Old dog, new tricks. 1930’s Reflector Refurb.

Refurbishment of a 1930’s home built 7.5in F8 Equatorially mounted Planetary Newtonian.

This January (2016) I discovered a colleague at work had some astronomical equipment housed in an old 1930’s built garden observatory that was in disrepair that had belonged to his late grandfather. It turned out the his late grandfather was in fact George McHardie: Astronomer, Author, astronomical telescope maker and renowned mirror maker who published the book “Preparation of Mirrors For Astronomical Telescopes” in 1937. His Grandson has very kindly donated the equipment to myself for refurbishment for which I feel very honored.

He built this observatory in 1934, complete with Cast iron/concrete pier to house his scope.

The actual main instrument housed inside is an 7.5in F8 Newtonian on an equatorial mount, complete with worm wheel and gear.


The scope has been unused for many years and although there are signs of corrosion it still rotates freely on both axes. The mirrors coatings are tarnished and badly  oxidized but can be easily re-coated.

It is an extremely sturdy instrument with a very solid mount that is in need of some serious TLC and care.

I fully intend to get this beautiful instrument working in all of it’s full former glory. The mirrors will require re coating. A new secondary spider is required. The OTA will need refurbished. Possibly a new crayford foucser will be needed and the finderscope may need new lenses. Depending on the drive system it may be possible to use the existing worm wheel set.

However in honour of the original maker I also intend to keep the telescope true to type and keep as much of it as original as possible, even returning the scope to it’s original ‘Battleship grey’ colour scheme.

It’s a really exciting project and I look forward to getting started on it. I will keep a running blog of each stage of this process.

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