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Telescope table

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#1 BillHarris

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:20 AM

For those of us going to remote locations with the scope, a compact but stable table is needed.  Years ago I used a card table for this, but even that is too large for a compact SUV.   Cabela's makes a compact and sturdy camping table that works well.  Available online at Cabela's , or locally at Bass Pro Shops.

 

 

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#2 B 26354

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 01:51 AM

I use one of these:

 

https://www.walmart....Black/332542372


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#3 james7ca

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 03:37 AM

This is just $17 at Walmart (MainStays brand). The top is 26" x 18" and it has an adjustable height of 25" to 28." Only problem could be that it might not be very stable on thick grass (because of the low cross brace on the legs). Other than that, it seemed very sturdy (I didn't buy it, but I "tested" it at the store).

 

The OP's table is 28" x 28" with an adjustable height of 27" to 33" for $75 (a nice size and looks stable for grass). B 26354's table is 40" x 20" with a height of 18" to 28" for $30 (or maybe $40 if bought in store).

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Edited by james7ca, 20 June 2019 - 08:05 AM.

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#4 carolinaskies

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:47 AM

For those of us going to remote locations with the scope, a compact but stable table is needed.  Years ago I used a card table for this, but even that is too large for a compact SUV.   Cabela's makes a compact and sturdy camping table that works well.  Available online at Cabela's , or locally at Bass Pro Shops.

Those roll-top tables have been around a long time, I recall a friend having one 20 years ago.  Nice and light and compact as you say.  Since I was usually shlepping with a trailer or van nearby I used regular camping tables.  Once I get a dedicated trailer for my astro equipment this go round I'm going to build a fold-down table from the side.  


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#5 B 26354

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:02 AM

The one that I linked is excellent. When unfolded, it locks open, and the fold-down legs also lock into place, making for an overall completely rigid table. With the legs being placed at the corners of the table, it is extremely stable... such that heavy objects like camera/lens combos or a 10-lb counterweight can be placed anywhere on the table's surface without fear of the table becoming unbalanced and falling over.  shocked.gif   For added stability, I keep the legs completely retracted.

 

At 40" x 20", there's space for my spiral-bound laminated field edition of Sky Atlas 2000, a dimmable red-LED desk lamp, and my 12" x 18" eyepiece-case... with room left over for things like The Cambridge Atlas of Herschel Objects or French's Deep Sky Wonders or Harrington's Cosmic Challenge, and a few other small items.

 

I have to say that james7ca's table looks like a disaster waiting to happen. shrug.gif


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#6 james7ca

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:12 AM

The one that I linked is excellent. When unfolded, it locks open, and the fold-down legs also lock into place, making for an overall completely rigid table. With the legs being placed at the corners of the table, it is extremely stable... such that heavy objects like camera/lens combos or a 10-lb counterweight can be placed anywhere on the table's surface without fear of the table becoming unbalanced and falling over.  shocked.gif   For added stability, I keep the legs completely retracted.

 

At 40" x 20", there's space for my spiral-bound laminated field edition of Sky Atlas 2000, a dimmable red-LED desk lamp, and my 12" x 18" eyepiece-case... with room left over for things like The Cambridge Atlas of Herschel Objects or French's Deep Sky Wonders or Harrington's Cosmic Challenge, and a few other small items.

 

I have to say that james7ca's table looks like a disaster waiting to happen. shrug.gif

Thanks for the additional information. I may go over to my local Walmart and look at "your" table.

 

As for "my" table, the picture doesn't really do it justice, since the legs are actually almost directly under the corners of the table top (the camera distorted the perspective). In any case, even at $17 I didn't consider it a must buy, since I was looking for something better. The biggest problem with the $17 option is that it wouldn't sit very well on heavy grass or on uneven ground. But, if you want a fairly small (but tall) table that could be used on a flat surface (concrete, etc.) then it might be an option.


Edited by james7ca, 20 June 2019 - 10:14 AM.

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#7 B 26354

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:27 AM

I use mine on my cement driveway... but I'm certain that it would be just as stable on grass. And the individually extendable legs would easily take care of any uneven-ground situations. I think I paid full price for mine... but its solidity and versatility make it worth it.  grin.gif



#8 merlin5353

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 11:24 AM

I use one of these:

https://www.walmart....Black/332542372

Same here. I got a white on, though. I put red reflector tape strips around the edge, so when our club does an outing, the less experienced members can see it.
We set up in a grassy parking lot (field) near an RC flying field, so it's kinda flat, and pretty even.

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

Edited by merlin5353, 20 June 2019 - 11:29 AM.

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#9 darkcloud

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 03:01 PM

I use one of these.  It doubles for both observing and for use in my shop:

 

https://www.dewalt.c...bench/dwst11556



#10 Stephen S.

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 05:39 PM

This is just $17 at Walmart (MainStays brand). The top is 26" x 18" and it has an adjustable height of 25" to 28." Only problem could be that it might not be very stable on thick grass (because of the low cross brace on the legs). Other than that, it seemed very sturdy (I didn't buy it, but I "tested" it at the store).

 

The OP's table is 28" x 28" with an adjustable height of 27" to 33" for $75 (a nice size and looks stable for grass). B 26354's table is 40" x 20" with a height of 18" to 28" for $30 (or maybe $40 if bought in store).

I have this one and it has been fine for me. I have only used it on paved surfaces so far.

 

Cheers,

 

Stephen



#11 BillHarris

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:43 PM

Same here. I got a white on, though. I put red reflector tape strips around the edge, so when our club does an outing, the less experienced members can see it.
We set up in a grassy parking lot (field) near an RC flying field, so it's kinda flat, and pretty even.

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

That is a good practice.  On my card table I had white  quarter-round strips all around for visibility and to keep things from rolling off (see my profile pic just above; same table).  And I used a lot of 1" wide white reflective tape to make things visible in DIM LED work light or even starlight/skylight.


Edited by BillHarris, 20 June 2019 - 09:45 PM.


#12 BillHarris

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:01 PM

Since I have downsized to a mini-SUV, space is now at a premium.   Even on my own property, my observing spot is on a lower-40 a quarter mile away.  Until I get the 8" refurbed, my primary scope is a Questar 3.5 for Lunar and planetary photos.   I'm enjoying the ease of setup.

The Cabela table fits in a soft case 30" long and 4" diam.



#13 stoest

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:22 PM

My wife got me one of these and it's great. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...gateway&sr=8-28

 

It folds up small and I put my 18" mirror in the wooden transport box on it when I'm setting up or breaking down and it's very sturdy.  The only disadvantage to this type of table is that the surface isn't solid, but for me the smaller size transporting it make it a good fit.



#14 james7ca

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 04:41 AM

I went to the local Walmart and looked at the $30 Mainstays table. For the price, it's fairly nice and I decided to purchase the last one they had on display.

 

However, while it's quite light in weight, compact (when folded), and pretty easy to setup (or take down) it's not what I'd call really good in terms of steadiness. The telescoping legs wobble somewhat and I don't think I would trust putting any single object on the table top that weighted more than about 20 pounds. I'm sure it could carry more weight than that if you spread the load across the table top, but I would never try to put my 35 pound mount head on the table while setting up (not that I'd need to use it that way, but just saying).

 

It's also not designed to work on uneven surfaces, but it should be okay on grass as long as it's not too clumpy or uneven. The height adjustments are limited to three stops, with about five inches between each setting (so, you can't use those to adjust for uneven ground, unless the difference is that same five inches). I may see about getting some PVC pipe that could be slid over the feet of the table legs to allow for some unevenness in the ground, like a one to three inch extension. Also, with great care you might be able to drill some holes in the legs to allow an extra position for adjustment, so instead of five inch increments you could have one every two and one-half inches.

 

But like I said, for $30 it's a pretty nice table (even without making any changes).

 

As for the OP's table, I do have a few questions. How is the table height adjusted and what kind of increment does it allow if you needed to place the table on uneven ground? Also, about how long does it take to setup or take down the table?

 

I guess I should mention another option (for a table). I'm currently using two levels of plastic, stackable shelving when I'm working from my concrete driveway at home. This produces a nice 34-inch high table top that also has one shelf (or two if you consider the base which sits a little over one inch above the ground). I used a large plastic garbage bag that had been cut along its side seams to make a curtain that goes around three side of the top so that the middle shelf is protected from dew. This "table" will only work on perfectly level ground, but it's really cheap and surprisingly strong (although I still wouldn't try to put my mount head on the top). Here is the type of shelving I'm talking about (Walmart, $15). You also wouldn't want to use this that often with a chair, although I have used the top to hold my laptop while sitting on my observing chair (but most of the time I just stand since the top is at a pretty good level even when standing).


Edited by james7ca, 21 June 2019 - 11:58 AM.


#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 09:03 AM

James:

 

We have several folding tables including the Mainstays you purchased, I agree with your evaluation,  pretty shaky.  I prefer the more robust tables without the adjustable height. Very robust.

 

https://www.walmart....280513/49550287

 

Jon


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#16 B 26354

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 09:39 AM

James (& Jon):

 

Thanks for adding that info about the Mainstays table, James.

 

To tell the truth, I've never once used mine with the legs extended. Never even tried extending them, so I honestly had completely forgotten that they had fixed-increment adjustments. Since I knew I'd be putting some fairly heavy objects on it now and then, I've kept the legs fully retracted, always assuming that that would be their most stable position. And because I use a small, rather low chair when I'm sitting at it and looking at my atlases and such:

 

https://www.amazon.c...aps,191&sr=8-16

 

...the table's height at its lowest position has been perfect for my needs.



#17 OldManSky

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:35 AM

I have one of these:

 

https://www.amazon.c...63-9f01c3232729

 

I like that it's a little bigger (I use it for laptops & equipment when imaging at night, and for cooking/eating in the daytime at star parties).

I like that the legs are individually height-adjustable so it's stable on uneven ground.

It's still reasonably priced.

 

Only downside:  the aluminum top gets very wet when it's dewy at night.  I usually bring a tablecloth (ok, it's an old sheet...) :)


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#18 BillHarris

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 08:14 PM

<snip>

 

As for the OP's table, I do have a few questions. How is the table height adjusted and what kind of increment does it allow if you needed to place the table on uneven ground? Also, about how long does it take to setup or take down the table?

 

 

 

The legs extend over a range of 27" to 33".   Setup or takedown is a couple of minutes.


Edited by BillHarris, 24 June 2019 - 08:16 PM.


#19 zach540

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:41 AM

Same here. I got a white on, though. I put red reflector tape strips around the edge, so when our club does an outing, the less experienced members can see it.
We set up in a grassy parking lot (field) near an RC flying field, so it's kinda flat, and pretty even.

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

 

I use the same table, no problems at all, love the adjustable height of the legs, especially on uneven ground.  I drilled a new more holes in the legs for greater flexibility with that regards. 

 

I really like the idea of the reflective tape, will definitely be adding that to mine. 

 

49384877_2302255266674635_2114169596729622528_o.jpg




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