Update September 8, 2004
Door and Shelves

Above: positioning and squaring up the door and frame with shims and clamps prior to fixing the frame in place. This is known as a frame and panel door (though the panels have not yet been fitted.) It consists of two upright pieces, called stiles, and three horizontal pieces, called rails. There are many ways of attaching the rails to the stiles, both traditional and modern. I chose a combination (below); I machined mortises into the stiles and rails and used hand-made loose tenons, also known as wooden splines, to join the pieces. The splines are glued in place; there is no need for metal fasteners. I made the splines from mahogany because I often work with mahogany and I have a lot of small scraps lying about. Below is a test piece; the actual mortises are a bit wider to allow for expansion.

Above: as shown on the first observatory page, the substructure, or dome base, is an octagon. Two of the eight
corners are taken up by the door frame, leaving six corners, each of which is reinforced by two cross-members.
Without some sort of pentagonal shelf there would be an open space between the back of the shelf and the
exterior sheeting. Thus I made 12 shelves of scrap plywood to fill the spaces. It still irks me that carpentry
necessarily lacks the thousandths-of-an-inch precision of cabinetmaking; thus the number "2" on the cross-
member—each space is slightly different in size and shape, so each is numbered and each shelf has a
corresponding number on its bottom side. The shelves won’t be fixed in place until the substructure is
placed on the foundation because the cross-members provide a handy means of lifting the structure.

Next Observatory Page: The Dome Support Structure (above) finally meets the foundation!
Previous Observatory Construction Page
Observatory Project Introduction

The Man Eating Tiger Page