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Stellafane 2007-08 Mirror Class


This class has finished. To sign up for a Mirror Class, see the pink box on the Mirror Class Main Page.
We expect the next class to start in October 2008.

Schedule & Class Pictures

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

1: Saturday, October 13, 2007:

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

X1: Saturday, October 27, 2007

  • Extra Session #1

2: Saturday, November 10, 2007:

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

X2: Saturday, November 17, 2007

  • Extra Session #2
Session X2 Photo Album

3: Saturday, December 08, 2007:

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

4: Sunday, January 06, 2008:

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

5: Saturday, February 9, 2008

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

X4: Saturday, February 23, 2008

  • Extra Session #4

6: Saturday, March 8, 2008:

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

7: Saturday, April 5 2008:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
Session 7 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
Bernie 8" 5 Done! 04/08
Carl 8" 6 Polish 04/08
Cherie* 6" 8 Rough 12/07
Cheryl* 6" 8 #220 12/07
Dixie 8" 6.0 #120 11/07
Don 6" #120 02/08
Fran 12.5" Cass 3.94 Done! 02/08
Glenn* 6" 5 Polish 04/08
Isaac 6" 10.9 Figure 02/08
Jeremy 6" 4.2 Figure 02/08
Jim* 8" 6.0 Polish 04/08
Julie 4" 6 Figure 04/08
Kim* 8" #220 04/08
Kirsten 8" #120 04/08
Louis 4.25" 6 Polish 04/08
Meagan 6" 8 Rough 12/07
Ray* 6" 8 Rough 10/07
Rick 8" 7 40u 01/08
Rif* 10" 5 Figure 04/08
Samantha* 10" Rough 04/08
Scott 6" 5 Done! 02/08
21 Mirror Makers 21 Mirrors 3 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 Dave Tabor
Dave Tabor
Associate Member
Making a Pitch Lap in the 2006-07 Class
Instructor Samantha Tabor
Samantha Tabor
2007 Mechanical & Optical Winner
At the 2007 Convention
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
Assembling his telescope, 2006 Convention

Final Report

Got Grit? 2007-2008 was a fun and productive mirror class season at Stellafane! We had lots of  new and returning mirror makers. Many of the sessions were defined by the interesting ATM projects being done by the Springfield Telescope Makers themselves.

Completed Mirrors: Student Fran E. finished his 12┬Ż" fast Cassegrain mirror. After a long battle with turned down edge all his hard work paid off with a seriously beautiful parabola. Fran is already working on his secondary optic in the Greater Hartford Astro Society mirror workshop at Dick Parker's house in Connecticut.

Scott S. refigured a 6" parabola from one of the large commercial manufacturers. This mirror was actually pretty good, a bit undercorrected to begin with but quite usable. When it was finished over two mirror class sessions, the figure was diffraction limited. Scott removed the original aluminum coating the easy way, simply polishing it off with his pitch lap and cerium oxide. It came off smoothly in 5 or 10 minutes of polishing and the figuring got started immediately.

Bernie K. from the ATMoB group was a very meticulous mirror maker who kept super  accurate records of his Foucault readings and the different strokes he employed to figure his mirror. He did 99% of the figuring at home using Couder Mask readings and Figure XP. He put the final touches on his mirror here in class using Dave Kelly's autocollimator and it was pronounced at least 1/16th wave. Needless to say, Bernie was quite happy with the results of his long labor.

Member Projects: Many Stellafane members were involved in making mirrors as well. We informally counted 15 mirror projects going on by club members, including large mirrors and compound telescopes. Additionally, lifelong member Paul Valleli organized an Advanced Telescope Making class that is *focusing* on building refractors. Two meetings were held to discuss achromat lens design and fabrication. Actual lens grinding should begin over the summer and the Refractor Class itself will resume in the fall.

Facilities this year were a bit unique. Mirror class started off last fall with gorgeous autumn weather and well attended classes held in the beautiful outdoors. Then we had a real New England winter. There was record snowfall in Vermont this year and our beloved Breezy Hill site soon became inaccessible. Luckily, through the generosity of our site manager John Martin's company, NewsBank, we were able to continue mirror class "down the hill" in Chester VT at a wonderful facility called Fletcher House. If it weren't for the Fletcher House, we probably would have canceled all mirror classes after December. Thank you John and NewsBank!

Thank You's and Appreciation: Thanks are also due to the dedicated STM members and friends of Stellafane who give so much time and talent to make the mirror class happen. Among the many who contribute, special props go out to Tom Gorka, Dave Kelly, Ken Slater, Wayne Hilliard, Jeff Lowe, Dave Tabor, Samantha Tabor, Paul Valleli, John Martin, Phil Rounesville, Dave Prowten, Rick Hunter, Bill Chen, and Scott Sulham.

Future Plans: Next winter we will be holding mirror class at our alternate site just south of Tucson, Arizona ;)

Amateur telescope making is alive and well at Stellafane. We are already making plans to continue the tradition next fall. See you on Breezy Hill!

Jay Drew, Stellafane Mirror Class Instructor

Attendance Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar April
Students 17 13 9 8 12 4 15
Instructors 13 11 10 7 8 7 11