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You can build a Dobsonian style telescope -- look here- http://pages.sbcglobal.net/raycash/manualv2.pdf
Building a refractor would be lots more expensive! for the optics-- however you can buy this small refractor being sold now for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 -- and see how they are constructed--
DO NOT buy any Bushnell, Tasco, Edu Scientific, or Galileo telescope-- these are all toy telescopes. We call them department store telescopes.
Look at this type of telescope as your first one: and you CANNOT buy a useable telescope for less than about $200. It's on craigslist or Ebay because some parent bought it for a child who used it two times and since it was not actually easily useable gave it up.
See This: http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Classic-Dobsonians/Orion-SkyQuest-XT6-Classic-Dobsonian-Telescope/pc/1/c/12/sc/13/p/8942.uts?refineByCategoryId=13
and watch my video and audio podcasts-- they will help you-- www.telescopeman.org www.telescopeman.us www.telescopeman.info