I got the leg tip repaired and took it out late this afternoon to look at the sun with the Lunt 1.25" wedge. Not a spot to be seen.
The leg chain that came with it keeps the legs too close for stability, I used it just for this session and will make a longer one.
Close-up showing graduations on the side of the focuser barrel.
Set up with the stock .965" compression sleeve visual back, stock diagonal and very Swiftish-looking HM25mm eyepiece.
Looking at a bird in a tree about 50 feet away yielded a nice, crisp image with very little spurious color. Cell-phone snapshot, zoomed.
Finder and again, a Swiftish bracket.
I can't stay up late tonight due to work early tomorrow, so decided to look for Jupiter in the daylight. Astro Tech 1.25" dielectric diagonal and old Edmund pre-RKE 28mm Plossl to locate the planet. A Vixen 1.25" visual back replaces the stock .965" eyepiece holder.
I couldn't see Jupiter while the Sun was above the horizon but once it set, the planet popped right out in my old classic Sans & Streiffe 7x35mm bino. Once located, it was easy in the Tech. Inst. Co. finder. A nice, crisp planet greeted me, albeit with reduced contrast from the still bright sky. I then kept inching the magnification higher, moving through my University Optics Zebra Plossls. 16mm was first but the seeing supported the 8mm easily, for 125X.
The Great Red Spot was easily visible, with a hint of Red Spot Hollow betwen it and the SEB. Just crisp seeing, I wish it would last and I could stay up!
Some detail shots of the wonderful geared Alt-Az mount.
Ready to put away for the night. The azimuth lock bolt was stolen from an old Bushnell SkyChief EQ mount that I've parted-out.
I'll have more pics of the eyepieces and other kit in coming days, along with the box which is in pretty good shape, itself. Lots of details that are very Swift-like, it's probably not a stretch to suggest that some parts had a common source. This OTA, really a Swift 831 optically, combined with the geared Alt-Az mount, make the scope a joy that is super useable with minimal setup and takedown. Like a Manon on steroids.
I was fortunate to have most of the missing hardware on-hand, or something that at least works and is close enough, and managed to make a passable replacement slow-motion knob. I still need a fancier finder bracket clamp screw. With the mechanicals complete, I can continue the cosmetic restoration. I have already restored the dew cap to new condition, recall it was missing half of it's paint. The mount is in excellent condition actually and will benefit mostly from a good cleaning, re-lube, and some fine adjustments.
Thanks again for turning me onto this one, JR, what I first thought was a lost cause turned out to be an uncommon, high-quality scope, for a minimal investment.