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Edmund 6" early grey Pier

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#1 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 09:42 PM

Early Edmund 6" GEM on the grey pier mount. Here's 3 pictures of the start at lunch today.

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#2 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 09:43 PM

One set.

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#3 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 09:44 PM

The last of it at the garage bench.

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#4 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 09:55 PM

The tubes after a shower with soap and water. Then a rub down with Goof Off, and a final wipe with a few drops of machine (gun) oil. The oil works into the finish softened by the Goof Off, brings out the shine, and hardens with the finish as it dries from the solvent wipe, leaving no residue.


The "SUPPORT..." sticker stays due to its story and part of the scopes history. It needs to be documented with the scope. Documentation: I bought this from the original owner who received when a child, as a gift from his father. As the owner got older he then shared it with his son. His son put the sticker on it. The owner said he thought about removing it, but it was well placed and he chose to leave it. So shall I. The original owners son is now older and the time came to pass the scope on.

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#5 Chuck Hards

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:02 PM

Very nice. Great find.

#6 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:07 PM

Lots here.

I cut milk jug washers using a circle cutter, then scribed and interior guide line to cut the tangs. This presses into the pier cap as shown. I replaced the original set screws with home made stainless steel (SS) allen cap bolts pressed into floweret knobs. The red automotive hose clamps are added for support of the knobs. This assembly then goes over the pier pipe. The washer tangs drastically reduce the side slop of the cap on the pipe. Now the cap becomes a buttery smooth AZM adjustment for polar alignment or just AZM in general. This is very secure mounting with the reduced slop between cap and pipe. I usually keep the original hardware but the original rusty black oxide set screws went...some where...

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#7 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:19 PM

Assembled. These parts are washed with soap and water only. A lot went through the dishwasher with pure sodium tripolyphosphate. NO sovent wipe on these fine krinkle finishes that aren't likely to get duplicated. The finish is solid where it remains and enough remains to allow a repaint with excellent effect.
The inside of the piers are painted but still showed some surface rust dust. After cleaning, I made several strokes pushing a rag ball soaked in Boiled Linseed Oil specifically. This is a treatment trick we use inside our aviation tubing in our gliders. It dries and is a great protector. It smells nice while working.

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#8 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:26 PM

Getting a leg up.

The original leg hardware is often very rusty on these piers of all types. The slotted screws towards the right side are original. These are a real pain to get a grip on inside the tube since a screwdriver isn't happening inside. I chose the SS allen type screws which are easy to deal with. SS bolts, washers, nuts, and wingnuts.

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#9 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:34 PM

Thanks Chuck.

This platic is much thinner and tougher than milk jug material. It allows the legs to seat solid on the pier while protecting the finishes. I cut oversized blanks, drilled the holes through the 6 blanks stacked between masonite, then put one on and marked around the leg. Using the one marked template, I cut the rest to size leaving a reveal. These stay in place since they are under the bolt retaining nut and washer.

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#10 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:37 PM

Waiting for the mount.
One leg washer is dark. I tried to 'grey' it in for a better match and failed miserably. The rest stayed frosty clear, much nicer.

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#11 Geo31

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:45 PM

Looking great. Can't wait to hear the story on the sticker.

#12 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:47 PM

The mount assembly. This will get very tricky very quickly.

First off, check your RA housing as shown. The earliest versions are like the upper right one, with the small bolt tang. These did not do a good job of holding the lattitude setting. Edmund then cast the larger tang variety and added the set screw. The assistance from the set screw does not have to be huge. I replaced an original set screw with the SS thumb screw. The tip of the thumb screw was smoothed over and lightly rounded on a grinder, then sanded. It provides plenty of support and much less damage to the pier cap. Now it is tool free and field friendly.

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#13 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:14 PM

This is a little complicated.

The RA shaft has two recesses for a teflon ring, one on top and one on bottom. If you start with the bottom ring in place, it will come off inside the housing. One way to hold it is to get a very lightly fitting rubber ring washer as on the left. When the RA shaft is barely inside the housing, work the ring washer onto it (from inside the housing)and keep working it on till it just holds the teflon as the teflon starts going into the inner area. This will then hold the teflon band till it starts into the bottom bearing area. The inside of the RA housing is larger between the top and bottom bearing seats and there is room for the rubber ring. The rubber ring will then seat onto the lower bearing area as you finish pushing in the shaft, and it will provide a little extra seal protection from the inside.

However, it is possible to get that teflon band in place by working it around the exposed groove recess as shown on the right. This is not pretty, not easy, not fun, but very possible. I've done it.

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#14 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:17 PM

It can be done.

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#15 ScottAstroNut

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:20 PM

Looking good so far! Those old Edmund 6" f/8's are great scopes once fixed up a bit. I restored one not too long ago and it has become one of my most used scopes. The pedestal on my scope was pretty rusted, so I decided to paint the mount and pedestal. I used very light coats of grey paint so that the original wrinkle finish would show through. I usually prefer to keep the original paint, but the new coat of paint looks better and will protect the metal from further rusting.

My scope has pretty good optics. The original 24mm finder is pretty useless for finding anything but the Moon and planets and to my way of thinking is the weak link for this scope. Turns out that a Synta Vixen-style dovetail shoe fits the hole spacing of the original finder brackets perfectly, allowing me to add a larger finder without modifying the scope in any permanent way. This has made the scope much easier to use, especially for finding fainter objects.

I will have to consider the fixes you have made to your mount in terms of improving the ability of polar aligning the mount. I've only ever used my scope for visual astronomy, so a rough alignment is usually good enough. The ability to fine-tune the alignment easily and without tools might be a nice addition, however.

Thanks for sharing your restoration project. I look forward to seeing the final product and hearing your evaluation of the scope once finished. Cheers!

#16 apfever

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:23 PM

Looking great. Can't wait to hear the story on the sticker.


Hi George,

The story is short and given in that entry after the word "Documentation:". Not much to it, but enough to let it be for me.

More tomorrow. Mounts and OTAs mounted. Time for the last SP-C80 entries now.

#17 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:46 PM

Niel, Just a suggestion , the way I did mine was to curl the Teflon stip inside it self, roll the strip into a smaller coil and hold it there for a few seconds, the smaller the better. then release, it should be a tighter fit around the recess, then coat the recess good with lube to help hold the strip in place,open the strips up just enough to slide over the end of the shaft , they should snap into both recesses. then slowly insert the shaft with both teflon strips in place , without the O ring

#18 Datapanic

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:51 PM

Lots of good pro tips here! Thanks Neil!

#19 planet earth

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:08 AM

Nice job. :)
What brand of gray paint did you use?
Sam

#20 ScottAstroNut

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 06:54 AM

I'll chime in here and second Tom's suggestion for how to insert the shaft into the housing without losing the Teflon strip inside the housing. I've done it Tom's way a number of times and it works like a charm as long as you are careful when inserting the shaft into the housing.

Lot's of good ideas here. Neil, are you going to replace the plastic straps that hold the tube to the mount, or are yours in good enough shape to be reused? I've had to make replacements on a couple of mounts where the straps were missing or broken.

#21 apfever

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:49 PM

I've tried tight rolling the strip with no luck. I probably didn't roll it tight enough and admit to being leary of kinking it. I could also use a tackier drag grease under the strip and stick to the SuperLube outside. I'll try it again with some dry runs.

I hate the Edmund staps. For starters, the staps on one of these and on my 8" are just ugly. The factory set looks like a garage job with parts from the hardware store. The massive 8" is even more amature looking. I also don't like the way they hold the tube, or should I say Don't hold the tube. No protection from the saddle contact, not easy to rotate the tube, not easy to field adjust the balance, only hold well in a verticle position if the OTA is being pressed hard into the metal to metal saddle contact, ugly, and a few other derogatory descriptions.
Honestly, the same goes partly for Edmund's red tubes on the pier that use the strap. Here's a picture of my completely restored one. The straps are replacement but original material and brand new thanks to Amicus S. Thanks Fred. They would NOT be considered user friendly by general concensus though you can learn some tricks to the trade through consistant use. The tensioning system on these is unique and interesting but the engineering concept of strapping the OTA doesn't cut it for me.

One 6" Grey was strapped, the other was bolted. Same for the Palomar JR's, one is strapped and one bolted, and ohhhhh to be honest, a third JR is on the vintage look wood tripod that Edmund produced for a short run. I'll eventually TAKE THE STRAP OFF the 6" when I find a good replacement ring system. The one strap is split but perfectly usable and it will go into the bag of original parts and stay with the scope.

For Paint.
I'm delaying this finish build today for the sake of paint. I've decided to do both scopes. I intended to do my keeper eventually and the other one could use a coat - it is just time. Yeoww, talk about variations in shades of grey. These old Edmund grey fine wrinkle finishes tend to fade and age into more variations of color than anything I've seen. From reddish to blueish to silvery grey, I've seen it all and often different parts on the same scope. A friend of mine restored his Edmund 6" here, including painting. We laid out a variety of tones to try and determine the best all around match. After painting and comparing again, the verdict is in. Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch, 2X Ultra Cover, Paint+Primer, "SATIN GRANITE".

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#22 apfever

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:55 PM

The paint for general Edmund early grey fine wrinkle finish. This a cover to go over the original wrinkle, it is NOT a wrinkle paint in itself.

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#23 amicus sidera

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:10 PM

Agreed, Neil, those straps on the red-tube models do take some getting used to, and they are definitely not out-of-the-box user-friendly (you're most welcome, btw! :grin:).

From your photo it looks like you removed the four plastic screw covers in the saddle that were the bearing points for the OTA; excellent idea, as the stock setup places a great deal of pressure on a small area when the tube is cinched down - not a good idea as far as the relatively-fragile phenolic tube is concerned. I removed those saddle screw covers and their screws from my Edmund mounts and originally placed self-adhesive felt in the saddle at the tube-bearing areas; this worked, but needed considerable stap tension to keep the OTA from slipping. Craft stores sell a very thin, self-adhesive rubber-like foam that comes in a variety of colors, and this seems to work much, much better than the felt, with no slippage under moderate tension; the tube will still rotate easily to facilitate eyepiece positioning when the straps are slightly loosened, however.

One thing that I feel should be always be done on these strap systems is to place a nut at the very end of the threaded tensioning rod, secured by means of LocTite or similar thread-holding compound; this allows one to fully open the staps when mounting or de-mounting the OTA, without fear of the rod and knob coming free from the tension bar in the saddle.

Anyway, nice work on all of it, and looking forward to more photos!

#24 apfever

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:42 PM

Hi Fred,

Check the picture of the red tube. You can see where the OTA slowly slipped back and pulled the felt off the saddle tips as it sagged. You can see the felt tab just above the strap at the upper left saddle corner. I'll be looking for that colored foam you mentioned, but a ring system will trump. Any mod I come up with can be reversed for nostalgia.

#25 amicus sidera

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:16 PM

Hi Neil, I think the stuff is referred to simply as "craft foam", and is available both with and without adhesive. Cheap at about $1.00 per 9x12 sheet, and comes in a rainbow of colors (black works for me! :)) I believe it's closed-cell, so no problems with moisture retention. Works pretty decently IME for this application, and can also be used on the cork pads and metal clamps on the fork mount OTA cradles.

I was just looking at Orion Telescope's website the other day, thinking along the same lines as you regarding a better setup for my 6" f/5, and saw that they sell a pair of 182mm tube rings (link here) which would be a pretty close fit to the Edmund's 7" (177mm) O.D. tube... the resulting 2.5mm gap could be easily bridged with strips of thick felt. While I kinda like the factory strap system (maybe because I've used it for so long!), a pair of those rings, painted tan to match the rest of the mount, would be pretty spiffy, no doubt...

eta: Incidentally, did you know that the mount in your photo is a post-1979 version? The somewhat dull or flat setting circles are a clue (pre-1980 circles were very shiny), as is the lack of the large cast-aluminum knob (identical to the dec knob on the fork mounts) to tighten the altitude axis... some folks couldn't get them tight enough by hand to keep things from slipping, so in 1980 they replaced the knob with an Allen bolt and supplied a wrench for it, as well.


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