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Start of Observatory build

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#1 tjay

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 11:08 AM

It's a little early still, but I thought I'd start a thread for my new observatory build.  The footing for the pier won't go in for a few weeks yet, but I started this morning by making a bolt template for the pier.  I figure it's better to be ready when they come to dig and pour the concrete.  Can wait until it's done!

 

Here is a picture of the pier I picked up a month ago when I thought things would be moving faster than they have been:

 

Skyshed 8 5/8" pier
 
This morning, I made a template for the anchor bolts so that I'm ready when the dig hole for the footing and pour the concrete.  
 
Raw bolts in the template:
 
Pier Bolt Template
 
and after I've sprayed the bolts with cold galvanizing spray:
 
Pier Bolt Template - Cold Galvanized

 

I'll update this thread as I progress.

 

 

 


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#2 petert913

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 11:33 AM

Coming along great !  Very exciting. 


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#3 MHamburg

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:48 AM

Keep us posted and best of luck!

Michael


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#4 tjay

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 01:20 PM

The footing for the pier should be going in early next week.  That part is being done by my deck builder, so my backyard is going to change dramatically over the little while.



#5 tjay

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 09:03 AM

My deck has been delayed due to the lumber shortage, but the footings are still going in next week.  

 

I'm trying to decide if I should start on the observatory before the deck goes in or not...  I don't want to be in the way of the deck builder..



#6 tjay

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 05:48 PM

I figured I should get a "before" picture before the footing goes in.  The sheppard hook marks the spot where the pier is going to go.  The backyard will be either reseeded or resodded once the deck and observatory are done.

 

Observatory Location

 


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#7 t-ara-fan

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 12:55 AM

Bolts look good.  Is your plan to make the pier hole 6' deep? And pour concrete right into the hole?  Is your lot North/south, or do you need to figure out how to align the pier?



#8 tjay

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:24 AM

Bolts look good. Is your plan to make the pier hole 6' deep? And pour concrete right into the hole? Is your lot North/south, or do you need to figure out how to align the pier?

Thanks.

I am going down below the frost line, which is 42 inches here. I will be doing sonotube to bring the top of the footer a few inches above ground level to get close the height of the floor which will mean the bottom of the footing will be on undisturbed soil. I decided to go with a 16 inch diameter footing to allow for lots of room on the outside of the bolts.

The backyard faces south, but the pier has a rotating top, so I can align afterwards.



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#9 tjay

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 07:57 AM

Here's a photo of the marking of the location for the pier footing.  You can clearly see why the lawn needs to be torn up and either reseeded or resodded in this photo wink.gif

 

I hope to get some pictures of the footing later today as it's being dug and poured.

 

Pier Footing Marking

Edited by tjay, 27 August 2020 - 07:57 AM.


#10 tjay

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 11:25 AM

Delayed because we had significant amount of rain overnight. Here's hoping they can do it tomorrow.

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#11 tjay

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 07:49 AM

Another delay :(

 

Apparently, the location of power lines hasn't been completed, so they can't dig yet.  



#12 tjay

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 03:00 PM

The power lines have been located, and everything is clear.  Footings should be going in on Tuesday.  Fingers crossed.


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#13 tjay

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 08:41 AM

Delayed until tomorrow due to rain here today.

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#14 Tom K

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 12:23 PM

Dig alert is your friend when digging anywhere.  I operate a water utility and can attest to the bills that we have sent to people who failed to make a simple phone call for mark outs before hitting a water main with a backhoe....


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#15 tjay

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 09:23 AM

Footings are going in
 

Pier Footing Digging


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Edited by tjay, 09 September 2020 - 03:27 PM.


#16 tjay

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 11:10 AM

Concrete is poured, bolts are in

 

Pier footing bolts


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Edited by tjay, 09 September 2020 - 03:27 PM.

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#17 tjay

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:14 PM

Delay after delay on the deck, and I'm trying to stay out of their way until they are done.  The lumber shortage here is ridiculous.


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#18 tjay

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 07:08 AM

I'm hoping to get started in the next few days, but the lumber shortage is still going on.

 

The Skyshed plans call for 4x4 floor joists, with 1"x10" actual pine overtop for the floor itself.  I know many will say that the 4x4s may not be enough for the joists, but I was wondering if I could replace the 1x10 floor boards with 3/4" plywood, since it seems to be easier to get around here right now.



#19 Tom K

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:12 AM

Plywood would definitely work for a subfloor - that is what I have in my observatory.  I am not familiar with the SkyShed design and the use of 4x4 floor joists seems a bit odd to me - how are apart are they on center?   That would be my only concern about plywood - or anything else for that matter.   There are lots of span tables available online to see what other types of dimensional lumber would work out.   My advice would be to make sure to use pressure treated lumber for the floor structure.  I used 4x4s for the outside rim of mine but since my spans are short (5.5') I used 2x4 PT floor joists and it is very solid.   I am not the lightest guy on the planet and there is zero deflection that I can perceive when I walk in there.

 

In reality, observatories will have very little floor loading on them.   Homes and other structures are designed to handle both dead and live loads, so the span tables all overestimate what the average observatory will ever see.   You are not going to have big heavy appliances in there, stacks of boxes full of LPs, or other significant dead loads, and the live loads will be very limited.   One person and perhaps a guest or two from time to time. The biggest weight is the pier and scope but that does not rest on the floor, so at the end of the day the floor just needs to hold you up and keep the walls from kicking out at the bottom.


Edited by Tom K, 24 September 2020 - 08:27 AM.

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#20 tjay

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:33 AM

Plywood would definitely work for a subfloor - that is what I have in my observatory.  I am not familiar with the SkyShed design and the use of 4x4 floor joists seems a bit odd to me - how are apart are they on center?   That would be my only concern about plywood - or anything else for that matter.   There are lots of span tables available online to see what other types of dimensional lumber would work out.   My advice would be to make sure to use pressure treated lumber for the floor structure.  I used 4x4s for the outside rim of mine but since my spans are short (5.5') I used 2x4 PR floor joists and it is very solid.   I am not the lightest guy on the planet and there is zero deflection that I can perceive when I walk in there.

 

In reality, observatories will have very little floor loading on them.   Homes and other structures are designed to handle both dead and live loads, so the span tables all overestimate what the average observatory will ever see.   You are not going to have big heavy appliances in there, stacks of boxes full of LPs, or other significant dead loads, and the live loads will be very limited.   One person and perhaps a guest or two from time to time. The biggest weight is the pier and scope but that does not rest on the floor, so at the end of the day the floor just needs to hold you up and keep the walls from kicking out at the bottom.

Thanks Tom.

 

I'm building a 8'x10', and the plans call for 7 4x4s (pressure treated) just over 19" apart to cover the 10' length.  They are to be supported by paving stones laid on the ground (one at each end, and one in the middle), and leveled.  I may have to increase the number of 4x4s since I'm offseting my pier to allow for a shelf/desk at one end of the observatory while still allowing room around the pier.



#21 Tom K

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 11:50 AM

Ahh - I see.  The thing about 4x4s is that they are rarely used for joists so there are not a lot of span tables for them.  In the application you described the max span is 5' which is easy for a 4x4 for sure.   The only thing to figure out if you move to plywood is whether the 4x4s will land where you need to nail off the playwood.


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#22 tjay

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 11:58 AM

Ahh - I see.  The thing about 4x4s is that they are rarely used for joists so there are not a lot of span tables for them.  In the application you described the max span is 5' which is easy for a 4x4 for sure.   The only thing to figure out if you move to plywood is whether the 4x4s will land where you need to nail off the playwood.

yes, making sure they line up with the plywood edges is the tricky part.

 

Thanks again!


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#23 tjay

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 05:31 PM

I can say I'm started now, even if all I've done is gotten all the wood for the floor home and cut all the 4x4s to the right lengths, etc.

 

Nobody will deliver 4x4s around here right now due to shortage of pressure treated lumber, so I had to rent a van to get them home yesterday.  Since they had all the 4x4s I need for a change, I got all of the 4x4s and got them home.

 

Then today, I discovered found that the chop saw I borrowed isn't big enough to cut 4x4s, so I rented a saw and cut all my 4x4s.   

 

No photos today.

 

It's supposed to rain here tomorrow, so I'm not sure if I'll make much more progress tomorrow either.

 

I'm finally started however!  I'm closer to being finished than yesterday!



#24 tjay

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 01:34 PM

yes, making sure they line up with the plywood edges is the tricky part.

 

Thanks again!

BTW, I decided against going with plywood for the floor.



#25 timothystraub

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 12:57 AM

I am building a 10 ft x 12 ft SkyShed.  Hindsight being 20/20 I should have gone with the plywood flooring.  The 1 x 10'make a nice rustic floor, but you need to make sure your lumber is not warped/ crowns to make the flooring work.  Also 1 x 10's are more like 1 x 9.25, so there is a discrepancy in the plans vs what you actually need for the building materials.  I also modified to do T111 siding to fit with the architecture of the house.  I am starting the roofing, and as a 1 person job....get two able body folks!!

 

 

 

 

 

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