Hey Robert (clamchip):
I've been thinking about your former configuration of the C-14 on a Harbor Freight lift table, and was wondering.
Which lift table did you use? They have a 500 pound and a 1000 pound that's about a hundred bucks more and a little wider. I've been thinking about getting one of these for Cosmic Acres, so I can use it (with perhaps an appropriately designed cradle on top) to install and remove heavy OTAs from my EM-500 mount. The saddle is currently about 5 feet off the floor, so quite scary to lift heavy scope up there and try to tighten the dovetail saddle with one hand while holding the scope with the other. This weekend, I put my 12.5" f/23 Cassegrain (5' long teak plywood tube) on the saddle by first taking the primary cell out of the tube first, then reassembling after the tube was secured on the mount. A better way would be to stand the tube on end, on a cradle on top of one of these lift tables, then raising it enough to engage the saddle (without the counterweights on the mount), then adding the weights and freeing up the lift table. Because of its size and height (based on the specs online), I bet the table could be used as a... ...table for things like eyepieces and laptops. Even better than an actual table or desk because it's on wheels, so can be moved around the scope when switching targets from one side of the meridian to the other.
In my observatory, I use a wire-rack chef's cart from Lowes that has a butcher-block top. I put the C14 on it (with a couple of pieces of 4x4 for a little extra height), face down. It's wheeled, so I can easily push it around until the dovetail aligns with the saddle. once clamped in place, add counterweights to balance, and the C14 lifts right off. When it's not in use, the rack goes into one of the alcoves and holds an eyepiece case, lens covers, and some odds and ends. It's light but very strong.