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Cave Astrola 6" Student Deluxe back home in Long Beach

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#1 Volvonium

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:22 PM

This weekend, I happened upon a wonderful find of a Cave Astrola 6" f/8 Student Deluxe.   I've long wanted one of these scopes and jumped on the opportunity when it showed up in the local classifieds.  There is a sentimental and nostalgic value in the scope for me, as I got back into astronomy as an adult after my son was born and we moved to Long Beach; the hobby quickly became quite an obsession and a beloved part of our family life.   With Cave's iconic history in this city, it was nice to welcome back a hometown hero.

 

 

This was the morning of bringing it home-- the tube and mount was a bit dusty, with some scratches and marks, but no cracks in the fiberglass gelcoat:

nlxMfEZh.jpg

 

Some scuffs on the legs, but the casters rolled and spun well, with just some surface rust and pitting on the brackets.  The rolling pedestal with the mount removed is a lot lighter than I was expecting.  The mount and pedestal is very workman-like; the paint is brushed on and the grinding/shaping of the legs is not identical on each leg, but completely functional.   

 

wxGLpwSh.jpg

 

Quite a bit of dust to clean up and I will reserve plugging in the drive until after giving it a thorough once over.  All the white paint for the setting circles is in good condition and all parts rotate smoothly.

 

imRukPwh.jpg

 

This is likely thanks to some beetle larvae husks providing additional "Betelgeuse" lubrication.  :haha:  I don't know why there are so many carpet beetle larva husks on both bearings.   There were also many hidden under the tripod leg.   Kind of weird, but OK!    

 

DcZFlUWh.jpg

 

Here's the money shot-- the scope has a helical focuser installed which is fairly nice, and the Unitron 8x30 finder is quite scratched up and will need a repaint.

 

EZ8y4WSh.jpg

 

The focuser is kind of rough to use, but I should be able to smooth it out

 

R7xmbaKh.jpg

 

The back of the mirror indicates that this may have its original Pancro coatings.  The lack of oxidization on the fasteners on the mirror cell tell me that this scope hasn't seen too much time outside.   There's a patina of oxidization on the aluminum end tube rings, but not bad.  I kind of like the patina. 

 

N7lYt3rh.jpg

 

The mirror is only lightly very lightly dusty.  The coatings look to be excellent and robust.  Only maybe 3 or 4 tiny pinholes, with no thin spots anywhere across the surface, when I put it up to the light.

 

rC6JmXih.jpg

 

The pyrex mirror is pretty thin and should acclimate very quickly, but oddly enough no etchings or markings to be seen anywhere.  I gave the mirror its likely first wash of its life with distilled water.  The scope didn't look like it had ever been disassembled as the secondary holder and screws all had perfect black paint, where a screwdriver had never even come close to it.  

 

ngkLhsrh.jpg

 

 


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#2 Volvonium

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:24 PM

I carefully cleaned it up, reassembled, and collimated it.  I scratched a lot of paint on the secondary flathead screws in the process of re-collimating it.   Most of the tube marks buffed out and were superficial and I just need to put a layer of car wax on it to get a nice shine.    It's a real looker.

 

cI6qljZh.jpg

 

One of the more interesting things when getting this scope is that it came with a couple vintage issues of Sky and Telescope Magazine, dated November and December 1976.

 

In the Nov '76 issue of S&T, the owner (or salesman) had penciled in markings of Cave's ad, as well as some of the other ads, such as Parks.   It would seem the owner was mulling over which scope to purchase...either buy one assembled, or piece together one. 

 

cYelbOjh.jpg

 

I was greeted with these skies last night, but there was a fleeting part of the night where there were large openings in the cloud cover.   I rushed to set up the scope outside and was able to use the scope for a glorious few minutes to observe the moon and observe a few stars, using a Baader MKIV 8-24 zoom.   

 

P67bhzch.jpg

 

It was a miracle that I could get it pointed to anything, as the pedestal kept rolling around, and the tube was shaking since I was scared to tighten down the metal straps too much, in fear of cracking the fiberglass.  After getting it to point at the Moon, first at 24mm and then at 8mm (150X), the view was nothing short of extraordinary.   The view was incredibly crisp and very high contrast.  In that brief minute or so of observing, I could see that the optics in the Cave more than lived up to its reputation and I said a quiet thank you to the weather gods for giving me a peek.   I can't wait to get it back under the stars.

 

Thanks for reading.


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#3 TestnDoc

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:39 PM

Wow. Congrats on the scope! My dad had a 1973-74 Cave 12.5 f/7. Enjoy!


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#4 B 26354

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:48 PM

Wow indeed. What a wonderful find.... and what a great write-up. Congratulations, and thank you!


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#5 Volvonium

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:57 PM

Thank you, my heart skipped a beat when I saw a break in the clouds late last night-- it's not exactly a scope you can rush out the door, but it was well worth the hustle to experience first light with it.  I was extremely careful walking through the doorway with the long tube lol.gif    Local weather has storms, clouds, and high winds for the next week or so.  I'll be putting more time into cleaning the mount and hopefully get to looking at the drive condition/electronics.  


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#6 B 26354

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 04:20 PM

Ha. My heart skipped a beat when I looked at your first photo of the scope!  grin.gif  Like most of us veteran astro-nuts, I've been lusting for a Cave since my first S&T subscription, back in '54.

 

And I hear ya, with the weather. I'm ~100 miles east of you.  frown.gif

 

Nice to know that this scope's new owner has as much respect for it and its emotional and historic value as you do, and is as thrilled as you are to have been given the chance to use it, and to care for it, appropriately. Hope to see you continue this thread -- and your excellent photos -- as your relationship with it progresses.   biggrin.png



#7 Chuck Hards

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 10:01 AM

Very nice, congrats! 

 

I have a Cave 6" Student Deluxe (purchased from Neil B. some years ago) and it is my favorite commercial 6" Newt.  I prefer it to my RV6 and the Edmund 6" that I no longer own.  It has the shortest damping time of all three, and the best finder by far.  Mine looks to be a later production model than yours.  Optically, all three are about the same.  1/4-wave or close to it.   My home-made 6" f/8 Newt is better optically but the seeing often isn't good enough to let that difference truly shine.  

 

I despise those Carle helical focusers and retrofitted mine with a Rukes R&P (also correct for this model).  I obtained an unused Sky-Micro last year and will probably refit it yet again with that focuser, one of my favorite classic R&P's and among the best that Cave ever used.

 

Saturn and Jupiter will be early morning objects in coming months, be sure to check them out, they will astound you in the Cave 6".

 

Though I'm still downsizing, I will probably keep the Cave 6", even as I let the 10" Super Deluxe Custom Chrome go.   As visually impressive as that scope is, it's a beast in practice and I'm not a young man anymore.

 

I started my S&T subscription about '72, I have those issues from '76.  What a blast from the past!


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#8 Terra Nova

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 01:02 PM

The Caves were always my favorite Newts back in the day! Congratulations on a wonderful find. waytogo.gif waytogo.gif



#9 Dave Cook

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 05:22 PM

Very nice!  Glad to see another one back in circulation. And I must say, a 10" Super Deluxe is rather tempting...that was my original goal when I bought mine (new), I ended up with an 8" Deluxe because it was going to take me a while to get the extra $200 for the 10" model.

 

It's really curious there's no engraving on the mirror, and that the secondary collimation screws had intact paint (never previously collimated?).  Couple that with no cracks in the gelcoat and it perhaps having been in Long Beach for a long time, you might have an almost totally pristine instrument that has nothing but 44 years of hangar rash.  Amazing.



#10 bjkaras

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 05:10 PM

This weekend, I happened upon a wonderful find of a Cave Astrola 6" f/8 Student Deluxe.   I've long wanted one of these scopes and jumped on the opportunity when it showed up in the local classifieds.  There is a sentimental and nostalgic value in the scope for me, as I got back into astronomy as an adult after my son was born and we moved to Long Beach; the hobby quickly became quite an obsession and a beloved part of our family life.   With Cave's iconic history in this city, it was nice to welcome back a hometown hero.

 

 

This was the morning of bringing it home-- the tube and mount was a bit dusty, with some scratches and marks, but no cracks in the fiberglass gelcoat:

nlxMfEZh.jpg

 

Some scuffs on the legs, but the casters rolled and spun well, with just some surface rust and pitting on the brackets.  The rolling pedestal with the mount removed is a lot lighter than I was expecting.  The mount and pedestal is very workman-like; the paint is brushed on and the grinding/shaping of the legs is not identical on each leg, but completely functional.   

 

wxGLpwSh.jpg

 

Quite a bit of dust to clean up and I will reserve plugging in the drive until after giving it a thorough once over.  All the white paint for the setting circles is in good condition and all parts rotate smoothly.

 

imRukPwh.jpg

 

This is likely thanks to some beetle larvae husks providing additional "Betelgeuse" lubrication.  :haha:  I don't know why there are so many carpet beetle larva husks on both bearings.   There were also many hidden under the tripod leg.   Kind of weird, but OK!    

 

DcZFlUWh.jpg

 

Here's the money shot-- the scope has a helical focuser installed which is fairly nice, and the Unitron 8x30 finder is quite scratched up and will need a repaint.

 

EZ8y4WSh.jpg

 

The focuser is kind of rough to use, but I should be able to smooth it out

 

R7xmbaKh.jpg

 

The back of the mirror indicates that this may have its original Pancro coatings.  The lack of oxidization on the fasteners on the mirror cell tell me that this scope hasn't seen too much time outside.   There's a patina of oxidization on the aluminum end tube rings, but not bad.  I kind of like the patina. 

 

N7lYt3rh.jpg

 

The mirror is only lightly very lightly dusty.  The coatings look to be excellent and robust.  Only maybe 3 or 4 tiny pinholes, with no thin spots anywhere across the surface, when I put it up to the light.

 

rC6JmXih.jpg

 

The pyrex mirror is pretty thin and should acclimate very quickly, but oddly enough no etchings or markings to be seen anywhere.  I gave the mirror its likely first wash of its life with distilled water.  The scope didn't look like it had ever been disassembled as the secondary holder and screws all had perfect black paint, where a screwdriver had never even come close to it.  

 

ngkLhsrh.jpg

That was my first telescope; I bought it in 1972. Mine came with the R&P focused though. I had that scope for 14 years, and sold it when I upgraded to a 10” f5. It was a great scope and I regret selling it. If another one ever appears for sale I’ll snap it up in a second.




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