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Pierre Schwaar's scopes

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#1 Augustus

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 08:36 PM

So a few days ago, someone from one of the astronomy clubs I'm in forwarded me an email from Pierre's sister Fabienne. Apparently she still had a few of Pierre's scopes and was looking to get them out of the house, as they had recently had minor flooding and feared they'd be completely ruined if it happened again. I went to go have a look with absolutely zero information and had no idea what to expect.

 

Pierre left behind 4 telescopes: a 14" f/4, 12" f/6, 10" f/5 and 4" f/5. They were all in various states of disrepair. All had lots of bugs, rust and spider webs in the tubes as well as thick coatings of dirt on the mirrors - when I looked down the OTAs I wasn't sure whether they had mirrors at all!

 

The 14" f/4 is probably the most unusual. It has a rather oversized secondary with a tertiary pick-off mirror glued to the middle to run light to an off-axis guiding system of sorts with a shutter built into the focuser and other things. Unfortunately the shutter mechanism and off axis guider along with the tertiary mirror were completely wrecked. The tube was also starting to rot, so it's been dismantled. The primary is a 0.75" thick Pyrex meniscus with little holes drilled in the back, and the coating is.... usable. Missing in spots but solid otherwise. The tube came with rings.

 

The 12" f/6's mirror in the nicest condition of the four overall, having had such a thick layer of dirt that it apparently shielded it from any corrosion or whatsoever. After hosing it down I was greeted with a like-new coating. The secondary isn't elliptical but some sort of oval cutout from probably some military optical device. However, the primary mirror cell is awful, was barely attached to the mirror and when I removed it it tore off some of the bottom of the OTA. So whether or not it's fixable is debatable. It came with part of a Bigfoot mount, albeit only the upper half. I don't think I'm going to have much luck in finding the bottom half, so if someone needs Bigfoot mount parts, I'd be happy to give it to them.

 

The 10" f/5 has ugly coatings under a bright light but in the dark they look quite good, the mirror is still well-attached to its primitive cell, the focuser is a lovely 2" helical unit that I lubricated, and it came with a COMPLETE Bigfoot mount! Said mount is also covered in huge amounts of dust and I have yet to clean it, but it looks promising.

 

The little 4" f/5 seems to be similar to the 6" f/5 offered in the catalog, albeit shrunken. It uses a PVC plumbing part focuser and the whole design is absolutely lovely. Unfortunately the mirror coating is completely shot, so I'll be getting it recoated along with some other mirrors.

 

Pierre apparently made nearly all of his mirrors, including the ones he sold, by hand and from my understanding had quite a good reputation. I'm excited to try out the 10".

 

I'll have some pics when everything's a little more cleaned up and organized. I also got my 1930s 6" f/8 scope on a stick and I've been working on that, along with literal piles of mirror blanks... I have too many projects.


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#2 Terra Nova

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 08:45 PM

Interesting. Up to this point I was not aware of M. Schwaar. I’m looking forward to the pictures.


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#3 Augustus

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 08:50 PM

Interesting. Up to this point I was not aware of M. Schwaar. I’m looking forward to the pictures.

Two of his scopes keep showing up on eBay for outrageous prices, a 6" f/5 and 10" f/5. Seller wants 1k for the 10" and 500 for the 6".



#4 Augustus

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 01:33 PM

Here's the 10". I am debating whether the primary needs a recoat. The 4" definitely does.

 

IMG_2784.JPEG


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#5 davidmcgo

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 05:48 PM

That is a really clever way to do rings with just strip and angle bracket aluminum!  


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#6 clamchip

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 06:30 PM

Yes very clever and it using steel they could be spot welded, although I think I'd feel

better if riveted.

 

Robert


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#7 brian dewelles

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 04:14 PM

Hi. So it looks like you might have a lil big foot. I cant tell from photo so i might be wrong. Catalog says 1.62" shafts for lil bigfoot and 2.36" for big foot. Lil bigfoots are much rarer, either way you scored. My bigfoot is a workhorse for sure.

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#8 Augustus

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 07:08 PM

The 10" scope is as cleaned up as it's going to get short of a recoat of the mirrors, which, to be honest, almost seems unnecessary. There's some crap on the coating that you can see very obviously under a bright light but in the dark it looks as shiny as anything else and there are no pinholes, etc. - I gave a Super Space Conqueror with a similar looking mirror to a friend and it puts up great views even on deep-sky, so I think it's got some life left in it.

 

The OTA construction is honestly really low quality, seems all the effort went into the mount. The primary mirror cell is siliconed to the mirror and next to impossible to adjust. The spider is a bit of a joke, hardly more sophisticated than the roofing shingles holding the secondary in my Dobson. The good news is that once collimation is achieved (with much effort) it will probably stay in collimation for a long time. The other scopes were designed in a similar way.

 

IMG_2729.JPG

 

The 4" f/5 mirror will be off for a recoat shortly; I'm going to give the scope (shown above) as a gift to my mail lady for Christmas. What's left of the 14-inch is going to be rebuilt by a watchmaker and his son. And after I test the 10" tomorrow night, I have someone in mind who it'll be going to.

 

I put up a picture of the partial Lil Bigfoot mount in the free to a good home thread, hopefully someone can make good use of that. 

 

I hope Pierre would be happy, I've done my best. 

 

Hi. So it looks like you might have a lil big foot. I cant tell from photo so i might be wrong. Catalog says 1.62" shafts for lil bigfoot and 2.36" for big foot. Lil bigfoots are much rarer, either way you scored. My bigfoot is a workhorse for sure.

It's a Lil Bigfoot. The controller appears to have died. 


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#9 Augustus

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 07:13 PM

Forgot to mention - the 10" does have a working RA drive and the mount is in pretty good shape. After adding a bit of grease it moves quite smoothly with no issues, and the scope/mount as a whole look great. 



#10 Alan French

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 05:53 PM

Forgot to mention - the 10" does have a working RA drive and the mount is in pretty good shape. After adding a bit of grease it moves quite smoothly with no issues, and the scope/mount as a whole look great. 

If it uses the usual brass shims in wooden blocks against the machined pipe axis, Pierre recommended cleaning them and lubricating them with Tri-Flow when they got reluctant.

 

Clear skies, Alan


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#11 Augustus

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 01:53 PM

If it uses the usual brass shims in wooden blocks against the machined pipe axis, Pierre recommended cleaning them and lubricating them with Tri-Flow when they got reluctant.

 

Clear skies, Alan

That's what I ended up doing. The blocks are adjustable in tightness as well with a few wing nuts




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