[Statement] [Students' Journal] [ED-19]

Doug Adams and Suzanne Farhood
EarthDial Project Journal
January-February 2004

  • 1/5 - The Start of the EarthDial!

    • We went to Home Depot and purchased materials. We had trouble finding the varnish and didn't know what a tee-nut was. Nevertheless, Home Depot helped us find everything. Receipts were saved. We also went to Dick's Sporting Goods to get a ping pong ball.
      ***Time - 2 hours each, 4 hours total

    • Next, we cut the threaded rod by placing it into a vice and using a hacksaw. We cut a 13.5 cm piece, as specified. We then used a circular saw to cut the 4' x 4' plywood into a 3' x 3' square after careful measuring.
      ***Time - 45 minutes each, 1½ hours total

    • We researched on the internet the latitude and longitude of College Park, Maryland (38.99606°N, 76.93478°W). We calculated the hour line angles, date curve points (summer equinox, winter solstice) from the provided calculator on the website.
      ***Time - 15 minutes each, ½ hour total

    • Next, we drew the circles on the plywood by hammering a nail into the center of the wood and using a string as a compass. The outer circle's diameter was 80 cm; the inner was 70 cm. We drilled a hole where the nail was and hammered in the tee-nut for placement of the gnomon. Then came time to measure angles, but the instructions hadn't mentioned a protractor in the materials list. So we made an emergency trip to Klein's Supermarket. Then we measured the angles and drew out the hour lines and date curves. Because we were only supposed to draw the permanent markings between the solstice lines, we spent a long time erasing the excess lines and pencil marks. We carefully traced over the large circles with a Sharpie, but it was a little hard to make it look nice. The marker kept bleeding with the grain of the wood.
      ***Time - 3 hours each, 6 hours total

    • Suzanne cuts out letters and numbers.

      We counted up all of the letters and numbers that would be needed and printed them off from a computer in a font we thought looked good for presentation. We had decided not to attempt to write them all with the Sharpie because of the bleeding. Cutting out all of the letters was very tedious and we were doing it until 3:30AM - and we weren't even done then!
      ***Time - 4½ hours each, 9 hours total
    10½ hours each, 21 hours total

  • 1/6 - Cut, Cut, Cut...

    • Cutting and pasting all of the letters was so tedious that we had to continue after catching up on some sleep. So, we finished up that step first thing in the morning.
      ***Time - 3 hours each, 6 hours total

    • After the letters and a lunch break, we drilled a hole in the ping pong ball to match the diameter of the tee-nut and threaded rod. Then, we filled the ball with silicone caulk, inserted the threaded rod to a certain distance in the ball, and allowed the caulk to cure.
      ***Time - ½ hour each, 1 hour total
    3½ hours each, 7 hours total

  • 1/7-1/11 - Sticky Situation

    • Over the period of these few days, we applied a total of 5 coats of urethane varnish to the EarthDial (3 on the top, 2 on the bottom). Weatherproofing was essential to prevent the wood from becoming cracked, warped, etc. Each coat of varnish took about 30 minutes, including preparation, varnishing, and cleanup. During the course of the varnishing, 2 separate trips were made to Lowe's. Various items were needed, such as a paintbrush on the first trip and cleanup wipes on the second. We made such a mess with the first coat due to inexperience that we needed special wipes to clean off our hands. We had accidentally weatherproofed our hands in addition to the EarthDial, and had no way of getting it off. Each Lowe's trip took about an hour.
      ***Time - 3½ hours each, 7 hours total
    3½ hours each, 7 hours total

  • 1/12 - Finishing Touches

    • We applied the Terps and University of Maryland decorations and the EarthDial was basically complete! We met in College Park to discuss the web cam and the remainder of the project.
      ***Time - 1½ hours each, 3 hours total
    1½ hours each, 3 hours total