Avoiding LF becuse it's too expensive?? (Oh NO. Another bottom feeder thread)

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jimgalli, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I marvel at what can be had at the auction site for about the cost of 2 tanks of gasoline! I bid on this funky old B&J 5X7 because honestly, I need some Packard Shutters and they seem to fetch about the same as this whole camera did.

    [​IMG]

    It arrived last night and clearly it has sat in some hot rafters unprotected for probably 35 years. The glue holding the bellows to the front had given up and it was VERY dirty, and slightly rusty. I paid $56. On closer examination though I discovered a fairly late 1950's to mid 1960's Burke & James 5X7 complete with a much older Bausch & Lomb 5X7 Tessar Ic f6.3 barrel lens. Probably sold by B&J on the same day. Even though these cameras aren't on anybody's dream camera list, I didn't have the heart to canibalize it.

    Stay with me, the next part will make you smile. I filled the darkroom sink with hot soapy water..........and gave it a bath. Took it apart and gave everything except the lens and packard a good scrub with a soft brush. In Nevada where I live I can get away with that. It was 95 degrees yesterday afternoon with relative humidity of around 4%. After I scrubbed, I simply toweled off and let the pieces sit on the pickup tailgate to finish drying which takes less than 5 minutes.

    When all the pieces were clean, I got the Carnauba wax and some WD-40 and re-assembled each piece with any wood-wood or wood-metal surfaces getting some wax, and any metal-metal surfaces getting some lube. I glued the bellows back to the front standard with contact cement and Voila! It was ready to make fine art contact prints in a little under 2 hours.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I called a high school pal that has been chomping at the bit to give the LF photos a try and told him I had a camera for him. He's a far better artist by accident than I ever will be on purpose so I'm excited to see what this old camera will do!
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Nice work, Jim!
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

    Messages:
    9,422
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Sunny Southe
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great job! The camera looks wonderful now. I too am not averse to doing a wee bit of cleaning to ebay wins which have been unloved for a few years.

    Ps. $56 for two tanks of gas? Whats the postage on that to the UK? :wink:
     
  4. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Uhh-Err. You're right. Make that 1 tank of gas. 20 gallons for the typical US gas guzzler SUV @ $2.80 gallon.
     
  5. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota Tr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does anyone know what posessed makers to paint so many of these battleship gray? Sure, the wood underneath is no prize but why go the extra mile to paint them?
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Whoever it was was considered such a genius that he was hired away by Linhof to design the tan covering for the 1970s Technikas and all the matching equipment of that era (tripods, backs, copy stands, studio stands--all tan). I believe this same person worked for Gucci briefly, designing two-tone tan and white patent leather shoes for men.
     
  7. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,720
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vegas/myster
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    nice job,

    I saw a few years back, a B and J that had had the grey paint removed and it was refinished....I think it was maple and looked lovely.
     
  8. eric

    eric Member

    Messages:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ahhhh it was YOU who won this! I watching it and then I looked at the "ENDED" auctions and it was over. Great job! Looks nice.
     
  9. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota Tr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Maple? What a beautiful wood, but it seems unlikely. Back then, and earlier wood was just the most feasible material and lower-end camera makers didn't even try to match grain. Some kind of mahogony was typical.
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    JJ,

    it really is maple. I had a gray one and stripped the paint to find the maple wood underneath.


    lee\c
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you paint it then you don't have to match wood. You don't have idiots complaining they don't like the color,grain whatever of the wood. Wanting to exchange the camera because thier friend got a "nicer" one. It lets you change wood if supply or price becomes an issue.

    LF for equipment has to be the best value. I bought five 5x7 film holders for $3.25 in May. It was a heated bidding war to :tongue:
     
  12. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota Tr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You made out very well, Lee!
     
  13. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mine was maple and Mike's is maple, too.
     
  14. Jim McD

    Jim McD Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    New Hampshir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The March/April 1995 issue of View Camera has a great article on how to refinish B&J's by Patrick Alt. It is maple underneath the battleship grey. I had plans to refinish mine, but never got around to it. It is a camera that does not need to look pretty to be used
     
  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Whoever that designer was that found his way to Linhoff also designed every computer on earth to be the same boring color. Maybe it was Virgil Exner who also styled the Dodge Lancer in 1961.
     
  16. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

    Messages:
    453
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ahh, the "Linhof loafer"!

    Steve
     
  17. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Fun story. Thanks Jim.
     
  18. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

    Messages:
    159
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Manitoba Can
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Always nice to see a piece of old machinery aviod the junk pile.

    (Lawrd knows I buy enough of 'em!)
     
  19. RichSBV

    RichSBV Member

    Messages:
    256
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    South of Roc
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Very nice! But I can't believe you gave it a 'bath'? I would never attempt that, but the humidity here rarely goes below 65% except maybe in January....

    I have two 8x10 B&J Commercial Views here in the same grey. When I got them, I read about the stripping anf Maple underneath. It's very tempting. But to do it right, the camera has to be compteley disassembled and that's a lot of work. And I see these as 'work' camera. Once you get used to the grey, it's not too bad. I also like to leave cameras as original as possible. The next owner can do what they want to it, but I'd like to think they saty as original as possible for the next generations.

    Many people knock those old B&J cameras, but they are truly work horses, if a little heavy ;-) It wasn't long at all before I found a lighter alternative ;-)
     
  20. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,720
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vegas/myster
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    In the mid west where I grew up more than half a century ago----maple and oak was very common, actually the oak antique furniture prized by some made 80 to 100 years was the cheap stuff....sold to the po folk...walnut though available, was expensive and is....I remember some folks in a small Illinois town coming home from vacation only to find several huge maturr American walnut trees had been removed. It was and is prized for gun stocks---fiddle back maple was and is another story--and Calamity will appreciate that I have a nice muzzle loader adorned with fiddle back maple.
     
  21. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in the days before bowling alleys sprang up, 2 and 3 in every medium sized town and one even in a little burg, maple was common and inexpensive in much of America. Add to that the fact it's both easy to work and long wearing, with little tendency to split and almost no effect of grain on cutting tools (unlike some hardwoods and most softwoods) and you have a perfect wood for making stuff like cameras.

    Then those bowling alleys came along (late 40s, early 50s), and between pins and aprons, sucked up literally millions of century-old maples over the course of a couple decades. Suddenly it was cheaper to use imported woods like mahogany, fast-growing (but less durable) species like poplar and birch, or even plywood.
     
  22. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,941
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Climax, Michigan
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have a stripped and refinished 11x14 Burke and James and I believe it is maple. Nice light wood with red bellows. It's much more attractive than the battleship gray one I almost bought a few years ago.

    These B&J view cameras are a real bargain IMO. In good shape 4x5s and 5x7s routinely fetch only $125-$200 on eBay. And, if you ever need parts, ones in need of reconditioning frequently come up on eBay as well. I've cannabalized a few of them to make a good camera out of a couple cheap broken ones.

    Joe
     
  23. highpeak

    highpeak Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Wow, what a sweet deal, but I wouldn't try to get it (look at that rubble). Now, thanks for the tip, I might try to get a B&J too if the price is right.
     
  24. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,264
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    You can do this with Kodak 2Ds as well.
     
  25. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota Tr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format