Are any bellows companies still in business?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by dsisaacs, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. dsisaacs

    dsisaacs Member

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    Or are they so busy they just don't need any new business?

    Last month I contacted 4 bellows manufacturers to get information on fabrication of custom bellows for an 8x10 camera I am building. Custom Bellows UK and Goretite by email; Western Bellows in CA and Universal Bellows in NY by letter. The letters to Western and Universal were both returned as undeliverable and as yet I have had no response from Goretite or Custom.

    I was really hoping to get professional bellows instead of using home made bellows.

    The addresses I had were:

    Western Bellows
    9340 7th St Suite G
    Rancho Cucamonga CA 91730

    Universal Bellows
    26 Hanse Ave
    Freeport NY 11520

    info@custombellows.co.uk

    For Goretite I emailed the local rep and he forwarded my email to them since their contact form did not work.

    Anyone have new addresses or info?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The only Bellows company I'd recommend is Custom Bellows in the UK, formerly Camera Bellows & before that Glanville's (still the same family connection). They make OEM bellows for most (if not all) major manufacturer in Europe/USA, and have done for many years.

    Their bellows are superb, I went there in 1976 with my camera and they pulled the original drawings out for the pattern for newbag bellows for me, they told me what frame to make as well.

    Ian
     
  3. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    Custom Bellows are great, made my 12x15 bellows no probs.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Western Bellows (Jim Ormond): 909-980-0606

    Last I talked to Jim, he was sick (having seizures), and relying on crappy veteran's health care. (We are shipmates, so we shared our "complaints", to use a soft word.)

    It is important to understand that he is now a one-man operation, and is older, so his business abilities are only going to be as good as his health. He started as an employee back in the 1970s, when the company got most of their work from government contracts, making enormous bellows for enormous copy cameras. He ended up taking over the business, and eventually having to downsize to a single owner/operator working out of his home.

    I have heard he is impossible to contact. I had no trouble, however. I can also vouch for the excellent quality of his work...and it is nice supporting a local small business. I am lucky in that I was able to drive my project out to him. :D

    I would give him a call. The address to which you sent the letter is the address for his old shop, which he closed down.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2010
  5. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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  6. Evans Wetmore

    Evans Wetmore Member

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    Gortite

    Does anyone have experience with Gortite bellows? They advertise on their website as a maker of photographic bellows.

    Evans
     
  7. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

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    Keh has their own bellows repair man. They said he can make bellows for anything. You can contact them through the repair page. They are currently replacing the bellows in my C330.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Good to know. Thanks. I have considered sending things to KEH for repair, but did not feel like I wanted to use an equipment retailer for repair work...especially one across the country.
     
  9. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

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    I felt the same way too, but as you know they have a great reputation and always guarantee their work. I have bought many cameras from them and have never had any problems. Plus, I spoke to Mamiya in NY (my first choice) and it was more then 100$ from what Keh quoted me (not including shipping) and the difference between Atlanta and NY sold me.

    My local shop wouldn't even touch it....
     
  10. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    I agree, he does excellent work.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Custom Bellows UK (formerly Camera Bellows UK) did a fantastic job on my 11x14" American Optical bellows.

    I've heard that Mark Kapono's work is good, but people on the LF forum have reported problems communicating with him and inordinately long waiting times, so I'd check the forum at lfphoto.info to see if there's any more recent information. Since I go to Hawai'i with some regularity, I'd really like to have a bellows maker in the state and generally to support a local Hawai'i business, but I'm not sure if he's worked out his reliability issues yet.
     
  12. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    I believe Richard Ritter can provide exactly what you need, especially since you are building your own camera. I suggest giving Mr. Ritter a call at his workshop in Vermont, and giving him all of the salient details. As you might know, Mr. Ritter has a vast experience in building, modifying, and repairing wooden field cameras of all types. Please let us know how things work out.

    Richard T Ritter
    POB 401
    Townshend, VT. 05353-0401
    (802) 365-7807
    8AM to 6PM Week Days
    &
    Saturdays by chance
    rrlg4mat@sover.net
     
  13. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    How about trying to go through some of the companies still making cameras with bellows?
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Most of those are likely to source bellows from the other companies mentioned.
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    They likely contract the English company to do their bellows.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The company in upstate New York, I think, was making bellows for Beseler or Omega enlargers for a long time. The UK supplier has patterns for many cameras, because they have been a major source.
     
  17. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I'd be leary of Mark. He once dissapeared without telling anyone n left me high n dry holding 15 restored folders waiting for bellows. Although I didn't get burned, I have heard of people that have.