Building 4x5 camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by matthew001, Apr 25, 2012.

Primary Wood Option

Poll closed May 2, 2012.
  1. Cherry

    36.4%
  2. Cedar

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Oak

    12.1%
  4. Mahogony

    21.2%
  5. Walnut

    3.0%
  6. Maple

    3.0%
  7. Black Palm

    6.1%
  8. Rosewood

    12.1%
  9. Purpleheart

    3.0%
  10. Bubinga

    3.0%
  1. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    I'm building my first 4x5 monorail out of wood. I will post images of my design and will definately post a step-by-step when I'm done. The only part of the camera I am not building is the lens - everything else will be handmade from wood (no powertools). I was wondering if anyone had suggestions regarding the wood I use or tips/things they notice about there own wooden camera. Please feel free to comment about my design; any flaws you may see.

    Already have a lens: 150mm F5.6 Fujinon-W
    but I am keeping my eye out for a brass lens as well.

    The design is a work in progress:

    156236_10150978410244622_737184621_13045670_1417986948_n.jpg
    485678_10150978409284622_737184621_13045667_153937911_n.jpg
     

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  2. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    156437_10150979947269622_737184621_13049241_934536702_n.jpg
    525573_10150979947409622_737184621_13049242_258877889_n.jpg
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  4. RolleiflexLife

    RolleiflexLife Member

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    Macassar Ebony is missing in the poll, I'd vote for it (but beware the irritating dust).
    Anyway congrats for your beautiful project, in Cherry would be very nice :smile:
     
  5. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I've always liked bubinga so that's what I voted for... but I like curly maple too, maybe with a light cherry stain. Zebrawood might be interesting too.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i said oak
    only because it is plentiful.
    no point using something exotic ...
     
  7. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I'd say build it out of something cheap like poplar or pine to test your plans. Then build it out of the wood of your choice. If you happen to build one out of birds eye maple and don't want it, just send it to me. :smile:
     
  8. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    Oh... birds eye maple... yeah, very pretty... but stable??
     
  9. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Thats exactly what I'm wondering about - what wood looks good and is strong too. I am not experienced enough with all different types of exotic wood to know. Thanks for your comments!
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Fender used it for guitar necks. They need to be much more stable than a camera.


    Steve.
     
  11. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    Steve... VERY interesting. Birds-eye maple is VERY SEXY!!
     
  12. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    So the poll leaned toward cherry and mohogany. I think I will use primarilly Cherry, which was traditionally used in wooden cameras, with accents of other woods. Thanks for your votes -- I will post some pictures when I make my first cuts. I plan to document the whole process for anyone who wants to build one too.
     
  13. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    final designs

    These are my final designs -- I may tweak them slightly here and there.

    mh45_lfcamera_cherrywood_img1_frontal.jpg
    mh45_lfcamera_cherrywood_img2_back.jpg

    Let me know if you want to see different views. I'd be willing to export some images of specific areas exploded.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Looks good but there's only so much you can do with CAD. Start cutting up some wood!

    Some people like to get every little detail of a design sorted out before they start work. I don't! I make one piece then make the next piece fit to it, and so on tweaking the design (in my head usually) as I go on.

    e.g. Although I have made the front and rear standards and temporarily fitted the bellows, I still don't quite know how I'm going to do the focusing rack. I have a few ideas in my head. I will probably have to try them out firs, possibly with some MDF before I cut up some more oak.


    Steve.
     
  16. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Are you planning on friction-focus or gears/knobs? I'm going the simple route - friction no gears or knobs to complicate the design. I think once I finish this camera I will start a larger 8x10 and have some sort of gear focusing system or something. That's all in my head for now since I have no experience with such things.
     
  17. tim k

    tim k Member

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    I think you've just invented the Bender.
     
  18. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Now be nice.

    Admirable you doing it without power tools.

    I'll just start on mine using power tools. Much to be said about machining wood to the thousandths. And because I have built many things by hand, I have nothing to prove.

    As for your question, all are OK choices of wood, Cherry is one of the lightest with stability. And dang does it clean up well and take a nice finish.

    tim in san jose (funny nobody took walnut)
     
  19. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    I don't know what that means.
     
  20. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I do have a small rack and pinion which I'm going to try to incorporate. I will take it to work today to measure it and draw it.


    It means something else in England!


    Steve.
     
  21. LJH

    LJH Member

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  22. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I checked through the list of woods... but I couldn't find MDF!

    Actually I was having fun doing some woodwork yesterday making sheet film holders.

    After a bit of research the wood recommended as most workable for not too silly money was sapele.

    This is mahogany family, but not your actual mahogany.

    I'm based in the UK, so the list of woods available to me is going to be very different, so not much point making too many suggestions. Also, I suspect what I might buy locally as 'oak' and what someone in North America buys as 'oak' might be very different. But... then again we might both be buying some other wood imported from somewhere in Africa.

    My sapele arrived a few days ago - but I didn't want to try out my rather poor woodworking skills out making a prototype out of this new wood, so I found an old shelf that a previous owner had put up in my kitchen. I removed it about 15 years ago and stuck it in my rather damp 'hot in the summer / below freezing in the winter' garage. I took it out and found it was still as flat as a slab of granite and in perfect condition. I sliced it up into 20 X 20 mm batons on the band saw. It seemed to saw really nicely - and worked fairly well on the router table, too. Quite hard, you need a slow feed, but I managed lots of really narrow slots with no chipping or splitting. Planing was not quite so easy - the grain tends to tear if you catch it in the wrong direction, but not too badly. I like the fact that after this time if it hasn't warped by now... I don't really expect it to move.

    Frustratingly, I don't know what wood it is. It has a fairly straight grain, it's quite dense and is quite light brown when smooth, but the saw dust has a reddish tinge. I'm not much of a wordworker at all and certainly no sort of expert, but I'm guessing iroko, sometimes known as 'poor man's teak' - which would explain why it has kept so well. It is so nice to work with I'm beginning to wonder if I needed to bother with the sapele!
    It would make a weatherproof 'tropical camera', too.
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Post a picture showing the grain. One of us should be able to work out what it is.

    For wood supplies in the UK, try this musical instrument makers supplier: http://www.luthierssupplies.co.uk/

    They can cut it to the size you want and even plane/thickness it for you.


    Steve.
     
  24. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Actually, I based my plans off of Jon Grepstad's designs for a 4x5 friction focus. I went through several designs to refine exactly what I wanted.
     
  25. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi,

    I answered this message a few hours ago, but my reply seems to have... "DISAPPEARED".

    Freaky. Looks like APUG is still having a few problems...
     
  26. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Ya, not only did I get your response, I got a response with you quoting yourself. Kinda like meeting yourself in a time warp, eh?

    tim in san jose