After almost 4 decades of observing, I still haven’t found an observing chair solution that’s entirely satisfactory to me, but I haven’t gotten around to trying the Star Bound chair that so many seem to like.
I had an observing chair made by Walt Garron from oak. It’s similar to the Denver Chair. It had enough adjustment range to work well with all my small scopes including a 4” refractor and it looked nice, but it was heavy, bulky, and it difficult to shift it’s position when I repointed the scope at a new object, so don’t think it’s well suited for a grab-and-go refractor where the weight of the chair must be included in the total load. I also thought it was too much chair for a small dob.
For a small dob (6-10”), I also want something small, light and easy to move around, but it doesn’t need much adjustment range. A fixed height, folding, canvas stool with a removable boat cushion to adjust its height is light (~#2) and is adequate for me, and I have used it more than any other.
A friend gave me a pneumatic stool mentioned in post #10 and similar to the one shown in post #21. It’s much heavier, but is easier to adjust its height, and the wheels are a nice addition on smooth surfaces, so I am using it with my dob now on my smooth deck. It doesn’t have enough adjustment range to be completely satisfactory with my refractors though.
For refractors, I am experimenting with a fairly sturdy aluminum photo tripod (Manfrotto 475B) with a crank-adjustable center column (6” adjustment range) combined with the pneumatic stool (6” adjustment range). Used with a 72mm f6 refractor, the combination is very convenient and easy to use on smooth surfaces. The stool provides enough adjustment that the tripod only needs to be raised or lowered a couple of inches from horizon to zenith, so I haven’t noticed any stability problems yet. Doubt the combination would be stabile enough combination for a my 92m f6.7 refractor though, but perhaps one of the heavy-duty tripods with an adjustable center column intended for supporting larger binocular telescopes might work.
The folding stool shown below weighs about 2# and has numerous pockets in the under seat bag to hold eyepieces, red flashlight, charts, and other accessories, so it’s my most grab-and-go seating option for small dobs or small refractors. With the addition of a boat cushion it has just enough height adjustment for me to use with a small dob.
The pneumatic stool is heavier, has more than enough height adjustment for me to use with a small dob, and it’s very easy and convenient to use on a smooth surface such as a deck. It’s also works well with a small refractor mounted on a tripod with a crank adjustable center column.
Edited by gwlee, 04 May 2021 - 03:24 PM.