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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Dan G]
      #5627200 - 01/16/13 10:53 PM

I'll need to recheck, but I'm pretty sure I used pressure treated wood on the concrete foundation.

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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5627251 - 01/16/13 11:58 PM

I don't know how long it's been since you built it but for an on grade unpainted structure it's still standing which says something for the initial build skills! If the roof rolls smoothly and the walls aren't racked I'd consider refurbishing it rather than starting over.
The roof is the priority, I wouldn't do just the half that's failed but the whole thing. The corrugated metal is lighter than plywood and shingles and easier for one person to handle. You know now how to do it correctly so I'd just redo the whole roof. If any of the rafters seem a bit ratty you can sister new ones along side and screw the new roof into the sistered rafters. Replace the plywood gable ends with T-11 sheathing and prime and paint them. If you're going to move the door to the other end consider redoing the framing and use a pre hung door. It will make for a stronger wall. Since you say your carpentry skills are a bit iffy this is something I'd hire a finish carpenter for. He can cut and size the door to fit and make sure it's square. Replace the sheathing at that end with T-11 and prime and paint it and the door.
Before you reframe the other end, that is now without the door, do what ever "floor" work you're going to do. If you dont want to pour a slab for the Dob consider one of those pre cast units they use to set A/C units on. You can do the rest in pavers, just leave a gap so they don't touch the base for the Dob. Reframe and resheath the end wall with T-11, prime
and paint.
As money and time permit you can resheath the side walls with T-11 and prime and paint them as well. Correct the grade around the Obs so that water from the roof and surrounding area is directed away from the walls. If you know what a French Drain is this would be a good idea for around the perimeter. An 18 inch gravel border around the Obs will keep mud and water from splashing up on the walls. Apply a waterproof coating to the bottom 18" of the walls as well as 18" metal flashing.
If you feel your skills are up to ir make and install some corner shelving out of MDF. You can make a desk, some storage, eye piece racks etc. These will help keep the corners square as well as providing you with useful areas. Use hefty angle brackets to tie the top and bottom corners of the walls to each other. Sister any weak or iffy wall studs. Use Carols garage door weather stripping trick to keep out wind, rain and tiny UFO's.
Hope this helps.


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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5627270 - 01/17/13 12:14 AM

Aahh I was never much of one for throwing good money after bad. Start over and do it right. Mike

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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5627310 - 01/17/13 12:48 AM

Quote:

Aahh I was never much of one for throwing good money after bad. Start over and do it right. Mike



I've seen pix of your Obs, no bad money there!

Whatever his decision, all the best to him.


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5627646 - 01/17/13 08:56 AM

Quote:

I don't know how long it's been since you built it but for an on grade unpainted structure it's still standing which says something for the initial build skills! If the roof rolls smoothly and the walls aren't racked I'd consider refurbishing it rather than starting over.
The roof is the priority, I wouldn't do just the half that's failed but the whole thing. The corrugated metal is lighter than plywood and shingles and easier for one person to handle. You know now how to do it correctly so I'd just redo the whole roof. If any of the rafters seem a bit ratty you can sister new ones along side and screw the new roof into the sistered rafters. Replace the plywood gable ends with T-11 sheathing and prime and paint them. If you're going to move the door to the other end consider redoing the framing and use a pre hung door. It will make for a stronger wall. Since you say your carpentry skills are a bit iffy this is something I'd hire a finish carpenter for. He can cut and size the door to fit and make sure it's square. Replace the sheathing at that end with T-11 and prime and paint it and the door.
Before you reframe the other end, that is now without the door, do what ever "floor" work you're going to do. If you dont want to pour a slab for the Dob consider one of those pre cast units they use to set A/C units on. You can do the rest in pavers, just leave a gap so they don't touch the base for the Dob. Reframe and resheath the end wall with T-11, prime
and paint.
As money and time permit you can resheath the side walls with T-11 and prime and paint them as well. Correct the grade around the Obs so that water from the roof and surrounding area is directed away from the walls. If you know what a French Drain is this would be a good idea for around the perimeter. An 18 inch gravel border around the Obs will keep mud and water from splashing up on the walls. Apply a waterproof coating to the bottom 18" of the walls as well as 18" metal flashing.
If you feel your skills are up to ir make and install some corner shelving out of MDF. You can make a desk, some storage, eye piece racks etc. These will help keep the corners square as well as providing you with useful areas. Use hefty angle brackets to tie the top and bottom corners of the walls to each other. Sister any weak or iffy wall studs. Use Carols garage door weather stripping trick to keep out wind, rain and tiny UFO's.
Hope this helps.




Thanks for the very detailed advice. The original build was done back in 1992. The original roof was not secured properly and blew off in a huge storm associated, if I recall correctly, with a Hurricane. I think it was maybe Emily in 1993. I then redid the roof with rubber rollers, plywood, and shingles. That was a very bad idea. It was too heavy and the rubber rollers cracked under the weight. Finally I redid it with the steel roof and metal rollers, so this has been my third (and by far the longest lasting) roof.

I haven't used the structure much lately because the mirror in my Dob needed recoating. I got that done back in December (Majestic) and so I need to get this back in useable, and preferably much better condition than before.

I probably can use a pre-hung exterior door since my Dob needs about 33-34 inches of clearance, and exterior doors are about 36. The height of the door is a problem, I'll need to think about how to deal with that.

Edited by Madratter (01/17/13 08:59 AM)


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Greyhaven
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5627868 - 01/17/13 11:20 AM

Madratter
I built an 8'X10' ROR 2 years ago this summer for just over $1300. I built it with 6' walls because of local lighting issues. I used garage door hardware to mount the roof and did not include a pier in the construction, I'm pretty much a lone observer and can manage visual and AP given the quality of the equipment I own. I guess if your rehab cost are anywhere near those figures and I'll bet they will be very near to that to get your equipment off the ground I vote for new construction.
Be Well
Grey


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5628032 - 01/17/13 12:44 PM

Quote:

Aahh I was never much of one for throwing good money after bad. Start over and do it right. Mike




Well, at least you didn't suggest possible termites this time.....


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Wmacky]
      #5628091 - 01/17/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Aahh I was never much of one for throwing good money after bad. Start over and do it right. Mike




Well, at least you didn't suggest possible termites this time.....




Ouch!


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5634512 - 01/21/13 08:55 AM

I have decided to revive it. So far I have moved the door to the North end as suggested. I have also used the garage door weather stripping to seal along the tracks. The idea to move the door to the North end was a great one.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? [Re: Madratter]
      #5634606 - 01/21/13 09:56 AM

Keep us posted with your progress; pictures are required!

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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5645305 - 01/26/13 11:54 PM

I think your cheapest floor upgrade would be to dig a couple inches of topsoil out of the interior, spread and rake flat an inch or two of sand, and put paving blocks down. If you wanted a more waterproof system, you could put plastic sheeting or a tarp under the sand.
A poured concrete floor would be the next option, but guessing your obs is 12x12, you'd need nearly 2 yards of concrete, about 50 1-cubic-foot bags of sakrete, if you have a portable mixer and a helper available.
Having a truck come in with premix is possible, but you'd have 6" deep ruts from the road to your obs, and many companies charge a premium for less than a full truckload (often 7 yards)
Russ


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5645587 - 01/27/13 08:10 AM

I was looking into the concrete option the other day. It turns out for a 4" pad I would need roughly 56 bags of sakrete. At 5$+ a bag that is only about 250$ but a whole lot of work.

I can get pavers for 1.50$ a block. The observatory is 12x10 so I would need about 11x9 of them. So I am close to 150$ for pavers, + the sand. So money wise, there isn't a great deal of difference.

Time and effort, there is.

Another option would be 8x16 concrete blocks that are 4" thick. Those are about 1.25$ a block. I like the fact those are more durable than the pavers. I'm a little concerned they might be more tippy.

I kind of hate to pour a pad because if I ever want to rip it out of there, it is going to be a WHOLE lot more work at that time. And I'm not sure how I would want to configure it. I have multiple telescopes I like to use etc. With the pavers, it is easy to move things around.

I may end up using sakrete for a small pad for my Obsession, and use pavers or the blocks for everything else.


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5646051 - 01/27/13 01:18 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Some more pictures. First a picture of the door relocated to the North and some flashing added to help keep water out. I would prefer to use a regular door, but I don't know how to get rid of the one beam on the roof without wrecking the structural integrity. At any rate, this is far superior to how things were with the door on the South side.

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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5646060 - 01/27/13 01:21 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

This is a picture showing the use of the garage door weatherstripping to help keep water coming in from the sides. I think this is going to help a whole lot. There is a gap here I need to cover with flashing or something.

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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5646068 - 01/27/13 01:24 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

This is a picture of a gap that is between the sides and the roof. I'm looking for ideas on the best way to seal this. Perhaps more garage door weather stripping. You can also seen some of the broken waffle boards, and a new board I inserted to help hold the roof up like it is supposed to be. The roof was much better in our recent snow. I still need to see how it does in the rain.

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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5646078 - 01/27/13 01:29 PM

I already feel confident enough with these changes to leave my C6-RGT out in the shed with a big garbage bag over it. I'm still reluctant to put the 20" out there during rain until I see how things go. It will probably be OK once I get a pad of some sort under where it goes.

I do have a question for you other Dob owners. How do you protect your secondary when you leave it in a observatory? I wasn't doing so but I really would rather have some kind of simple protection on it. But it has to come on and off easily, and I need to be sure I don't end up damaging the secondary doing so, or changing the collimation.

Edited by Madratter (01/27/13 01:30 PM)


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5646430 - 01/27/13 04:49 PM

To seal the edges of your roof, you can get at real lumber yards (or they can order for you) metal roofing parts called gable trim. They are more for the newer roofing with a ridge every 9", but will work on corrugated. They are made to cover about 4" of the roof, and hang down about 4". If you look at photos of observatories that BYO build, they normally use this edge trim.
R


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5646538 - 01/27/13 05:51 PM

Quote:

To seal the edges of your roof, you can get at real lumber yards (or they can order for you) metal roofing parts called gable trim. They are more for the newer roofing with a ridge every 9", but will work on corrugated. They are made to cover about 4" of the roof, and hang down about 4". If you look at photos of observatories that BYO build, they normally use this edge trim.
R




Perfect. That was just what I needed to know. I looked it up. Thanks!


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5647441 - 01/28/13 06:00 AM

a little more overhang on the gable ends might help also
Norm


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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Reviving an old observatory or start over? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5648602 - 01/28/13 04:14 PM

Quote:

I already feel confident enough with these changes to leave my C6-RGT out in the shed with a big garbage bag over it. I'm still reluctant to put the 20" out there during rain until I see how things go. It will probably be OK once I get a pad of some sort under where it goes.

I do have a question for you other Dob owners. How do you protect your secondary when you leave it in a observatory? I wasn't doing so but I really would rather have some kind of simple protection on it. But it has to come on and off easily, and I need to be sure I don't end up damaging the secondary doing so, or changing the collimation.



To cover the secondary... Why of course: a Crown Royal bag! (I actually go around to the ABC stores here in Virginia and gather them up to hand out to DOB owners at different astronomy gatherings. Yes, I show them pictures of my efforts!) I agree you will want to put down a solid concrete base for the 20". Additionally for the rest of the observatory, I would consider a pressure treated decking of sorts independent of the concrete base for the 20". Get's you sightly up off the ground and easier when you drop something on wood vs concrete. Have you priced decking materiel? (Of course, a 20" box fan and two hours head start blowing on the mirror is always good advice too.)


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