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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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.

150907dish.jpg

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.

151010cupola.jpg

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:

151121addamometer.jpg

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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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? :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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.

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? :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I made progress in the last week or 2.

The tenons at the tops of the posts are all cut:

180802toptenon.jpg

180802posttops.jpg

The top eight 4x6 beams are all cut and the half laps done:

180802halflaps.jpg

And the octagon closes nicely:

180802topbeams.jpg

So now it's on to marking, drilling, and chopping the top mortises.

I have an 18 gallon shop vac connected to the dust outlet on the radial arm saw I use to cut the kerfs for all the tenons and half laps. The other day was trash day, and I decided I should probably check the vac and see if it needed dumping.

Duh. That's ALL sawdust...

180802sawdust.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I will admit to a little diversion of thought for about a month recently regarding the design of the gazebo

Back when I was in early junior high, my dad and I built a polehouse. None of the trees on our property back in Moline were suitable for a treehouse, so Dad got 4 used utility poles from the local electric company to build it on. It also acted as a shade over the patio. (I have NO idea how the 2 of us managed to set the first post by ourselves.)

180802polehouse.jpg

I was using a ladder and the a chain ladder to get up into it. The chain ladder was made of old snow chains with EMT pieces slipped over the cross chains for rungs.

My grandfather (Dad's father in law) decided that we needed a better, safer access, and designed and made the spiral staircase you see in the picture.

180802spiralstairs.jpg

It's all made of individual pieces of 2x lumber except for the top piece of each riser which is 1x to get the rise correct and fit the stairs into the existing vertical space. He brought all of the pieces up in the trunk of his car from Missouri, along with a scale model to show how it went together. All of it is strung together on a half inch steel pipe up the center, and the treads and riser pieces through bolted at the outside. Then we added EMT flattened, bent and drilled at each end to form a cage around it. One end of each pipe was bolted under a riser, and the top bolted to the underside of the floor.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to recreate that staircase and was looking for a reason to do so. The first thing that came to mind was to make the gazebo 2 stories and run the spiral staircase up the middle. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and figuring out how to do 14 or 16 foot posts instead of 8 footers, and how to do timber frame joints for the second floor. I was even going to cantilever a deck out from the top floor.

Then I started moving the existing materials around and came to my senses. I can barely handle an 8 foot post by myself. Doubling the length of the 8 of them seemed like a sure way to hurt myself, so I abandoned the 2 story idea.

But I still want to do that staircase sometime...
 

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Oh man SLO; I always wanted a pole house similar to yours when I was a kid. :good2: In my imagination I called it the 'treeless tree-house' and it was to be my refuge from the school bullies, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
More progress. Yesterday I marked the top mortises and chiseled out an eighth of an inch or so. Then I temporarily screwed each top beam miter joint together and drilled them out using the started pocket as a guide. I used my Rube Goldbergian setup of lowering the drill press table and putting the drill press over the workbench, and then plumbing and leveling everything.

180803drillpress.jpg

Today, I chiseled mortises and sized tenons and got 3 top beams up to finally see what it's really going to look like..

180803top1.jpg

180803top2.jpg

So this shows some of the constant thinking and adjusting that I do on this project.

The sill beams are "shingled" in layout. That is, each beam's joints overlap the one on the left, and is overlapped by the one on the right. This was because I cut the laps on the radial arm saw, and it wouldn't cut left end laps on a 6x6 due to the design of the machine. This isn't a big deal because the base is assembled first and then the joints are pinned by the post tenons.

OTOH, the top beams are cut with either 2 top laps or 2 bottom laps. Originally, I was going to shingle them like the base, but realized that they would have to go on skewed because of the shingling (which, if the joints were tight, wouldn't work), or I would have to assemble the octagon on the ground and try to lift it into place in one piece.

Luckily, I managed to configure the radial arm saw to do left hand laps with a quarter inch to spare.

And, when assembling the top, I have to install one bottom lap beam, skip a bay, install another bottom, and then join them with a top.
 

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Woo hoo! I just got all 8 top beams in place. Now that I'm getting pretty good at 2" square mortises, it's nice to be done with them. :)

180806topbeams1.jpg

180806topbeams2.jpg

Now, I think it's time to take a lot of measurements, and study it, to make sure it's all the same diameter, level, the posts are plumb, and the openings the same size...
 

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Nice job on that!! Loving watching the progress and the "figurin' as ya go!" approach!! :bigthumb:
 

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I made progress in the last week or 2.

The tenons at the tops of the posts are all cut:

View attachment 641288

View attachment 641298

The top eight 4x6 beams are all cut and the half laps done:

View attachment 641290

And the octagon closes nicely:

View attachment 641292

So now it's on to marking, drilling, and chopping the top mortises.

I have an 18 gallon shop vac connected to the dust outlet on the radial arm saw I use to cut the kerfs for all the tenons and half laps. The other day was trash day, and I decided I should probably check the vac and see if it needed dumping.

Duh. That's ALL sawdust...

View attachment 641294
And that is one of the reasons I still keep my radial arm saw. Nothing is better at cutting rabbits or dado's with a dado blade than a RA Saw. You can easily adjust your depth and you can see your cut. In that respect, it can't be replaced by my two compound miter saws. And, it is an awesome cut-off machine. Many old Dewalt's still linger in the back of lumber yards. Well heck, even the Borg (Home Depot) has them still.
 
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