Bellows repair

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by jmdavis, May 1, 2005.

  1. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    On Friday, I received a C1 via mail order. There were a couple of issues (duly noted by the seller). One of these was several pin holes in the last 5 or six pleats. Being the believer in online research that I am, I checked here, LF forums, photo.net and the various other web pages. There seemed to be a number of possible solutions, depending on the size of the area to be fixed.

    On the very front and last pleats, the holes were slightly larger (still pinholes, but you didn't need to stretch the bellows tight to see the light through them. For these, I cut some black gaff and used it for the repair. For the absolutely tiny holes that were left, I used some black latex fabric paint.

    Now the question. How have those who used similar repairs found them to hold up.? I plan on a new bellows eventually (hopefully I can make it through the summer). Do people who have made bellows repairs think that making it through the summer sounds reasonable?

    Oh yea. Those 8x10 dark slides are HUGE! Also, I rather enjoy a camera that I can fit my big head into. :smile:

    Mike
     
  2. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I had more gaffer's tape than leather on bellows of my Eastman #2 for about 12 years before I bothered to get them replaced. It made folding up the camera a bit of a pain in the a$$, and it sure wasn't pretty, but it held for a long, long time.

    I wound up getting a replacement made by Westen Bellows last year - and I'm glad I did! :smile:
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Jim-search the archives. There was a fairly long thread about bellows repair materials. Recently I acquired a compndium shade which had some major gaps in the bellows. I used "Aquaseal" from a dive shop. I have not tried anything else. The great tihng about this stuff is that when it dries it is completely pliant.You need to put some black paint over it. To me this was good stuff and only $8 a tube. Good luck with your new camera!
    Regards, Peter
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    B&S sells a bellows repair product that always seems to get good reviews. I've been lucky enough to not need it yet.
     
  5. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I have three pinhole repairs in the bellows of my 1927 Zeiss-Ikon 250/7 Ideal that were put on in late August of 2004 -- small patches of very thin leather applied with rubber cement -- that get better with time, as the patch material takes the fold of the bellows and is compressed into shape with the camera closed.

    I have also repaired the bellows on my post-War Wirgin Auta with liquid electrical tape (too many holes, all in corners, to repair with patches) -- after letting it sit for two weeks, there is no tackiness when closing the camera and it's completely light tight, but it's only been a month since I repaired it, so I can't speak to durability (though since I was able to completely remove this bellows for repair, I reversed it to put unworn material on the side that gets the wear, and can conceivably replace it, possibly with a homemade unit, if/when the other side also wears through -- if I'm still around in another 50 years).

    Generally, I'd expect a leather patch applied with appropriate adhesive (and I don't consider rubber cement the best, but it was available and works pretty well on leather -- Pliobond would likely be ideal) to last as well as the original leather on a bellows. The main concern is that pinholes indicate the whole bellows is failing, and are likely to be followed by more of the same. If the camera is worth the expenditure (and nearly any 8x10 is), it might be sensible to consider getting the bellows replaced rather than chance new leaks showing up on the first of 20 sheets on a shoot where you won't see the damage until after the shooting opportunity is gone. At the very least, it would be worth getting in the habit of removing the ground glass and putting a bright light inside the bellows before each day's shooting, to look for additional holes, until you can afford the time and/or money to replace the bellows.
     
  6. Dr. Dagor

    Dr. Dagor Member

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    Interested in hearing how you are getting along with bellows repair.

    Here are a couple of things I've heard... The Aquaseal stuff works.
    There is also material called Gutta Resist. A natural latex product used in fabric crafts. www.dharmatrading.com has it.
    For large repairs I'd been searching for a strong, opaque and extremely flexible fabric. A friend put me onto Gore-Tex patch kits. You can use Aquaseal to glue the Gore-Tex to the inside of the bellows, and it will remain flexible.
     
  7. Gustavo_Castilla

    Gustavo_Castilla Member

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    Bostickand sullivan has a repeir kit (tape and glue) easy to use and does not impid folding
    Cheers
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    equinoxphotographic(.com) sells bellows repair liquid as well.
    i have not used it, but it works well from all accounts. you
    paint it on with the bellows extended, let dry and there you are.
     
  9. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I had a bellows with pinholes on every corner ( and there are A LOT of corners on a bellows) I used Black neoprene wetsuit repair glue from a dive shop and it seemed to work fine, although I always drape my darkcloth over the bellows before I pull the slide. :smile:
     
  10. shyguy

    shyguy Member

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    the tape is all i have used, it woks well, is fast and easy.
     
  11. RAP

    RAP Member

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    Well I just completed a full repair of my bellows on my Wista Field 45 I bought way back in 1977. I shaved it off from the front and back element as close as possible with a razor blade, lost one fold on both ends. Then stretched it out as far as possible so the folds were flat.

    Then I took a large piece of thin black vinyl I bought from the fabric store. I sprayed both the felt side of the vinyl and the bellows with 3M 90 adhesive. Then laid the bellows so that one end of the vinyl was half one side, then worked the three sides so that the folds and vinyl joined as flat and even as possible.

    When I got to the bottom part, I took a wide metal T square and placed it under the vinyl to act as a cutting surface so to not slice the bellows and folded over the top part, to not quite doulble cut the seam with a razor blade. I left maybe a quarter inch over lap, used another ruler for a straight edge.

    Let the glue cure, cut away the excess and folded the bellows back into shape. The vinyl acts like a veneer over the old one and sealed it light tight.

    It folds as good as new.
     
  12. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Cool, is the vinyl some of that faux leather or something else?

    Nathan
     
  13. RAP

    RAP Member

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    Nathan,

    It is a faux leather, very thin soft and pliable. I found a remnemt on the shelf for $3.00 dollars. The glue was $10.00. It is a better way to fix an old leaky bellows then to just keep patching it.