It sounds like he does a very good job. I've talked a bit with him and he's been very quick to answer questions and provide suggestions.
Is that your scope in your profile picture? Nice. Can you give me some idea about how it moves in alt/az? How well does it track? Anything you would change about it?
He is a bit pricey that's true. But I figure the personal contact and a custom build is worth a little more. And even with this rebuild, I'll still be under the cost of this telescope if I'd bought it new.
I'm leaning toward keeping my existing OTA and having Dennis build me a new base and altitude bearings. I figure replacing the pressboard with birch and getting rid of the motors will cut 50 lbs (about 1/3 the total). And I'll keep the more rigid trusses and full upper tube and still be able to use my existing shroud and the Orion bags.
Yes that's it in the profile pic. I think it moves great in alt/az, very smooth - better than my lightbridge or es. No problems at all tracking - but highest power used was 5mm Nagler. So that's x 340 approx. You get what you pay for. I have friends in the club with premium dob scopes that I've used - not just looked through. It's not obsession or starstructure but it's half the price or less. About the only issue is when I take out or put in the 31N I need to move the counterweight that is on a strut. Where the counterweight needs to go depends on the angle of the scope. I don't always find the sweet spot. Also, I do have some collimation shift when moving the scope in alt\az. Every mass produced dob I've owned before had some collimation shift. It's less with the dobstuff but it's there. Maybe a few MM with a laser when I tested. But now I use a cheshire and sight tube mostly. I've had commercial mass produced dobs where the return beam shifted almost out of the crosshair window in the laser collimator when checking this and those were truss. So I am very pleased with this compared to the scopes this replaced. I don't go around with my laser at star parties and check my club mates Obessions and Starstructurers for collimation shift so I don't know what or how much is acceptable? Maybe it's a deal breaker for some. Obviously the 'flex' it's there when or if I look really low. Usually, I have to refocus a hair if I move the scope a great difference in alt\az.. To me the weight savings is worth it and the views are still ok because I mostly look at galaxies and globulars with the scope and the collimation is 'good enough' for me. If I wanted a stiffer scope I would go with the double ring and trusses, but "for me" I am happy with the struts\single ring and the scope weighs under 50lbs (I have a thinner mirror too).
As far as changes, issues:
#1 Spend the money and get the struts or trusses powder coated black - I did not and due to sometimes traffic lights (rare where I live) I get reflections off the silver struts.
#2 Well let me just say FIRST Dennis did me right so what I say next is not a complaint about my scope: I was a bit concerned about the optics originally. It's a Coulter 13.1 mirror and I knew what I was getting into with that so NO blame what so ever towards Dennis even though he sold me the mirror. No history on the mirror but it had new coatings. I had a lot of problems in the beginning and some NOT so great views and I do have a Paracorr2. I am talking astigmatic stars and the views were so bad that my 80mm ED put up nicer planetary images (last year). Luckily I have some good club mates and I narrowed my visual problems down to #1 running my secondary dew heater too hot causing astigmatism #2 My laser is out of collimation So once I got that figured out everything is fine - I am getting pinpoint stars with my P2 and just wonderful sharp planetary views this season so far.
The last thing and this is a compliment - I "think" I should have had Dennis build me a bigger scope cause this is so easy to setup. I "think" if I could have done it over I would have tried to score a 15 or 16 mirror and have Dennis build me a scope. That's really my only regret - "I think". But when talking with Dennis I told him I wanted the biggest scope I could be seated with and want to haul out every night and he delivered. It's really a perfect size 'for me" hassle factor and all no matter what "I think".
good luck with a decision