The Delmarva Stargazers is hosting the
    Don Surles Mirror Making Workshop #18
"Glass pushin' fever."

The purpose of the Workshop is to introduce proven successful mirror making techniques and practices to those wishing to make their own mirrors. Special emphasis will be placed on successfully figuring the mirror. No experience necessary!

 (An event formerly known as the Mid-Atlantic Mirror Making Seminar)

When: Thursday March 21 through Sunday March 24, 2019

Where: St Jones Reserve 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901

Check in begins at 10:00PM on Thursday and activity will continue until 4PM Sunday. Doors will open by 9AM Thursday for set up.

If you've never made a mirror before here's what to expect.

Registration Count

There are 4 places left (max 6)

Registrations Received: 1 (1)
Remaining: 4

 6, maybe 7 is the maximum that can be accommodated this year. The first number denotes registrations received. The number in parentheses shows pending registrations and the number left if pending registrations are received. The Reserve has only 10 beds and won't let anyone sleep on the floor for safety reasons (although they did when we first used the St Jones Reserve  - I have some of the old air mattresses from that time).

Registration: participants should register before February 30, 2019. If there are still slots open you can continue to register after that.

FULL PAYMENT must accompany the registration. Since a large percentage of your registration fee is used to cover fixed fees there will be NO REFUNDS, but you may arrange for someone else to take your place. Please inform us of the substitution - financial arrangements are your responsibility.

The facility has eleven bunk beds for 22 people on a first choice basis. We can accommodate ladies and gentlemen with separate bathrooms with showers. Please be aware this is a RUSTIC FACILITY, not the Hilton. You will need to bring your own towels, blankets/sleeping bags, pillows, and toiletries.

Regrettably there may be Wi-Fi available which requires you to exercise some restraint to complete your mirror.

All meals will be provided by the Star Gazers (Thursday noon through Sunday noon). Fact: Delmarva Star Gazers like to eat so bring your appetite. If you have dietary restrictions please let us know on your registration form or by email found at the bottom of the page.

Glass sources

We used to provide glass blanks and tools but the enormous cost increases by manufacturers precludes buying new glass. Please look for suitable glass on Cloudy Nights, Astromart, FirstHand Discovery, EBay and other places.

You may find mirrors that have focal lengths close to your needs. In this case you may find some grinding necessary to match it to your requirements.

Newport Glass doesn't seem interested any more. TelescopeMirrorBlanks.com seems dead.Many things calling themselves mirror blanks on Ebay are not really mirror blanks so be careful. FirstHand Discovery sells Supremax33 mirror blanks but not tools - don't buy a kit just the mirror blank.

The MMW has seen and worked on a number of slumped (AKA draped) fast glass mirrors. Please email the specs to see if we can handle it.

Bring your own glass to grind

If you bring your own glass to grind either rough grind it to the correct curvature or have the proper curve generated to match your expected focal length - this curve for your mirror will be the Radius of Curvature the mirror which is twice the Focal Length. For example a mirror with a focal length of 48 inches will have a radius of curvature of 96 inches. If you bring glass 8" diameter or larger that is has not been ground (still flat) the chances of completing figuring will be reduced in the time we have together.

If your glass does not already have the proper curve for the final focal length a six inch mirror will take about half a day to catch up with those with generated curves. For 8" you may loose an entire day in rough grinding and smoothing. For a 10" or 12.5" you may not finish this year. While the instructors can hog out an 8" or a  10" in a few hours we have a lot of experience. It is possible for you to do this at a slower pace at home - contact us for guidance.

We do have some glass with matching mirror blanks and tools through our member and President Don Surles.

Deep curves less than F/5 are problematic because they may be impossible to figure in the time allotted. Don't let that stop you from trying. You may need to perform some of the parabolization at home.

We have limited supply of previously used glass tools if you no longer have a matching tool for fine grinding or polishing. We can make Dental Stone tools to hold polishing pads / pitch for polishing or figuring. Please contact us as soon as possible if you need a tool. The glass tools we have are mostly donations from mirror makers who have gone before you.

Those grinding will have access to 60 Silicon Carbide (SiC) grit down to 5 micron white aluminum oxide (WAO). Those polishing and figuring are provided with polishing pads, Cerium Oxide, and pitch laps.

There are several testing stations include an auto-collimator, Foucault and Ronchi tests as well as a Ross Null test all of which have an expert available to help with interpretation. The maximum safe mirror size for the largest stand is 22 inches. The floors are not isolated enough for interferometors although that is the preferred method of many amateurs.

If you are bringing glass that is in some polished state or needs figuring you are all set. If you have a tool for that glass please bring it. If you need a tool please let us know and we'll check our inventory for a close match. If you don't have a tool we can make dental stone polishing tools on site.

Other services: we strip coatings from mirrors. Old aluminum can be stripped in as little as twenty minutes, over-coated mirrors can take longer. Dental Stone polishing tools are made to order and can be used in about an hour including drying and microwave hardening.


Non-mirror makers are encouraged to attend; to watch the process, to learn, and to "get glasspushin' fever". See the price list for options including free.

Mirror making stations

Mirror making stations are on a first come, first served basis.

 Price List

Due to the enormously high price of glass (Supremax 33 and even float glass AKA soda lime) we no longer list glass prices. No one has bought any through us in several years so it is no longer listed. Manufacturers seem to be offended that we only ask for one piece of glass at a time.

Our prices have increased from 2017 due to the high cost of accommodations which have doubled.

Includes Food and Lodging and mirror making supplies (grit and polishing supplies)

Polishing / Figuring
Up to 10.1" diameter $412.00
Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $482.00

Grinding / Figuring
Grind and Figure your own mirror up to 10.1" $452.00
Grind and Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $542.00
Do as many mirrors as you can do over the weekend $552.00
Polish and figure your own mirror up to 10.1" $452.00
Polish and Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $482.00
Returning mirror makers completing a previous mirror $372.00

Have a Newtonian primary mirror up to 18" tested and get figuring advice. Fee will be waived if you choose to fix it here for one of the above prices.

Visitor - includes meals & lodging - per day $123.00
Visitor - food but no over night lodging - per day $69.00
Visitor - no food and no over night lodging Free

Pricing Notes:

We require payment before the mirror making event.

 Download the PDF Registration Form

 From north or south, take Delaware Route 1/113 to Exit 91 for Route 9, just south of Dover Airforce Base.

Turn onto Route 9, toward Kitts Hummock/Little Creek.

Take right onto Kitts Hummock Road and follow it to the St. Jones Reserve entrance. It will be on the right, past the John Dickinson Mansion.

Follow the lane approximately 1 mile back to the St. Jones Reserve Center.

The Reserve provides pop-up directions on this page under their physical address.