While repairing the first observatory I remarked to my Dad that I had learnt a lot from building it and knew exactly how it could be improved (i.e. I knew what changes I’d make for my own). I didn’t realise how quickly I’d have to test my words as the very next day it was completely blown over. We piled the bits in the garage and I spent the next 6 months (off and on) coming up with a solid design for the next one.
The big problem with the MkI was the “monocoque” structure of the shed, it wasn’t held together with enough strength to support the roof and combat the wind. It needed to be a lot stiffer. The other issue was that the roof was too heavy and too high for the majority of people to use it easily. The obvious change was to build a cladded frame structure with a lower, lighter opening for the telescope to stick out. The concrete pivot was still there and the original intermediate section was available to sit on top.
Before I could start building I had to source the wood. I knew the lengths of each section but I didn’t know the lengths the wood came in. This meant I had to go to the timber merchant and then work out how many lengths I needed to buy. This took about a half hour to calculate properly so I sat in a corner in the shop to get it done. With the wood bought we had to get it home. We decided the easiest way was to cut the wood at the merchants so we set ourselves up in the yard and cut each section to length. We loaded the car and headed home.
I had bought a new wood chisel along with sharpening stone a week earlier so I was excited to get going. Over the first few sections I improved my technique and abilities in shaping mortise and tenor joints and I think I am now pretty adept.
I only had four days before I needed to leave to start a new job but I did manage to get three of the four walls done. Complete with all the bracing they needed. As I knew I couldn’t finish it in the time available I didn’t start gluing pieces. This means they aren’t taking up much room in the garage at this point.