I had the opportunity to pick up a nice Meade 1266, the 12-1/2" f/6 Research Series (aka Research Grade) Newtonian. This scope was a part of a package being offered by the original owner a few months ago the the mart. The 1266 was ordered and picked up from the factory in 1980 and a 10" f/4.8 RG was ordered and picked from the factory in 1982.
My buddy Ed Villareal from Texas has the 10" and we'll let him chime in when he gets a chance about that scope. In short, he and I never remember Meade offering a 10" f/4.8 Research Grade scope. But this one is and man is it ever pretty......
Anyway, back to the 1266. If there ever comes a time when I can only own one scope, this is it. I owned one many years ago and have regretted selling it. Now that I have another one, it's not going anywhere!
Ed brought both scopes up just after Christmas. We did a quick clean up on his and replaced the nylon bearings on the rotating rings. We were lucky enough to get a clear, but not so steady night while he was here. Both scopes performed rather well considering the seeing. The 1266 was showing some really nice details on the moon and we both agreed that it has a really good mirror.
The scope is 35 years old. It was a bit dirty, coatings were thin, and the mount has seen quite a bit of use. The previous owner only ordered a 10" OTA in '82 and shared the mount with both scopes. With the 1266 being a somewhat bulky and heavy OTA, it didn't see as much action as the 10" did over the years. That put a lot cosmetic wear on the pier and motor housing.
The first order of business was pulling the optics and sending them out for coating. I have read good things here on CN about Majestic Coatings and decided to give Jeff a try. In short, I'm very impressed with the price and turn around. The coatings look great!
As with all earlier Meade Newtonians, the secondary holder and studs that mount the spider to tube is likely to become brittle and literally fall apart. This one was no exception. I replaced the secondary holder and spider with a classic Kenneth Novak setup. While I was at it, the original mirror cell was replaced with a Novak 9-point.
Like Ed's 10", the rotating rings needed attention. The years of use took its toll on the nylon bearings. The rings were disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled with new bearings. The OTA got cleaned up with a Magic Eraser and later a good coat of Mother's Carnuba Wax was laid down.
While the rings and accessories were off of the tube, I lined inside of the tube with crushed walnut shells and two coats of Sherwin-Williams flat black paint. This created a perfect tube-length baffle so-to-speak. I had done this to a 10" Meade RG many years ago and the difference in contrast was quite noticeable. While talking about contrast, I added an 11" matte black vinyl circle to the focuser area. This will help knock down any reflecting light off the white tube. I added a Telrad opposite the 8x50 for the quick alignments.
Rotating the tube is quite easy now that new bearings have been installed and the adjustment screws seem to be at a good point. Even with an easy rotating tube, it can be awkward sometimes to get it twisted to where you want it. I added three handles on the upper end to aid in that task. I also put an extra tube counterweight on the rear to make it not only easier to twist the tube, they can be used as handles for carrying.
As you can see in the pics, the OTA is ready to go. The mount needs to be restored to complete the project. Between work and other projects, that will not take place until spring. The mount will be polished out and all painted surfaces will be sandblasted and repainted. The motor and gears did get an inspection. Everything looks good and work properly.
Oh, one more thing that I forgot to mention....I was lucky enough to get the 80mm f/15 guidescope and rings. I'm not sure if it will mounted on the scope or not, but I've got it if I choose to do so!
Now, it's just a waiting game for a good sky!!.......