Stellafane 'Little Man' - click for Stellafane Home Page Page Header

Stellafane 2006-07 Mirror Class


This class is now complete. To sign up for a Mirror Class, see the pink box on the Mirror Class Main Page.

Schedule & Class Pictures

Including brief notes about the session
Class Pictures
Click Image for Photo Album

1: Saturday, October 21, 2006:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 10:30 - 11:30: Class #1:
    Selecting Aperture & Focal Length
    Overview & Rough Grinding

A cool fall day, with rough grinding outside!

Click photo for Session 1 Photo Album

2: Saturday, November 11, 2006:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #2: Fine Grinding

Scott finished his mirror, the first one this year!
(See photo at right)
A warm day, outside grinding, good turnout.

Click photo for Session 2 Photo Album

3: Saturday, December 16, 2006:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #3: Polishing

Snow free in mid-December - Amazing!

Click photo for Session 3 Photo Album

4: Sunday, January 21, 2007:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #4: Figuring

Eileen finished her mirror! Two more are close.
The cold of winter arrived,
but still no snow.

Click photo for Session 4 Photo Album

5: Saturday, February 17, 2007 @ Stellafane

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #5: Testing

Canceled due to deep snow and probable drifting.


6: Saturday, March 17, 2007:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - 1:00: Class #6: Constructing a Telescope

Canceled due to snow & ice storm.


7: Saturday, April 14, 2007:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - 1:00: Class #5: Testing

Nice turnout at the Fletch house in Chester, VT;
we finally held a mirror class after 2 cancelations
in a row.

Click photo for Session 7 Photo Album

8: Saturday, May 19, 2007:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop

A great finish with 4 mirrors being completed!

Click photo for Session 8 Photo Album

Mirror Status

Here is a report on what our participants are making, and at what stage they are at:

Mirror Maker
*Club Member
Andy 12.5 5.4 Done 5/19
Anne D. 8 5/19
Chris 8 5.0 #220 5/19
Cody* 6 8.0 Polish 5/19
Don 6 Rough 5/19
Eileen 8 6 Done 1/07
Elisabeth 6 8 #220 5/19
Fran 12.5 Cass 3.94 Figure 5/19
George 8 6 Done 5/19
Glenn* 6 5 Polish 5/19
Isaac 6 10.9 Polish 5/19
Janet 8 #80 5/19
Jeremy 6 4.2 Polish 5/19
Jim* 8 6.0 Polish 5/19
Joe 6 4 Rough 5/19
Joyce* 6 4.0 Done 5/19
Randall 6 7 Polish 5/19
Rick 8 7 #220 5/19
Samantha 4┬╝ 4.5 Done 5/19
Scott 8 8 Done 11/11
Sean 6 8.0 #220 11/11
Steve 8 4.5 #220 5/19
22 Mirror Makers 22 Mirrors 6 Done


Thanks to our large group of volunteer instructors, we can hold these mirror class and give everyone the individualized attention they require. Several of our instructors work professionally in the optics industry, and many have competed dozens or mirrors and more complicated optics as amateurs.

Officers, Trustees and Full Members of the club have had to successfully made a mirror or other quality optical surface.

Instructor Jay Drew
Jay Drew
Mirror Class Leader, Full Member
Eats #80 Grit for a Snack!
Instructor Junie Esslinger
Junie Esslinger
Full Member
Explaining a Polishing Stroke
Instructor Tom Gorka
Tom Gorka
Full Member
Making Mirror Kits
Instructor Wayne Hilliard
Wayne Hilliard
Full Member
Uncrating a 16" Blank in the Bunkhouse
Instructor Rick Hunter
Rick Hunter
Full Member
Using the Foucault Tester
Instructor Dave Kelly
Dave Kelley
Full Member
Demonstrates Polishing Techniques
Instructor Jeff Lowe
Jeff Lowe
Vice President
Mechanical Judging at Convention
Instructor Dave Prowten
Dave Prowten
Assembling the Domed Observatory
Instructor Phil Rounseville
Phil Rounseville
Full Member
Making Pitch Laps at the 2001 Convention
Instructor Ken Slater
Ken Slater
Trustee and Webmaster
Explaining Foucault Testing
Instructor Paul Valelli
Paul Valleli
Full Member
At the 2006 Stellafane Convention
Instructor Brad Vietje
Brad Vietje
Immediate Past President
Explaining Telescope Construction
Instructor Wayne Zuhl
Wayne Zuhl
Club Secretary
Assembling his telescope, 2006 Convention

Final Report

This year's mirror class was defined by weather. Bad weather. Although it wasn't the worst winter ever, the snows in Vermont seemed determined to fall heaviest on New Moon weekends when class was scheduled. We were forced to cancel both the February and March classes due to poor conditions on Breezy Hill, more than we've ever canceled before. Luckily, we had a motivated group of mirror makers and despite the weather, six mirrors were completed.

This was Jay Drew's first year as Mirror Class Leader, and he enjoyed the experience. He says that he didn't make any real changes to the class set up as Ken Slater, our previous Class Leader, had a smooth running system that purred along without problem.

Several bonus sessions were held, which helped keep things moving along despite the weather problems. Tom Gorka held an extra grinding session on a Saturday early in the fall which got our motivated students off to a good head start. Jay & Tom held an extra polishing/figuring session in January as well.

Three new club members came from mirror class this year. We hope to recruit two of them, Joyce and Dave, as instructors next year.

Several very useful capital improvements were made to our facilities by the irascible Tom Gorka. First, he renovated the back T-shirt room to handle the overflow of our large group of new grinders. Then he closed in the Bunkhouse front porch with custom windows, creating a wonderful sun room that was very popular with students and club members alike. Tom also built several new heavy duty grinding stands.

This year's class was well represented by women, with mirrors completed by Joyce, Eileen, and Samantha. The Springfield Telescope Makers are very interested in reaching out to female astronomers and are pleased to have these three amateurs involved.

There is already a good waiting list for next year's sessions, and many of our current students plan on returning to finish their mirrors.

Plans for the future? We hope to finalize arrangements for an alternate work site just in case of bad weather next year. John Martin has said that we may be able to reserve the Fletcher House in Chester for the February and March Mirror Class sessions. We'll work on that early next fall.

We have some ideas to help prevent the polishers from getting scratches at the McGregor station. This year we experimented with covering the workstations with builder's paper, and tried wet-mopping before the students arrived. Hopefully we will avoid disastrous scratches in the future.

Ken & Jay are hoping to put together a Foucault Tester Workshop later this year. They will provide kits and a full day of assistance to students who wish to build a Stellafane Tester.

Thanks to all the hard working club members who make this class such a success!

Attendance Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar April May
Students 16 12 15 9 Canceled 9 11
Instructors 12 10 8 7 9 8