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8 Inch Telescope

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Project by JerryL posted 2630 days ago 2265 views 12 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This one I completed a couple of years ago. This was my first telescope building project. Beacuse of all the cutouts and fancy finish it took me almost 5 months to complete. I have to credit my wife for encouraging me to build and put quality components in it. I had been doing a cost compairson between lots of cheap telescope mirrors and I was showing her the options one day when she said, “Why are you fooling around with this cheap stuff when you should just buy quality and get something you will be happy with.” What a woman!

The next day I ordered a premium mirror that cost more than most imported 8” scopes by itself. I have been happy with it from day one. I get lots of compliments on the wood working and almost just as many on the optics. Nothing stands out like quality.

The details of the construction can be found here: http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1096

Basically the wood is a combination of 3/4” Home Depot birtch ply and then a sheet of baltic birtch ply. Baltic birtch is the way to go, I will never use anything else. The tube is a 10” Sonatube from the local contractor’s supply. It’s wrapped in post-form Wilsonart. I must also add that the design was copied from someone online who was in business for a while building these guys. He was very helpful and gave me lots of ideas.

There are several issues that you can’t see in the pics. Mostly the finish I used is cracking :=(. I used a water based polly and put on too may coats. Next time it’s oil-based and I’ll probably spray it on before assembly. There are a few parts that are not 100% square but they don’t impact the movement or look of the scope, but I know they are there.

Thanks for looking.

-- Jerry L.





11 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2663 days


#1 posted 2630 days ago

This is a great job. Looked at the other pics on the website. Most impressive.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15623 posts in 2804 days


#2 posted 2630 days ago

What a fantastic idea! I didn’t even know you could build your own telescope, much less make it such a beautiful woodworking project.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2724 days


#3 posted 2629 days ago

Very interesting project! Your wife is to be commended for support and “authorizing” quality parts!

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View Chip's profile

Chip

1904 posts in 2678 days


#4 posted 2628 days ago

A piece of art Jerry. Beautifully executed. This is not something I would think of doing in wood. Outstanding piece and thanks for posting it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2616 days


#5 posted 2483 days ago

Impressive engineering – I enjoyed the accompanying article also – well done

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View Harold's profile

Harold

310 posts in 2433 days


#6 posted 2427 days ago

We have a fella down the street who is loves telescopes and grinds or shapes? his own mirrors. I would love to try something like this.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2885 days


#7 posted 2427 days ago

A beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

It looks like your whole family enjoys it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View mranum's profile

mranum

131 posts in 2001 days


#8 posted 2000 days ago

I just stumbled across this. I guess maybe I’m not an oddball that built his own scope. lol

I built a 6” Newtonian on a Dob mount originally but last year converted it to a pipe Equatorial mount. Works great now.

Great job on the scopes BTW.

-- Just remember,it was a lone amatuer that built the ark, and a team of experts built the Titanic.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

4973 posts in 2298 days


#9 posted 1999 days ago

Beautiful job. Thanks for the link.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Leroy5's profile

Leroy5

64 posts in 1637 days


#10 posted 1325 days ago

I have been sanding and finishing wood floors professionally for 32 years. In your case, any surface finish like polyurethane will end up cracking. You want a really good penetrating finish like Waterlox. It soaks into the wood and is very water-resistant. There are a lot of other brands of penetrating sealers to choose from which will work fine. Any time the finish is needing a little care, you can just rub some on with no preparation. It will always look nice. Surface finishes are best for temperature- and humidity-stable environments where a lot of physical wear is expected.

-- Leroy

View JerryL's profile

JerryL

45 posts in 2633 days


#11 posted 1325 days ago

Leroy,

I wish you had told me that 5 years ago :). The finish is indeed cracked. At this point I think the only way to fix it is a total rebuild. However, the scope still works as well as the day it was built so if I was going to spend a few months building a scope it would be a lot bigger! I looked at the Waterlox website and I’ll put that on my list for the next project. Thanks for the info.

-- Jerry L.

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