Telescope Observing Chair

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Project by JerryL posted 01-30-2008 05:49 AM 7416 views 13 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just noticed that I have three telescopes in my projects list. I do build other things – take this adjustable height observing chair for example. Instead of looking through it you sit on it ;-). Basically the problem is that when you use most telescopes the height of the eyepiece changes as you look at things high in the sky vs. low on the horizon. Constantly bending down or standing up can really take a toll on your back.

This chair solves that by having a seat that’s adjustable. The first picture shows it best. The seat is made with two metal bars in the back (covered in heat shrink tubing to soften them and add some friction). By tilting the seat up it allows it to slide from where the legs attach to near the top of the back.

The construction is all 5/4 hard maple execpt for the seat slats which are 3/4 soft maple. There’s no stain just 3 or 4 coats of wipe on satin polly. This is my first real project with maple and I had really enjoyed working with this wood. 5/4 is really beefy to start with and the nice tight grain and hard wood make this stuff a dream to work.

Now if only those clouds would go away….

-- Jerry L.

15 comments so far

View jerryw's profile


158 posts in 3914 days

#1 posted 01-30-2008 05:58 AM

I like your chair. nice design. keep up the good work. have fun.

-- jerryw-wva.

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4399 days

#2 posted 01-30-2008 05:59 AM

Nice chair and designed for a purpose. Great job. Kids could use something like that to sit at a table.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4305 days

#3 posted 01-30-2008 06:16 AM

Nice, Karson’s right, it could be used in numerous scenarios. Great job.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 3952 days

#4 posted 01-30-2008 06:41 AM

cool design and very functional

-- Marge, Colorado

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4048 days

#5 posted 01-30-2008 06:48 AM

I love the chair Jerry, any chance you could post plans or make them available?

Keep up the good work!

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4064 days

#6 posted 01-30-2008 10:45 AM

Great design and execution.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3873 days

#7 posted 01-30-2008 03:03 PM

Great chair.

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3785 days

#8 posted 01-30-2008 03:41 PM

Can you tell us if the it appears the seat removes for easy storage?
Ingenious design and its well executed. Good work. Thx for sharing.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#9 posted 01-30-2008 03:43 PM

Great design!

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

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3794 days

#10 posted 01-30-2008 04:40 PM

Neat design. I like it a lot!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

770 posts in 3907 days

#11 posted 01-30-2008 10:32 PM

That looks sweet. I could see that coming in handy while scrolling or working at the workbench.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3785 days

#12 posted 01-30-2008 10:57 PM

Great design! This is a good idea that could be applied to other projects.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View JerryL's profile


45 posts in 4046 days

#13 posted 01-31-2008 06:06 AM

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. The seat does in fact slide off the top. I’ve seen designs where the bar in back passes through the seat sides and is removable. This lets the seat be positioned independently of the legs. I’ve also seen versions that add a movable foot rest using a similar sliding mechanism. If I end up using this one in a high position I’ll be adding a foot rest myself.

To RobH, I can get you the “plans” that I used if you want them. I used them as a rough guide and if you look at this chair you’ll see the spacer blocks at the top, middle, and bottom. It’s obvious that the guy who did the plans I used wasn’t a wood worker. My second version will use cross pieces at the top and bottom with three mortise & tennon joints in place of the spacers and threaded rod.

I plan to use two pieces of dowel in the middle. They are short enough that I can get a hole through them without much trouble.

-- Jerry L.

View mrpeabody's profile


1 post in 3760 days

#14 posted 02-07-2008 06:46 PM

Don’t know if you’ve gotten any feedback from astronomers, but there’s a couple of us that find your chair design very intriguing. A fellow astronomer/friend is taking a woodworking class and has offered to think about building me a chair like yours if I can come up with the plans. I notice that you’ve already received one request for plans, and that you plan on improving those plans – Either way, any plans that you might care to share would be greatly appreciated. I use a small telescope design known as a Schmitt-Cassagrain, and I’m constantly having to bend over or squat to use it, and since this telescope is “clock” driven I can spend long periods in a single position observing and/or photographing. So yes, please do share.

Thanks very much.

-- -- "Keep Looking Up..." - Jack Horkheimer

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3715 days

#15 posted 07-31-2008 11:18 PM

Nice chairKeep up the good work

-- jeanmarc manosque france

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