by Michael Mitrano
The roof repair team had a productive day and a half this weekend (10/31 and 11/115) at the observatory. Many layers of old roofing, the plywood roof deck, a rotted rafter, and all of the exterior trim around the north (fixed) roof were removed on Saturday. The new rafter, decking, trim, and roof membrane are in place. We made adjustments to the roof pitch so that the lower half of the roof chain (which travels through a pipe) no longer penetrates the roof surface. A little work remains to be done around the edges of the roof, where the membrane needs to be folded down over the trim, glued with a different glue, and held permanently in place with aluminum “termination bars”. The roof will be fine in ordinary rain for a while, and I hope that Dave and I can take care of this within the next 10 days. We also need to add a new vent for the lavatory. The roof is now operable.
Much sawdust has been cleaned up from the interior, but the bathroom and control room are mostly empty with all the computer equipment having been moved to the other end of the observatory away from the mess. I’d suggest that we not put the old computer back, but wait for the new one – hopefully we can discuss this at the next meeting.
I suspect that we will have much less winter roof jamming in the future. The new membrane is thinner than the old roofing material, and in some places it looked like we removed four to five layers of old roofing. The old framing also ran “downhill” into the observatory on part of the west edge of the roof. We made adjustments to the framing so everything now pitches in the right direction.
I’d like to thank Dave Skitt, John Delaney, and Gene Allen, who worked hard on both days. Tom Swords helped rip off the roof on Saturday. John Church and Gene Ramsay supported us and were also kind enough to bring in lunch. We all had a good time and the results look great.