Thought you might like to see some pics of an RAO 76/1200 I've recently acquired for restoration. The previous owner has had it from new (purchased back in the 70's) but it has been knocked about a bit and badly stored for years. Some bits look vandalized (a few of the metal pointers on the dials have been bent right back) and the focus wheel axle is bent. Back in the day it was modernized to accept 1.25" EP's (there are no original .965 Ep's with it or the original diagonal). Also no original box and the 'safety thing' from the end of the counterweight bar is missing.
The 6x finderscope is almost fine (quality of optics is brilliant except for the 'eye end' where there is some sort of damage like the coating has come off in parts) - mostly round the edge. This doesn't seem to affect the view. I had to clean the objective with Baader fluid and the microfibre cloth).
The objective of the main scope was COVERED in dust and dirt although the dust cap was present. No dust cap had been placed on the rear of the scope so there was lots of dust INSIDE the scope. I removed the lens cell with dew shield attached (cant see how to remove the dew shield on its own). And have cleaned it (very, very gently) using an air blower, a camel hair brush and finally used some baader cleaning fluid on cotton wool pads (better than cotton balls). I've vaccumed the inside of the tube using a powerful vacuum cleaner with plastic attachments so as not to scratch the inside.
I can't test the optics yet as I daren't put it on it's mount (the felt has perished where the scope goes). I think I also need to strip down the mount and re-lube as it hasn't been touched in decades and it all feels a bit stiff (smooth though).
1.I'm thinking of sanding down the tripod legs and using a lighter color stain/varnish but really, should I stay with the original?
2. How best to tackle the rusting on the accessory tray (I've soaked the nuts and bolts/washers in vinegar and have cleaned in water/bicarb.). Should I use a paint stripper and completely repaint it or just touch it up? Same applies to the metal mountings on the tripod legs.
3. There are scratches on the scopes white paintwork and parts where the black paint has flaked off from the mount. Leave alone?
4. How do I tackle re-greasing of the mounts gears etc? Some say use White Lithium Grease others not or should I leave it alone?
5. Finally (I think) I am missing the thing on the end of the counterweight bar (safety stop?). Any thoughts on replacement. I've tried every screw in my spares box but none fit (either too big or too small). If I wanted one made what would be the specification (I know very little of such things)?