Spencer Jug Handle microscope completed

The Spencer is complete. If you recall, this poor Spencer had been spray painted black from top to bottom including the condenser, objectives and brass areas. It was quite a job to remove the spray paint and restore this but I’m really very pleased with it. The new paint is not perfect but it is much improved. The spray paint had been removed from the condenser iris and that is now moving smoothly and all in all it looks and functions very well. The knobs and brass areas had the spray paint removed and were relacquered with a rather lovely deep gold colour. My family are quite taken with it and they are usually somewhat immune to the charms of microscopes.

I just need to make a mirror for it, that’s on the to do list.

More progress on the Ross

I’m working my way up, almost everything is lacquered now but there are quite a few broken or missing screws that need replacing. These screws are not made to any standard I can find. Not completely surprising given the age of the microscope. Machinists often set their lathes up at x threads per inch and made everything at that pitch regardless of the size of the screw or what it was doing. Makes it a real pig to make new ones. Standardization is a blessing.

The stage is now lacquered – an odd thing to do but it was definitely lacquered originally. Just a few bits and bobs left. Not that this means it will be swift!

progress2

The Ross is coming together

Slowly but surely the Ross is coming together, literally.  I have reassembled the base.  It’s much shiner now.  You can see that it is not going to look “as new” the pitting is too deep, and I don’t want to destroy all signs of its history by sanding it heavily.  In this case to do so would be to remove enormous amounts of metal and it is really not possible.  To get the name plate to a perfect finish would result in the removal of the engraving which obviously would be foolish.  The pitting is still present in places but the corrosion has been treated so it should be good for another 100 years.  There’s still lots to do though and this microscope is definitely one of the worst I’ve done, it’s in a worse state than my experimental Dunscombe which was black all over when I got it.  Each piece is taking hours of work.  It is enormously satisfying though when it starts to take shape.  Onward and upward – the tubes are already done so really I’m heading middle-ward, to the REALLY tricky bits.

IMG_20200227_135754

Ross Wenham Prism

This Ross Wenham Prism microscope has come to me to be relacquered. It was actually a lot worse than it first appeared, the pitting is very deep and it  has taken hours and hours of work to get the microscope into a suitable state for lacquering. It isn’t finished yet but

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have got the first coat of lacquer on the legs. Pictures below show the before, the microscope taken apart and after the first coat of lacquer. I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this one.

Hartnack to RMS nosepiece

I was asked to make a new nosepiece for a Hartnack microscope which would enable the owner to use RMS objectives as he finds Hartnack objectives very fiddly. The Hartnack has a small diameter male Thury thread whereas the RMS is a larger female Whitworth thread. The nosepiece maintains the tube length but the Harnack has an adjustable tube length anyway and the new nose piece works just fine. As you can see there is quite a difference in the width where the objective attaches. The new RMS nosepiece looks a little clumsy compared to the original.

hartnack nose2edithrtnack nose1

Verick 1 – Brasso 0

Oh the poor little Verick! In a photograph there didn’t seem much wrong with this Verick apart from the total lack of lacquer but it had serious issues. The  Tube holder was stuck fast, the tube was stuck fast in the tube holder and it took several hours to get it all unstuck. The cause? Brasso. Don’t use brasso on your microscopes, it removes the lacquer and clogs up the moving parts it’s like glue. Below is a picture of the aperture ring which was also stuck fast and what it looked like inside when I finally got it apart.

brasso 2

There is hope though, if you can get the microscope apart the brasso can be removed quite easily. Here is the little Verick before and after lacquering, all parts are now moving smoothly and it is ready to return home.

Verick2

Verick frozen solid with brasso

IMG_8077

After cleaning and lacquering

IMG_8079

After lacquering

Plossl restoration

This beautiful little Plossl had been mistreated, either stored in an attic or garage, or otherwise abused. Very little lacquer remained and that which did was decaying casuing corrosion and pitting to the metal. I have stripped off the old lacquer, removed the corrosion and polished without removing all the scratches and pitting that show the age and history of the microscope. They are simply safely locked away under new lacquer which should protect it from any further degradation. I have not lacquered the mirror or the objective as the risk of damage to them by polishing and hot lacquering was quite great. I’m rather pleased with it.

IMG_20200105_152959

 

 

 

 

Silvering mirrors

Today I’m preparing to silver a mirror. I use the Rochelle salt method as follows:

Solution 1: Silver nitrate 2.48 grams, silver nitrate 2.07 grams, distilled water 473mls, 25% ammonia as required.

Dissolve 2.48 grams of silver nitrate in 120mls water stirring with a glass rod. Add around 30 drops of ammonia, the solution will go dark and will then gradually clear again.  Once the solution is clear add the rest of the silver and swirl until dissolved. Add the remaining water. Leave to settle for an hour or two then filter and store in a dark bottle labelled Solution 1.

Solution 2: Rochelle salts (potassium sodium tartrate) 1.56 grams, silver nitrate 1.62 grams, distilled water 473mls.

Add 1.56g rochelle salts to water in a glass vessel and bring to the boil. After boiling for 1 minute add the silver nitrate and boil for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool then filter and store in a dark glass bottle labelled Solution 2.

IMG_20200121_162016

Thoroughly clean and de-grease the glass to be silvered and tape up any areas on which silvering is not required. Warm the glass to about 38C with warm distilled water, when warm, drain off the water and cover with a 1:1 mixture of solutions 1 and 2. It is best to warm the solutions before mixing them together. Swirl the mixture over the glass for around half an hour then pour off the solution, rinse in distilled water and leave to dry. Gently paint the back of the mirror with a suitable paint to protect it from abrasion.