Making The Base Column

There have been a lot of ideas what makes the best supporting column for a telescope. 99% of the folks I have read of use cement. Or a combination of cement, block and steel tubes. First, they dig a big hole for the foundation. Then rebar for the base and the column. Forms of course followed by alotta cement. Some guys have a truck deliver what they need. One fellow even used a snorkel truck to get the stuff from the curb, over his house and into the forms. Wow, that gets expensive.

Well, I thought, for a 75-100# thing on top of a column - why not use wood. At first my design was a nice hexagonal, stained, varnished Furniture Grade creation, but that might be a bit tough to make perfectly uniform. So, I opted for a two piece affair. Square.

Also, when I move to a warmer clime or the nursing home, how in blazes will I get the cement/rebar outa there. Wood things are alot easier to cut or bash to pieces.

The part that goes into the ground. Go down four feet for frost things and use exterior, pressure treated plywood to sooth folk's mind of rot and softness and such. That makes the height of the Base five feet. We do not want any of that industrial ply sneaking into The Asylum.

Then, a second part that fits inside the top of this one, fastened together with some carriage bolts and extend that up into The Asylum. That piece will be stained, varnished and Furniture Grade.

If, this proves not to work, I can always pop it out and pour cement. But, for those of you who have farming or construction in your past, you would probably agree, this apparatus will not only hold 100# in a stable manner but also, wood absorbs more vibration than cement. So, we will see how the effort pays off.

Here is the first part. The Base.


We are making a four sided box, two layers per side. And we need to start by ripping up the four sides for each layer.

I did not go thru any major machinations of how large to make it. This was dictated by how many slices I could get out of a sheet of 4x8' plywood. Four would require a cut of about 11 3/4". Three? 15 3/4".

The final exterior dimension would be 16 1/2"". (15 3/4 + 3/4 for the overlap) That means the interior box will be 13 1/2" on a side. A nice size.


The Delta Unisaw is used in almost every professional carpenter shop and Industrail Arts department across America. I kid folks, I paid $2200 for the plaque and the saw was free.

Clever marketing ploy, it truly is. I like the cream color too instead of industrial gray.

Btw, using a tool of this caliber is truly a delight. Set the fence to the dimension you want and cut. Just takes the work right out of it.


And here is the wood for the top column. Baltic Birch 3/4" ply with (12) layers of wood instead of six. And, the interior layers are birch, not some softwood filler. Really hard so I can rest easy knowing anything I attach to it or through it will find a nice hard piece of wood to bite into.


"Liquid Nails" for the glue. The treated ply is usually stocked wet. These were no exception. To handle this sheet by oneself? Very difficult as it is so very heavy. I was very careful cutting it as, accidents happen when one has to literally shove the piece thru the blade and across.

And, I sure hope the L/Nails cures/dries/sets in my lifetime. Wet wood and all.


Closeup of the bead. Flattened with a putty knife for uniformity.


The first two pieces ready to be joined.


I bumped one side against the fence then set the piece with the glue up to the fence as well. This will help with the two ends being matched up pretty well. I laid 36" Kraft paper down first so my saw did not get all messy with the glue that would ooze out.

Then I used my drill and ran in a couple of sheetrock screws.

Btw, not aluminum or coated or whatever. Just plain sheetrock screws that in time will rust to pieces. I do not care as by the time that happens, I will need wheelchair access to get into my Asylum. The screws already paid for and one less trip to Lowes/Menards/Home Depot.


Being the Low Budget affair this is, I would need another sheet to rip two more pieces. So the length of the column is five feet and I ripped two strips from the four foot sides, two more chunks one foot wide and here we are. Always thinking of saving money. The one footers will end up at the bottom.


After the first layup, comes the second layer. Squeezed out some L/Nails and ready for the next piece.


Closeup. I put quite a bit of glue in the corners. And i used a clamp to butt the edge of the new piece to the overhang of the other side.


Here we are, the finished goods. I do not have the ability to weigh this thing, but, it is really -heavy- and at 59, my arms have turned to mush. A bad combination indeed.


Top detail.


Corner detail.

I found these sheets of ply are not the finely polished and uniform sheets one is used to. But I held the interior dimension to a 1/16th max, which will be good enough.

(The End)