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Barker's Bluff Observatory Begins

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#51 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:58 PM

Boardwalk along front of observatory to room

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#52 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:01 PM

As you enter that room, facing West. The two large openings will be casement windows that allow a view of the sunset

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#53 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:03 PM

Facing North, these two openings remain open and lead to fire area

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#54 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:04 PM

Looking back East, toward wall that adjoins with observatory. This one will house TV monitor for video astronomy and Football

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#55 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:06 PM

Within the observatory looking South over the 5ft high back wall

#56 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

Oops, pic did not attach

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#57 JHGIII

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:08 PM

Exterior view from the South side

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#58 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:17 PM

And then the Concrete Fairy came. It has been two weeks, but I still remember the trepidation with which I returned home late Friday evening. That was the day of the big pour, and while I have great confidence in my crew, I also have a healthy respect for any liquid that weighs in at 133lbs per cubic foot. I pictured a four ton concrete "muffin top" in my yard, worse yet, UNDER my new half-built observatory.

Thankfully my fears were unfounded.

#59 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:18 PM

The twin piers with J bolts in place remain braced, but will be set free soon.

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#60 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:19 PM

The base is solid.

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#61 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:21 PM

Last week, skirting was added below the decking.

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#62 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:23 PM

And the covered room (needs a name...)
Got a metal roof.

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#63 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:25 PM

So, as of this morning, she looks like this:

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#64 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:43 PM

Today the lumber company delivered rough cut 1x6 pine siding and the guys started on the outside.

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#65 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Each board has the lap hand cut with a router

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#66 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:49 PM

My neighbor Larry is a skilled metal worker. He custom made the two adapter plates that will allow the Linak lift columns to interface with the piers. He is milling a third plate to couple the top of the Linak column with my G11 mount.

These two plates are 18 inches in diameter and 5/8th steel. The four interior holes are threaded to accept the bolts that will couple the Linak base to the adapter plates.

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#67 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:51 PM

The frame and casters for the roll-off roof were supposed to be delivered today... but there is a delay. The frames and rails went for powder coating today and should be here late tomorrow... ready for rafter installation and a roof at long last.

#68 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:52 PM

Wires will be pulled Saturday for power. I have tacked index cards all around the inside to mark locations for outlets, switches, lights, exhaust fan etc.

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#69 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 05:00 PM

I'm asking the guys to run 2 inch conduit from the pier locations to planned computer desks and of course to pipe video to the adjacent covered room. Conduit with data lines will never run parallel to AC current. All 90 degree bends in conduit have junction boxes for easy access as future wiring needs dictate. looking forward to posting those images as it will mean we are that much closer to having something I use while the exterior trim work proceeds.

#70 JHGIII

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 05:04 PM

The front face of the covered room will be surfaced with left over zinc from our home construction. It is supposed to last 100 years and requires no maintenance. This way the structure ties in with architecture of the rest of the property and besides being a multi-use venue, it meets my wife's main criteria of being something she won't mind looking at for another 20 years.

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#71 JHGIII

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:59 AM

FIRST MAJOR SETBACK !!!!     ARRRRRGH

The dock company we asked to help with the roll-off roof frame and tracks has been slow. Very slow. At least two weeks behind shedule. they teased with a possible delivery date the week before last, but then told us they had powder coated the frame and tracks in the wrong color. I would have taken the product in a different shade at thsi point, but it was apparently already back in the booth for repainting. that process pushed us through the weekend and into the early part of last week.

 

The product was finally delivered, but of course my work schedule picked up that week such that I was getting home after 9PM each night and out the door before 6AM the next morning. I tried to inspect the delivered product by flashlight, but could not make sense of what I saw. At last Friday afternoon came and I was able to see it in the daylight. Alas, it still made no sense. Here it is:

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#72 JHGIII

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:17 AM

The dock company had completely misssed the mark. To their credit, the workmanship is good. They did an excellent job of building a dock frame. Problem is I did not order a dock. Guess if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The frame they provided was in two sections which bolted together make a frame the size of the entire roof including 18 inch overhangs we palnned for each side. This behemoth's assembled size is about 19 by 15. Jeremiah said he thought he could make it work (he is very conscious of trying to speed this project up). So we started to list the things that were wrong and how they could be corrected since time is money.

 

Wheels:     I had suplied these along with pictures from Taconic observatory web site http://www.taconicob.../page0/6/6.html

Instead, I got these:

 

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#73 JHGIII

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:24 AM

The wheel holders are to couple to wood rafters within the aluminum frame.

That is 8 acute variables that I was trying to reduce by having the wheels encased in tubular steel. Not to mention the variable of wood 2x6's over time such as warp, shrinkage, fatigue....

Oh and how were the rafters to attach to the frame?

OOPS

 

 

The tab marked by red arrow is the rafter/joist holder. Might be nice if it came with a few holes.... When Jeremiah asked about that the guy who made it said he did not notice the omission of holes until he was halfway through. He did offer to provide a drill bit :lol:

 

The orange arrow marks the place we asked for the tabs to attach rafters. Only off by 90 degrees :waytogo:

 

and speaking of 90 degrees... the rafters are supposed to be oriented North South on the frame to match the roof of the adjacent building. If we were to assemble and install this puppy, the rafters would be East West. Again, not waht we asked for.

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#74 JHGIII

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:28 AM

And then there is the track:

We asked for 32 feet, with staggered joints from North wall to South wall and were told it could be 32 seamless.

We received four 16 ft sections :( Those joints will match, not stagger.

 

We aksed for variable end stops so we could fine tune the travel of the roof.

These appear to be welded on.

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#75 JHGIII

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:46 AM

In summary, the roof frame provided by the company that will remain nameless is a FAIL.

 

It will cost far too much in labor to retrofit the product delivered. Even with correction, the product is so far off the design that the longevity and stability comes into question. With such poor initial communication from these guys, what kind of support can I expect over time?

 

So, we will not try to salvage this mess. It is going to get sent back. I'm sure that they can finish it out, pop some floats under it and still sell it as the swim platform that it actually is, so losses should be minor.

 

I am back at the drawing board, but this time with Larry, who made superb pier adapters to couple my Linak DL2 to the concrete pier and a similar but smaller adapter to link the Losmandy G11 to the top of the Linak DL2 (including an under-mount for the buttn that controlls the lifter). if I'd known he had a full metal shop, I'd have started with him. When I met him he was painting houses and just happened to mention he did metal work so I tried him on the Linak adapters. They are spot on and communication throughout the process was excellent. He lives nearby and drops by with stages of the product to clarify any and all questions before proceeding. Nothing went backward and the fit and finish are exact.

 

He and Jeremiah seem to be on the same page. We spent time Sunday morning roughing it out and then today finalizing measurements. New metal is on order for delivery to Larry's shop this afternoon.

HERE WE GO AGAIN !!

 

I guess the moral of this for those who might be contemplating such a build is that if you can't do it yourself (me for example) and you want a custom structure with specific design requirements, first hand communication with lots of pictures and examples, plus lots of follow-up communication is the best way to minimize risk of errors, but ultimately, I suppose there is no guarantee. I will be very relieved when the roof finally rolls. It is the most critical component, closely followed by the piers. Plus i'm itching o get back out under the stars.








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