's quite dark inside now) and finish off the cable ducting before laying the floor.

James

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2 minutes ago, JamesF said:

If the weather stays dry I shall try to get the sides of the roof done next I think. 

Just watched BBC forecast and it looks good for the next few days.

Dave

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Just now, Davey-T said:

Just watched BBC forecast and it looks good for the next few days.

Dave

It does.  And I have considered telling the guys I work with that I'm taking the rest of the week off.  Not 100% sure they'd understand though :D

It's not even like I can sneak off an hour early given that sunset is still around 4:15pm.  If it's still looking good for Friday perhaps I'll take the afternoon off or something like that.

James

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33 minutes ago, JamesF said:

 I might also put a strip of EPDM across the join to prevent rain being driven through the gap.
 

Be careful to avoid creating a water trap if you put the EPDM on the inside of the joint. Not that I've ever done such a thing, mind you.

[Not after the first build, anyway.]

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Well, the mystery of what was picking holes in the membrane has just been cleared up.  I've just seen four or five blue tits attempting to peck at some of the membrane that is still exposed.  I can't imagine why, unless for some reason they think it must be time to be building nests already.

James

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10 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Well, the mystery of what was picking holes in the membrane has just been cleared up.  I've just seen four or five blue tits attempting to peck at some of the membrane that is still exposed.  I can't imagine why, unless for some reason they think it must be time to be building nests already.

James

Another Astro mystery solved.
Nesting this early, but hey with this weather anything is possible,
well other than a clear sky of course!

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Bit of Robin and Blackbird territorial fighting here and sparrows gathering nest material, they could all be in for a nasty shock if we get another Beast from the East :grin:

Dave

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10 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Bit of Robin and Blackbird territorial fighting here and sparrows gathering nest material, they could all be in for a nasty shock if we get another Beast from the East :grin:

And they won't be the only things.  We've had hazel catkins out for almost a month now, snowdrops are already flowering, and some of the daffodils are almost a foot tall.

James

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Kev mentioned in his build thread about the cost of bits and pieces mounting up.  My wife picked up some stainless screws for me this afternoon since she happened to be passing Screwfix.  There are a few places where screw heads will be exposed to the elements so I thought I'd go for something that wouldn't rust and stain the timber.  They're more than 5p per screw though, so I'll definitely be using them sparingly :)

James

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But then Screwfix, does tend to be more expensive...  

I usually go for the ebay suppliers, Kay's, Bolt-World etc. granted I have to wait for delivery, but you get better choice of grade etc....

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Yes, I often use them myself if I have planned sufficiently far ahead.  This time unfortunately I didn't :)

Not that I begrudge putting some business Screwfix's way, because they're useful enough that I'd like them to stick around.

James

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I went entirely for stainless steel nuts, washers and hex socket head bolts bought from a specialist supplier with a huge range.
Stainless steel can weld itself to itself but I haven't had any problems dismantling so far.  The usual bubble pack flashing won't last a week before rusting.

The few wood screws I used were Climate Torx. I just wish they'd monitor socket head hardness as it seem to vary enormously.
And I do use good quality drivers in a rechargeable drill/driver with appropriate torque settings.
You only want to do this once so why cut corners?

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