First Light (Installation) III

I’ve found that custom rod with rolled threads is a bit expensive and takes a while to get it fabricated , so I ordered some high strength 4140 steel all-thread online. That rod is in the mail and hasn’t arrived yet. I decided to move things along all the same by obtaining some regular threaded rod from the local hardware store. Then I could then set up the mounting stone properly on the 4 jack screws and obtain a plumb post. The jacking screws only need to be set up once and they should be good. Once the high strength rods do arrive, I’ll have a template by way of the already-fitted temporary rods to use to quickly sett and cut the new rods to correct length.

Positioning the stone on the jack screws involves not only obtaining a plumb post, but having the mounting boulder at the right height respective to the surrounding ground level. This meant that it took some trial and error to set up in a spot to satisfy those two conditions.

I had purchased various length 1/4″ stainless bolts so I had several height options at each screw mounting location. First though I used some 1/4″ threaded rod sections to locate the boulder correctly above the relevant Simpson Titen anchors, and then lifted the rock on and off a few times as I fiddled around to find the right combination of jack screw lengths to support the irregular undersurface of the stone and place the post into plumb.

Once I had things in the ball park, the post more or less plumb and the boulder well supported, I swapped the 3/8″ threaded rod into the anchors in place of the 1/4″ rod, and re-slipped the foundation stone back into position:


Then I marked the height of the boulder’s top surface on the rods using some masking tape, and pulled the boulder back off:

I then removed the rods and trimmed their remaining lengths to the length of holes inside the post, plus an amount to project into the nut and washer pocket, and trimmed the rods to length. I chamfered the thread, worked the nuts on a few times to make sure the threads were free of burrs. All good, I put the threaded rods back into place and slipped the boulder on top:

Now I could slide the post on and see if I had gauged the rod length correctly:

The other one:

Can’t complain. You have to size the mortise and the rod length so that in the end you can slide on a washer and a nut, then get a wrench on to tighten:

I figured I may as well tighten them down and see how the post looked for plumb under lock down:


One side was dead center on the vial, the other came out like this, so a hair more adjustment was required to two of the jacking screws:



That completed, here’s a look at the boulder height relative to finished grade – the boulder is meant to sit into the grade 1″ deep:

Seems about right, and I look forward to the day, not too far off now, when the landscaping is cleaned up and the stone looks like it has been there all along.

There is another step or two yet to be done in completing the mounting of the post and boulder, and I’ll be showing that next time, and the final assembly:

Instead of a lantern on top of the post, I thought a US Open bag set a distinctly different tone. Call it ‘urban chic’, definitely part of some sort of deconstructivist statement about modern society or something like that, you know,

manipulating a structure’s surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture, such as structure and envelope. The finished visual appearance of buildings that exhibit deconstructivist “styles” is characterized by unpredictability and controlled chaos.

Oh yeah, we’re all about controlled chaos here my friends. A little stab at humor is all I’m doing – the bag is to protect the lower part of the bracket complex for the time being. It also adds an ‘air of mystery’ I suppose..

All for now, comments welcome and thanks for dropping by. Installation (IV) follows.

2 Replies to “First Light (Installation) III”

  1. Hi Chris,
    From my experience, grass landscape “rises” higher than you think. You can see the results in old side walks where the landscape is much higher than the walk, or on old fences where the bottom of the fence is buried in the dirt.

    For what it's worth.
    Harlan Barnhart

  2. Harlan,

    good point. I'm not planning to bring the surrounding grass right up to the rock, but have a mulched bed with some ground cover. I guess that years down the road if the height of the surrounding ground raises too much, the recourse would be to remove the boulder and put taller jack screws and rod in. Good to think about long-term developments in any case.


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