Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Cover for the Geodesic Dome...

Twilight Project
New Dome Cover: Phase I

Its proving to be an eventful year here on the land known as Twilight.

I started this project August 2001 when escrow closed at the beginning of the month and... here we are fast approaching August 2012. 11 years have passed and the 12th year is now about to begin.

This week, I'm going to share the beginnings of a new project... the one in which we replace the canvas cover to the geodesic dome. 

The old cover was canvas nylon which we painted with a green elastomeric paint. The expected life for this cover was approximately 7 yrs... which proved to be correct since the large vinyl bay window did breach after that amount of time due to a hail storm. By then, the zippers on the roll up windows had ceased to function. But... with some creative solutions- we made it good through this last winter... some 11 years after its original install.

On Friday July 20th, as it so happened: new moon, we began to tear down the old cover to the dome early morning. After getting that done, Bruce & I began to clean the 3/4" galvanized metal piping which makes up the structure of this five tiered building. 

In the photo below, you can see Bruce standing on the second level and we still have the 4th & crown level to the old cover still on the building. I cleaned the struts first with plain water and then Bruce followed with a bleach solution so as to insure the removal of any mold particles.

Around 1pm, Elias from Pacific Domes arrived from Ashland to help us complete our task of getting ready for the new dome cover which he was delivering in view of installing it for us. Elias was born in a geodesic dome in 1979 and has been involved with their installations from the time of his youth to current adulthood. 

The rest of the old cover is now off and its amazing how a structure which is 30' in diameter and riding about 18' high from floor to apex can look so small. Elias climbs domes like walking up steps in a house but he had to admit that having this 30' dome off the ground by another 3' messed with his usual point of reference.

Here's an interesting viewpoint of the dome entry structure first from the west side of things (above) and then below from the inside of the dome.

As you can see, the dome and dome entry are merged by the removal of part of the dome's framework and the two rooves are also connected in a rather creative way (more about that later).

I take credit for designing this entry way and i will also share with you that it was not without assistance & a vast amount of mind boggling.

After all the struts were cleaned up and the new dome cover was unrolled... it took five of us to inch the cover up the dome framework to its apex. Elias went first, then Bruce, then me (not in picture) and then Jo and Christopher were at the bottom holding the bulk of the weight. 

I can't tell you exactly how heavy the blessed new dome cover was (we are talking hundreds of pounds tho) but i can tell you that it felt like a miracle that we had 5 peeps here to make it happen. 

A big thank you to Jo ('yo'), our fabulous ranch neighbor & friend, who came to help us with half an hour notice and to Christopher for his brilliant timing in driving through on his way to Washington state at precisely the right time to stop and help us. Is he good, or what ?

I should also share that in line with our past experiences with Pacific Domes... the new dome cover had been folded incorrectly... inside out, to be precise... which is to say that after we hauled the cover up to the top and started to unfold it along the sides... Ellias had to devise a way of turning it right side out. 

The mind boggles how we managed to do that but he was good enough to sing high praises of our combined successful efforts. Blessings to Elias for his positive attitude thru & thru and for overcoming the usual challenges imposed on us by PD.

You can see the progress... the white vinyl cover is positioned and at this point, we are aware that our thirteenth window was completely non existent, as in missing, as in not there. 

Thank goodness it wasnt the one meant for the stove pipe and fortunately the window PD choose to omit was the least important one.

This time round... we actually get to have ties for the roll up windows- a luxury we did not get to enjoy with the first cover because they 'forgot' them. This will make a nice change !

And for our grand finale... the company forgot to give Elias our windows and screens... these are rather crucial in making the 12 round port holes into water proof or bug proof views. 

Fortunately for us, Christopher being the nice guy that he is- stopped in at Pacific Domes on his way back from Washington state and was able to pick up the windows and screens from PD. Goddess only knows when we would have received them otherwise...

Here's a sweet view from the inside- looking straight up at to the apex - a five blade fan against the 5 sided pentagon which is the crown to this size dome. 

I love the white and even tho the cover is opaque- I love how light just seeps through and how the trees form shadows from the outside...


Still on the to do list... 

Complete the custom roof work between the dome & dome entry plus paint the entire vinyl cover and kick wall. 

Even though the actual cover is waterproof and water repellant etc etc etc. Bruce feels that it would be in our best interest to paint the new cover sooner rather than later. 

So tune in to Part 2 of this exciting installation which will post in the early autumn after the work has been done !

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