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4 Inch Reflector... a fixer upper. Is it worth it?

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#1 TahoeNoob

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:09 PM

I have a 4 inch mirror and tube, along with some other stuff that probably isn't worth a whole lot. Even so, I'm wondering if I could make a decent "grab and go" scope for myself.

I'm wondering if it would be worth using the mirror and tube, along with a new focuser and spotter, to make a small dob... or, I could use the mount I've got on a new tripod. (I don't think the mount is worth much.)

All this stuff is, at least, 40 years old, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun to have around the house when Huey, Dewey, and Louie show up! :D :cool: ;)

My questions is: Would fixing this old scope up be worth the time/trouble? I'm looking for opinions and ideas. (If I decide to do this, what type of focuser and spotter should I get? I'm not interested in sinking a lot of money into this project.)

Posted Image

http://i1359.photobu...G_2611_10_1.jpg

http://i1359.photobu...MG_2606_5_1.jpg

Here's the other stuff I have:

http://i1359.photobu...G_2629_28_1.jpg

http://i1359.photobu...G_2628_27_1.jpg

#2 tim53

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:22 PM

Looks like an old Edmund! Restore! :grin:

#3 TahoeNoob

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:42 PM

Restore, or rebuild with newer accessories?

Equatorial, or dob mount?

#4 tim53

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:00 AM

Well, you can certainly do what you want, but I'd restore the whole scope with original equipment.

-Tim.

#5 apfever

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:49 AM

That is an early Edmund probably. The OTA tube may have an ANCHOR label, Edmund bought out Anchor in the late 50's.

Edmund also did a wood tripod 'Classic' 4" scope during their Palomar Jr. production run.

I have both of the above scopes, and the Jr. on pier. The original focuser would be the one with the secondary on the stalk attached. These are 1.25" focusers and not bad.
The wood tripods are a bit shaky compared to the steel pier.
However, they are quite nostalgic. Due to the simplicity of the scope, I'd suggest a quick restore. The shafts ride in bronze Top Hat style bushings. Check the counterweight shaft to see if it is a two part shaft. Sometimes the two part shafts are permanently threaded together and will strip out if you force a sepperation. As long as you can get the stop collars off and get the shaft out through the housing and bushings, you can leave the two part counterweight shaft together. Clean off any old lube and replace with a light machine oil on the bushings. These porous bronze bushings don't take grease. The R.A. shaft will likely have a fiber or plastic washer on each side of the housing.

Your finder is an old one, but not the kind typical on the Palomar Jr. or early Anchor. I have that style finder on a 1950's Edmund 4" refractor, and on an early Starliner 8" F7 GEM. I also have an unmounted one that is a right angle. They are the same body with a set screw on the tapered end.
Check the finder eyepiece for writing. The one on the 4" refractor has "EDSCORP 8X".

If you find the wood legs to be too flimsy, I suppose you could cram the hub onto something better. I'd go for keeping the rest original to begin with and see if it is functional.

if you want any pictures let me know.

#6 TahoeNoob

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:12 AM

I received the scope in about 1972 as a Christmas gift from my parents. It was used at the time, so I don't know when it was manufactured. It has been floating around, in one house or another, ever since! Back when I was a kid, I used it a couple times but never really got into it because we were using an old bicycle inner tube to hold the tube onto its mount. (Nothing ever stayed where it was supposed to and it was almost impossible to see much of anything... except I DO remember seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time! In other words, I got frustrated but an impression was made!)

The focuser takes 1.25 eyepieces, which surprised me. I was expecting it to take something smaller. I read in one of my books that older scopes tend to use smaller eyepieces, which aren't as good. Finding that it takes 1.25 inch eyepieces was a pleasant surprise.

After reading your message, I went and looked at the spotter's eyepiece. I removed some dust and found that, you are correct, it says: "8X EDSCORP." (BTW, that's the only writing I've been able to find on the whole scope. I do seem to remember that there used to be a Mylar sticker on the tube though.)

The tripod has/had to go. "A bit shakey?" How about insanely unstable, rickety, and ready to fall apart at any time? LOL Anyway, after I took pictures this morning, the first thing I did was remove the legs, saw them up, and toss them into the woodstove. (I was cold!)

The counterweight shaft unscrews. The truth is that I'm not completely sure how the mount is supposed to be set up, or used, yet. This afternoon, I loosened up one of the bushings and slid it to where I THINK it's supposed to be. (I'll post a picture of the mount at the bottom of this post.) I know that one of the axis lines is supposed to point towards the north star, but I don't know quite how you're supposed to get that done. (Unless you just sort of guess a little bit.)

My plan is to use the mount I have throughout this winter, and then reevaluate if I want to turn the whole thing into a dob. It's too cold for me to start trying to build a dob mount at this time of year and, besides, I want a scope that I can set up quickly until spring time arrives.

You've done a very good job describing my telescope! I think you've figured out exactly what I've got. I would be very interested in seeing your pictures. In the end, I'm more interested in getting this scope functional again than trying to restore it to its original condition. (It's a scope that I would like to use.)

Posted Image

#7 bremms

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

That's a nice old Edmund scope and worthy of a light restoration at least.

#8 tim53

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:04 PM

Don't throw away or burn any more original parts, okay? Even if you don't want them, someone else might. And even if the legs weren't useable, they might have served as patterns for new ones.

I think it's perfectly fine if you want to build a dob mount for the OTA. Just don't throw the original mount away. Others have done similar things to their classics to make them easier to transport and set up, and it can be done without modifying anything - so that when they realize that the scope is more valuable in its original configuration, they can cut up and bbq burgers on the dob base and live happily ever after! :grin:

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#9 GeneT

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

The mirror looks just a little dusty. This might be a fun restoration project.

#10 rguasto

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:36 PM

You cut them up and burned them?! Really?!

#11 sgorton99

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

Kind of like the 4" Unitron where the tripods legs were 12" short because the owner sawed them off...

#12 TahoeNoob

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:54 PM

Ok, ok! You guys are brutal! I'm sorry. I had no idea. :bawling: What part of "noob," and "I don't think the mount is worth very much," do you guys not understand? :confused: I was asking for advice.

Here's the deal, I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that, yes, I really did cut the legs up. The good news is that I didn't actually burn them yet. They were still sitting in the kindling pile, waiting to be burned.

Here's what I did, I pulled all the pieces back out of the pile and fit them together. I even went into the garbage can and dug out the hardware! (Bolts, washers, and butterfly nuts.) I was able to find everything.

So, if anybody wants this stuff, I'm willing to send it along... for just the cost of shipping. I don't really need the fitting the legs mount to, but I should probably keep it together with the rest of the hardware. (If I decide I don't want the EQ mount, maybe I'll sell it on eBay at a later time. I don't know.)

If nobody wants the legs, I can't guarantee that I'll keep them forever. I have no use for them. Particularly now that they've been cut up.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#13 TahoeNoob

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

How would it be if I put something like this onto the scope?

http://www.ebay.com/...Sight-Finder...

#14 trainsktg

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:11 PM

Unfortunately, this happens in the gun world as well. Folks take an 'old military rifle' and strip, sand and varnish the stock and then wonder why someone will only pay half or less of what they paid for it.

Fortunately, this was not a particularly valuable or collectable scope or tripod so you really didn't lose much if anything. Still, I must admit my heart dropped for a second when I read this this morning.

In this case, the mount for this scope isn't much better. If the optics are good, I'd recommend finding a decent Edmund pier for this scope. Below is a picture of one for reference.

Keith

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#15 trainsktg

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

How would it be if I put something like this onto the scope?

http://www.ebay.com/...Sight-Finder...


You could. I've found that these small, long focus reflectors really don't need one. They are mostly lunar and planetary scopes, and those objects are easy to find in the regular finders. I use a Telrad (a holographic reflex sight) on my 12" dob and there it excels.

Keith

#16 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:00 PM

Take the remains of the legs to your local vocational high school. For a small fee, they'll make new ones. If necessary, wedge a wooden eyepiece tray onto the tripod, to make it steady. For a grab-and-go, a folding tripod is handy.

Since you are a self-described Noob, I'll encourage you to try the equatorial mount, partly because it's a classic, and partly because it beats a Dob mount. This is not a wide-field, low power scope. Objects will drift through the field fairly quickly. You may find following them easily with the equatorial mount is far more relaxing than nudging nudging oops! nudging-too-far a Dob mount all night. Do you know how to align a German equatorial mount?

#17 apfever

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:37 AM

Tahoenoob,

STOP. Keep the legs and parts. It is 2 in the morning and I have to get up in 3 hours, then I'll be back very late today after work (brutal schedule). I'll take the legs and hardware for shipping cost.

What you have is a very early 60's or late 50's Edmund scope. These were produced by Anchor which Edmund bought out in the late 50's. Edmund then continued to market Anchor products with the Anchor label till the old stock was gone, or the name lost it's stature. I have the exact scope except for the finder. The finder on my Anchor (Edmund) is original but different than yours. I have the same finder as yours on a 1957 Edmund 4" refractor.

By the way, I used to own a fairly high end wood shop operation, still do some woodwork with my home shop, and I can actually put the legs together fairly easy with dowling. I'd add long spreader block at the joints since my tripod has original blocks in it. I'd pay the shipping anyway just to label and shelf the hub and hardware for future use.

I'll send pictures with next post.

Neil

#18 TahoeNoob

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

Neil... No problem, I'll save the legs for you. If they're of use to somebody, I'd rather give them away than burn them! (I want to keep the hub, for the time being.)

At this point I'm wondering if I should try to make a new set of legs for myself. With a triangular cross-brace, wedged between the legs, maybe it would be more stable. (I own a bandsaw and know somebody that has a planer/jointer/tablesaw.)


Joe, your answer makes a lot of sense to me. One of the problems I had when I was a kid, was that everything scrolled out of view too fast. Back then, I had never heard of an EQ mount.

To answer your question about German EQ mounts... No I don't know how to use a German equatorial mount. I know that the bottom axis is supposed to be pointed at the North Star, which allows you to use the other two axes to locate stars and track them while nudging only one axis. What I don't know, is how to get the bottom axis aimed (perfectly) at the North Star. (Perhaps the aim doesn't have to be perfect, if you're not doing astro-photography. (By now, it should be obvious that I AM NOT an astro-photographer!))


All, before I make any more permanent changes... I will consult in this thread. I promise! One thing that's on my mind is that the tube is all scratched up. Originally, I was planning on stripping the old paint, and repainting. Now, I assume that's totally out of the question!

The thing is, I've seen tubes that people have repainted, in this forum! How can repainting be done without wrecking the value of the telescope? What is the process? (If I decide to repaint the tube, it won't be done until next summer.)

Also, would it be ok to drill two holes in the bottom of the tube, for mounting it onto the EQ mount? Or, should I make a plywood box, that clamps to the outside of the tube, and then mount that to the EQ mount?

I thank all of you for your help! :bow:

Oy! :foreheadslap:

#19 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:15 PM

The beauty of equatorial mounts is that they do not have to be aimed perfectly for visual use. Astrophotographers are fussy, because they worry about blurring their images. Visual astronomers just plop the mount on the ground, and then occasionally tweak the Dec slow motion control to keep the object in view, or maybe tweak the azimuth later if they were too casual in the initial alignment. I've written the instructions before, so I'll just refer you to them.

It is possible to get a serviceable polar alignment in essentially no time, as part of the process of standing the scope on its tripod (find Polaris, cup hands on mount, aim scope at Polaris), so do learn this. When you see how easy it is, you will have had a "Eureka!" moment in learning celestial mechanics.

#20 tim53

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:58 PM

Or:

Youtube on setting up an equatorial mount

-Tim.

#21 trainsktg

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

OP...your scope has little collectors' value, even if it were a completely intact specimen. $100 or less. Much less IMO. The telescope pictured in my previous post, a complete 4.25" Edmund in absolutely excellent condition, has been up for sale for over a month now on several forums at $125 and I have had not one email from an interested party. Repainting yours will not matter. In my experience, unlike cars, coins or antique rifles, refinishing a majority of telescopes out there does not seem to alter their value significantly one way or the other, so I don't believe you have anything to worry about.

Keith

#22 oldtimer

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

The mirrors in these scope were 4.25" F-105.6 spherical mirrors which were very good optically. Early models used a over sized secondary which blocked too much light. I have redone several of these OTAs with modern low profile focusers and .75" secondaries.

#23 TahoeNoob

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:51 AM

I found this thread:

http://www.cloudynig...3652971/page...

and just wanted to link this one into it.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do. At this time, I'm tempted to sell it (parts or whole) and put the money towards a smaller/newer scope.

I really wish I hadn't cut up the legs. :kicking self:

#24 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:08 AM

Consider the loss of the legs a mere faux paus of a new Classicist. They can be replaced or repaired.

A 4" equatorially mounted classic Newt will teach you and show you more than you think. A new scope may be smaller, but not necessarily better, especially where odds are good yours has a good mirror. Mounted on a tripod, yours would be lightweight to carry outside, a perfect big grab-and-go. Fix it to see what you can learn from it. You'll probably want to keep it. If you decide to move on, you'll have real knowledge of your preferences leading to selling. Remember: You are already in possession of a scope many of us would love to find, a wonderful opportunity.

Four inches is plenty of aperture for learning the basics of astronomy. A nice, portable, vest pocket star cruiser!

#25 apfever

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

Tahoe,

The scope you have is not the one you linked to, I'll get to the one in the link in a moment.
This is the kind you have, it is not a Palomar Jr.
Mine is late 50's to very early 60's. This one is labeled "ANCHOR" but it was put out by Edmund after they bought Anchor Optical.

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