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Polarex 114 renovation: photo report

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#1 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:16 AM

As we all know, Unitron is almost as popular in the US as burgers and Coca-Cola. The pages of the CN have already presented countless examples of beautiful, well-preserved refractors of this brand. However, there are places in the world - the one I live is one of them  - which for decades have been cut off from normal economic and trade circulation. Unitron / Polarex telescopes never reached Poland when they were manufactured. Nobody finds them today in the basement or in the attic, they are not found during Christmas cleaning and they do not appear at garage sales (which are unknown in Poland). They are extremely rare in Poland, so let me boast of the renovation of Polarex 114 copy that I unexpectedly managed to buy from a dealer importing antiques from the Netherlands.

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#2 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:17 AM

The telescope was in poor condition. No clamps, extremely dirty and fungus optics, bent slow motion screw, badly worn wood. All this just spurred me to the effort to restore this unique treasure to the best possible condition.

 

I started with standard cleaning and regreasing. This is what I like the most - work is fast and brings visible results :-)

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#3 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:19 AM

It was much worse with optics. The accessories were in terrible condition. The set of eyepieces is probably not even original, although the famous Monochro 40 mm eyepiece was among them. The very first tests showed that the eyepieces are of good quality, they give great images, so I decided to dismantle them all to individual lenses and clean them carefully. Fortunately, the only irremovable damages in the form of scratches on the surface of the glass were in the eye lenses. Such scratches do not visibly affect the image.

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Edited by LukaszLu, 03 April 2021 - 07:44 AM.

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#4 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:20 AM

The biggest problem was with the main lens. It was attacked by fungus to such extend that it was obvious the fight was not going to be easy. I was concerned that aggressive chemicals would be required, which could prove dangerous to old anti-reflective coatings that are much less resistant than those used today. I decided to ask an experienced astro service technician for help. He managed to remove the fungus completely. Unfortunately, as I expected, it left some traces in the anti-reflective layer, which did not withstand the long-term effect of corrosive substances released by this organism. Fortunately, these places are in the air gap and are not visible from the outside - unless someone knows what to look for and looks very carefully ...

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Edited by LukaszLu, 03 April 2021 - 11:54 AM.

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#5 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:23 AM

The same specialist also made a replacement slow-motion screw. The original threaded bolt was bent so badly that it failed to straighten it while keeping the thread working. The new screw is made of brass so as not to damage the thread in the mount with a harder material - for example steel, and then nickel-plated. The color of the nickel-plated bolt is slightly different from the chrome-plated original, but after screwing it into the mount, this difference is completely imperceptible. The mount regained full functionality.

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#6 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:26 AM

Unexpectedly, the wood cost me the most effort and work. First, the transport box. Do you remember the famous advertisement of the model 114 from the early 1960s, in which a handsome young man in a tasteful sweater poses for a photo with a cigarette in one hand and the Unitron 114 transport box in the other hand?

Unitron_114_Ad%201961_190257.jpg

 

The advertising power turned out to be so great that I decided to restore the box to its (almost) full splendor. I removed the old varnish, sanded the surfaces and filled the cavities with putties and a special self-adhesive veneer. Finally, I painted everything with a mechanically durable polyurethane varnish. What a pity that I quit smoking a few years ago ... With such a box, the city would be mine!

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Edited by LukaszLu, 03 April 2021 - 11:57 AM.

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#7 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:27 AM

I carried out a similar operation on a tripod, the original varnish of which was badly damaged and needed to be removed. This time, I only protected the sanded wood with oils and wax, which gave it a beautiful, satin gloss. In my opinion, the tripod has gained a much more elegant look than the original.

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#8 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:37 AM

The most serious problem that has yet to be resolved is the lack of the original clamps. They are temporarily replaced by ordinary hydraulic pipe clamps. However, this does not prevent me from enjoying the view of this unusual telescope.

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#9 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:42 AM

I've waited a really long time for this moment, but when I finally put the telescope on the mount, I can't get enough of it. It really stands out from all the Japanese "classics" I have collected. Every detail seems to have a special historical value that simply inspires respect. Yes - respect ... I think this is one of the first feelings when one looks at this instrument ...

 

This renovation was full of uncertainty and anxiety for me, but a great adventure. I am happy that I've managed to bring the work to this stage.

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Edited by LukaszLu, 03 April 2021 - 07:48 AM.

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#10 starman876

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:49 AM

Beautiful work.  Congrats.  Very nice scope.


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#11 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 08:09 AM

Very nice restoration on a great scope!


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#12 Couder

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 08:34 AM

Very nice. I'm working on a Royal Astro mount (for the 76MM) scope which is pretty much a mess. I hope my project looks as good as yours when finished.


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#13 LukaszLu

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 08:44 AM

Thanks a lot! @Couder: please visit my thread on RAO mount disassembling: https://www.cloudyni...mble-the-mount/ - i hope it will proof to be helpful for you.


Edited by LukaszLu, 03 April 2021 - 08:44 AM.


#14 petert913

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 08:55 AM

You area a true craftsman and will have many years of pleasure from this (now) beautiful telescope.  Congratulations !



#15 GreyDay

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 09:40 AM

Beautiful telescope nicely restored, well done Lukasz waytogo.gif



#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 09:57 AM

Wonderful work! It will prove well worth it. Some years ago here I did a small survey to determine which model of Unitron/Polarex was the most iconic. It turned out that the model 114 won by a narrow margin. And that is precisely the one model of Unitron and the single long F15 achromat that I decided to keep in my now, much smaller holding of telescopes. Congratulations on your find. I’m sure you will enjoy it for many years come.


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#17 Piggyback

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 10:39 AM

Great job! I envy your restauration skills. Been looking for a spare 114 Unitron cradle for what seems like eons. Found it on the bay a couple months ago. Guess I was lucky. 



#18 Terra Nova

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 10:45 AM

Great job! I envy your restauration skills. Been looking for a spare 114 Unitron cradle for what seems like eons. Found it on the bay a couple months ago. Guess I was lucky. 

There have been a couple for sale in the CN classifieds in the past year or so. They do go quickly.



#19 blakestree

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 11:19 AM

Beautiful restoration, LukaszLu. You are to be commended!



#20 davidmcgo

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 03:04 PM

Nice work!  I think if you just painted the tube clamps gloss black we all probably would not have noticed it wasn’t the original cradle.

 

Dave



#21 Tenacious

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 05:06 PM

Very nice work!

 

+1 about painting the clamps.  Also, installing better threaded hardware and knobs would help, too.  If the original Polarex clamps and hardware never becomes available, you would still have a mount visually consistent with the scope.



#22 GeneT

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 05:43 PM

Beautiful telescope! Back in the early '60s I used to drool over them when depicted in Sky and Telescope advertising. 



#23 Russell Smith

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 07:44 PM

Wonderful looking restoration.
You have truly saved a classic.
Russ

#24 DAVIDG

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 08:47 PM

 Very nice restoration. I did notice that since you disassembled the lens to clean the elements they are not assembled correctly. The spacers need to be next to each screw as what your picture shows of the lens before you cleaned it. This allows even pressure on the spacers and keeps the air spacing even in thickness.

 You should place the lens under monochrome or semi monochrome light and adjust the pressure on each screw so the interference  rings are round and centered. If the air space is not uniform the elements are wedged in  relationship to each other and that causes lateral color. So at high power  stars will turn into short spectra and planetary detail will be washed out. 

  Here is  a link to my thread on how I adjusted a 114 Unitron objective.

 

   https://www.cloudyni...ens-adjustment/

 

 

                     - Dave 


Edited by DAVIDG, 04 April 2021 - 03:45 PM.

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#25 photiost

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 07:35 AM

Looks amazing !!




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