Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 72

ASTRONOMER'S WORKBENCH by Jerry Oltion
The Taming of the Slew
Big scopes offer many options for improvement.
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, Arkansas
amateur Morgan Amos graduated from
a 4-inch starter scope to a 12-inch Dobsonian.
As he put it, " I fully expected
a beautiful mail-order bride to arrive.
Instead, I received a monstrous, difficultto-handle
mistress in a casket-sized box.
I was nevertheless certain she was the
one for me . . . with a little grooming. "
Morgan has certainly done some
excellent grooming. Let's have a look at
what he's accomplished.
The first order of business was
transport - the scope was simply too
large and bulky to move in one piece,
and even the mount alone was a hefty
load. So Morgan decided to put it on
a dolly. He could easily have bought a
dolly, but he made his own from scratch
using cherry wood and cedar milled
from a tree in his yard, and he put hard
urethane wheels underneath to roll
smoothly on hard surfaces and not be
too mushy. He set the wheels six inches
in from the corners to avoid kicking
them when standing close while observing
and to accommodate leveling screws
at the corners. To prevent the scope from
swinging around in
transit, he drilled a hole
through both base plates
and drops a wooden
dowel pin into the hole
to lock them together
when necessary.
Then he added what
he calls the " furniture. "
A Dobsonian rocker
box has all that empty
real estate on the sides;
it seems a shame not
to develop it. Many of
us put an eyepiece rack
on the focuser side, but that's usually
about the extent of it. Morgan took that
concept a bit further. He built storage
compartments for all his accessories
except for his eyepieces, which he keeps
in a case on a portable folding table.
As with the dolly, you can buy readymade
storage boxes and attach them to
the scope, or you can build them yourself.
Morgan again made his own, using
more cherry and cedar plus padauk with
a few walnut, cocobolo, and myrtle
burl accents. His storage boxes accomThere's
room inside the
rocker box for magazine and
chart storage.
modate a Telrad and its
custom 2-inch riser, two
finder charts for Messier
objects, a right-angle
finder, four leveler foot
pads, a 35-mm extension
tube, a Howie Glatter
Parallizer, a laser
collimator, an AstroSystems
LitePipe collimator,
a Tele Vue in-travel
adapter, AA batteries for
the Telrad, and several hex wrenches.
Another box has a sliding dovetail receptacle
to store the red-dot finder when
replaced with the Telrad.
The inside of the rocker box has
enough space at the bottom for two
slim book racks that hold a Pocket Sky
Atlas, a Moon map, a planisphere, and
an astronomical almanac.
Morgan recommends attaching the
boxes to a back plate and then mounting
the unit to the rocker box, rather than
trying to fasten each box individually.
Left: Morgan Amos's fully tricked-out 12-inch Dobsonian telescope. Right: Accessory compartments attached to the rocker box keep needed
equipment close at hand.
72 JANUARY 2022 * SKY & TELESCOPE
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MORGAN AMOS

Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 4
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA1
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