Last updated on
4/11/
2006

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An Observer's Seat
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The Denver Astronomical Society has published plans on the Web for one of the classic build-it-yourself observerís seats, for people who want to build their own observing chair.  It has the adjustable features common to commercial seats, and here is a view of their seat:

Go to the Denver Observerís Seat page to download the plans. Professor Mark A. Vincent has posted some modifications he has made to the original plans, on his web site.  Also, some amateur observers have noted that the seat assembly, if fastened together with wood screws, can come apart if a heavy person sits on it off-center to the side (which is not uncommon as one slews the scope to another object not too far away and does not bother to re-position the chair).  They recommend assembling the seat assembly with bolts that go through the wood and clamp it together, wherever possible.

Be advised that there is a problem with many observing chairs (whether commercial or home-made) whose seat is cantilevered to use gravity and the observerís weight to remain in position.  An observing chair sits close to the scopeís tripod legs and when you maneuver out of the chair while trying to avoid kicking the tripod, you can easily hit the bottom of the front of the seat with the back of your foot.  This lifts up the front of the seat which is how you move the seat up or down.  So, the seat can come crashing down to the bottom, a very loud and annoying occurrence in the dark.  If you look carefully at the photo of James P. Crombie's Observing Chair below, you will see that he has fastened a bungee cord from the front of the seat to the bottom of the chair.  This mitigates the seat-crashing problem and is commonly added by folks who have built the Denver Observerís Seat as well. 

I need to note here, that cabinet-making has been a hobby of mine for many years and Iím very good at it.  And based on this experience I would advise you that by the time youíve purchased the wood and futzed around making your own chair, youíre probably better off purchasing the metal observing chair sold by BuyAstroStuff for $95 (as discussed on the Observing Chairs page), and spending your time observing with your scope.  Plus, the BuyAstroStuff chair is likely to weigh much less, and will definitely close into a much more compact profile, than any chair you can make out of wood.

There are other build-it-yourself plans that have in the past been available on the Internet.  Plans for James P. Crombie's Observing chair are still available but Warren Peters' and Peter Sayers' are not; here are some photos that may give you design ideas (click on any of these photos for a larger image):

 

James P. Crombie's Observing Chair, here on the left.

                        

               Warren Peters' Observation Chair (on the right).

 

 

 

And, Peter Sayers' ďAll-Terrain Observing ChairĒ.

 

 

 

 

 


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