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Thread: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope



    Thanks for all the great advice! I am really impressed with how I got so many replies! Unfortunately I have to make a major correction. I had thought that what my dad made was an 8" scope but it is actually a 6" :-( So that means that, again, if my calculations are correct, I would actually have an 6" f/8.

    I have a feeling that the quality of the build was about as good as it could have been in 1947. As far as I know none of the scope came from a kit. My dad spent a lot of time at the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh (part of U Pitt) and I'm sure he got some great advice there.

    Some interesting facts about the scope include that I am pretty sure that the eyepiece mount came off of a WWII tank! My dad had the tank sight tube and my brothers I would use to sight toy soldiers we set up as kids. The scope tube itself is mitered wood slats wrapped in canvas and it has a welded pipe frame with an equatorial mount set for Pittsburgh. The prism used for the secondary came from Edmund Salvage Company (now Edmund Scientific). I have the original box it came in and it still has 5 more prisms in the box.

    Needless to say that well beyond the usability of the scope it has major sentimental value. As I think about your comments I am thinking that maybe it is best to just have the mirror re-coated. There are many holes in the existing silvering but I can clearly see the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn in its current condition so not bad all things considered. Perhaps reusing the mirror my dad made is more important than having a modern, perhaps better, mirror than his. Its not like I am going to see that much more. I would think this scope is probably best for planetary and moon views anyway.

    Perhaps as suggested if people are interested I will take this over and post about the rebuild on the DIY forum as the project gets to completion.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Dave

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    I too would advocate testing and re-coating the primary mirror .
    As for the prism secondary, if it is the correct size that doesn't cut off the light cone then I would keep it.
    This way it will not turn into the "philosophers broom"--that old saw about if the handle and the brush head are replaced, is it still the same broom?
    I am all for preserving the heritage and skill of your father especially from 1947.

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  3. #13
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    Quote Originally Posted by djameson View Post
    Thanks for all the great advice! I am really impressed with how I got so many replies! Unfortunately I have to make a major correction. I had thought that what my dad made was an 8" scope but it is actually a 6" :-( So that means that, again, if my calculations are correct, I would actually have an 6" f/8.
    Yes it’s close to f8.

    I have a feeling that the quality of the build was about as good as it could have been in 1947. As far as I know none of the scope came from a kit. My dad spent a lot of time at the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh (part of U Pitt) and I'm sure he got some great advice there.

    ....

    Needless to say that well beyond the usability of the scope it has major sentimental value. As I think about your comments I am thinking that maybe it is best to just have the mirror re-coated. There are many holes in the existing silvering but I can clearly see the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn in its current condition so not bad all things considered. Perhaps reusing the mirror my dad made is more important than having a modern, perhaps better, mirror than his. Its not like I am going to see that much more. I would think this scope is probably best for planetary and moon views anyway.
    I would not sell old optics short. Given your father had expert advice it’s quite likely the optics could be excellent and compare favorably with modern mass produced mirrors.

    Perhaps as suggested if people are interested I will take this over and post about the rebuild on the DIY forum as the project gets to completion.
    Yes, please.
    DaltonSkyGazer and frazier like this.

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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    Congratulations on having such a great piece with so much sentimental value! I can recommend a website which has links to the Springfield Telescope Makers. These folks are very adept at making optics. One of the people who teaches at Stellafane every year Dave lives nearby and is considered expert on optics, he works for military contractor and NASA on mirrors for a living. Dave designed their mirror testing rig and every year at Stellafane does several public classes. The website has tons of information which may prove helpful. Hope you find this useful.

    Link is HERE https://stellafane.org/

    Here is picture of Dave(left) with one of his handmade scopes talking shop at Stellafane.

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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    6" f8 was a very popular format for homebrew dobs.

    I would love to see a picture of that focuser!
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    In fact the 6" f8 was so popular I built one a long time ago. It is still serviceable to this day though the mirror is beginning to show its age



    It went through a few 'mods'

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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    Quote Originally Posted by UlteriorModem View Post
    6" f8 was a very popular format for homebrew dobs.

    I would love to see a picture of that focuser!
    Here you go:

    file.jpeg
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    That is very cool! Thanks!
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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    Quote Originally Posted by djameson View Post
    Perhaps as suggested if people are interested I will take this over and post about the rebuild on the DIY forum as the project gets to completion.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Dave
    A vintage hand built reflector with surplus military optics, and you ask on an astronomy forum if we're interested about how it comes out?



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    Heck Yes! I wanna see how this comes out!

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    Default Re: Rehabing an old handmade telescope

    Quote Originally Posted by UlteriorModem View Post
    In fact the 6" f8 was so popular I built one a long time ago. It is still serviceable to this day though the mirror is beginning to show its age



    It went through a few 'mods'

    This scope seems to be basically identical construction to our Society's (ie: Astronomical Society of South Australia) dob that we house at our dark sky site: except ours is somewhat "upscaled", as it has a 15" f7 (?) mirror! Affectionately known as "The Coffin"...

    - Dean

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