ALMIRA OBSERVATORY
 

     A suburban observatory in Worcestershire, UK based on a metal garden shed

           
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  Construction 6 - Building the Wooden Frame

 

  The shed was strengthened with a frame of 76mm x 76mm (3 inch x 3inch) timbers which also make up the structure to support the roll off roof.  The basic metal structure is not very stable, especially without the roof to strengthen it so it was important to get the basic wooden frame in place the same day as the shed was erected.
   
  In the end, I realised that the uppermost metal rail at the back of the shed wasn't needed as this is where the roof rail ran.  The uppermost metal rail at the front of the shed is the upper slot for the sliding door gear.  A slot was routed out of the bottom of the wooden roof rail to accommodate this.  In order to allow the bottom of the roof rails to be set below the line of the top of the shed walls, I cut a slot in either side of the metal skin of the shed. (the right hand pictures shows a temporary plastic sheet roof over the structure).

 

 
     
  I'm afraid I am not a skilled carpenter so the joints between the various elements of the wooden frame were a hodgepodge of lap joints, metal brackets and huge screws!.
     
 

 

The bottom of the uprights inside the shed had to cut to fit neatly around the bottom of the shed frame and skin and to  fit snugly against the floor frame.  These uprights were then screwed on to the inside of the floor frame form the inside using 50 mm  (4˝ inch) long screws.  The two uprights supporting the far end of the roof rails were embedded concrete-filled holes.

Here you can see the notch cut into the top of one side of the  metal shed skin to accommodate the roof rails.  I could have simply put the roof rails a bit higher, but this would have raised the horizon visible from the observatory.
   
 

The end of the roof rails were each braced with diagonals to make the structure more solid.  The two lengths of roof rail protruding from the end of the uprights will be cut back at a later date.

 

     
 

The top of each metal wall was capped with a piece of 12mm x 12mm (˝ inch x ˝ inch) wooden batten screwed and glued to stop rain getting down between the metal skin and the wooden frame.  To prevent the weather and creepy-crawlies from getting into the shed, the joints between the shed skin and the wooden frame were sealed from the inside with 5 x 300 ml tubes of clear silicone mastic.

     
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Last updated -  27th April 2013

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