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Early Fall sky & Tasco 20TE

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#1 albert1

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:07 AM

Just thought I'd share a few photos of something that is simply..... MAGICAL - The Tasco 20TE.

 

I've only had it out twice so far after spending a few months familiarizing myself with each and every quality-dripping part that make up this gorgeous Classic. It's been awesome.

 

This has been one enjoyable, limited restoration - nearing complete. 'Limited' because I wanted to leave both OTA's and the mount, original paint, blemishes and all. I like that you can see the 40+ years behind her. Lots of grime and grease after years in a garage but it cleaned up well. Not a scratch on the big objective - that's the icing on the cake. After tossing around whether or not to repaint the mount due to some peeling paint I decided "what the heck", I think I like it. Now, I'm glad I left it just the way it is. The Pier assembly on the other hand, had far too much paint loss so it was stripped and redone - looks great. Searched automotive paints for a very close match to the original grey on the upper section and, the bottom section is painted VHT Wrinkle Plus - man, that stuff continues to amaze me how durable it is.

 

Interestingly, this 'Mama of all Tasco' is sporting a matching Tasco (Royal) 76.2mm guidescope with equally outstanding optics. The mounting brackets all appear to be original Royal Astro.

 

Unanswered questions;

 

1- 20TE 'Photo Equatorial'? Maybe special order?

2- How many were produced?

3- #910803. 3rd one off the line? I know the '108' is the mm.

 

You are correct, those are not the original counter-weights or finders. The finder on the guidescope is, however.

 

Mikey Cee did a beautiful job on his. See "Tasco 20TE's Rebirth". http://www.cloudynig...ebirth/?hl=20te

 

Thanks Mikey, I admired and referenced your 20TE numerous times. 'Ain't many out there.

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Edited by albert1, 03 October 2014 - 04:02 AM.

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#2 albert1

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:09 AM

A few more

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#3 apfever

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:42 AM

Sorry Albert, but the second photo in the first listing had me way too confused and I had too close my eyes.  Too much for my pea brain.

 

I've done the exact same form of restoration. A few of my finished scopes have the pier repainted, but the mount and OTA left original with signs of use here and there. I'll tend the leave the OTA alone as long as it is not clobbered with scratches or abrasions or rust, or paint that is just horribly failing in general such as my recent old B&L.

On the other hand, I've had visitors that have admired the scopes and then look closer and ask about the mount and pier. The mount housings and pier are all the same finish so all were painted. The OTA, finder, brackets, setting circles, knobs, and etc. were left original and buffed up a bit for show. Their original finish still had excellent integrity. One poor nostalgic buff became both ecstatically enthralled and confused. He got his hands and knees and said "This is perfect down here, just perfect, OMG it's immaculate, did you paint this?".   First I had to lie and tell him NO just to tweak his poor brain, then I confessed. The color match and texture preservation is rather exceptional and the result of some painstaking measures. I don't mind the questioning or admission, it's just that it stands out. I'm usually not the concourse type of finish guy.  Kind of makes me want to tone the finish or mark it up a little or get some signs of age on it,  naaaaahhhhh. 



#4 Bob Myler

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:23 AM

WOW!

 

4-1/4" + 3" + 2" plus a whole bunch of other inches makes for a stunning piece of work. 

 

Congratulations on a gorgeous restoration, Albert.


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#5 choran

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:09 PM

Wow, talk about a loaded package!  That one has all the options!  Excellent work, looks great!



#6 Terra Nova

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:51 PM

Wow Albert! That is wonderful! In fact, it is wonderfully amazingly BEAUTIFUL!!!



#7 rnabholz

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:55 PM

Does it have heated focusing knobs? Cause it looks like it has everything else!

That is a real beauty, congratulations.
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#8 Chassetter

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 02:30 PM

Congrats on owning a fine piece of mid-20th century machine art. :waytogo:

There are very few models comparable to this, IMO.



#9 combatdad

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 02:34 PM

Absolutely beautiful!  You're one lucky individual.

 

Dave



#10 Balok

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 03:03 PM

Albert, that's King of the Road stuff...wow that set up means business.

 

..love those triple separated counterweights.

 

Great work,

 

Regards,

 

Balok



#11 Bomber Bob

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 04:16 PM

Magical indeed, and rare, and beautiful...

 

That's the 4" refractor of my dreams, so now I can pester you as well as MikeyCee:  Wouldn't it look cool setup next to its younger sibling, my 6336?

 

Thank you for sharing!  IMO, a quintessentially Classic Refractor -- Tasco hit that one out of the park.

 

While I'm thinking about it:  Out of 420+ Japanese refractors in the Registry, there are only 10 on pedestals.

 

Sears 6336
Sears 6336
Sears 6336
Sears 6336
Sears 6336
Sears 6336
Sears 6339
Tasco 15TEA
Tasco 15TEA
Tasco 20TE
Tasco 20TE


Edited by Bomber Bob, 02 October 2014 - 04:57 PM.

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#12 GoodAsh

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 07:43 PM

Beautiful!

#13 albert1

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for all the comments, 'guys'! ;)

 

This is definitely one you dream about and I'm happy to have awakened it from its long slumber in the dungeon. I hope she's grateful enough to show me "stuff" that a Classic 108mm long focus refractor can.

 

My first pedestal mounted refractor. Man, a pier is the way to go. No more navigating around tripod legs - very nice. Every part is super heavy-duty to last many lifetimes. Total weight is in the area of 200 lbs. Setup isn't bad, although, like Mickey Cee's, a more permanent arrangement is the way to go - it requires some time to assemble and balance everything.

 

No need to change out this focuser, my friends, it's smooooooth and talk about solid. I'm sure you noticed the extended Dec controls; those aren't original but should have been IMO. It's a reversible modification of course, needed for ease of use and it really helps with the pleasure factor of observing while seated  - no reaching. I'm working on something for extending the slo-mo RA control so it can easily be used in all configurations. The counterweights were unfortunately missing, ouch - that one hurt. Somebody actually put those in the garbage? I added a nice stainless steel threaded rod. Those counterweights are 10 lb gym plates with a 5/8" nut added to the 1" bore. Filled in all the identifying marks on the plates with "Long Set" JB Weld after they were stripped. They came out okay but I'm going to rework the finish at some point. I can make them smoother and less bright white. Maybe I'll even grind the edge flat, more like the originals.

 

The objective? Well, after only a couple of times with it under the stars I know IT'S SOMETHING SPECIAL. Just how "Special" needs more time testing. The Ronchi test shows extremely straight lines thru the field. I hope to build one of those double pass testing stations that our resident optician, DAVIDG, always recommends. Thank you, David - your posts are quite the optical education, my friend!

 

Boy, I tell 'ya, I spend an awful lot of time looking at this thing in the garage. Man, it's just so darn pretty. :flowerred:


Edited by albert1, 04 October 2014 - 10:11 PM.

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#14 mikey cee

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 08:55 PM

I've noticed that in some catalogues that the older 20 TE's had a different or shall we say less robust saddle and also had 3 pancake thin counter weights. Also the later models had cover boxes for their clock drives. Albert may I ask where or how you stumbled across this rather unique version? For all of the newbies that come and go here my 20TE was originally purchased new by a medical doctor here in the Omaha area back in the 60's-70's era. He donated it to the local astronomy club here in 1977. I had possession of it in my garage for over a year until the club sold it to a well off club patriarc type individual for $500 in 1979. This now deceased individual gave it to the club to be installed in one of the club's small observatory's at their rural observing site around 1994. It's novelty wore thin and it sat unused for the most part clear up until 2009 when I purchased it from the club for $125. When I originally had possession of it I really never gave it much attention because I was building my Jaegers 6" F/8 at the time. Now I have it permanently stored in the SE corner of my observatory which houses my 10" F/11 refractor. Here is the final pic taken soon after it's total overhaul. Clock drive still purrs like a kitten and accurate too. :cool:  Mike

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#15 mikey cee

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 08:59 PM

Another angle.

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  • Tasco 20TE April  2010 019 (Medium).jpg

Edited by mikey cee, 02 October 2014 - 09:00 PM.

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#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:01 PM

I purchased it from the club for $125.

 

OMG!!  I almost fell out of my chair!!


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#17 jjbird

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:04 PM

Thanks for all the comments, 'guys'! ;)

 

This one is definitely one you dream about and I'm happy to have awakened it from its long slumber in the dungeon. I hope she's grateful enough to show me "stuff" only a Classic 108mm long focus refractor can.

 

My first pedestal mounted refractor. Man, a pier is the way to go. No more navigating around tripod legs - very nice. Every part is super heavy-duty to last many lifetimes. Total weight is in the area of 200 lbs. Setup isn't bad, although, like Mickey Cee's, a more permanent arrangement is the way to go - it requires some time to assemble and balance everything.

 

No need to change out this focuser, my friends, it's smooooooth and, talk about solid. I'm sure you noticed the extended Dec controls; those aren't original but should have been IMO, it's a reversible modification needed for ease of use and it really helped with the pleasure factor. The counterweights were unfortunately missing, ouch - that one hurt. Somebody actually put those in the garbage? I added a nice stainless steel threaded rod. Those counterweights are 10 lb gym plates with an added 5/8" nut inside the 1" bore. Filled in all the identifying marks on the plates with "Long Set" JB Weld after they were stripped. They came out okay but I'm going to rework the finish at some point. I can make them smoother and less bright white. Maybe I'll even grind the edge flat, more like the originals.

 

The objective? Well, after only a couple of times with it under the stars I know IT'S SOMETHING SPECIAL. Just how "Special" needs more time testing. The Ronchi test shows extremely straight lines thru the field. I hope to build one of those double pass testing stations that our resident optician, DAVIDG, always recommends - thank you, David - your posts are quite the optical education, my friend!

 

Boy, I tell 'ya, I spend an awful lot of time looking at this thing in the garage. Man, it's just so darn pretty. :flowerred:

I can see why, Albert. That is one stunningly beautiful refractor!



#18 mikey cee

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:05 PM

Last full view shot. I've since mounted casters with brakes to the inside of the leveler screws. ;)  Mike

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#19 AstroPhys

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:08 PM

Very nice Albert. Certainly good to see this classic given another life.



#20 Astrojensen

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 02:14 AM

There is no other astronomical instrument quite so elegant as a long-focus pier mounted refractor. 

 

This thread is pure eye candy. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#21 albert1

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 02:47 AM

I've noticed that in some catalogues that the older 20 TE's had a different or shall we say less robust saddle and also had 3 pancake thin counter weights. Also the later models had cover boxes for their clock drives. Albert may I ask where or how you stumbled across this rather unique version?

 

A few months back I bought it in New York from an Antiques Dealer who listed on CL. The photo wasn't very clear at all but I was able to see some telltale signs of the big Tasco. The fellow found it a few years earlier at an estate sale I believe on Long Island. He had it in his shop. He liked looking at it too. He thought it was "cool" and wanted to maybe rent it out to NY production company's but thankfully that never happened.

 

The sister of the fellow he bought it from told him her wealthy brother bought it new maybe in the 60's. Apparently, the brother was a collector of many beautiful things including fine motorcycles, one of which unfortunately precipitated the estate sale. He had a large garage where he enjoyed his many automobiles and bikes - that's where the telescope sat for many years accumulating grime of a busy garage. Quite likely all the parts were there in the garage but the antiques dealer being unfamiliar with telescopes left them behind. He no longer had contact info for the sister.

 

Mike, some questions when you get a chance;

1. How long is the counterweight rod?
2. Diameter, thickness and weight of one of your counterweights?
3. What are those threads for the ground levelers?
4. Any idea if the serial numbers started with 910801?
5. Have you heard anything about production numbers for the 20TE?

 

Thanks. :waytogo:


Edited by albert1, 03 October 2014 - 04:13 AM.


#22 BarabinoSr

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 05:46 AM

Albert, you are a lucky man! Congratulations :bow:  That is an outstanding instrument . Thanks for saving it(for me to add to the Tasco Group ) :grin: ! Looking forward to some observing reports.I also followed Mikey's renovation work on his and he has done an outstanding job. :waytogo:  Thanks for sharing guys. Gary


Edited by BarabinoSr, 03 October 2014 - 05:47 AM.


#23 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 06:48 AM

MikeyCee, your last photo of your 20TE is my favorite picture on the whole Forum.  It is 100% Iconic.



#24 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 07:17 AM

A beautiful scope indeed. :waytogo:  :bow:  :cool:

 

Rich (RLTYS)



#25 mikey cee

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 10:41 AM

Albert I have something of interest here. I've had this "catalog" in my possession for over 30 years. Sure looks like your scope. :scratchhead:  Mike

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