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JamesF

JamesF's observatory build

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1 hour ago, JamesF said:

It's been a lovely weekend here.  A little breezy yesterday, but whilst I wasn't quite prepared to switch to shorts today it was certainly comfortable enough to be t-shirt weather.  I've pretty much been outdoors from after breakfast until gone sunset both days.  Unfortunately I've not made huge amounts of progress with the observatory (again) because of catching up with other things that need doing.

However, I have made a list of jobs that I need to get done.  Two lists in fact, one for things that can be done now without needing to buy more materials and the other for which I do need further purchases.  On the first list I have:

James

Lists are really useful, but I found can also be quite demoralizing as they serve as a blunt reminder of just how much work there is still to do! Fortunately my list is getting quite short now :)

 

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2 hours ago, Astrokev said:

Lists are really useful, but I found can also be quite demoralizing as they serve as a blunt reminder of just how much work there is still to do! Fortunately my list is getting quite short now :)

These days I can't remember everything that needs doing unless I have a list.  And I try to avoid thinking about how long it is.  I can at least console myself with the fact that it's far shorter than the list of other stuff I have to do around the house and garden :)

James

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41 minutes ago, JamesF said:

These days I can't remember everything that needs doing unless I have a list.  And I try to avoid thinking about how long it is.  I can at least console myself with the fact that it's far shorter than the list of other stuff I have to do around the house and garden :)

James

Yes, I'm the king of listing. I have a list to organise my lists ?

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5 hours ago, Astrokev said:

Yes, I'm the king of listing. I have a list to organise my lists ?

And four pairs of increasingly stronger reading glasses to find the right pair of reading glasses to be able to read the list.  :icon_rolleyes:

Nobody needs a list if they have a wife to remind you exactly how much time you have left to complete your allotted tasks.  :blush:

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+1 re. glasses ?

I need to make lists so I know what I'm supposed to be doing!  Memory?  What memory??

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Tiny bit of progress today.  I sneaked out at lunchtime and fitted all the bits of cladding that go between the rafters on the end wall of the warm room.  I might try to get out later and measure up some more.

I also found some interesting-looking hinges for the door/end flap:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/smith-locke-grade-13-security-hinges-satin-stainless-steel-102-x-76mm-2-pack/1190j

They're stainless steel, suitable for outdoor use and have a security bolt that passes through the hinge into the frame in the closed position.

James

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Back to lists for a moment, the problem with them is they are too durable.
I found my pad from 2001 when I moved into my present house and started a big jobs to do list,
they were all big jobs, the list has 15 items listed.
To much head shaking I realised only 5 of them were done!

So being forgetful, I have misplaced the list.......What jobs were those?? :confused2:

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I've managed to get out for a few minutes a few times this week and put the last piece of cladding in place at the tops of most of the remaining walls.  All that's left is the section above the door and that below the flap on the southern gable (which will go over the top of a section of EPDM that stops rain being driven through the gap between the wall and the flap).

The forecast for this weekend was pretty miserable.  Of course it was.  My son is camping out up on the Blackdowns for part of his silver D of E award :D  However, today wasn't actually too bad so I decided to try to finish the end flap.  The first job was to make a few adjustments to the fit, then get all the hinges on.  I was planning on using large strap hinges, but I found some stainless security hinges intended for hanging fire doors on the Screwfix website and decided to use those instead.

To fit the flap to the wall I made up the supports that will hold the flap when it's down.  I'm not really very happy with them at the moment.  They do support the flap, but they just don't feel quite as stable as I'd like.  I might have to revisit them later, perhaps to add some extra bracing or even another support in the middle of the wall.  Once I had them in place it was easy to put the flap in the "down" position to fit the hinges to the top of the wall.  As I lifted the flap into the closed position to check the fit again, the rain started.  I think I need a small amount of adjustment at one end, but it will have to wait for dry weather.

Because I wasn't quite ready to stop at that point I finished off by using up the offcuts of insulation that have been lying about the observatory for the last few weeks to fill the smaller spaces in the warm room walls.

I don't think I'll get much done outside tomorrow.  The forecast is for rain and wind gusting up to 50mph, so perhaps I should be grateful that I have a loft ladder to fit instead (worth bucketloads of brownie points that is, too :)

A couple of photos with the flap in the "down" position:

obsy-build-67.jpg

obsy-build-68.jpg

And with it up (not a great photo I'm afraid -- the sky was very dark by this point)

obsy-build-69.jpg

That's a couple of jobs crossed off my list, anyhow :)

James

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Oh, I almost forgot...

Bearing in mind recent discussions on Kev's thread about closing the gaps between the floor and pier, the hinges came with stainless screws, packaged in a little plastic bag inside the box containing the hinges (they come in pairs).  I failed to notice when I opened the first one that the bag wasn't properly sealed.  Before I knew it, one of the screws had fallen out, bounced on the floor and dropped down the gap :D

I can see it sitting on top of the concrete block, but I can't reach it.  And of course a magnet on a wire is no use, because it's stainless.  I've replaced it with a normal steel screw for now, but when it's next dry I might send a small child under the floor to retrieve it.

James

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Blob of BlueTac on the wire???

 

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23 minutes ago, Merlin66 said:

Blob of BlueTac on the wire???

 

Was just about to say the same as I read James' post ?

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Has to be worth a go.  I'll see what I can sort out tomorrow.

James

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It might only take a few months to train a mouse to "fetch!" ?

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It's been another unpleasant weekend weather-wise (pretty much for everyone in the UK and Ireland by the looks of the news), but I eventually forced myself to get outside today and do a little work on the observatory.

The first job was to finish off the warm room floor around the cable trunking.  Unfortunately that meant removing my temporary power supply (I had an extension lead running up through the gap).  When the weather is a little more pleasant I'll work out another way to do it.  I also managed to get caught outside in a sudden hailstorm, which wasn't pleasant :)

After that I used up all the remains of the insulation I have, fitting it in the warm room walls.  The builder's merchant was supposed to deliver some more last week, but they didn't turn up.  I'll have to enquire about it tomorrow.  I'd only piggy-backed it on an order for some other jobs because fitting the insulation is a nice simple inside job that doesn't require lots of wandering back and forth between the observatory and workshop.

Finally during a break in the cloud I dropped the end flap down and trimmed a little off one corner where it was binding on the roof rails, which means it now closes much more neatly.

That's two more jobs ticked off the list which is good news.

Doesn't look like there's much of a let-up in the weather this week other than for a few hours of sunshine tomorrow, so I'll try to get outside then and re-route the extension cable to allow me to do things inside in the evenings.  I've got a lot of  jobs backing up that need at least half-reasonable weather though.  I need to be able to get on with those at some point soon.

James

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The weather has turned from unpleasant to horrible, so I've decided to call it a day for today.  Whilst keeping an eye on the rugby I've been finishing off insulating the outside walls of the warm room.  The additional insulation I needed arrived earlier this week and I've been doing a few pieces between home time and darkness falling in the evenings when it was possible, but today I was determined to get through the rest of it.

obsy-build-70.jpg

To insulate the internal wall I need to clad one side first, but I haven't ordered the ply for cladding the walls yet.  And before I can fix it I need to adjust the window height (and make the opening the correct size) and also make sure rain can't run back along the roof rails into the scope room, so those are probably the next two jobs.  I really do need to think about making a proper door soon, too.

Really could do with an improvement in the weather soon.  We've had winds gusting up to 45-50mph pretty much without a break for the last ten days or so now and that's no time for working with the roof open or mucking about with lengths of cladding :(

James

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Today started out a bit cloudy, but generally sunny and warm.  Pretty much t-shirt weather, in fact, had the wind been a little less gusty.  Obviously therefore it was time to get some outside jobs done.  Unfortunately heavy rain has now stopped play (I'm still drying off).

First I decided to open up the observatory roof a bit and have a bit of a tidy up in daylight as doing the warm room insulation has made a bit of a mess.

obsy-build-71.jpg

I discovered that my temporary bodge to prevent rain running back along the roof rails has not held up and there was a small patch of damp on the floor.  There was still water sitting under the rail, so clearly sorting that properly must be a priority as soon as everything gets dried out.  It is at least the first time it has happened since I attempted to plug the gap temporarily.

Being able to roll the roof off and having a floor meant I could get to the southern gable comfortably with a step ladder, so getting the cladding on seemed like a good plan.  That all went rather neatly and just as I was fixing the last piece in place, the first few raindrops started to fall from what actually looked to be a largely cloud-free sky.  Discretion being the better part of valour I decided to close up the roof and finish off the cladding on the top of the southern wall where the flap folds down.  The bottom length of cladding on the flap has a layer of EPDM trapped under that covers the join between the flap and wall.  I trimmed that to size and then trapped the bottom section behind the top piece of cladding as I nailed it in place.  As I was nailing the last piece on the rain started pouring down, so I finished off and paused only long enough to take another photo on my way back to the house.

obsy-build-72.jpg

I'm not quite done with that end yet, but I decided to leave the "skirt" of membrane in place until I can fix some sort of drip bar in place to protect the gap between the gable and flap.

So, my next jobs to do are sort out that drip bar, fix the leak and make a door.  I think I'm going to run out of stainless nails, which is irritating.  I shall have to order some more.

James

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Lovely, but I don't like the look of that "forest" of saplings to your south! Talk about priorities! :huh2:

They'll be 100 feet high and similarly across by the time you're finished playing about!  :blush:

With a preservation order slapped on them to protect the herd of rare deer, rare birds and endangered mammals, to boot. :tongue2:

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Oh, that's just an old Victoria plum tree that I've not got around to pruning for a couple of years.  I need to take the chainsaw to it actually, to cut out some diseased limbs.  It won't be a problem at all once I've sorted that.

James

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32 minutes ago, JamesF said:

think I'm going to run out of stainless nails, which is irritating.  I shall have to order some more.

James, I’ve most of a whole box left over - msg me your address and I’ll send them south. Saves me storing them

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29 minutes ago, Yawning Angel said:

James, I’ve most of a whole box left over - msg me your address and I’ll send them south. Saves me storing them

That's really very kind of you, Alex.  I'll drop you a PM.

James

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Since I've decided I need to get on with the door I thought I'd best look out some timber for the lining and decide what to do about a threshold.  I dithered over the latter a fair bit before remembering that I had some bits of oak lying about left over from other jobs, so I found an off-cut from a shelf, the scrag end of the apron in our stair well and a bit of skirting, glue, screws, and... tada!

obsy-build-73.jpg

Little bit of work with the plane, trim it to fit, varnish, and I'm sorted :)

James

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Very Posh... you'll have to get more for the wall panelling

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Spent the hour between stopping work and chicken bedtime tonight trimming the threshold to size, planing a slightly wider chamfer on top and making it fit.  It looks rather nice, even if I do say so myself :)  No photos unfortunately, as once I'd shut the chickens in it was too dark.

Door liner next, but I'm busy tomorrow evening and I'm hoping to replace the cover on the polytunnel over the weekend, so further progress might have to wait until next week.

James

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Managed to spend perhaps half an hour on the observatory at the end of today, having spent most of it working on the polytunnel and then taking my son to swimming.  That was enough to get the sides of the door liner made up, but I still have the top to do.  If things go well with finishing off the polytunnel tomorrow (and there is quite a lot of work still to be done, to be fair), I might be able to finish off the liner and measure up for the door.

James

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As expected there was very little time to work on the observatory today.  Most of the day was spent getting the polytunnel to the point where the new cover was on and held down sufficiently well that it will not blow away.  I did however manage to finish off the observatory door liner, lower the opening for the window between the scope room and warm room and fit a couple of bits of cladding below the door threshold.

It's been a bit of an odd day weather-wise.  The sunshine was certainly warm, but it was at times accompanied by a very cold north-westerly breeze.  I spent all day wearing a fleece top to try to stay warm, but have just caught sight of my face in a mirror and I've clearly caught the sun a fair bit as well :)

James

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