8 Inch Telescope

  • Advertise with us
Project by JerryL posted 04-30-2007 12:30 AM 3450 views 14 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This one I completed a couple of years ago. This was my first telescope building project. Beacuse of all the cutouts and fancy finish it took me almost 5 months to complete. I have to credit my wife for encouraging me to build and put quality components in it. I had been doing a cost compairson between lots of cheap telescope mirrors and I was showing her the options one day when she said, “Why are you fooling around with this cheap stuff when you should just buy quality and get something you will be happy with.” What a woman!

The next day I ordered a premium mirror that cost more than most imported 8” scopes by itself. I have been happy with it from day one. I get lots of compliments on the wood working and almost just as many on the optics. Nothing stands out like quality.

The details of the construction can be found here:

Basically the wood is a combination of 3/4” Home Depot birtch ply and then a sheet of baltic birtch ply. Baltic birtch is the way to go, I will never use anything else. The tube is a 10” Sonatube from the local contractor’s supply. It’s wrapped in post-form Wilsonart. I must also add that the design was copied from someone online who was in business for a while building these guys. He was very helpful and gave me lots of ideas.

There are several issues that you can’t see in the pics. Mostly the finish I used is cracking :=(. I used a water based polly and put on too may coats. Next time it’s oil-based and I’ll probably spray it on before assembly. There are a few parts that are not 100% square but they don’t impact the movement or look of the scope, but I know they are there.

Thanks for looking.

-- Jerry L.

11 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4618 days

#1 posted 04-30-2007 05:50 AM

This is a great job. Looked at the other pics on the website. Most impressive.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4759 days

#2 posted 04-30-2007 05:06 PM

What a fantastic idea! I didn’t even know you could build your own telescope, much less make it such a beautiful woodworking project.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4680 days

#3 posted 05-01-2007 06:32 PM

Very interesting project! Your wife is to be commended for support and “authorizing” quality parts!


View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4633 days

#4 posted 05-02-2007 06:29 AM

A piece of art Jerry. Beautifully executed. This is not something I would think of doing in wood. Outstanding piece and thanks for posting it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Tony's profile


993 posts in 4571 days

#5 posted 09-24-2007 03:01 PM

Impressive engineering – I enjoyed the accompanying article also – well done

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4388 days

#6 posted 11-19-2007 06:57 PM

We have a fella down the street who is loves telescopes and grinds or shapes? his own mirrors. I would love to try something like this.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4840 days

#7 posted 11-19-2007 07:09 PM

A beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

It looks like your whole family enjoys it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View mranum's profile


131 posts in 3957 days

#8 posted 01-19-2009 07:24 AM

I just stumbled across this. I guess maybe I’m not an oddball that built his own scope. lol

I built a 6” Newtonian on a Dob mount originally but last year converted it to a pipe Equatorial mount. Works great now.

Great job on the scopes BTW.

-- Just remember,it was a lone amatuer that built the ark, and a team of experts built the Titanic.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4254 days

#9 posted 01-20-2009 04:45 PM

Beautiful job. Thanks for the link.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Leroy5's profile


89 posts in 3593 days

#10 posted 11-25-2010 03:52 PM

I have been sanding and finishing wood floors professionally for 32 years. In your case, any surface finish like polyurethane will end up cracking. You want a really good penetrating finish like Waterlox. It soaks into the wood and is very water-resistant. There are a lot of other brands of penetrating sealers to choose from which will work fine. Any time the finish is needing a little care, you can just rub some on with no preparation. It will always look nice. Surface finishes are best for temperature- and humidity-stable environments where a lot of physical wear is expected.

-- Leroy

View JerryL's profile


45 posts in 4588 days

#11 posted 11-25-2010 05:35 PM


I wish you had told me that 5 years ago :). The finish is indeed cracked. At this point I think the only way to fix it is a total rebuild. However, the scope still works as well as the day it was built so if I was going to spend a few months building a scope it would be a lot bigger! I looked at the Waterlox website and I’ll put that on my list for the next project. Thanks for the info.

-- Jerry L.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics