Dedicated to Thomas Cave Telescopes

Now What?

I am a telescope junkie. I’m relatively new to amateur astronomy, starting in early 2011 after selling my Catalina sailboat. I tend to get into a hobby, well, as my wife says “It’s not a hobby for him, it is an obsession”. Telescopes have not been any different.

I started the right way by purchasing a Tasco for $200, a 1960’s 7TE-5, and restoring it. I moved on to an early RA drive mount, tearing it apart and learning how to make it run very smoothly. I bought a 120mm Celestron XLT refractor to put on the mount and added a better focuser to it. I slowly gained experience by purchasing a lot of used inexpensive equipment and learning all I could from them.

Fast forward to the present. My current scope (2013) is an Edge 1100 HD. It is mounted on a new Losmandy G11 with Gemini 2 computer. I have a guider scope and Starfish guide camera. The main camera is an Sbig ST-8300 mono with 8 position filter wheel. I have dew heaters, filters, GPS, and loads and loads of gear.

So why a Cave?

I really didn’t know much about Thomas Cave. I ran across an ad on Cloudy Nights for a 10” F6 cave telescope and it fascinated me. I followed up by reading the many threads written by people in the classic telescope forum at Cloudy nights. Some had completely restored them to working condition and in some cases, to better condition than Cave himself had originally done. What a remarkable feat and on top of that, what a remarkable high quality telescope. Many of these individuals who have made the effort to restore their scopes I hope will be represented within these pages. Not only is this site dedicated to Thomas Cave, but to all those who have gone down the path to bring these little gems back from the scrap heap and into the hands of amateur astronomers.

I’m about to go down this path myself. My Cave is waiting for me in New York as we speak. I purchased it from a gentleman who took quite good care of it. It almost doesn’t need a full restoration, but could use a few parts and a fresh coat of chrome. I will be picking it up when I visit the NEAF telescope show in April (if I can wait that long). Paul is only a half hour from the show and he even volunteers at the show. The previous owner before that carted it halfway from Maine in a VW bug to meet Paul when he bought it. The owner before that was a University in California, I believe, that may have bought it new from Mr. Cave back in 1975. I will find out one day.

My plans are to strip it completely apart with the wonderful support from fellow Cavers at Cloudy Nights and a good friend here in Ohio. It will be cleaned, polished, re-greased, painted, and chromed and documented right here. I am not an expert in restoration and I look forward to others helping me with ideas and techniques to accomplish this task.

I have only a few pictures right now of the scope that I will place in this section. Heck, I’ve never ever seen the thing in real life! But as a long time amateur photographer, be sure, there will be lots more pictures here. I also plan on doing videos when I can to make things clearer or to present different stages of the restoration such as the chrome process.

It all sounds like fun. I hope I'm up to the challenge. I am always looking for contributors for this site and especially any historical information you may have. As I said before, I am not the expert here, but I know my way around a computer and know how to get things organized. I need your participation to make this a deposit of information for a well-deserving amateur astronomer, who, quite frankly, changed a little piece of history and made astronomy a little better for it. He will be remembered here.

Tom Terleski
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