5x7 wooden film holders

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Nutter, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    Just won some crusty old wooden 5X7 film holders on Ebay---anything I should know about them or do to them before trying to use them?

    :surprised:
     
  2. FM2N

    FM2N Member

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    I usually start with a damp cloth to get all the gunk off them. Then dry and vaccum the dust out of them. Then i load them with RC paper and take them outside and leave them in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes turning then every few minutes. Them develop them in dektol and see if there are any leaks.
     
  3. henrysamson

    henrysamson Subscriber

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    I have a bunch of the wooden 5x7 (8x10 and 4x5 also) that I have bought off ebay. This is what I do:

    1 - Inspect them for cracks or splits in the wood. This often happens at the hinged part, where it is split to accept the dark slide. It can also happen at the sides. Usually they can be repaired with wood glue using small c-clamps to hold the wood together while the glue dries.

    2 - Replace the tapes if needed. I bought a bunch of it from B&H several years ago but any thin black cloth tape should work.

    3 - Blow them out really well. I have been shocked at the cloud of dust that comes out of the dark slide slot from holders that were supposedly in use.

    4 - I take some junk negatives and place them in the holders with the slides out and then carefully spray paint them with a satin black paint. The negatives mask the holder, they can be reused. Angle to avoid shooting paint into the the dark slide slot. It is easy to do. Two coats. I don't use flat black because it makes for a rough surface. The holder will be hard to insert into the camera if the face is rough. A black 'sharpie' felt tip pen can be used to darken any scratches through the paint in the area behind the film. Don't totally trust the anti-halation backing on the film.

    5 - Make sure the slides are the correct ones. I got one batch where two holders had slides that did not quite go all the way in . . . just about 1/8 -1/16 inch of plastic showed at the top. But, two holders leaked light at the bottom . . . guess what . . . the slides were in the wrong holders! The slides are not all identical.

    They will look great when you are done and all of this does not take all that long. I prefer wood over plastic as they are thinner, lighter and seem to hold less of a static charge. I also find that the plastic ones can develop hairline cracks at the seams (near the top on the sides) that leak light before they are easily visible. YMMV.

    And finally . . . test them with film (cheap and out of date if you can find some) in sunlight for several minutes.
     
  4. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    All good advice, thanks!
     
  5. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Whats already been said, plus:
    Test the holders for light by loading some photo paper in then an letting them sit in daylight for a few hours. Develop the paper and look for leaks.

    A bit of Pledge wiped on the edges of the dark slides will make them slide in and out easier(less chance to jossel the camera, don'tcha know)

    john nanian recommends book binders tape for replacing the hinges. I use gaffer's tape but I've got to agree book binder's tape is a classier approach (and far more flexible)

    Never throw away a bad holder---put it in a cannibal box and use the parts to keep your other holders on line.

    Get a micro attachment for a shop vac to vacume out all the nooks and crevices.

    Keep your clean holders in a zip lock baggie.
     
  6. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    John, isn't several hours a bit long for a direct sunlight test even with 3 ISO paper? Maybe a half hour would do... or three hours in open shade with the holders propped up on edge?
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    What's with the few hours thing? It either leaks light or it doesn't. It will only take a few minutes in direct light even with slow enlarging paper to show if there are light leaks. Running a strong flashlight around the edges will do the same thing.
     
  8. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    just got my first 8x10 holders(4 of em) for about $10/each from fleabay,

    gonna try this!

    -Dan
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I load them with RC paper, and hit them with a few bursts of a strobe light.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Mind that some of the deals on wooden 5x7 holders really are too good to be true, and you get plate holders with no film inserts.

    I have also found that while many of the oldies are fine for visible light photography, they can be iffy for IR.
     
  11. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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    ---HMMM inteesting--- one of them must be just that... but has removable film inserts with it: on the back they say, "kodak professional film sheath" The holder is stamped with a patent of 1927---so If I wanted to make glass plates, this is what I would want, huh?:smile: Never saw one of these before.
    A couple of the others were a little cracked up---had to apply the super glue treatment and some marine tex epoxy to one of them.
     
  12. henrysamson

    henrysamson Subscriber

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    I have several of these in 4x5. When film came out they made sheaths that would hold the film that could then be inserted into plate holders. The sheaths look a little like grafmatic septums. So, this is what you want if you want to make glass plates. I had an old box of Kodak Tri-X (ortho I think) glass plates years ago and gave them a try but they were very fogged and I tossed them. But they worked fine in the holders.

    Hank
     
  13. david_mizen

    david_mizen Member

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    i bought a lot of 8x10 holders for cheap described as being stored damp hasnt affected the wood but the aluminium parts were covered in oxide which was worse inside were the light seal seats there were 2 consequences first the rivets that held the aluminium strip at the top of the holder popped as soon as i put any pressure on the strip and secondly as previously noted the light seals were heavily contaminated with Al oxide my fix was to pop all the rivets out most just fell out but i did have to drill out a couple and then replaced them with brass wood screws and throughly clean the seals and scrub the inside of the aluminium strip with a stainless steel brush (cause it doesnt leave fragments of bristle to rust)
    brush