Mirror Making

The Delmarva Stargazers have held our annual telescope mirror making workshop continuously for years.

If you are interested in making your own telescope mirror, finishing that project mirror, or fixing up a commercial mirror visit the information and registration page.

Some History

This is an incomplete and preliminary version: The first mirror making started as the Mid-Atlantic Mirror Grinding Seminar in 2001 at the Mallard Lodge n. The experts were Peter Ceravolo, Dave Groski, Dave Lane, and Steve Swayze.  The First Mirror Making Agenda offered only three days to go from pre-generated glass and tools to well figured mirrors. The three days were jam packed with instructions, presentations, swap meet, observing, and mirror making. Steve Swayze hung in with us until 2015. Dave Groski has shown up every year.

The name changed to the Mid-Atlantic Mirror Making Seminar with reduced presentations, impromptu observing, and the time increased to four days with more mirror making and it stayed at the Mallard Lodge for 14 years.

The Mallard lodge was a mix of bad and good, mostly good. The kitchen was small and poorly designed for cooking especially for more than two people. There were plenty of double beds in several rooms and it could sleep about 5 people on two floors – most slept on the second flour with chronic snorers on the top floor.  There were accommodations and bathrooms for both men and women with four showers. The stairs to the second floor were extremely loud.

The main grinding room was quite large holding fourteen mirror stands and on some occasions people were  packet spray bottle to spray bottle, paper towel roll to roll. Elite polishers moved tables upstairs to the largest bedroom. Dave Groski’s Foucault nestled in an upstairs corridor.

The Seminar eventually lengthened to five days with the first day reserved for set up and welcoming early participants.

2010 started normally until the Mallard Lodge quickly became an island as a Nor’Easter held several successive tides in the Delaware Bay. Power remained on and work continued.  Rain came through the third and second floor roofs and dripped mostly near the pitch station. The tarp on the floor of the grinding room puffed up eighteen inches  mounding around the grinding stations.

2015 was the last mirror making seminar in the Mallard Lodge as it turned to purely aquatic studies and closed it’s doors to other activities due to funding cuts.  The last act of the 2015 event changed the name change to the Don Surles Mirror Making Workshop – Glass pushin’ Fever.

2016 found us in our new building the Redden State Forest Lodge in the Redden State Forest. This was a real departure from the Mallard Lodge with a larger kitchen, smaller dining room, more limited sleeping accommodations and no beds.  There is a very deep clawfoot tub and one shower in two bathrooms.

The testing room is in the middle of the lodge and is much larger flanked with two enormous fire places. It can easily accommodate three different test stations. The Mallard Lodge required a light resistant tunnel for the main test stand which took up half the dining room. The Redden Lodge’s main room is dark enough even during the day that the tunnel is no longer required.

The grinding room is a separate large room at one end of the building. It accommodates about 13 mirror making stands, the pitch station and all of our grinding and polishing supplies.

2017 We are again at the Redden State Park Lodge.