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Wooden Tripod Care

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#1 BarrySimon615

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 10:34 AM

A few nights ago I had the opportunity to take my hybrid Unitron (Model 142 with cut down tube with an Edmund 3" f/11 objective)to a function for educators. The scope was set up on a 5th floor museum balcony where we had a good view of the one day post-eclipse almost full Moon rising slowly above the city's skyline. This scope is a very nice looking performer with a tube length, that while still long, is not overly long. The tube, 15" shorter than a regular f/16 Model 142 Unitron, works better with the mount with it's smaller moment arm due to the reduced tube length. The 836 mm focal length is still adequate to give me 119x with a 7 mm eyepiece and 167x with a 5 mm eyepiece (just under a .5 mm exit pupil). I find the image quality to be every bit as good as with any traditional Unitron #142 I have owned (3 of them).

Anyway the tube assembly sits on an older #142 equatortial mount, likely dating from the late 60's/early 70's. The tripod on this mount, while generally in good shape, had a much lighter (ash/oak)color than later Unitrons where were supplied with tripods made from Philippine Mahogany and stained a fruitwood color for lack of a better description. All of my Unitrons purchased new in the 80's had this fruitwood Philippine Mahogany finish.

The yellowed finish on this older tripod was also dry so before I put it away this morning I decided to give the tripod a little tender loving care via the use of a product called "Old English Oil" which is a petroleum distillate product (other ingredients not listed) which is supposed to moisturize and protect the wood. Anyway the results were amazing, it penetrated the wood readily and then backfilled resistant surface areas thru capillary action. It also completely changed the color of this tripod. It now looks like later mounts (Philippine Mahogany with the fruitwood finish). The wood certainly looks better.

Anyone else use other products and what is your recommendation for something good?

Barry Simon

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#2 Don W

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 10:42 AM

I've seen that product in the store but have never tried it. I don't have any other recommendations other than a total refinish with Tung oil. Your way seems a lot less work. Thanks for the report.


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