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Unitron #152 that I recently acquired.

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#1 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 01:19 PM

I was contacted by my friend who had lunch with an old school friend.

His friend mentioned he was selling a telescope.

Long story short on February 9th I picked up what turned out to be a 1956 Unitron #152 refractor and a bunch of accessories.

I was told that it had been in a storage shed for about 30 years and only been pulled out and used a handful of times.

I would rate the overall condition of everything I purchased about 6 out 10.

It does needs some TLC but I feel it will be a great scope again when I'm done.

Here is a link to a file with pictures of everything that I bought; https://drive.google...xHp?usp=sharing

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Edited by Phteven Chaos, 12 March 2022 - 02:11 AM.

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#2 deSitter

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 01:33 PM

Welcome to CN "Ptheven" :) Beautiful old scope - is this is the one with the huge weight near the focuser that puts the balance point far back toward the focuser - allowing a seated comfortable position while observing? I don't see any major problems, just dirt and dust and some damage to the cases. Stainless steel looks fine. The metal parts are mostly nickel plated brass, so don't know what the details are about refurbishing that.

 

-drl


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#3 Russell Smith

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 01:57 PM

And the famous as well as rare tray light.
What a score!
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#4 semlin

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 02:04 PM

nice first post.  wow.


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#5 Jim Curry

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 07:26 PM

THat’s a very nice package.  A little cleanup and you’ll have a wonderful scope.


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#6 photiost

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 06:32 AM

Beautiful instrument !!

 

Congrats.


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#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 08:49 AM

Congratulations! You have a real piece of amateur astronomy history there. I’m sure you will enjoy it.  I had one. It’s quite a telescope. The cleaning and refurbishment doesn’t look to daunting either. Good luck with your project.


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#8 rcwolpert

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 12:52 PM

Wow! I need to find friends with those kind of benefits!  Congratulations on securing a real treasure.


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#9 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 12:53 PM

It may take a while but my plan is to document my "restoration" of this scope, mount, legs and accessories in this thread.

I decided to start from the bottom and work my way up.

First up was the lens platform.

You cant see it in the original image in my above link but it was cracked with the grain and the crack was only visible from the underside.

I forgot to get a before of the crack.

Needless to say I had to complete the crack so I had two pieces.

In the attached pics you can see the top platform after I glued it, sanded it and finished it.

I finished it with 3 coats of Minwax clear semi-gloss Helmsman Spar Urethane.

My goal is not factory original but something that will keep it functional and that it will be around for a long time.

I plan on removing all brackets and screws from the legs and after the woodwork is done move on to that hardware.

 

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#10 rcwolpert

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 06:22 PM

Looks great. I’ll be following this restoration.


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#11 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 06:56 PM

Nice find    welcome aboard    you have come to the right place

These are very impressive         and even more so   when folks see them up close

very impressive longfellow refractor for outreach and show the neighbors    the planets

I used to spend as much time looking at mine as I did looking through it

keep the post going so we can follow the progress please


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#12 eric_zeiner

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 12:18 PM

Wow! I need to find friends with those kind of benefits!  Congratulations on securing a real treasure.

For real.  Great scope, great first post.  We look forward to hearing from you.


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#13 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 14 March 2022 - 05:23 PM

I finally found a little time today to pull one of the legs apart.

The metal tip was loose and missing 1 of the 3 screws that hold it on and the moisture it was exposed to over the years is apparent by the rust inside.

1 Wood screw at the bottom, 4 wood screws at the center block, (2 each side), were holding it together.

There was a small amount of glue on each side of the center block but it came apart easily and there appears to have been glue between the tip ends but it had let loose and was not an issue.

The worst of it are the 2 holes through the tip end which were from a homemade leveler that I removed as it was rusted solid.

All 3 legs had levelers, they all had to go.

I plan on cleaning up the holes and using wood plugs to fill them in.

Does anyone know what kind of wood the legs are made of?

I was originally thinking Oak but thought I read somewhere it was Maple.

I would like to use that same type of wood to make the plugs with so it will help blend the woods together and hide the repair as much as possible.

Any help on the type of wood is appreciated.

 

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#14 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 14 March 2022 - 10:17 PM

The levelers I removed.

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Edited by Phteven Chaos, 14 March 2022 - 10:17 PM.

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#15 Kasmos

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 03:32 PM

I finally found a little time today to pull one of the legs apart.

The metal tip was loose and missing 1 of the 3 screws that hold it on and the moisture it was exposed to over the years is apparent by the rust inside.

1 Wood screw at the bottom, 4 wood screws at the center block, (2 each side), were holding it together.

There was a small amount of glue on each side of the center block but it came apart easily and there appears to have been glue between the tip ends but it had let loose and was not an issue.

The worst of it are the 2 holes through the tip end which were from a homemade leveler that I removed as it was rusted solid.

All 3 legs had levelers, they all had to go.

I plan on cleaning up the holes and using wood plugs to fill them in.

Does anyone know what kind of wood the legs are made of?

I was originally thinking Oak but thought I read somewhere it was Maple.

I would like to use that same type of wood to make the plugs with so it will help blend the woods together and hide the repair as much as possible.

Any help on the type of wood is appreciated.

The wood is fine grain so definitely not Oak. It's very likely a type of Luan.

This link on flooring gives some history:

https://www.patriott.../lauan-plywood/

 

I sometimes just use putty but even with plugs have painted/tinted them to match the parent woods color.


Edited by Kasmos, 15 March 2022 - 03:35 PM.

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#16 deSitter

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 04:14 PM

The wood is fine grain so definitely not Oak. It's very likely a type of Luan.

This link on flooring gives some history:

https://www.patriott.../lauan-plywood/

 

I sometimes just use putty but even with plugs have painted/tinted them to match the parent woods color.

I would take plugs from the region covered by the copper tips, and fill them with resin.

 

-drl


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#17 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 06:13 PM

The wood is fine grain so definitely not Oak. It's very likely a type of Luan.

This link on flooring gives some history:

https://www.patriott.../lauan-plywood/

 

I sometimes just use putty but even with plugs have painted/tinted them to match the parent woods color.

Kasmos, thank you for your response and the link. From my youth working in a lumberyard I had always thought that luan was a dark colored wood.  You've given me some more options to consider. Much appreciated. ~Steve~ 



#18 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 06:14 PM

I would take plugs from the region covered by the copper tips, and fill them with resin.

 

-drl

There's not enough wood under the tips unfortunately. Thanks for the input though. ~Steve~



#19 PawPaw

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 07:58 PM

Kasmos, thank you for your response and the link. From my youth working in a lumberyard I had always thought that luan was a dark colored wood.  You've given me some more options to consider. Much appreciated. ~Steve~ 

Steve,

I too have always wondered about the types of wood our classics utilized.  It led me down a path to try and separate fact from fiction.......there is a thread somewhere, likely archived, about the species of our tripod wood.  So here is the short version:

 

Luan or Lauan tropical hardwood usually made from trees of the Shorea family of the tropical rain forest. There are 190 shorea tree species the timber industry label as Lauan.  They are famous for their hardwood properties.  Meranti is another name used to describe Lauan wood.  Lauan tends to get darker when exposed to sunlight there are four classifications based on properties including color, hardness and density......they are:  

 

Dark Red Meranti:  heartwood....one of the heaviest types of meranti

Red Meranti:  Not as heavy has dark red....can grow to 195'.

White Meranti:  heartwood.....it tends to darken to a golden yellow color also grows to 195" tall.

Yellow Meranti:  Heartwood is a yellow-pale brown and darkens to yellow brown...similar to white.....can grow to 295'.

 

So when you hear the term "luan wood"  remember it is a description that the lumber industry uses to cover a broad spectrum of trees from the south east Asian tropical rain forests.  

 

Cheers

 

Don


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#20 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 17 March 2022 - 11:05 PM

Steve,

I too have always wondered about the types of wood our classics utilized.  It led me down a path to try and separate fact from fiction.......there is a thread somewhere, likely archived, about the species of our tripod wood.  So here is the short version:

 

Luan or Lauan tropical hardwood usually made from trees of the Shorea family of the tropical rain forest. There are 190 shorea tree species the timber industry label as Lauan.  They are famous for their hardwood properties.  Meranti is another name used to describe Lauan wood.  Lauan tends to get darker when exposed to sunlight there are four classifications based on properties including color, hardness and density......they are:  

 

Dark Red Meranti:  heartwood....one of the heaviest types of meranti

Red Meranti:  Not as heavy has dark red....can grow to 195'.

White Meranti:  heartwood.....it tends to darken to a golden yellow color also grows to 195" tall.

Yellow Meranti:  Heartwood is a yellow-pale brown and darkens to yellow brown...similar to white.....can grow to 295'.

 

So when you hear the term "luan wood"  remember it is a description that the lumber industry uses to cover a broad spectrum of trees from the south east Asian tropical rain forests.  

 

Cheers

 

Don

Thanks for your input Don. I've learned a lot about Luan and will have to do a little more research and make a decision on what I can get or make do with on the repair plugs. ~Steve~


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#21 deSitter

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Posted 18 March 2022 - 02:17 AM

Thanks for your input Don. I've learned a lot about Luan and will have to do a little more research and make a decision on what I can get or make do with on the repair plugs. ~Steve~

Pack them with sawdust, then add some sort of very thin varnish that can penetrate and solidify it?

 

-drl


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#22 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 18 March 2022 - 05:07 AM

Pack them with sawdust, then add some sort of very thin varnish that can penetrate and solidify it?

 

-drl

I remember in high school wood shop after we had sanded a project, if there was a scratch or gouge we would mix the sawdust with wood glue and fill the scratch/gouge with the mix. Worked pretty good as I recall. Definitely an option, Thanks.

~Steve~


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#23 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 18 March 2022 - 10:34 PM

I would take plugs from the region covered by the copper tips, and fill them with resin.

 

-drl

 

I finished taking all 3 legs apart today.

When I was done I realized I do have a source for the plugs I'll need.

I'll be able to get the 4 plugs I need out of the center block.

I don't think I would have thought of that without your post.

Thanks. ~Steve~

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#24 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 18 March 2022 - 10:37 PM

I did a short video of separating the 3 wood pieces of one of the tripod legs.

Not sure why I did it but I did, so here it is.

 

https://youtu.be/cOYM5743GwE


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#25 Phteven Chaos

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 09:49 AM

I had some time Saturday and I used it to straighten the counter weight rod, declination clamp rod and the declination slow motion rod.

They were all bent when I purchased the telescope and they straightened out nicely, sorry no pics.

I also made a repair to the tripod leg tip that had suffered some rust damage.

I had made a small plug from an old 1/4-20 bolt to fill the missing end and give me a nice base to weld on without melting the thin metal the tip is made of.

I think it turned out good, (see before and after pics attached), and should work just fine.

I put together a short video of the repair as well.

https://youtu.be/ozmQ5ozXFOc

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Edited by Phteven Chaos, 21 March 2022 - 09:25 AM.

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