Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Truck Small Road

Observatory moving day,
Dean showed up and shoe-horned his truck and trailer into the storage building driveway, after about 20 minutes and a Thermos of coffee we had a plan.

With the hoe on his trailer, Dean lifted the dome off the building and placed it on my small trailer.
Then lifting and pulling, he was able to get about 1/3 of the observatory up and on the deck of his trailer, and then he swung over and lifted the complete building level with the trailer,
Now with a chain come-a-long hooked to a nice big tree we just slid it across the trailer.

Quick strap down, little more coffee, and off we go.

Just getting out of the driveway was tight, now there was only 3 miles left down a crappy road that is only 10 feet wide in most spots.

It was a slow trip with low hanging tree branches, sharp curves and giant pot holes! Once we reached the site, we simply reversed the procedure to unload,using my truck instead of the come-a-long to slide it off.
All in all the move went great.

After offloading the hoe, Dean starts clearing the 1000 foot road through some very thick woods. I'm excited to have this land opened up a little but we tried not to tear it up too bad because it's full of beautiful maple trees

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Very Wet June and the Damn White Board

It just keeps raining.
June has been really wet but the woods needed it and now every thing is nice and green.
I have used the rain time to gather up supplies and on one trip I came up with the great idea of a large white board to track all my projects.
I have always said that every bundle of roofing shingles should come with a handful of pain killers, well I now believe every white board should come with anti-depressants.
I started by dividing the board into major projects, Cabin, Storage Building, Observatory, Home,
then writing down all that needs to get done by winter in all 4 categories.
All I can say is WOW, this amount of work would kill a normal man.

Observatory work over the last few weeks.

First off the door got painted, I'm still looking for the right set of hinges to complete the look.

Then I picked up the 18" sonotube along with the spread footing and anchor bolts. The bottom of that spread footing is 36" in diameter and will make for a very solid telescope base.

Using a break rotor mounted to the garage door frame I started bending the reinforcement rod hoops and legs

Then I built a cage and to keep it from rusting, I was able to cover most of it with blood, the sharp pointy wire ends tore me up pretty good.

Also built this anchor bolt jig, which will allow us to get the bolts in the center of the pier at the right depth and spacing.

Here it is on the tube, the long leg allows us to set a compass on the center line far enough away from the steel anchor bolts so they don't mess up the compass reading.
The bolt pattern will be set true north.

I have also been working on the road going up the hill to our site with a chain saw and trimmer and the road is slowly taking shape. The rain has slowed down Dean's arrival, but I think we're ready for the big dirt work to start.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pier Mock-up and Door Building

It's been funny,
some days the observatory seems large and other days very small. Well after temporarily installing the pier then mocking-up the telescope with it's wedge mount I found I'll be lucky to get it all to fit!
Running down a plumb bob from zenith it's looking like about a 8" pier offset to the south, and the overall height looks to be very close.

Sorry for the poor photo but here is the mock-up, I'm very glad I spent time on this step, it will save a boat load of work later on


A few weeks ago Jim designed this logo and had an ink stamp made for our books, photos and later we will use it on our letter head, it's clean, simple and I like it.

Now for the Door
A swing out service door ended up to be hard to find as well as expensive with a long wait time, and after all that I still would have had to cut it down to fit.

So instead of paying $300.00 for a door, I made 2 lumber yard trips (70 total miles) spending $120.00 dollars in materials, and then invested around $400.00 in labor. The lesson I learned, it's only about twice the cost if you build it yourself.

Only kidding, total cost was less then $100.00 and took about 3 hours to build, and using the logo in the door panel worked out very well.