Jump to content


Photo

Backyard wood Pier

  • Please log in to reply
77 replies to this topic

#26 John Miele

John Miele

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Joined: 29 May 2005
  • Loc: North Alabama

Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:17 PM

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! :shocked: And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John

#27 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:07 PM

John,

Trying just using 1 x 6x6 or doing 4 x 4x4. I think you'll find it works just fine.

I'm using a single 6x6 and while I can make it 'shake', it dampens almost immediately.

#28 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:29 AM

I am 6'4" and had no problems moving the 8 foot sections of 6x6 around. I do wish they sold 6 foot sections instead. A pier made with 4x4 would work. I get no shake with the pier I made. See if you can fine a friend or someone from the club to help.

#29 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Menards had 6' sections :). I agree the 4 6x6 option has to be very sturdy.

#30 mlanglois

mlanglois

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 105
  • Joined: 04 Dec 2009
  • Loc: Newton, MA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

Dwight,

How did you secure the mount to the top plate? And have you had any problems with keeping it perfectly level considering expansion/contraction or slippage of the bolts between the plates?

Michael

#31 hottr6

hottr6

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • Joined: 28 Jun 2009
  • Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM

Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:30 PM

Why not use an old railway tie? A 9' tie costs $15, and no fuss with drilling holes. Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.

#32 HunterofPhotons

HunterofPhotons

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1062
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Rhode Island, USA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

Why not use an old railway tie? ..... Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.


They're soaked with creosote.
Creosote is probably carcinogenic, is a well-known irritant, and it's sticky.
There are many wood species available at lumber yards that have no deleterious effects.

dan k.

#33 Lorence

Lorence

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 837
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2008

Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:55 PM

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! :shocked: And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John


John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears. :)

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.

#34 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:13 PM

Why not use an old railway tie? ..... Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.


They're soaked with creosote.
Creosote is probably carcinogenic, is a well-known irritant, and it's sticky.
There are many wood species available at lumber yards that have no deleterious effects.

dan k.


I built this pier one afternoon and I was alone so I had to have pieces of wood that I could move on my own. Also I don't need the chemical issue around the scopes or mount.

#35 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:21 PM

Dwight,

How did you secure the mount to the top plate? And have you had any problems with keeping it perfectly level considering expansion/contraction or slippage of the bolts between the plates?

Michael


I used a FHD / Meade field tripod adapter connected on the top plate to hold the mount. You can get them from Losmandy. I used the one that I had on my G8 mount which I was not using. It has a 1/2 inch hole in the center to bolt down to the plate.

The bolts between the plates are 3/4 inch bolts that don't move at all. No movement of the plates or the pier yet but we have not had time to see what the weather does. I don't expect any movement and the design of the plates will let you adjust the level by adjusting the bolts a few turns.

#36 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:07 PM

Dwight,
That's what I do too. Just adjust a bolt here and there to make sure she's level.

I love your pier.

#37 John Miele

John Miele

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Joined: 29 May 2005
  • Loc: North Alabama

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! :shocked: And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John


John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears. :)

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.


Yep! That muscle between my ears certainly needs to get to work!! :lol: Well, you all have inspired me. I'm going to go eat my wheaties, zip up my mansuit and get to it! I'll buy the posts this Sunday and I have a friend to help me run the hole digger.

Dwight...did you mix the concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow? Any troubles with that part?

Also, I could only find 1/2" bolts at Lowes in the 12" lenght. Where did you get your 3/4" bolts?

John

#38 Dan G

Dan G

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2189
  • Joined: 27 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Minisink, NY, USA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

Try this threaded rod.

Dan in NY

#39 Raginar

Raginar

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6138
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Rapid CIty, SD

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:18 PM

1/2 inch rod will work too.

#40 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:52 AM

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! :shocked: And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John


John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears. :)

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.


Yep! That muscle between my ears certainly needs to get to work!! :lol: Well, you all have inspired me. I'm going to go eat my wheaties, zip up my mansuit and get to it! I'll buy the posts this Sunday and I have a friend to help me run the hole digger.

Dwight...did you mix the concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow? Any troubles with that part?

Also, I could only find 1/2" bolts at Lowes in the 12" lenght. Where did you get your 3/4" bolts?

John


I used 1/2 inch bolts to tie the 6x6 together. Lowes is the only one that sells the 12 inch length. Use a long 5/8 drill bit to drill the holes through the posts for the 1/2 inch bolts. Makes it easier to put them in. Don't let the 6x6 move around when drilling or the holes will not align for the 12 inch bolts. Even with new drill bits, it took a while to drill out the holes for the bolts. Had to use an electric drill since my battery powered drill ran out of power all the time. Make sure to glue the posts before you screw them together.

It will be heavy!!!! I used a hand truck to move it to the hole.

I used 3/4 threaded rods to tie the plates together. Home Depot sells 12 inch long 3/4 threaded rods. I cut them to 8 inchs long for my plate.

As for the hole digger, make sure you get the 12 inch bit. It will take two of you to hold the machine as it digs. I dug as deep as it could go and then finished up with a post hole digger. The hole was three feet deep. My poor back!!

No need to mix the concrete. Just pour the dry concrete into the hole to the level you want and then add water. That is how you set posts when building fences. Make sure your hole has enough clearance around the pier to give you room for the concrete.

I used 12 inch plates. That required me to move the Gemini off to the side, look at the photos to see how I had it attached.

Measure the height of your mount to determine the height above ground to make your pier. Make sure you add the height of the two plates and mount attachment. I used three feet for my G11 pier. Adjust as needed.

#41 mich_al

mich_al

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2335
  • Joined: 10 May 2009
  • Loc: Rural central lower Michigan Yellow Skies

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:00 AM

Bolt source : http://www.fastenal.com Use a wood bit not a standard twist bit for drilling the holes. I assembled my pier, drilled the bolt holes then dis-assembled the pier so I could move each 6x6 individually then reassembled and bolted the pier together in place.

Al

#42 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:43 PM

Here is a shot of the pier with an AT12IN on it. The pier is very stable. I get .12 and .14 RMS results in PHD now.

Attached Files



#43 John Miele

John Miele

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Joined: 29 May 2005
  • Loc: North Alabama

Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:07 PM

Hey Dwight,

Sweet looking setup there!

Well I started my wood pier today. I am pretty much copying your design to the letter :bow:! I hope you don't mind :grin:. I bought my 6x6 posts at Lowes. I thought maybe they could cut them to length for me in the store, but they cannot cut wood that thick. I got them home and used my circular saw to cut through as much as I could and finished off with a hand saw. I measured my current G11 tripod height and 36" above ground will be just about right. So with 36" in the ground, I went with 6 foot lenght too. I went to a local weld shop Friday and bought two 12 x12 x 1/4 inch steel plates. I had them drill the 3/4 inch corner holes for me since I don't have a bit that large. I can drill all the 1/2 holes myself. They charged my $30 for the steel and another $20 to do the cutting and drilling. $50 total. I am really excited now that this project is finally under way. Thanks for sharing what you did. It was the motivation I needed to finally get off the fence!

John

Attached Files



#44 John Miele

John Miele

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Joined: 29 May 2005
  • Loc: North Alabama

Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:07 PM

My steel plates in work!

Attached Files



#45 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:59 PM

Great start to your pier!!! I am glad you got the steel plates cheaper than I did, with holes drilled. Now the big project digging the hole.

Before you dig the hole, make sure you call Miss Utility to check for any underground cables or gas lines.

Also make sure you can see Polaris from the pier hole location, it is just above my roof line.

Like your photo of the plates being drilled. It looks similar to my photo..

#46 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:00 PM

Forgot to mention. Put the ends you cut into the ground with the factory cut ends on top.. better to work with a true flat top.

#47 Ranger Tim

Ranger Tim

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 844
  • Joined: 25 Mar 2008
  • Loc: SE Idaho, USA

Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:54 PM

If you buy a bucket of driveway tar/sealer you can dip the ends into it and let them dry before they go into the ground. This keeps critters from eating any of the wood in the hole. Pressure treated is good stuff, but bugs have been known to eat it. Keeps the moisture rot problem minimized as well. pour the rest out on the driveway : )

Dwight, I guess I won't be hearing about you going out to remote locations anymore! Too easy to just walk out the back door, huh? Have fun this winter shooting pics - I'm listening to the wind howl and expecting 3 inches of white stuff. Although the weather has been unseasonably warm here the skies have been clouded out most of the last 3 weeks. I thought Idaho was supposed to be dry?!!!

Nice job on the piers guys!

#48 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:47 AM

Sorry the clouds are from me. I needed to test my setup and sent them to you.

I will still need to go to a dark site since the mount is in a tree filled back yard. I am limited on what I can see from there. On Saturday I had time for one shot of M33 before the trees ate it.

#49 mich_al

mich_al

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2335
  • Joined: 10 May 2009
  • Loc: Rural central lower Michigan Yellow Skies

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

Are those steel plates 'meaty' enough? It might just be the picture but it looks like there's an opportunity to flex.

Al

#50 D_talley

D_talley

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Richmond VA

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:36 AM

If his plates are like mine, you can put several hundred pounds on them and there would be no flex. I was surprised how tough they are.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics