Unsolicited Public Commentary of Experience Building the CATSPERCH PROTM Observing Chair using the "Combo-Pack" Plans & Hardware.

by Tom Hole - 12/31/03
California, MD



Posted to the "telescope_observing_chair@yahoogroups.com" List, 12/31/03:
Well, I had decided to buy Jim Fly's plans and hardware so I could build a CATSPERCH Pro. My old chair was too short for the new Starmaster, so this seemed like a good solution. Here are the pics:
Tom's Observing Chair Pix Page

Buying the plans is a great time saver.  I am good at cutting and
tracing ;-) This is a great design that holds my 220 lbs with
aplomb.  Plans and hardware were $40 and the wood was $70.  Took 8
hours to assemble and I probably have another 3-4 hours to sand and
finish.  Unless Jim is getting a huge discount on wood, his kit is a
bargain.  I just didn't want to wait 15 months.

I cut all the wood with a $24.99 Skil jig saw with a 10 tooth per
inch blade.  Then I shaped/sanded it with my $29.99 Craftsman belt
sander with 50 grit paper on it.  Holes were drilled with my $49
DeWalt corded 3/8" drill.  Every part is unique and does not exactly
match any measurement found on the CAD drawings ;-) Even so, it
turned out very nice and I'm proud to be the owner.  Fancy tools are
NOT required to get a fine looking chair (but I won't turn down any
donations ;-)

My old chair was a cross between a Denver, a CATSPERCH and my own
ideas.  I made it out of poplar instead of oak.  It is great for
it's height, but would not do for a taller chair.

So, I'll be happy for tonight's Saturn opposition.  Clear skies, 11"
Zambuto Starmaster, eq platform, binoviewers and AT LAST, a taller
observing chair.  Never again will I have to go so long and observe
while standing.

Many heartfelt thanks to Jim Fly for the speedy delivery of the
plans and parts.  I know there is enough information out there that
I didn't need your stuff to build this, but the cut and trace
templates were a Godsend.  That alone saved me countless hours of
cursing and wasted lumber.

Happy New Year,

Tom


Posted to the "sci.astro.amateur" Newsgroup, 12/31/03:
This is somewhat on topic in that everyone should have an observing chair. Adds 2" of aperture and it sure makes viewing a lot more enjoyable. My first chair was already becoming vertically challenged with my XT10 sitting on an eq platform which was on wheels. When I got the Starmaster, it was woefully inadequate. So, I started searching for a suitable replacement. A guy in my club had one of Jim Fly's CATSPERCH chairs (not the Pro version) and it looked to be just the ticket. I was gonna build the CATSPERCH Pro version from gouge I found on the Internet, but I decided to support Jim and ordered his plans and hardware package: http://www.catseyecollimation.com/cperch1.html It arrived Xmas eve, but I was on holiday, so I just started building it yesterday. Finished it except for the urethane today. A fantastic chair. Here are some pics (my first chair is there for reference):
Tom's Observing Chair Pix Page

As you can see, it is considerably taller.  It holds my 220lbs frame
with no issues.  This is a perfect solution for me.

The plans with hardware cost $49 with shipping.  This made the job
incredibly easy.  Although certainly not required, the hardware package
saved me 10 trips to the dreaded pit of despair that is called Lowes.
The cut and trace patterns were a God send and saved me more trips to
Lowes for replacement lumber.  The lumber is all red oak and cost $70
at the aforementioned Hades of Hardware (can you tell I love Lowes?).

This is an easy kit to build and requires no special tools.  I used a
cheapo Skil jigsaw to cut out everything.  Made for some interesting
shapes ;-) I used a cheapo belt sander to fix the zig zags in the cuts.
The only other tool required is a drill.  Good thing, too, as that's
all the tools I have.

So far, I've put in 10 hours on it.  All that's left is to put the
finish on, but that will have to wait until some clouds roll in.  I am
very pleased with this chair and Jim Fly.  A very nice fellow and a
great American.  My first chair cost about $30 in materials and took
about the same amount of time.  But this CATSPERCH is a lot nicer.
I highly recommend it to anyone considering an observing chair.

CLear skies and seated observing ;-)

Tom