Border Telescope Company Logo

Border Telescope Company Logo

Hand Crafted Wooden Telescopes

Wooden telescope overlooking Rio Grande Valley
 The form-follows-function design of the "New Classic 8"
makes it a beautiful, long lasting, user friendly, highly functional, sky viewing tool.

Beautiful to look at...

               Beautiful to look through

Several years ago we started to develop an easy-to-use, elegant, high quality astronomical telescope with professional grade optics in a smoothly operating, rock steady mount. The "New Classic 8" is the result. It's an easy-to-use, high quality, "wow!' view telescope that we want to tell you about.

Check it out


Professional Quality

Hand Crafted

Easy to Use

Why wood?



Prices \ Ordering


Easy to Use

Ease of use was the most important factor in the design of this scope.

You don’t have to know anything about astronomy or electronics, or celestial motions or computers to set it up.

All you do is put the tube assembly on top of the rotating base and point the tube at what you want to see.

Our patented Compton Tube Clamp allows the tube to be rotated for easier eyepiece placement and allows
one hand adjustment of the tube back and forth in its large cradle to maintain balance.

Smoothness of motion is everything.

The eyepieces are chosen for their high quality, wide angle views with a long eye relief.
That means everyone, even those who must keep their eyeglasses on, can comfortably access the heavens.

We've made finding things in the sky intuative and incredibly easy. Pointing the main scope to the
wonders of the universe
simply requires pushing the tube in an intuative and buttery smooth natural way.

The finder scope systems are designed to make it incredibly easy to find what you want to see in the sky, and

Everything you need is provided. You don’t ever have to buy anything else to make it right.

It is the closest thing to a point and shoot sky viewing machine that there is.
Telescope Tube and Mount

Wooden Telescope Overlooking Mountains
Antique Telescope Viewing


There is a long list of things you don’t need to do with this scope.
You don’t need the exact latitude and longitude you are viewing from to set the scope up.

You don't need to know the exact time

You don't need to level the scope, although there are adjustments for uneven terrain.

You don't need to find pointer stars or align the telescope to true north.

You don't need to buy and use special tools to align the optics.

You don't need a cooling fan or the power supply to run one.

You don't need to climb ladders, you don't need to kneel.

You don't need adjust your viewing comfort to match the scope as the eyepiece position is fully adjustable.

You don't need to add or adjust weights to balance scope.


The only thing you need to do is set it down and point it at something


We do not skimp on the finder telescopes.

The optical finder is a small telescope equivalent to of one half of a fine pair of binoculars. Its eyepiece has cross-hairs making it a cinch to find what you’re looking for.

The green lasar finder shoots a narrow beam of visable light to the object you want to see in the night sky. All you have to do is look at the sky while you point the light beam at what you want to see by simply moving the tube.

These high quality instruments make it easy to find what you are looking for.
Telescope Finders on Wooden Tube

Professional Quality
Isaac Newton's Telescope PROFESSIONAL DESIGN

“New Classic” optics are arranged exactly as Isaac Newton designed the first reflecting telescope in the late 1660’s.  There still isn’t a better, simpler design. Light from the stars is collected on a curved mirror at the bottom of the tube.  This mirror redirects  it to a small secondary mirror, which bounces it out the side, through the eyepiece, into your eyes.

Our mount is a variation of the “Dobsonian” mount presented to the public in the 1950's by  John Dobson, the "Star Monk."  This pied piper of astronomy has spent a lifetime making the heavens accessable to the common man. He refined the mounting principals that had been used for centuries to hold and aim cannons in order to create a steady, simple, sturdy system  for aiming telescope optics.  

Good design lasts.

Our optics are carefully chosen and tested to give the best possible view of the heavens.

They provide “Diffraction-limited" imaging, giving as clear and sharp a view of the universe as the laws of physics and the nature of light will allow. Our optics vary from the ideal shape and smoothness by less than 1/8 of a wavelength of light.  This means that if the mirror were expanded to the size of Australia, then the largest ‘mountain’ or ‘valley’ defect on the surface would be no higher than a golf ball.

We conduct our own test of every mirror we use to make sure that it delivers a sharp, spectacular view.

To hold the main mirror is to behold the entire universe
in a big heavy incredibly beautiful jewel.

m31 galaxy
Wooden Telescope base 2Wooden Telescope base


Great optics are worthless without a sturdy, steady, smoothly operating mount. Ours is specifically designed to steadily and precisely hold the optics in order to deliver breathtakingly sharp views of the universe.  

The mount turns on a solid 24 inch base that is over 1 1/4 inch thick. The two risers are reinforced with butresses connected by an integrated eyepiece holder/ carrying handle. This reinforcement guarantees a stiff telescope support system that allows the telescope tube to freely rotate all the way through the mount.

Ball shaped Lip-Lock™ adjusters stand at the top of each buttress allowing precise set-and-forget tracking adjustments, eliminating irritating backlash tube movement after aquiring a target

All bearing surfaces are classic Ebony Star Formica riding smoothly on slabs of pure Teflon carefully sized to equalize friction. This allows you to easily track the heavens with a gentle, even, buttery-smooth push on the tube, in any direction

Hand Crafted

We fabricate each scope individually, using stiff, strong and beautiful hardwoods to make them light enough for one person to handle, and rugged enough to last for many years. We match the grain on all surfaces so that no two are exactly alike.

This made-to-last workmanship makes for a telescope that will be as appealing and useful to your grandkids, as it is to you

Wooden Telescope twilight view
Wooden Telescope Vertical


Baltic Birch, famously known for its use in canoes and boats, is used for most of the scope. The plywood form is a high tech wood product made from many layers of fine birch hardwood, each just under 1/16 inch thick.  It has been the plywood of choice for cabinet makers and specialty wood crafters since it was introduced into the US in 1967. 

This fine smooth, hardwood has no voids and is slightly harder than the Maple we use for handles. Birch is stiffer than steel for its weight, and finishes beautifully.

The whole thing is held together by wooden pegs and finished off with clear satin polyurethane coating.

Wooden Telescope Left Side
Wooden Telescope Parts

Baltic Bircht has the same high density and similar swirly grain as Maple. It's absolutely beautiful and has the wonderous characteristic of looking different from every angle.  

We carefully match the grain so the risers and buttresses match. The slats and ribs of every tube are made from one sheet of wood so you can follow the grain all around.

We use wood dyes thet we mix ourselves in the finish, providing a deep, even color without obscuring the wood.

The dyes actually sink into the deep grain instead of just coating the surface like stains and paints, emphasizing the ever changing marble-like appearance of Birch.

Wooden Telescope eyepiece holder Side View

Wooden Telescope side

Wooden Telescope closeup detail top

Telescope Structure
Wooden telescope clamp tube and base.JPG
A good telescope needs to have both good optics and a good mounting system. One without the other is useless. Since every little bump or wobble or vibration the mount allows is magnified by the optics into useless wildly dancing stars it is especially important to have a steady smooth mount like the one we provide.

As you can see there are three main components to this telescope: The base which rotates horizontally in a circle, the Compton Clamp Assembly which holds the telescope tube and allows up and down movement, and the Dodecatube  itself which holds the optics.
Wooden telescope view along top of tube


  • Our twelve sided Dodecatube™ is as functional as it is beautiful
  • First and foremost it firmly holds the optics in perfect alignment.
  • It is easily adjusted to provide balance and proper positioning of the eyepiece.
  • It blocks extraneous light and air currents from entering the optical path and degrading the final image.
  • It serves as a mounting point for the eyepiece focuser.
  • It holds accessories such as finder scopes and Lasar pointers.
  • It serves as a well leveraged handle to be gently pushed and pulled to point the scope at its intended target.
  • It is large enough to allow air currents to smoothly flow around the mirror mount letting it quickly cool to ambient temperatures avoiding the need for accessory cooling fans.
  • It is made of a material that will not absorb and release heat waves into the optical path.

The wooden baltic birch slats and ribs are configured in such a reinforcing way as to create a very stiff and lightweight tube. The solid structure blocks out image degrading stray light and prevents pesky image degrading wind currents in the optical path better than any substitute.

The self reinforcing rib structure eliminates the need for turbulence causing interior reinforcments and provides a nice handling exterior surface for pushing it into viewing position

It’s large diameter (nearly 11 inches) relative to mirror size allows for a smoothly flowing interior air flow. This prevents distortion causing turbulence and allows the mirror to cool off to ambient temperature quickly, avoiding the distortions caused by heat waves..eliminating theneed for internal fans and the power needed to run them.

Finally it’s made of wood which  is not only attractive but functional in preventing heat buildup
wooden telescope vertical closeup base.JPG
Wooden telescope tube clamp top view.JPG

The twelve sided Dodecatube™ functions like a round tube in our patented clamp which allows you to easily slide the tube back and forth for perfect balance, and to rotate it to place the eyepiece for convenient viewing. The Compton Clamp™ loosens and securely locks down on the tube with a simple one hand adjustment of that large wooden screw on the top.
The sides of the mount do double duty as large circular altitude bearings which ride their laminate surfaces on pure Teflon pads. They are connected by three Maple connecting rods. The top rod has been enlarged to do double duty as a carrying handle, while the bottom two support the tube until tightening the lock gently lifts the tube to its suspended position.

The bottom of the cradle that holds the tube is 18 inches long which gives great leverage for positioning and great stability for holding the tube still. Force applied to the tube smoothly translates into up-and-down and back-and-forth movement. Wobble and backlash are minimized by the four adjustment knobs, so that the tube moves to where you aim it and stays there after you quit pushing.

This is important because every wobble or annoying backlash movement when you let go of the tube is magnified many times when looking through the scope.

The clamp and tube assembly rides on the base. This is a 24 inch diameter circle that rotates on three Formica-to-Teflon bearing pads on top of a flat, drilled-out tripod with adjustable peglegs for leveling purposes when setting the scope up on rough ground.
Two vertical boards rise up from the rotating base to form supports for the two huge altitude bearing circles on either side of the main telescope tube.

Most scopes connect these two risers with a reinforcing crossboard, but, for viewing convenience we allow the main tube to rotate all the way through the two vertical board ‘legs’. This means you can follow a star from horizon to horizon without doing the ‘Dobson Dance” halfway through. The Dobson Dance involves rotating the entire mount 180 degrees and reacquiring your target as it passes through the vertical tube position.

Instead, our scope is reinforced on the outside of the tube swing path with long narrow buttresses connected by an integrated eyepiece holder. Each riser is therefore held straight and stiff by a two inch thick rectangle made of the baseboard, the eyepiece holder, and the two arched buttresses.

At the top of the four high points where the support buttresses meet the riser boards are the spherical LipLocks™ that are used for fine tuning the tension and track made by the Formica rimmed altitude bearings floating on the large Teflon pads.

The 24 inch diameter base plate is almost 1 1/4 inch thick and had some 22 plies. The side fin/buttresses are 1/2 inch thick and have nine plies.
wooden telescope base closeup
M45 starfield

Size does matter. In general the larger the main mirror the better, because what you want is light gathering ability which increases as the square of the radius of the lens. That means a lens with twice the radius will collect  four times as much light.

The amount of useful power is also related to the diameter of the mirror. Any scope that advertises large power numbers is misleading you because any scope can have any power but useful power is limited by the size of the lens according to the laws of physics. Useful power figures out to be about 40x to 50x the diameter of the main lens or mirror in inches. In fact most useful viewing will be done at about half that power where a the wider field of view gives you one of those “oh my’ looks at  the night sky.

The focal length of the mirror we use is  a good compromise. ‘Fast’ lenses shorten the necessary tube length but introduce ‘coma’ and other optical impediments to good viewing which can only be overcome by using expensive, complex eyepieces and by using special alignment tools to adjust the optical elements. Slower or longer focus lenses require longer, more unwieldy tubes. Our 8” diameter f/6 mirror results in a very manageable 11” diameter tube only 4 1/2 feet long that you can easily push or pull with one finger to point anywhere in the sky.

The larger the lens the larger the slice of earth's atmosphere the telescope has to look through to see outer space. Large telescopes that gather more light must do so at the cost of having to look through more atmosperic distortions.
Because of the wavelength of light and the size of distortions there is a breaking point at about eight inches in diameter above which a telescope will be increasingly more affected by poor seeing conditions. In other words a scope lens over eight inches in diameter catches and magnifies air currents to a more noticeable degree. They do collect more light, and give incredible views, but you’ll get many more ‘good seeing’ nights out of our scope.

The human size of this scope means that you will get out looking more often because it's so much easier to handle.

Standard Dobsonian
Standard Dobsonian

We replaced the side of the Tube support box with our huge altitude bearings. The bottom of the box becomes two maple support rods and the top becomes our Maple handle while our patented Compton Clamp™  holds the tube.

We incorporated the Rocker box sides with the cradle boards. Then we eliminated the front board in favor of our outlying buttresses tied together with the eyepiece holder to support and stiffen the sides.

Finally we made the ground board round and placed it on a low level tripod with leveling screws

Wooden telescope from below.JPG
Why Wood?

Obviously wood is a beautiful, warm material to work with. The amazing thing is that it may be the best suited of all materials for the purpose of holding telescopic optics solidly and securely in their proper telescopic place.

The single purpose of the tube and mounting is to rigidly hold the optical components of a scope in exactly the right place, while allowing the tube to be easily aimed at objects in the sky.  This requires a light weight materiel that is as rigid as possible. Wood is ideal because, pound for pound it is stiffer than steel and no other common construction material can match it for strength and light weight.

Wood is self dampening. Vibrations from wind or guiding die out seconds after you find your target.  Stars don’t dance around as they do with some metal structures, which can oscillate for minutes.

A tube made of wood instead of metal also neatly solves the problem of heat waves distorting the optical path as the tube cools in the night air.

Some manufacturers try to solve this major distortion problem by coating the inside of their tubes with corklike materials or adding cooling fans. Since this, of course, costs money and adds to the system’s complexity, more often than not, the problem is simply ignored.

Finally, wood is beautiful. It makes our scope as beautiful to look at as it is to look through.
Wooden telescope tube clamp

wooden telescope Base 4.JPG
F/6, 8”  Diameter, 48" focal length, Diffraction limited Main Mirror
1.83" secondary mirror
Two quality Plossel Eypieces, 25mm and 15mm with 2X Barlow Lens
All eyepieces chosen for long eye relief allowing use of glasses.
Maximum usable power 400X
Higher power available with additional eyepieces.
Antique Telescope 2
Wooden Telescope FindersWho Could That Be at This Hour? FINDERS
Green Lasar pointer with easy aim  mount   
8X50 Cosshair Finderscope

All metal, smooth, precise, classic Rack and Pinion for 1 1/4 inch eyepieces

All metal no glue main mirror holder
Precision adjustable spider and secondary holders
All wood
No interior obstructions
11” Diameter X 56' length.
16 pounds
Fully rotatable, adjustable balance tube

Tube Clamp and  Bearings
18+” Diameter altitude bearings
One hand clamp
11 pound
Wooden Telescope tube assy
Modified Dobsonian Alt-Az
24” Diameter base    
19” Altitude Bearings

Weight 22 Pounds

All bearings are Teflon on Ebony Star Formica
All weather Telescope Cover

Tube end covers
Total weight appx 60 lbs
Wooden Telescope Mounting 3
Additional  Info and  Ordering
The Border Telescope Company
PO Box 1268
Peña Blanca, NM 87041

PRICE: $3800.00 US
            Now taking orders through 1 February, 2015 for Easter Delivery 
            Includes all accessories you'll need for a lifetime of views

Price includes complete scope including two finders (Green Lasar pointer and quality 8X50 optical finder) Two standard 1 1/4 inch diameter Plossl type eyepieces  and a good  2X Barlow. This gives you a nice range of powers with long eye relief for ease of focusing and use with glasses if needed. Substitutions to meet your individual situation ars easy to arrange. See Specs page

New Mexico residents must add 6% sales tax.

FREE SHIPPING to continental US

Horsehead nebula






Art in the Design

* The tube's twelve slat surfaces on the main tube correspond to the classic twelve signs of the Zodiac, and the twelve months in the year.

* If you include the ribs there are 24 surfaces on the dodeccatube™ mounted at 15 degree angles, echoing Earth's 24 time zones, each 15 degrees across.

* From the side, the outline shape of the telescope's Altitude Bearings resting on the Base, is the same as the Egyptian hieroglyph, Akhet, which shows the sun between two mountains, and is tranlated as "horizon".

 THe Egyptian Hieroglyph Ankhet (Horizon)

* The tube slats and the tube ribs are each made from one piece of wood so the grains match all the way around the tube. The two sides of the Base also are matched.

* There are no metal connectors on the scope. Glues and wooden pegs are used. My mix of wood dyes gives a deep natural finish.

* The result is a professional quality telescope that is easy to use, good to look at and exciting to look through.