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Equipment: accessoires

Telescope and Eye-pieces SkyWindow and Binoculars filters accessories

Telrad finderHomemade Dew Heater TAl/Meade Eyepiece/filter case and table
Digital camera Nikon Coolpix 775 / 4500Catsperch observing chair


Catsperch observing chair



Screendump SkyTools2 with Telrad circles

Catsperch Pro with seat in lowest position

The Telrad mounted on TAL 200K

Catsperch Pro with seat in medium position

The Telrad mounted on the TAL200K

Catsperch pro with seat in highest position


Introduction

A few years ago I bought the TAL 200K Klevtzov Cassegrain as a complete telescope set with equatorial mount, metal pier and accessories. After the first few observing sessions I noted that the metal pier was a bit low, and I didn't have an observing chair that allowed sit-down observing. All chairs where too high. A year after I bought the TAL 200K I replaced the metal pier with a wooden tripod. Now I thought that I could use any chair as an observing chair, but I was wrong. The viewing height of the eyepiece changes dramatically every time you point your telescope at a different object. I started to look for an observing chair that could solve all my problems.

During the time I was looking for an observing chair, I didn't know which telescopes I would be buying in the future. It could be a refractor, a large Newton, maybe on a Dobson mount or whatever. I needed a chair that I could use with all different telescope types. After I browsed the Internet for a few hours, I found the observing chair, the "Frazier" Catsperch Pro. On the images above you can see the range of this chair. You can place the seat very low, 8.5 inches from the ground, or very high, 46.2 inches from the ground. Between the lowest and highest position of the seat their are 16 different heights you can use by just moving the seat up and down. I immediately ordered the Catsperch pro observing chair. At the moment of ordering there was a 15-month lead-time for Catsperch Observing Chairs, now it is only 2 weeks.

The Catsperch Pro observing chair

After 18 months Jim Fly, the manufacturer of the Catsperch observing chair, contacted me to tell me that the chair was ready and would be shipped within 24 hours. After a few days the observing chair passed the Dutch customs and was delivered at my front door. I was amazed by the size of the package. As you can see on the image below, all the parts where packed together in a relatively small and slim cardboard box.

The Telrad with a few books

The package arrives!




On the image below, you can see all the parts once they where unpacked. I was even more amazed now. How could you get so many parts in such a small package! I started checking all the parts with the checklist/building plan. All wooden parts where labelled with the name and position within the construction for instance "Seat Rear plank" or "Notched rails top". All small parts like screws, nuts, leg-hinge, washers etc. were packed together in a plastic bag. After the check it turned out that everything was included. I could start with the construction of my new observing chair.



The Telrad circles on the SkyAtlas 2000

All the parts of the observing chair



Hanging to dry

First of all, I had to assemble the major parts of the observing chair, the seat, the footrest, the rear and front leg. This proved to be very simple. The construction manual was very clear, and within an hour all main parts of the chair were put together. Now everything had to be painted before final assembly.

I went to a local paint shop to get some paint for the observing chair. Because of the outdoor use of the (read oak hardwood) chair I was advised to apply hardwood oil that is used for garden furniture. It could be applied using a simple paintbrush. This should be repeated once every two years. After applying the oil once, I had to wait for a few days, so the wood could absorb the oil. After a week, I finally assembled the chair. This took me about 15 minutes. Now the observing chair could be put to the test!


The performance of the Catsperch observing chair


After using the Catsperch observing chair for 8 months, I only can say that I'm very satisfied with this fine piece of equipment. No matter which of my scopes (or binoculars) I use, or in which direction I point them, the Catsperch observing chair always allows me to observe from a seated position. As the volunteer "Bert" (see images at the bottom) demonstrates, you can point the telescope at the zenith or the horizon; you just have to adjust the seat to the appropriate height. It works fine with both my refractor and Klevtzov-cassegrain. I also can leave the tripod of the EQ6 mount in a fixed height. I just have to adjust the seat's (and footrest's) height according to the position of the eyepiece, and I'm ready to go.

When the seat is put in its highest possible position (see images at the top) the eyepiece can be at a height of 2 meters and I can still sit down to observe. Thanks to the footrest, I can easily step onto the chair and sit down, even when the seat is at its highest position. The chair is stable, and I really feel like a cat when sitting in such a high place.

If I want to store the chair, I just fold the legs together and take it inside. However, don't store it in a place where the air is moist! I had it in my old garden shed for a while, but some parts started to bend and/or expand. At some point I even couldn't move the seat and footrest up and down the front-leg. I have stored it in the garage now, and it works just fine again. Wood and moisture don't go well together!

I take the Catsperch to my favourite observing sites. It is not very heavy, an in folded position it will fit in most cars. I always take the seat and footrest from the front leg for transport. I do this by pulling the taper pins from the dowels and remove them. This takes only a few moments. Then I can fold both legs completely together and the chair is easier to handle and pack into the car. At the observing site, the chair is reassembled within seconds.



The seat with snap on cussion (Vinyl covered high density foam)



The footrest with slip resistant surfaces





Telescope pointing at zenith



Telescope pointing near horizon

Conclusions

I can highly recommend the Catsperch Pro observing chair to every observer who wants to observe comfortably all night (or day). It is a great piece of craftsmanship. The materials used are of a high quality and the customer service from Jim Fly is first class. Once the chair was ready, it was sent to me within a few days, and it only took me just a few hours to paint and construct the chair. At the telescope, the chair provided me with seated observing for hours on end, without getting tired in my legs or back. When sitting in medium or lower position, you can even lean backwards everey now and then, resting your back against the front leg. A very relaxing way of observing!

For more information on the Catsperch observing chair please follow this link to Jim Fly's homepage.




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