The Delmarva Stargazers is hosting the

    Don Surles Mirror Making Workshop #17
"Glass pushin' fever."

With special guest mirror maker Mel Bartels

Sorry - We are Sold Out!

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!

This year we welcome the Mel Bartels joining us as our guest expert mirror maker. Mr. Bartels has written astronomical and mirror making software, makes mirrors and builds telescopes and is known for his astronomical sketches of Integrated Flux Nebula around (a vast structure created by our galaxy's interstellar dust and gas). Of course like all of us he has plenty more passions and interests.

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

When: Thursday March 16 through Sunday March 19, 2017

Where: Redden State Forest
             18074 Redden Forest Drive,
Georgetown, Delaware 19947

Check in begins at 11AM on Thursday and activity will continue until 4PM Sunday. Doors will open by 10AM for set up.

A new event has been added to the Mirror Making Workshop. Mel Bartels will talk about the Integrated Flux Nebula which he has viewed and sketched on Wednesday evening (the evening before this event starts). Please visit our site (where you found this page) at delmarvastargazers.org for more information.

Registration Count

We are sold out! Current count of registered mirror makers:

Registrations Received: 14 (1)
Remaining: 0 (1)

15 is a good number for the workshop and 17 is the maximum that can be accommodated. The first number denotes registrations received. The number in parentheses shows pending registrations and the number left if pending registrations are received.

Registration: all mirror makers ordering glass asked to register by January 20, 2017, to provide sufficient lead-time for ordering supplies.Those with their own glass should register before January 30, 2017. If there are still slots open you can register.

Please note: the mirror and tool fabrication and delivery normally takes up to seven weeks from date of order.
FULL PAYMENT must accompany the registration. Since a large percentage of your registration fee is used to order your materials and covering 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 Redden State Forest Lodge can accommodate 20 people overnight; sleeping rooms with common bathroom facilities. We can accommodate ladies and gentlemen. Please be aware this is a RUSTIC NATURE FACILITY, not the Hilton. You will need to bring your own towels, blankets/sleeping bags, pillows, and toiletries.

There is no wireless available at this RUSTIC NATURE FACILITY. Your phone may not work either. There is a wired phone for emergencies. This helps concentration.

Since the Redden Lodge has no beds please bring your own cots or air mattresses. We will have overflow accommodations in an RV.  Accommodations are available on a first come, first served basis.

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.

Grinding with our supplied glass?

All mirror-making materials will be furnished and expert mirror makers will be available to guide each person's activities. We recommended  6" F/8,  8" F/6, 10" F/6, and 12.5" F/6 or 12" F/6 mirrors and tools with generated curves ready for 220 grit. You may choose other focal ratios.

Successful mirror makers will leave the Seminar with a fine-figured mirror ready for aluminizing.

You will also have the skills, knowledge and confidence to repeat the process as desired. Although our purpose is to ensure each mirror maker is successful, there is no guarantee of results.

Polishing or figuring?

Some mirror makers prefer to bring their previously started mirror projects that need some special TLC to turn them into finished fine optics. We encourage you to bring your project mirrors. Just let us know the diameter and F ratio.

Please be aware that large mirrors normally require more time and attention than smaller sizes. We will do our best to ensure large mirror success but there is no guarantee.

We do have a selection of tools if you cannot find your own - if you need one please contact as soon as possible so we can search our inventory. We can also make Dental Stone tools primarily for polishing. Please check with us to see if we have a suitable glass tool.

Bringing your own glass?

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 will be the Radius of the mirror which is twice the Focal Length. If you bring glass 8" diameter or larger that is flat the chances of completing figuring will be reduced in the time we have together. For example a mirror with a focal length of 48 inches will have a radius of curvature of 96 inches.

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.

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 pitch for polishing or refiguring. 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. We can also purchase a glass tool  for you but it may not have a generated curve.

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.

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 can strip coatings from mirrors. Old aluminum can be stripped in as little as twenty minutes, overcoated mirrors can take longer. Dental Stone polishing tools are made to order and can be used in about an hour including drying and 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. We will be providing a few special polishing mirror making stations. Last year these were experimental now they're just another work station.

 Price List

The pricing includes the Supremax  33 (same formulation as Pyrex) mirror blank, plate glass tool and curve generation along with all Lodge accommodations.

The mirror and tool will be shaped to your requested focal length with the backs ground flat and all edges beveled. The glass prices are quite high and not competitive between manufacturers. You are encouraged to beat our prices. Manufacturing will take a month from the order date. Please register at least six weeks before the workshop.

Supremax 33 Mirror Blank and Plate glass Tool + Lodging & materials
6" mirror blank and tool $525.00
8" mirror blank and tool $717.00
10" mirror blank and tool $1,087.00
12" mirror blank and tool $1,677.00
12.5" mirror blank and tool $1,677.00
Includes Food and Lodging and mirror making supplies (grit and polishing supplies)

Figure your own up to 10.1" diameter $220.00
Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $310.00
 Includes Food and Lodging and mirror making supplies (grit and polishing supplies)

Grinding / Figuring
Grind and Figure your own mirror up to 10.1" $280.00
Grind and Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $370.00
Grind, Polish and / or figure as many of your mirrors as you can do over the weekend $380.00
Polish and figure your own mirror up to 10.1" $250.00
Polish and Figure your own mirror beyond 10.1" $340.00
Returning mirror makers completing a previous mirror $200.00

Have a Newtonian primary mirror up to 18" tested and get figuring advice.

Includes Food and Lodging and mirror making supplies (grit and polishing supplies)
Visitor - includes meals & lodging $150.00
Visitor - food but no over night lodging $55.00
Visitor - no food and no over night lodging Free

Pricing Notes:
 If you are purchasing the glass through us we MUST receive your payment seven weeks before the workshop. The lead time for getting the glass is five weeks + shipping if everything goes well.
 Download the PDF Registration Form