Shadow of the Mountain Observatory - The Build

May 28 to June 1, 2011: Roof

5/28/11: It is Memorial Day weekend and the weather forecast looks pretty good from Saturday on so I decided to take a couple of extra days off and try to make some significant progress. Before getting the roof on I wanted to strengthen the gantry. Eight inch lag screws are screwed in from the top, metal braces attached with three inch lag screws, and knee braces applied to provide strength in the mid sections. I later added a couple of knee braces to the end to firm things up even more.

5/28/11: With all that out of the way I started to drill my angle iron. This will be screwed into the tops of the east/west walls and the gantry. It is the track that the rollers will roll on. The steel is 1/4 inch galvanized angle iron. I used a titanium bit. The trick is to go slow and dip the bit in some oil every few seconds or so to keep things cool. I only broke one bit, but that was my own dumb fault for being too aggressive. Fortunately I had two spares.

5/29/11: Before proceeding on with the roller system construction I decided it was a good idea to construct a model from the cut off scraps. It's a pretty good thing I did. My original model had the 2x6 and the 2x8 in the wrong orientation. I also learned from the experience how difficult it was going to be to drill a 7 inch hole accurately without a drill press. Here you can see the model set up on the angle iron tracks. Roofing rafters will be attached directly to the top.

5/29/11: I am happy with the model, now it's time to build the roller systems. I measured the location of the holes on each of the three boards and drilled those independently. My thinking was that it would be easier to align three carefully measured holes than trying to drill perfectly perpendicular through that whole mess. It worked pretty good, but I still had a little adjusting to do.

5/29/11: The roller system is pretty heavy, but fortunately my buddy Steve showed up just in time to help me get them set on the rails. You really need three people to hoist these bad boys. We managed to get them up, but it was only with some luck and some quick prayers that we didn't drop these and/or get hurt. Once up, Steve held it in place while I applied a clamp from the inside to hold it in place. Once both were up and clamped I nailed a 2x6 facia board on both ends. Here you can see it in the half rolled off position. With no roof on I am able to roll this with just one finger! Many thanks to Steve for helping with this; I could not have done it alone!

5/30/11: The next morning I got busy building the gables. Steve came by and spent the whole day helping me get the roof framed and sheeted. The gables are constructed from 2x4's. A miter saw makes short work of getting all the angles right.

5/30/11: With Steve's help we were able to get siding on the gables and nailed into place. To frame the rafters, we worked on the roof of the control room rather than fool with ladders. To get to the next rafter it was just a simple matter of rolling the roof a couple of was as easy as working on the ground. There is a knee brace on each end for additional support.

5/30/11: It's been a long day, but by hook or crook we managed to get the roof sheeted.

5/30/11: Steve bid me farewell, but while I was still up on the roof nailing down the sheets I could not pass up this awesome sunset.

5/31/11: Before getting too much more weight on the roof I nailed 2x6 collars across each rafter.

5/31/11: I added a couple pieces of trim to each gable before proceeding to the roofing. I'll cut these to length later when I have more time. 15W tar paper went on next.

6/1/11: Then comes the fun part...shingles. This took way longer than I expected and it was unusually hot for early June. I hope I never see a roofing nail ever again. Shown here without the ridge shingles which I added later. I can roll the roof by myself, but it is a struggle...I will most likely add a winch.

6/1/11: I had about an inch gap between the roller system facia board and the top of the wall so I added a piece of trim to help keep the weather out. There is only about a quarter of an inch gap...just enough to clear the rolling roof and keep the rain out. I'll add a piece of weather stripping later. Note: the facia board overhangs the trim by about an inch.

6/1/11: On the way out I climbed up the hill to Don's place and got a nice wide field shot. It's been a long, hot five days. I am exhausted but pleased with the results so far.

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