Handmade telescope


I received the most special gift this Christmas. My husband, Chris, was holed up in our garage most nights since November, feverishly working on a secret project for me. He’s never attempted woodworking before, but tackled this project with absolute determination. I’m a huge space geek, and have been fascinated with the night sky almost all of my life. I’ve talked of wanting a good telescope, and it would have been very easy for him to just make a stop by the store to pick one up. That he spent weeks working on this for me makes it the most special gift I’ve ever received.

Watching him get so excited about the project’s progress and work through difficulties and come up with ingenious solutions of his own was so much fun. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t be out in the garage working with him. When he unveiled the telescope on Christmas Eve, I was stunned and very excited. When I looked through the eye piece and gazed upon the moon – crystal clear and full of gorgeous craters – I started crying. We’ve already taken it out almost every night since Christmas Eve, and I can’t wait to get it out to a truly isolated spot to really see what she can do!

There’s just a little leftover staining to do, but otherwise the scope is complete and working beautifully. Now Chris thinks I should sew a nice dust cover for it.

In the Maker Shed:

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18 thoughts on “Handmade telescope

  1. Jeff says:

    Congratulations on the beautiful scope. This really does illustrate the DIY ideal. The only thing missing is you didn’t mention the aperture.

  2. Adam Harrison says:

    This looks like a great project. Any links to pages that would let us know how to build this for ourselves?

    1. efftee says:


      Haha…I just noticed the poster’s name is Hobson…does that make this a Hobsonian?

  3. John Park says:

    Are those furniture sliders on there? Great idea!

  4. Melissa Haigh says:

    Aren’t you a lucky lady to have a husband who spent all that time and effort on your Christmas present! Great looking telescope :)

  5. Ed says:

    Yes, more info on this (links to plans or such) or better yet an Instructable!

  6. Rob Cruickshank says:

    What an awesome gift.
    For those commentors seeking plans for such a thing, googling “dobsonian plans” will keep you busy.

  7. Rachel Hobson says:

    Thanks for the nice comments, folks!

    Here is some additional information for those asking:

    JP – Good eye! Those are, indeed, furniture sliders. He says there are more in the base, under an record album (yep, good ole vinyl LP!). All assist in smooth rotations of the scope.

    The telescope is an 8″ Dobsonian (though, efftee, I’m totally calling it a Hobsonian now :) Husband says, “It’s an 8″ primary mirror with a focal ratio of f/6.”

    Here is a link to the plans my husband used:

    He says, “I followed them pretty closely, but deviated a bit in terms of hardware and the tube box bearings, and purchased a focuser instead of making it.”

    Here’s a link to where he purchased the mirrors:

    And where he purchased the focuser, finderscope and eyepieces:

    I also love that one of my crafty cohorts chimed in via Twitter with a link to her husband’s DIY telescope – it’s amazing! Enjoy!

    Hope that helps, and happy star gazing!

  8. Peter John Jose says:

    People are really creative in many things and that’s a great development of making a handmade telescope. For sure it can function with the basic capability of a real telescope around the world.

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Rachel Hobson is a writer, editor and social media enthusiast with a background in the DIY/Maker and science/geek communities. She's also a life-long space geek, and enjoys living five minutes from Houston's Johnson Space Center where she can get her fill of rockets any time she pleases. Her hobbies include hand embroidery, modern quilting and all things Lego.

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