Books on ATM

(Amateur Telescope Making)

Good books to consult if you think you might like to make your own telescope or improve a commercial one:

(Listed in order of date of publication. Older ones will be harder to find, naturally.)

1.    Sam Brown, All About Telescopes (1967) available for about $13 plus S&H at The drawings are amazingly detailed. Some of the information on mounting your telescope is rather old-fashioned, but much of the advice on mirror-making is still quite useful.

2.    Allyn J. Thompson, Making Your Own Telescope (1981)

3.    Jean Texereau, How To Make A Telescope: 2nd Edition (1984) available at - a classic and still useful. Texereau is extremely systematic and careful in every step he takes. The most recent edition takes account of the Dobsonian revolution in mounting telescopes.

4.    Richard Berry, Build Your Own Telescope: Complete Plans for Five High-quality Telescopes That Anyone Can Build (1985 - 2001) available at This is the book that convinced me that I could make my own telescope. His plans are detailed, complete, and relatively easy to follow. There is a very large refractor and four different reflectors. Many ATMers today would consider his designs old-fashioned because they are a lot heavier than they need to be, but if you follow his advice, you will get a very durable, sturdy, and easy-to-use scope. Feel free to make changes, though!

5.    David Kriege and Richard Berry, The Dobsonian Telescope: A Practical Manual for Building Large Aperture Telescopes (1997) available at This book more or less gives advice on how to duplicate an Obsession telescope, which has trusses to support the cage which holds the focuser and so on.

6.    Robert Miller and Kenneth Wilson, Making & Enjoying Telescopes: 6 Complete Projects & A Stargazer's Guide (1997) Very elegant telescopes.

7.    Philip S. Harrington, Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Buying, & Using Telescopes and Accessories (2002) Just like the title says!

8. Karine and Jean-Marc LeCleire, A Manual for Amateur Telescope Makers (2003)
The pre-publication sale is over, unfortunately. This is the first completely new book on making telescopes (including the mirrors) in quite some time, but it carries the blessings of Jean Texereau (who is still alive and living somewhere in the south of France).

There are plenty of other books on amateur telescope making, such as the 3 volumes known as Amateur Telescope Making, volumes 1, 2, and 3, but my opinion is that they are too esoteric and confusing for a beginner. Once you have made a first scope, and have found the process intriguing, then they are great resources.

DC-Area Mirror-Making Workshop information
Why make (or improve) your own telescope? - also, links to other ATM websites