Construction pictures of the Dogpatch II Observatory

Perhaps you are curious how it came to be called the Dogpatch II Observatory. Well it goes like this. My wife and I are dog lovers. At the time of the original Dogpatch observatory construction, a lot of our neighbors had dogs and we babysat the dogs when they went on vacation or away for the weekend. Well over time the dogs came to associate our house as their house so at any given moment there could be up to nine dogs in our yard… our three Pound rejects, a Golden Retriever and Chocolate Lab, a Pomeranian, a German Shepard, my son’s Poodle mix, and maybe the Black Lab from up the street. Our house became the Dog Patch but it didn’t look like something out of Dogpatch. It was a very contemporary 3200 Sq. Ft. three story in the woods. The name just seemed appropriate for the observatory.

These pictures were shot prior to my owning a digital camera so you have to excuse the sometimes poor quality of the scanned image.


So here we go…



Here I am staking the shed and observatory out. The white object behind me is the PVC pipe that will run under the concrete floor from the computer to the pier. Looking south



All done although it’s sort of hard to see the string. Got the pipe dug in. Looking North.



Got the forms in place and waiting for the concrete truck to arrive tomorrow.

Didn’t know it would rain overnight. He delivered the concrete anyway. He was concerned about getting stuck.

Like I’m going to pull out a stuck concrete mixer loaded with 10 yards of concrete…Right!



Here you can see the forms coming off the observatory pad with pier base in the foreground,

roof support pads in the middle and shed pad in the background.



This is a better view of the observatory pad and one of the support pads.

The pipes in the floor get cut off about 2” above the concrete. The support pad

is made from a 12” diameter sonotube concrete form



Three generations hard at work here…me (bent over), my son Tom, and my grandson Alex.



Well the first part’s done. In the background to the left you can see the

foundation for our house. Gives you an idea of the distance (100’)



Part 2 partially finished. The shed and door frame to the left and observatory to the right



A better view of the two structures. Note the roof truss anchors on the top of the shed frame




Roof trusses are now on the shed and the sheathing is on most of the observatory.

The trusses were hand made by me on the shed pad.



Basic sheathing is now on the observatory. We’ll get the corners closed out.

It’s surprising that when you walk inside, it’s easy to visualize an observatory.



The roof and sheathing is done on the shed except for the aluminum roof

panels that will be added at the same time as the observatory.



Now we’re getting somewhere. Here’s the track that the roof will

roll on. 25 ‘ of angle per side delivered to the site.



In the center is one of the attachment points for the 4x4 that the roof will

roll on. It is lag bolted into the corners.



The horizontal 4x4’s are installed along with the rail and 4x4 support posts.

The rail starts 12” from the end and runs to within 12” of the shed wall.



Closer view of the track in place. Notice the screws along the bottom edge spaced about

every 20”. This is to hold it in line but allows it to grow and shrink with changing temp.



Here’s the heart of the roof, the roller assembly. On the side you can see four dots

which are the bolts that form the axles for the wheels. The roof trusses will attach

to the top of this assembly in the same way as the shed. The triangular object is the

south end panel without the upper door cut in it. The roller assemblies are lag bolted

to the end panels.



Another view of the roller assembly this time from the end. The roof trusses are

on the ground awaiting installation with the north end panel under them




Looking at the progress from the house. Another perspective on the location

and distance from the house. The end panels are in place and positioned to allow

the ends to clear the walls when rolling.



All the observatory trusses are in place and the shed door as well. It’s now

lockable so I can leave the building equipment and tools here overnight as well as

all the appliances that go in the house since it’s NOT lockable.



Both roofs are complete with the aluminum panels in place I have tested the

roll-off ability and it’s heavier than I thought. I’ll use a power boat winch

to remove it in both directions. That green “lawn” is the biggest and

baddest crab grass I’ve ever seen. It must grow in clumps over a foot in diameter.

Almost need a chainsaw to cut it.



The observatory door cut in finally. It’s just 6’ tall same as me and only 30” wide



The completed door and frame. Both locks are keyed the same. I’ve since changed

this to have the upper door swing up and lock onto the first truss. The

bottom door now has a deadbolt for better security. We don’t have a crime

problem but why temp fate.



The back view ready for siding and  interior finishing. There is no plywood under

 the roof panels to allow for faster cool down at sundown. Actually there is but it’s just

a strip that forms a “T” section on top the truss to screw into.



Wow…what a difference. Here’s Bud my siding guy doing his thing. You have to

remember I’m building a house at the same time and the observatory has to wait

for the same process to be done on the house. Just visible in the left back corner

is where the power, network, and phone lines come in via separate conduits.



All done. Note the gouge in the ground to the left of the observatory.

My builder did this using a backhoe to give me a trench 2’ wide and 3˝ ‘ deep for two 1” diameter

 conduits and a water line just before I fired him. It was done 2 months or more before this

picture was taken. I fired him at the end of July and this was fall…you can see the trees turning.

Every storm would fill it up with runoff from the yard. I couldn’t close it up until I had the

electric and phone lines in. Inspections…you know.


Well for what it looks like now go here




Any questions/comments drop me a line.


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Last updated Monday, June 5, 2016