Sunday, October 4, 2009

Concrete Telescope Pier Completed!

After many months of procrastinating, I finally gained the confidence to construct a permanent concrete pier with a surrounding treated deck in my back yard.

Although only taking a few week-ends to complete, it was back breaking work and I wouldn’t recommend doing this type of project alone like I did…

The first week-end was basically surveying the area, purchasing supplies, building forms and digging the footer. I spent quite some time determining the best permanent location for the pier, deck and eventually the observatory. I have many trees, a fairly steep sloped yard and a septic system, so my options were very limited.


Dimensions: 3’x3’x12”
The actual hole dug was approximately 3.5’x3.5’x2’

Pouring and mixing the concrete was by far the hardest part of the entire project. The footer alone took 13- 80lb. bags of concrete mix and being on a tight budget, an electric concrete mixer (I recommend to rent one) was not used, so every bit of it was mixed in a 2’x3’x1’ plastic tub, one bag at a time… About every 3rd or 4th bag I laid 24”x½’ rebar crisscrossed throughout the footer for added strength. Don’t forget to tamp!

Once the footer was poured, I took a much needed hour break to allow the concrete to firm up a tad before continuing with the column.

The 12”x4’ concrete tube and forms…

Pouring the column wasn’t any easier. I was definitely running out of steam by this time and the top of the tube was 3’ high! So now I had to mix the remaining concrete in the tub, then shovel it into a 5-gal. bucket and lift the heavy slurry up to pour. After every pour I used a broom handle to tamp the concrete. The column took 5- 80lb. bags. You can see I used several rocks to help keep the tube stationary and level. The last thing to do is set the anchor bolts and template in the concrete. The night before I marked a spot on the fence pointing north and used a string to align the template to that spot.

Time to cure and rest!

After 4 days of curing, I removed the forms. It’s a good thing I don’t rely on concrete pouring to make a living… You can see that there are voids throughout the pier. I’m not sure what I did wrong here? Luckily it’s just cosmetic, no where on the column did any concrete come lose from picking or prying at it!

Finishing touch!

I wasn’t too happy with the appearance of my new pier, so I decided to add a little decoration to its exterior. Using a concrete patch mix, I troweled on a stucco like finish.

After a couple of days to let the patch cure, I applied three coats of concrete water proofing paint.

Almost Done!

8’x8’x6” Treated Deck

This was the easiest part of the project and I won’t go into much detail. Basically its is a 2x6x8 frame lying on 8- 8x8x16 concrete cinder blocks and leveled. I used nothing but exterior deck screws, no nails.

Pier Completed!

I finished the pier and deck, but could not use it for another 2 weeks. A friend of mine took a little longer than expected to fabricate the mounting plate. It was free of charge, so I couldn’t complain.

Icing on the cake... My new pier is sporting my brand new AT66ED!

List of Materials
18- 80lb. concrete mix
1- 70lb. concrete patch
1- 1gal. water proof paint
1- 12” concrete form tube
12- 24”x1/2” rebar
3- 48”x1/2” rebar
3- 8” long anchor bolts, nuts and washers
3- Carriage head bolts, nuts and washers
3- 2x4x8 studs
1- 2x12x12 stud
16- 5/4x6x8 treated decking
9- 2x6x8 treaded studs
12- 2x6 stud hangers
8- 8x8x16 concrete blocks
2- 1 5/8” 1lb. deck screws
1- 3” 1lb. deck screws

Total cost for pier and treated deck $315.00 Imaging with 10min. subs and no star trails... priceless!

Clear Skies!


Anonymous said...

Awesome,Larry!! I can't wait to see it and view all the extraordinary possibilities of our universe, thru this beautiful one-eyed baby...~DE

LME said...

Thanks Sis! I might do a little imaging tonight, the skies have cleared! See you tomorrow.