The octagonal "glassebo" for the back yard
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    SLOweather's Avatar
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    The octagonal "glassebo" for the back yard

    A few years ago, I looked at my accumulation of stuff, and decided to see if I couldn't repurpose 7 46" x 76" tempered glass panes and a salvaged 12' aluminum truss framed Paraclipse satellite dish into a gazebo. I did a lot of measuring, thinking, drawing and, testing and decided to do it.

    ( I call it a "glassebo" because, technically, a gazebo has open or screened sides, while these sides, minus the door, will be glass. A more appropriate term would be a "belvedere (a structure (such as a cupola or a summerhouse) designed to command a view) since it will sit on our back hill with a view of south San Luis Obispo out to the Edna Valley wine region.)

    A couple of years ago, I started on it. I fished out all of the dish parts and assembled it, and started on the base and posts, all made from 6x6es. The base side joints are mitered half laps, through mortised, and then pinned with a 2" square tenon on the bottom of each post. Back then, I was really struggling with the whole mortise thing.

    Shortly thereafter, my wife and I got axle-wrapped in elder care of our parents and the project got shelved.

    The recess hasn't been all bad. in the interim, I refined my woodworking skills on the antique phone, the Tribute table, a tray, and the workbench built around the old vise. And, I had a lot of time to read woodworking books and realize what I was doing wrong with the mortises.

    Everything...

    Wrong thing 1: Wrong chisels. I ordered a couple of Robert Sorby 2" timber framing chisels and do they make a difference.

    Wrong thing 2: Trying to work on them at ground level. I'm glad I built the new bench. It's sturdy enough to hold 2 of the 6x6 base timbers joined together.

    Wrong thing 3: trying to mark and cut the mortises for 2 mating timbers one at a time. Now I put the 2 of them up on the bench, mate the half lap joints and check the miter, clamp them and then screw the joint together with 2- 3 1/2" screws for the mortising.

    Wrong thing 4: Impatience... Not much else to say about that. Now I'm enjoying taking my time and doing it right.

    A couple of weeks ago I started working on it again.

    I dollied my floor drill press out to the bench. With the table lowered, the drill head fits over the bench. So, I check and shim the timbers for level, move the press into position, check it for plumb and shim it. Then I drill the marked mortise location as deep as I can with a 2" Forstner bit and an extension, and then finish it off with the bit in a 1/2" hand drill. That way, the hole goes through both halves of the lap joint in just the right spot.

    Then, it's chisel and chip with the framing chisels and my late grandfather's elm stone cutting maul.

    I also cut a precise 12" long 2" square tenon template on the table saw to proof the mortises as I cut them.

    A few days ago I finished the initial mortise chopping, and today I finished the last of the post tenons. This is the first time it's been all this far together, with all eight posts up.



    One problem I just noticed this afternoon, checking the assembly. The 4 minor diameters (across the centers of the base beams) differ by one whole inch, and some of the lap joints aren't fully closed. I guess I need to take the posts out, square up the base (can you square an octagon?) screw the joints together, and then adjust the mortises accordingly. For scale, those posts are 8' 6x6es, and the minor diameter is about 10' 8".

    If anyone is interested, I can add more pictures of what's already done: the assembled dish for the roof, the wooden cupola, my hand made copper weather vane for the cupola, etc.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 180719eightposts.jpg  
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    mjncad's Avatar
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    More pictures at your convenience. An octagon is two squares, so yes it can be squared up.

    What are you going to do for ventilation as the glass will turn it into a hothouse during the summer.
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    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SLOweather View Post
    If anyone is interested, I can add more pictures of what's already done: the assembled dish for the roof, the wooden cupola, my hand made copper weather vane for the cupola, etc.
    This is a joke, right? Of course we're interested. Me in particular. Have a huge old c-band dish...
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    SLOweather's Avatar
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    Here is the assembled, inverted dish a few years ago, with me load testing it to see if I thought it would be strong enough. It didn't even wiggle with me on it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The mostly assembled cupola for the top... This will help with ventilation. Since I took this photo, I scored some louvered doors or shutters at Restore to use instead of the Home Depot gable vents. They will look more authentic, I think.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also, ventilation-wise, there will be 8 or 9 inch tall, full width vents below each window, and there will be some sort of annular space between the top plate beams and the dish that I can leave open, or make shutters for to aid ventilation. Plus, my intent with this is to use it as a greenhouse, so some heat buildup is going to be OK.

    One long-term desire I've had is for a weather vane with a shaft extending through the roof and an indicator inside the room under the ceiling. So, for this project, I made one out of copper pipe and steel ball bearings, and hammered some sheet copper cups, oak leaves and a couple of figures for the tail, letters for the ordinals, and an acorn for the point.

    Here it is with half Christmas ball cups on the anemometer assembly for testing. It floats on the weather vane shaft on 2 ball bearings:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can see the more complete version in action in this YouTube video:



    except I didn't record the lower shaft and indicator. The green patina was made with brushed on Miracle-Gro,

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLOweather View Post
    Here is the assembled, inverted dish a few years ago ... The green patina was made with brushed on Miracle-Gro,
    Your dish looks quite different from mine - solid w/o ribs. Is giving me some ideas though.

    Going to have to beware of rain and growth after using the fertilizer?
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    SLOweather's Avatar
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    Shoot, that would be easier, if it's a solid dish. Set a post, maybe a section of utility pole, and bolt the center of the dish to it upside down. Might need to add some braces inside. Paint it to look like a mushroom. If you made a lazy susan base for it that held the dish at an angle, it would turn in the wind.

    I Google image searched satellite dish mushroom and there are pics of a couple of them. Heck, one of them is a mesh dish like my 10' Orbitrorn out back. I might have to think about that for a later project.

    Quote Originally Posted by dianedebuda View Post
    Your dish looks quite different from mine - solid w/o ribs. Is giving me some ideas though.

    Going to have to beware of rain and growth after using the fertilizer?
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    SLOweather's Avatar
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    Here's a Pinterest page of ideas for what to do with your old dish:

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/338474...85247/?lp=true
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    I like your idea of duplicating the direction indicator inside the gazebo.
    Levi likes this.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Very Cool! Looking forward to seeing it finished!
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    SLOweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    I like your idea of duplicating the direction indicator inside the gazebo.
    Thanks! Here's an early video of testing that shows the lower indicator prototype better.

    keane likes this.

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