Care and Feeding of a Ries Tripod

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Gary892, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. Gary892

    Gary892 Member

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    I recently aquired a Ries Model A tripod. It looks to have been made in the 1940's or 1950's. It has the photo plane head. The wood is not cracked but looks old and the black paint on all the metal parts is almost gone.

    What is the recomended process for bringing this trpod back to life.
    Should I take all the metal off and have it powdercoated and refinish the wood?

    Suggestions?

    Thanks
    Gary

    No I will not give it to you to field test. :wink:
     
  2. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    Some may say keep it original, but I say absolutly! Refinish it!

    I find old Ries tripods all the time for cheep, purchase them and completely refinish them, turn around and sell them for a profit.

    You will probably have to lightly sand it down. Use a oilbased stain (clear is good, because the wood is a nice color) and then I prefer to finish them with a Marine spar varnish, high glossy. This is very durable, resistant to UV sun rays, and water proof to seal the wood.

    For the tarnished metal, I used a very light steel wool to polish everything up and make it sparkle. For all the painted black metal hardware, I used a oilbased, high gloss black paint that is very tough, rust resistant and does not chip easy. Get them power coated would be much nicer however!

    Finally, I replace all the tiny rusted wood screws, bolts, nuts and washers with higher quality ones that wont rust or tarnish. They can be purchased from a hardware store.

    You may also want to replace the rubber feet on the bottom of the legs. These can be purchased from Ries Tripods.

    All the best,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  3. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    I recommend just a thin liquid stripper (with steel wool) and then several coats of exterior tung oil. Follow with a good paste wax. If it needs another rehab down the road, no varnish or urethanes to remove. To me, the only way to refinish.

    I used a steel brush wheel on the metal parts, primed then painted black and reassembled.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    since we are on the subject...

    Since we are on the subject, the legs of my Ries can be tough to extend here in the land of fog and rain (no problems when I go up in the Sierras or to the deserts).

    I thought about some furniture polish on the legs might get them to slip easier. Any cons about doing this? Any polish better than others?

    Thanks, Vaughn
     
  5. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    Usually older Ries tripods have that problem of the wood sticking. That is why I finished my in a high gloss finish so the wood is very slick and smooth and comes out without any pulling.

    Depending on the condition of your tripod, Usually I think the wood needs to be slightly sanded abit to remove the rough spots in the wood and smooth everything out. The last Ries I refinished look like it was sunk with the Titanic and was sitting at the bottom of the ocean for a few decades. After stripping and sanding it down, the wood was beautiful.

    I use Pledge funiture polish spray to clean off my tripod once in a while.
     
  6. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    Has anyone tried bowling lane wax on the surfaces where wood slides against wood?
     
  7. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    Just try paste wax and after for maintenance, as Ryan said, a little pledge.
    I don't recommend a varnish though. When treated with several coats of tung oil to the point of saturation, the oil gets into the wood, not just on top, and when followed with the wax, will be smoother than the proverbial baby's butt.

    Internationally know woodworker Sam Maloof, when asked what he uses to protect his handcrafted pieces, replied "pledge".
     
  8. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I agree. I don't take very good care of my wooden tripods in the field but I do clean them up occasionally and have found Tung Oil superior to an other process. At one time I used to clean them with benzene or similar agents and wax them with plain carnauba wax. they looked great, but I had to reclean them often. The tung oil get into the wood and helps to preserve them even if they get horrible looking from use in fresh and salt water, mud, salt flats and the many other horrible places I tend to put them.
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Thanks

    Thanks, I'll take the pledge...

    I bought the pod and head new, but it has spent a lot of time outdoors off the beaten track. Past time for a tune up.

    Thanks again, Vaughn