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    28th December 2013, 6-8.30pm

    Pleiades (M45),

    Jupiter & Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io,

    Orion Nebula (M42),

    Betelgeuse.

    2 meteors, possibly 4.

    30th December 2013, 6-10.30pm

    Pleiades (M45)

    Orion Nebula (M42),

    Jupiter & Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io,

    Betelgeuse,

    Sirius,

    Andromeda Galaxy (M31),

    M110,

    open star clusters: M35, M36, M103.

    1 meteor, possibly 2.

    2 satellites.

    2 unidentified moving objects.

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    Well, you know the way you always look down the tube of your astrograph when you remove the cover.. Not sure what I expect to see except a very unattractive view of my face! One day I did this as usual but saw a lot of lines. Scratches on my mirror I thought. Oh no! But on better examination with a light (don't do this as you will see every imperfection and think your mirror needs cleaning which it most likely does not) I could see that it was a spiders web. What to do?

    I got a short cane and being careful not to hit anything like baffles or mirror I got them out. Job well done. Not that it probably would have made any difference to my observing, but I just felt that my poor scope inside had somehow been desicrated.

    I did have a few nightmares about looking down the scope one day and not being able to see the mirror for spiders and webs.

    I had largely got over this obsession and even got used to taking the cover off the scope without shining a torch down it. When it happened again! This time it was war!!! No spider would live in my scope and get away with it. A nice sheltered cosy environment with central heating and even a dehumidifier! So next day I unlocked the dome removed the scope cover and looked in. Sure enough there it was a tiny spider in the middle of a new web. I immediately got a bit of dowel and tried to get it and it's web out.

    No such luck it took of like a scared rabbit down into the baffles. I was now on a mission.

    I thought for a couple of days and decided that high technology was the only way. So I made a special adapter for a very poweful workshop vacuum cleaner to allow me to clean in between the baffles. It was made of 5 lens brushes and two short lengths of plastic tube. I also got a large dentist mirror from a mechanic friend and a flex light used for looking in gearboxes.

    I was ready!

    Next day came. cover of the scope. There he, or more likely she, was. Sitting on the edge of the very first baffle. slowly slowly I got everything running and pounced. Got ya!! End of one spider.

    I now still check, but no more so far. I also dont leave the scope cover off when I am not using it. Only damage was what lloks like a mirror scratch but is really a strand of cobweb, just to remide me of the power or insects!

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    This is a test to create a blog entry.

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    Naemeth
    Latest Entry

    Visual

    TeleVue Delos: 8mm, 10mm, 17.3mm

    TeleVue Nagler: 31mm T5

    TeleVue Ethos: 13mm, 21mm

    TeleVue Paracorr II

    AP

    Astrotrac Travel System

    NEQ-6

    FF/FR for ED80

    Guide Camera

    That's a lot of money!

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    Moon Man show me your Feet

    I was driving through Langholm recently and passed the Armstrong Trust museum , as I did memories flooded back.

    Picture the scene:-

    A small village in Galloway Scotland,

    Star date :- 1969

    Time :- hell knows , deep in the middle of the night.

    Mother and father lying half asleep in the sofa bed in my gran’s lounge. Me (some 45 years younger than now you’ll be please to hear) lying between them sound asleep. The old black and white TV still working away in the corner , hard to see at times but it’s the only place the ariel got a good picture.

    Suddenly I jump up and scream at the top of my 9 year old voice “ moon man show me your feet” scaring the “old yins” half to death before I plunge back into a deep sleep. The incident has been the source of amusement at family get together’s ever since. We were of course all waiting for Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon.

    Id been introduced to the night sky (I away hesitate to use the word astronomy, as it conjures up images of folks with big brains and intelligence well in advance of my own) by my grand father a couple of years earlier (in Galloway every where had a true dark sky in those days) but the Apollo program captivated me. The 1:50 scale model of the Saturn V rocket complete with command module and LEM soon took pride of place in my bedroom relegating my model Lancaster bomber and spitfire to the dusty outer reaches of the top of the wardrobe.

    Two years later when Armstrong visited his ancestral home to be awarded the freeman of the town honour the streets of the “muckle toon” were mobbed. Sadly a planned trip to see his visit failed to materialize (langholm been about as far away from me as the moon in those days) and as I get older its one of the few real regrets I have in life, not getting to see the great man himself .

    I maintained an interest , some times only passing, sometimes intense such as when Halley made its return in the 1980’s. I ve seen some amazing sights including the northern lights, comets, lunar and solar eclips and even possibly a UFO! But that an other story.

    In recent times ive got back into my hobby like never before ( the internet has a lot to answer for) got myself a brand new 8” Dob and open up even more of the deep sky . Ive managed to drag myself along the coast to the spring Galloway star party (which was freezing even in April by the way). Met some friendly folks who with out exception warmly accepted me and my better half even though im very much a part time star gazer.

    Anyway I digress, back to the present for the time being, to day I got myself a big ol pair of lined moon boots to keep my feet warn during the winters nights , so 45 years later the moon man may not have shown me his feet but ive now got a pair all of my own!

    Clear skies

  1. 01:48, new to it all and I am out in the garden waiting for a gap in the clouds - do I need professional or medical help for this new addiction?!

  2. Alf Fraser
    Latest Entry

    Did my eyes deceive me or did I see a comet tonight? Looked out of our window this evening at about 19:00 and saw what I thought must be Venus. Got the binoculars out and it appeared to me to be a comet with 2 tails, the main one with a pronounced curve. It was low down and set within about 10 mins.

    I know there is one due to be visible about now, but I haven't heard much about it recently.

    What I saw was extremely bright and if it id the expected comet, I'm very suprised I haven't heard more about it in the press.

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    Hi All

    My first entry!

    Just acquired a 12"/ 305mm skywatcher flextube with sysnscan AZ goto. Not even got to first light yet as checking out and reading manuals/ testing etc (I'm a good boy!!).

    One big query/ concern though: even when power is off (and I haven't set up the synscan yet - at least not attached to motor drive - only played with it 'off-line' in stand alone mode) when I manually push the tube for fast slew (alt or az) I hear the sound of the gears/ motors and there is resistance. In a video demo I saw the motion appeared to be more fluid (faster and no motor grinding sound). Is the motor somehow locked or is it maybe because the tube has not been 'parked' with the synscan (don 't know useage activity history of previous owner). Shouldn't I be able to push the tube around freely independent of the motor being engaged? I am reluctant to push at all at the moment for fear I'm going to bust the gearing!

    Can anyone with a sysnscan goto and dob clarify/ help?

  3. Three Weeks in the Wilderness

    Between the 9th to the 22nd of August, I was fortunate to spend almost three weeks camping with my girlfriend in the natural park of Causses du Quercy, France. It is a beautiful area of hidden caves, prehistoric artwork, gorgeous villages, mellow rivers, cool breezes and summer sun, delicious wine, cheese and paté and some of the most precious skies in Europe.

    blogentry-21324-0-45664000-1377860526_th

    blogentry-21324-0-64793600-1377860584_th

    I was fortunate enough to take along my 10" Moonshane and head out with my girlfriend to an area known as The Black Triangle. Here, at night, the only light you see is that from the stars and from the Moon.

    Nature has given us two joys to accompany us through life: the playfulness and cheer of day and the solemn and silent night. In the first of these geniuses we visited the area; strolled rustic villages, dined on five course meals, had siestas by slow rivers and took trips into the underworld, a torch lit boat ride along underground rivers filled with ancient stalactites and stalacmites, another to visit prehistoric artwork and witness mankind's lasting steps into art and creation.

    At night, armed with pencils, blending stub and sketchbook I headed out into the darkness, into that night sky bent gently over my head revealing to me its infinity of tangled curls and wonder.

    Each night was a different voyage, some predominatly amongst doubles, others with NGCs, galaxies, nebulae and clusters. Many hours were spent just sitting back, ignoring the telescope and drinking in the slendour. It is impossible to include everything, sketching is an exhausting and concentrated effort and at best I could manage an average of about two a night. Although these sketches cannot do justice to nature's sublimity, I hope they give a hint of what was witnessed.

    Here, then, I include the sketches I made of just some of Messier objects viewed and a particular NGC.

    M 2

    blogentry-21324-0-08926000-1377858425_th

    M 8

    blogentry-21324-0-45796400-1377858518_th

    M 11

    blogentry-21324-0-64252000-1377858583_th

    M 13

    blogentry-21324-0-12334000-1377858657_th

    M 15

    blogentry-21324-0-80856300-1377858732_th

    M 16

    blogentry-21324-0-21578400-1377858807_th

    M 17

    blogentry-21324-0-61939100-1377858858_th

    M 20

    blogentry-21324-0-37907100-1377858923_th

    M 21

    blogentry-21324-0-34500700-1377858983_th

    M 22

    blogentry-21324-0-48022500-1377859102_th

    M 23

    blogentry-21324-0-75475900-1377859184_th

    M 24

    blogentry-21324-0-66643100-1377859261_th

    M 26

    blogentry-21324-0-33164600-1377859309_th

    M 27

    blogentry-21324-0-88089000-1377859386_th

    M 28

    blogentry-21324-0-11811200-1377859462_th

    M 31, M 32, M 110

    blogentry-21324-0-54149700-1377859536_th

    M 33

    blogentry-21324-0-34561300-1377859587_th

    M 34

    blogentry-21324-0-58311200-1377859638_th

    M 45

    blogentry-21324-0-31482000-1377859691_th

    M 52

    blogentry-21324-0-83643400-1377859786_th

    M 57

    blogentry-21324-0-45775500-1377859857_th

    M 72

    blogentry-21324-0-57954800-1377859913_th

    M 73

    blogentry-21324-0-92453400-1377859956_th

    M 74

    blogentry-21324-0-47896800-1377860004_th

    M 75

    blogentry-21324-0-60406200-1377860070_th

    M 76

    blogentry-21324-0-95685100-1377860132_th

    M 81, M 82

    blogentry-21324-0-97679400-1377860204_th

    M 92

    blogentry-21324-0-88010400-1377860270_th

    M 101

    blogentry-21324-0-56571300-1377860345_th

    NGC 6960

    blogentry-21324-0-18025100-1377860390_th

  4. Last night and tonight I have been out with binoculars shortly after 11pm, the sun finally seems to be low enough not to wash out the milky way, helped by some cloud banks in just the right places, too.

    I was able to see the main bands of the milky way with the naked eye from my door step, though there are security lights so hiding around the corner of the garage or somewhere in the garden is best to avoid setting them off. I fancied tonight that I could just make out the faint fuzzy patch that is the Andromeda galaxy, sure enough a quick glance with binoculars confirmed this, still got it!

    Very pleased to be seeing the stars again, the summer has seen quite a few clear nights so far but it's been so light and hot I just couldn't bring myself to get out there, just to see a few of the brightest stars.

    I am considering purchasing a C6 to enable me to get the most out of my CG-4 mount, it's good with the 150P but I suspect any larger a reflector would unbalance it, a compact C6 will be close to the weight limit but at least it will be small so very easy to handle. I find the NEQ6 a daunting thought, my back aches just thinking about getting that thing out.

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    spacenut
    Latest Entry

    Hi all, this is my first time here and could I please have some advice. I own a celestron cpc 925 at the moment. I have been thinking about up grading for a while. Do any of you own the following scopes, Skywatcher skyliner 400p goto flextube bob or an Orion skyquest XX16 gototruss tube. I have got some great advice from Carl from scopes and space so far but need to know more before I spend my hard earned cash. What I like to know is how would the image be through them compare to my Cpc and how portable would they be? Any info would be great. Thanks again.

  5. The summer equinox has passed and people are looking forward to Star Parties. I have never been to one, don't know what to expect, have never met the participants. As a solitary observer tucked away in my small North West garden I have been happy to gaze the night skies alone (Mrs Polar Bear often pops out for high mag views of the Moon and Planets) but otherwise I enjoy my own company and get along very well with myself. So I have taken the plunge and committed to attend CSP9 oop North in Cumbria. Watching the CSP9 thread develop I noticed comforting words such as friendly, whisky, bacon butties, and with a host called delilahtwinkle what could go wrong?

    Being a tent snob, and loving Glamping my 'usual' nights out are spent in a Cabanon that is the size of a Jovian Moon and takes 2 people an hour to set up. Not ideal, so ebay to the rescue and luckily a smaller Cabanon (think Europa vs Ganymede comparison) was found just up the road from me. Sleeping will be the usual twin air bed and duvets, a single burner will suffice for snacks, unsure as to whether to take the BBQ and the fold away hanging wardrobes !

    So camping equipment sorted, onto the scope. Easy decision as I only own one (this week) so the C8 will be coming. Do you put the scopes away each day? unsure, so I found a new moped cover on the local car boot for £3.00 that will do the trick of protecting it. Red light etiquette is an unknown to me, I always observe at home amongst the fairy lights strewn around the garden. As a smoker I worry about lighters, do they affect dark adapted vision? Can I open my car door or do I need to shield the interior lights if I do? So much to learn regarding Star Party etiquette.

    I am really looking forward to it, and to meeting up with like minded individuals (whisky drinkers) :wink:

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    Viper2000
    Latest Entry

    Hi I am a newbe and have a question that I hope someone can help with:-

    I have a skywatcher 127 maksutov-cassegrain on a goto mount.

    I have been told that the SkyWacher Auto Focuser can be modified to fit this scope if anyone can help with advice on the best way to do this would be great

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    Hey! l recently made a few videos that were inspired by Carl Sagan & thought it would be really cool if you checked it out and gave me your thoughts & insights on them. I feel like they would be a great way to teach other students about astronomy/cosmology/the Universe. I put music in the videos from Daniel Hope's Spheres album, after I found out that he was inspired by Carl Sagan too. Hope you like them & hope to hear back from you!

    A Tribute to Carl Sagan:

    - Brittany

    Brittanymanning08@gmail.com

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    hi need help to operate my 700-76 telescope it was given to me as a present for my 83rd birthday I have assembled it but I am unsure with what I should see when I look through the aperture

  6. Universe_Astronomer
    Latest Entry

    A few weeks ago I saw Saturn for the very first time, it blew me away. The sight was just fantastic, its such a beautiful planet. I couldn't believe my eyes at how much detail I could see, the rings were so clear.

    I managed to take a photo through the lens with my iPhone.

    If you haven't already I really recommend buying a telescope, the views of the night sky never disappoint.

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    I was intrigued by a description of Jeff Lashley's "The Radio Sky" in Sky at Night magazine, particularly the practical experiments described and being a bit of a wannabe tinkerer, I bought a copy and in a fit of enthusiasm, devoured the first couple of chapters, until life got in the way and it has sat on the shelf ever since, occasionally being picked up and leafed through before being put back on the shelf. So, this year is the solar maximum, and being once again enthused by the photos of the first class-X CMEs, and in equal part frustrated by the weather putting paid to any more conventional optical astronomy, "The Radio Sky" has found itself once more on my bed side table. I thought, this time I would write this blog as both a record of my tinkerings and as motivation to actually finish what I started.

    The first experiment in the book is a VLF solar flare monitor consisting of a simple loop antenna connected to the audio input of a laptop, which seems like a reasonable challenge for the budding Radio Astronomer, therefore I am hoping my next entry will a bit more about the design and construction of the antenna.

    blogentry-26648-0-12177500-1369082772_th

    I have down loaded Spectrum Labs amateur radio software, which for a free download, seems to have quite a bit of functionality. So far I have only captured the noise from my laptop from the unconnected audio socket, but it displays the frequency spectrum and waterfall plots. I think the complicated bit is going to be separating the wheat from the chaff and identifying a true event.

    blogentry-26648-0-40342300-1369168385_th

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    Many years ago I visited an open evening at a local club where I saw Saturn and Jupiter up close for the very first time. I was totally in awe and never forgot the images I saw that night.

    Don't really know why it took me so long to get around to making a purchase but I guess I just didn't know what to get.....there's so much choice.

    I knew that I wanted to take photo's of the Moon etc. and hopefully link it up to the computer.

    Yesterday I visited the The International Astronomy Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Show ground near Leamington Spa and frankly....there WAS so much choice.

    After a few hours wandering around from store to store speaking to most of store holders and wandering around some more I finally took the plunge and purchased my first ever telescope the sky-watcher skymax 127.

    Hopefully I made the right choice.

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    logo.png

    Because I currently can't afford school (and am on academic probation anyways), I'm building an open-sourced, social planetarium to help me learn as much as possible. It's called SKY @ Lab of Oz (where I'm building other mini-apps, for math, physics, and the sciences in general).

    The project will, when completed, have:

    • 2D, printable skycharts
    • 3D planetarium (like Stellarium)
    • Lunar calendar
    • Weather forecast
    • "To-View" lists
    • Calendars
    • Personal Catalogues
    • Friends/Groups
    • Social Astrophotography
      • Stack images
      • Flipping (for object finding/tracking)
      • Image generators (upload image and add date, scope, details etc to it for download)
      • Add your image to the 3D planetarium, which people can see when they zoom in to an object/section of the sky

      [*]Stitching module (stitch together multiple images)

    Because the highest level of math I've completed in school was Algebra, I'm using a book called "Astronomy for the Personal Computer" to help guide me in the right direction. And while the text gives examples in C++, I'm porting what I learn into Javascript. You can keep up to date by following/forking my Ephemerides Library on GitHub (not much there yet :p )

    The first demo I posted, today, is a simple conversion tool that will allow me to convert between decimal and degree angles. You can play around with it in SKY Lab.

    Anyways, the blog posts I'll be posting here on SGL will be far less code-oriented and more focused on the astronomy.

    Thanks for reading! This was the "introductory/about" post, so the next one will be more interesting :p

  7. Have the Friday booked off from work, so it's a late night one for me. Lots of coffee to keep me warm and alert! A very enjoyable few hours in the garden. Managed to catchable glimpse of the following:

    M11

    M14

    M26

    M29

    M39

    M40

    M52

    M91

    M99

    M100

    M103

    M109

    really need a dark sky and a low horizon to get the remainder of my Messiers. Hartland Point perhaps?.

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    Recent Entries

    Liam Watters
    Latest Entry

    blog-0333472001367447178.jpgHi all,

    This is my first time blog and first time on stargazers lounge. Every time I have had a question relating to astronomy my google search always pointed me to this website. It is the best place for reviews of pretty much every scope on the market and it was the place I came to which ultimately led me to buying my first ever scope, a skywatcher skymax 127 synscan. I couldn't afford the high end scopes but I know that it would be pretty redundant buying a cheap scope because a background in Forensics taught me too well that cheap optics in any system are just pointless. I have a need for detail, what else can I say!!!

    First of all, THANK YOU people of stargazers lounge, you helped me out in choosing my scope and I thought for my first blog I may as well review my scope, which I hope will be usefull for other beginers because we are all in the same position and probably know as little or as much as me when it comes to a first scope. So here is my opinion on my new scope;

    When the scope arrived I couldnt wait to get it out of the box and set up! Everything was nicely boxed up and labelled. the set-up manual was excellent and easy to understand. I had done many weeks research prior to purchasing my scope to shop around for the best deal and scope for my budget, which was around £400-£450 tops.

    The mount was easy to set up and is rather robust and sturdy. Unfortunately the scope does not come with a mains adapter but I found a Celestron model for £20 on ebay which is designed with go-to scopes in mind as it supplies enough amps to the scope whilst slewing and has a surge protector in to stop and power surges frying the scope which is a very expensive setback. Other adaptors will fit the scope but often don't have a high enough amp count or protection. The other alternative of course it the battery pack which takes 8 AA batteries, but i think the mains power supply is better in the long run.

    To say I had never set up a scope before, the AZ mount and dove-tail bracket meant that the scope was up and running in ten minutes tops. I was extremely pleased with the ease of the set-up. Unfortunately, living in the north, I had to wait over a month before I had even remotely good seeing!

    My first trail run of the scope came on a cold February evening with jupiter overhead. This was my first target. I was a little rushed for time and clouds were drawing in so alignment was out of the question, I literally ran out on my driveway with the scope and an extention cable and manually slewed until Jupiter was in my finder scope, which I aligned earlier during the day first with the 25mm eyepiece and then again with the 10mm super plossl. The scope took no real time at all to cool down to reasonable viewing conditions and Jupiter was a fantastic sight to christen my scope with. I swithed to the 10mm eyepiece that came with the scope and got an okay view but I knew this would most likely be the first eyepiece to upgrade.

    A whole month later I tried my first alignment and made the rooky mistake of not leveling the tripod so the alignment was a little out every time. Once I had sorted this however, after a few trail and errors and minor height adjustments I got a satisfactory alignment and found every target I searched for was withing the FOV or at least near the centre of my crosshairs in the finder scope. Once again I was very pleased.

    I have had the stellarium software for years and purchased a 232 serial port converter that fits the cable supplied with the scope and after a bit of fiddling managed to utilise the telescope control function. This is by far the coolest feature of the scope. Assuming you have aligned the scope correctly, simply plug in, connect the scope and their are over 100,000 objects on the stellarium database that are just a click away.

    The handset control is fairly straight forward to use and a manual is supplied to help get to grips with the different features. The identify function and full catalogues are useful, but obviously if you are using stellarium, the FOV is displayed virtually on screen and in most instances you will know what you are looking at because you have the info on your laptop screen.

    For any folk out there looking to get into astronomy with a similar budget, I would highly reccomend this scope. I must say it is a great scope for planetary viewing and observing the lunar surface. For the money it is a great scope to start with and is also good enough to keep as a planetary scope if you are thinking of upgrading at a later date. If i were to buy a more expensive scope for deep sky observatoins, I would still hold onto this scope because it also has the benefit of being light weight and compact, which is great if you live further north when you may only get an hour of viewing before the clouds roll in. There is literally no messing. carry out, plug in, get viewing.

    Thanks to anyone who has took the time to read this post, It was a first attempt at a blog and I aim to refine them as I get used to the format, but I look forward to being part of the online community and sharing the enjoyment of star gazing.

    THANKS!!!!

    Liam :grin:

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    nameunknown
    Latest Entry

    No, don't drool over the title, they are just s shop in "Leather Lane", London (number 57), with a mad collection of add-ons for the Dremel and other tools.

    I could spend hours in such a place....

    P

  8. blog-0113609001364735018.jpgWell hope tonight is the night ,as last night was spent messing,with the sct 9.25 try in jupiter but shes over the house now and the thermals wee on the wobble ,even with the ir 740 pass filt not much luck.

    so back to tonight set the 127mm EDT cf up with the 80mm guide scope will include a few images ,

    it sits on a cgem head on a astrotec pier

    just have to stick the qhy5 and modded dslr 600d on tonight fore the laptop up phd/ back yard eos and away we go will post my results as and when going to get around 3 hours of data. On some small galaxy

    pat

    blogentry-9980-0-30536500-1364734942_thublogentry-9980-0-18852400-1364734983_thu

  9. Ttyttt

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    No blog entries yet

  10. furrysocks
    Latest Entry

    Folks,

    If you've been reading this blog, I hope you've enjoyed at least some of it. I'm going to stop, now. I should be completing and painting the dobs mount later tonight and expecting first light at some point over the weekend. I'll post a first light report and some field photos on the forum, instead.

    It's been both frustrating and fun, and I accept that it may not be perfect first time - balance, vibration, etc... - but it should at least hold together! ;) Like many DIY scopes, it may never be finished.

    I had a jumble of ideas to begin with, most of the tools and half the skills required. I changed my mind many times and rushed a lot of it. Too many late nights, too much effort. A lot of money spent, too. But it's got me out the house and back in the workshop, using old tools, new materials, thinking, planning, etc... and I get a scope out of it at the end. :D

    Clear skies,

    Matt.