Building an observatory. Construction #58

A bit of an unsatisfying day.

My intention was to remove all the screws holding down the rails for the roof and seal all the holes to stop water getting in, removing one of the rails that has leaked in the past and sealing the underside of the V channel at the same time (so water can’t travel down the inside).

Yesterday when I opened the roof I didn’t roll it fully open, but to seal all the screws it was necessary to do so.  But it wouldn’t open all the way.  It was clearly binding somewhere, but I couldn’t work out where.  Checking the latch fittings made it clear they weren’t the problem, so I thought back over what I’d changed since the last time I’d had the roof right open and the only thing that occurred to me was adding the top section of cladding on the wall, so I removed that and still had the same problem.  “Ok, perhaps the roof is binding on the screws holding the rails down”.  So I removed a few of them and the roof did open about six inches more, but still not all the way.

Eventually (and this did take quite some time to work out) I realised that I’d laid a trap for myself.  The ends of my roof rails are still not supported where they extend beyond the warm room and clearly they have sagged a little over the winter.  As the first set of wheels started to run down the sag, the middle of the roof between the wheels was grounding out on the rails.  Hunting around I managed to find a section of old door frame destined for the woodburner that hasn’t yet been paid a visit by Mr Chainsaw and fashioned temporary props for the ends of the rails, in the process discovering that having the rails rise rather than droop also leads to the roof fouling the rails in a completely different way.

With that sorted my daughter and I spent a jolly hour or so removing all the screws, squeezing sealant into the holes and replacing them (and sealing up the rail).  After that I had to replace the cladding that I’d removed and so on.  I don’t like to feel that things have gone backwards.

So, next I really need to get the piers moving and to sort out the proper supports for the roof rails.  Not sure I can do anything about the latter until after the bank holiday weekend, so tomorrow I shall try to get the piers sorted.

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