I have a couple of questions and suggestions:
1) It's missing the "Accessory Shelf". The former owner had fashioned a workable bracket but I would like to get this setup back to original. Anyone have one they would like to part with? (photo below)
2) The bronze bearing (what we used to call an 'Oilite bearing' back in my slot car days) that the worm gear rides in (and is adjusted for backlash) is worn out, the hole is now a slot. I found a nylon bushing that is an excellent fit (with no modification) at my local hardware store. Might be a good (and easy) fix for anyone else working on one of these. (photos below)
3) I hate how the older scopes (and even some newer ones) use metal tipped thumbscrews to hold the secondary/finder scopes in the rings. At the same hardware store I found what they call "thread protectors" that fit snugly on the end of the 3/16" thumbscrews holding the Photo-Guide scope. Fortunately they are white (each size is a different color). You will need enough thread space between the ring and the OTA to account for the thickness of the thread protector though, I didn't have enough to use them on the finder scope (which is fine, that size is orange). (photo below)
4) Anyone know why there are two sets of mounting holes for the mirror cage? Mistake by the person drilling the holes maybe? While it might help to mount the cage higher up for a binoviewer I don't think they had binoviewers in 1978. (photo below)
5) Apparently the rear aluminum trim ring was designed to easily pull off because the mirror cage won't come out unless you do. The original owner had sealed/glued it in with red silcone...that was fun to get off! I think I will file three grooves to allow clearance for the mirror cage ears to clear and glue the ring back on.
6) Are there any serial numbers on these scopes/mounts? I can't find any anywhere.
7) Funny small world story: There is a gold sticker on the bottom of the mirror from the original coating company, Pancro Mirrors, Glendale, CA. According to the company history on their website they did about 30,000 mirrors (coating only, not the grinding) before moving into the movie industry and leaving telescope mirror coating behind. Turns out they moved to Grass Valley, CA (where I live) in 2006, just a few months earlier than our move. When I get the scope back together I am going to take them some photos of it.
I am looking forward to trying this scope, lots of positive buzz about it. It will have a tough time going up against my lowly Orion 8" DOB IntelliScope though, the optics in that scope are really, really good, generally against which I compare the viewing experience with any scope I get. If it exceeds the Orion I will keep the 856, otherwise I will move it on. I will put up a photo of the completed project when I get it done, currenty have the OTA mounted on a CG5, the Meade mount is still in pieces. And it raining...