Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Skylight design

Right now I am working on a porch that is getting a standing seam copper roof. This has gotten me thinking about my roof again. One of the holdups on this is the design of the skylight. I would like the skylight glass to be practically flush with the roof surface. Each side will be made up of three panes of glass that correspond to the ribs on the copper roof. Building this flush makes the job of keeping water out of the house difficult. I think I have finally worked out the details though. Almost all of the components will be folded out of the same 16 ounce sheet copper that the roof will be made out of.

The edge pieces will roll into the seams of the roof pans.

The picture below is a detail of the insulated glass unit. I am hoping that one can be made with the top sheet of glass longer than the lower piece. This way the roof can overlap the glass at the top of the window, but at the bottom the glass can overlap the roof.

There are still some details to be worked out, but I think this will work!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A small detail

 Here is a photo series of the construction of the copper window frame on the gable end.

Copper is not a cheap material, so a job like this always starts with railroad board templates. Making a template is an interesting process. It is a nice combination of calculated thought and dumb luck, mixed in with a fair amount of persistance. I like to make one piece that represents the flat copper with creases where it should be folded (right side of photo). Then I make a second piece with the profile (bottom of photo). Together, these two pieces of paper give me all the information needed to confidently cut, mark, and bend the copper.

The next task is to miter the two halves. I start with a simple wooden frame that matches my window opening. This gives me the angles I need, and something to support the copper while soldering. It can be a bit of a challenge to mark the mitered cut across all faces of the profile. When available, I the laser attachment included on some miter saws. It is as simple as setting the desired miter angle on the saw, then tracing the laser line with a marker onto the copper. Now the only thing left is to find the right combination of snips to make each section of the cut. I routinely cycle through at least five different pairs.

Here is the finished miter on one piece. The mating piece has the same angle, but must include tabs to aid in assemble and soldering.

Here it is, ready for solder. For some reason, this piece did not want to take the solder. I tried many combinations of flux and solder, but it would not flow until I used the oldest tin of flux and the crustiest looking roll of solder in the shop. Go figure.

The solder joint is a bit messy and will need some touchup when I get to the second half.

Now that the lower half fits, I start the process all over again for the upper half. It must be a slightly different profile to fit up under the overlapping siding. When it is all finished, this window will get a stained glass panel.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

In the works...

Look forward to the evolving design of a small tree house. The plan is octagonal, and designed to be suspended from cables rather than fasteners into a tree. This minimises potential damage to the tree, allows for growth, easy relocation, and longevity.

The entrance will be through the opening in the center of the floor, and could be as simple as a rope ladder, or as complicated as an elevator. This model is approximately 8' in diameter, from point to point.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Color change?

I am nearly ready to put a top coat of paint over the primer. I have been toying with the idea of a color change. Originally I wanted the traditional New England red that is so common up here, but now am thinking of something a little different. I have seen several Colonials with a mustard yellow that looks really nice. So far the closest match is the second from the top. It still needs some tweaking and a different trim color.