Part 2 ended showing the completed spray painting on the 4” base and equatorial axes.
Edmund used the same pedestal for both the 6” and 4-1/4” scopes. You can see there wasn’t
much beef put into the right ascension and declination axes. But the mirror is much lighter as is
the tube so it worked very well for me years ago. Now being more discriminating I may have a
different opinion after it’s assembled and field tested. But it’s going to my neighbor for him and
his kids as a started scope. It will be hundreds of times better than the children’s first refractors
made by Meade, etc.
After the wedding our oldest grandson, Ryan Shaffer and attending a funeral in Long Branch, NJ
I was able to get back to work on the restoration project. The next step was assembling the 4”
mount sans counter weight which has gotten lost in all our house moves over the years. It could
be buried somewhere in my stuff a little like the ending of the first Spielberg-Lucas Raider’s
movie, the Lost Ark when the federal government warehouse guy rolled the ark into some
cavernous warehouse to be lost forever!
Anyway my new friends at Bressler’s Towing who painted the telescope tubes will help me by
allowing access to their junk pile for a suitable counter weight. I haven’t seen any on any of the
used telescope web sites for sale.
Did some internet digging and found an image of an old Edmund’s catalog showing the 4-1/4”
scope. This brings back wonderful memories and look at the price! Now in today’s monetary
rates that would be extremely expensive but to me back then it was out of reach to buy the scope
new, hence the reason why I brought the parts a few at a time and selected “scratch and dent”
parts (a term I never heard of back then).1 This was a later catalog than when I purchased the
parts since they upgraded the focuser from the slip-friction one to using the same rack and pinion
focuser used on the 6” scope.
(Note 85 dollars in 1965 adjusted for inflation to 2016 would be 650 dollars)
Back to the work. Here’s the assembled 4” scope pedestal mount sans counterweight.
While I’m writing this my next step is to sand and spray paint the axes for the 6” equatorial (the
pedestal mount has been sprayed).
Yesterday the tubes were painted and allowed to harden and dry over night which you see here
hanging in the spray booth. To keep the costs low I told them just spray them using whatever
spray you are then working on. They have built and are finishing a huge tractor towing rig and
were painting the safety related parts with a special color, a very light green with a strong dose of
yellow mixed in. This paint is special in that it cost about $800 a gallon! They charged me $79
which was mostly ½ hour labor and a few pennies for the paint! I love the color. Yes I would
never have selected it before hand as it’s too avant-garde for my conservative tastes but allowing
them to select the color based on their work schedule was super. When these are used for
observing at star parties with other scopes I know no other scope in the world has tubes painted
like this. The paint is hard and clear like one sees on the very best truck bodies. I couldn’t have
asked for a better job or fairer price. Mike one of their paint craftsmen helped me carry the dried
tubes to the car as seen below.
The tubes hanging in the paint booth drying along with the large trucks parts, one shown here
that were the prime objective of Bressler’s work that they allowed me to piggy back on.
Several of their guys had a hand in the project which they got all fired up about. They learned a
lot asking me questions not everyday do they get a crazy dreamer like me to cross their paths.
Mike’s colleague, Chris asked me, “How far can you see? Can it see a mile?” I never was asked
that before and it hit me. First off it’s a very natural question and since it was asked sincerely I
made sure I didn’t laugh…no not at Chris but the honesty he displayed in asking it. The answer
is a tough one. I tried telling him I really don’t know. What I think of in how far I’m seeing is to
think of how far back in time we are looking with our closet nearby star, Alpha Centuri being 4.2
light years away. We are really looking back into the history of the universe.
I got their personal contact info and made them promise to come over when the scopes are
completed with their kids, nephews, nieces to the house for an evening star party to look at the
universe. That’s a promise I’m looking forward to keeping. These guys were neat! They were
truly professional, highly skilled, intelligent and capable. They design and build heavy
equipment in their brains with no blue prints it was so impressive. Thanks Guys!
The before and after…..
Mike in the paint shop photo. If anyone ever wondered what makes a true professional
tradesman tick just look at the smile on Mike’s face. Yes in a way he’s my poster guy here but
he really represents what I saw among all the guys working at this shop.
Before I close Part 3, let me share an image of the 6” Edmund scope from an old catalog. At that
time this was a $250 scope. I think this was published just a bit before Celestron started mass
producing their Schmitt-Cassegrain scopes and other scope manufactures got serious about
improving the quality of their offerings. Most moved their work off-shore as we well know and
Edmunds slowly lost the market. The quality of their home grow simple American engineering
and manufacturing as well as the prices they needed to charge led them down the path so many
other American companies traveled and are still struggling with today.
Next will be completing the restoration of the 6” mount and then it’s off to working with the
optics. I have a challenge in the focuser for the 6” will be a modern upgrade and I don’t know
what that will do to being able to focus when the mirrors are installed. I hope it all will fall
within the focusing range so I don’t have to drill more holes in the newly painted tubes.
Yesterday I made a trip to my local Mennonite dry goods store called Goods in Lancaster
County. They usually have items that even Lowe’s or HD have and their prices are so much
better. I purchased felt for the tube mount so we don’t scratch up the beautiful paint job. I first
got sent to the dressmaking cloth department (as Amish and Mennonite ladies sew their own
dresses) and was shown felt for making warm clothing. When I told the young lady what I
needed she looked at me oddly, a look I often experience in there. But I visited the hardware
section and was able to get some self adhesive felt that will work very well. So all that is before
us and I am looking forward to this last stage so we’re getting closer to being able to put these
oldie but goodie scopes back into service. Part 4 will be next.
To be continued....
Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector Telescope
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