Saturday, September 16 2006
One of the pieces of hardware I'd bought yesterday was a galvanized pipe one inch in diameter and 72 inches long. Complete with a pair of 45 degree elbow fittings, mounting flanges, and a couple short glue pieces, I fabricated a strut to support the east end of the new solar collector beam. That beam is 16 feet long and is supported from beneath by two cantilevered beams, meaning its tips are cantilevered in two dimensions. Since there is no easy way to run a diagonal two by four out from the solar deck's support posts without crazy measurements and a compound-mitred cut, I opted to use galvanized pipe, which, because it is circular in cross section, doesn't pose any orientation issues aside from whether the flanges on its ends are parallel to the places where they are attached. Using the Pythagorean theorem and some trigonometry, I'd calculated that the angles on either end of the 72 inch pipe would be close to 45 degrees.
With Gretchen's help, I managed to get that support pipe installed today. She sat on the chain-and-hinge-supported "drawbridge-to-nowhere" that opens from the center of the solar deck's southern side, handing me pipe wrenches as necessary so I could tweak the angles of the fittings on the pipe. I referred to my job at the time (and throughout much of the rest of the day) as "space walking," because it was in such a hostile, dangerous environment. I had to carefully find footholds and places to grab from among the few pieces of structural material beneath me. Other than that, there was, one to eight feet below, the 45 degree slope of the roof, with its unpleasant sun-baked shingles.
I continued to add carefully measured and cut pieces of structural wood throughout the day, concentrating mostly on the half of the new structure where the new collector will go.
This evening, Gretchen and I went to visit our friends Penny and David for a dinner of ravioli and endless drinks, starting with Moscow Mules. We'd brought Sally and Eleanor along, and this was the first time that I know of that Sally discovered and proceeded to spend a large amount of time rooting around in Mr. Fluffy's litter box.
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