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HI-from a telescope maker

1733 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  wkocken
just thought I'd say hi ( so that nag message goes away )
I'm kind of a lightweight in woodworking. I've made a few things, cedar chests, shoe rack etc. My main hobby is astronomy. I've just completed rebuilding a 16" dobsonian reflector. The router table and the plunge router both came in very handy.
Bill Kocken
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Here's a photo of the telescope. I still need to re-build the very bottom part. You can see it at the white particle board crap. It will be re-done in baltic birch plywood.
The routers came in handy for round overs, cutting very large, precise circles, and some template work.

What do you think?

The telescope has a 16" diameter mirror. It disassembles for easy transportation, by loosening the home-made clamps holding the 8 long tubes. I can put it back together in about 15 minutes.


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Pretty cool and thanks for posting the photos. You did good!

Hi Bill

Welcome to the forum.

When I saw your picture it rang a bell you may want to drop a PM to JimS a member of the forum he is also into telescope making :)

see links below

JimS and - September 2006 Contest

Bj :)
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Hi Bill,

Nice looking telescope!! You're doing a great job of redoing it!

W e l c o m e . . A b o a r d !!
Thanks Bill

Thanks for the intro Bill. Nice to hear from you. Don't wait so long to post. :) And we love pictures of your work. Which by the way is really nice. I'll bet you can see the moon with that 16" reflector. :D Are you set up to take pictures thru the telescope?
Great job Bill and Welcome to the forum.
Thanks for the compliments. I don't claim to be a fine woodworker, but I've enjoy spending time in the shop trying to figure out how to make stuff that works. I'll post another picuture of the scope and a picture of me making massive amounts of yukky particleboard dust, when I cut semi-circles for the base. Don't worry, I made sure to wear a mask for that process!

I am a the club secretary member for our local astronomy club, the Minnesota Astronomical Society. In that scope the moon is so bright you almost need sunglasses. I don't actually look at the moon much. I enjoy looking galaxies tens or even hundreds of light years distant and the planets. Especially Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

Bill Kocken


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Great scope Bill,

At one time I had a strong interest in astronomy. But, due to increasing brightness in my neighborhood and a growing woodworking hobby. I ran out of room and my telescopes went out by way of ebay. Combining the two hobbies by building my own scope sounds like a lot of fun. Did you buy the mirror or grind your own?
Hi Rusty,
My neighborhood has gotten much brighter, too. I moved here in '97 and that's when I first got interested. The views from my dech were quite nice. Then they started building a huge shopping area about a mile away to the northeast. We've got every store under the stars, many of which which have now disappeared. When I go observing, I go out to our club's darker sites.

No, I don't do my own mirrors. I know a few guys who have and I admire the skill and patience it takes. They mostly make 8" or smaller, and now I've gotten spoiled by big scopes. If I ever do, it'll have to be after I retire.

Bill Kocken
Welcome Bill, great scope, did you build it from a plan or just worked it out in your head?

Hi Rolf,
Thanks for the compliment.

I built it with fairly specific guidance from a book called, "The Dobsonian Telescope, A Practical Manual for Building Large Aperture telescopes", but David Kreige and Richard Berry. Mr. Kreige is a dentist who also has a business of building these scopes, His brand is called "Obsession", a term his wife used to descibe his hobby. The book is pretty much the shop manual for his business.
Bill Kocken
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