Dumb question about lensboards

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Zan, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Zan

    Zan Member

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    I just got my 8x10 Burke and James a few days ago, and the lensboard is in pretty bad shape. I'd like to get a new one but I have never seen an actual Burke and James lensboard on Ebay. I noticed that alot of lensboards are interchangable with different manufacturers. Will any other lens boards fit B&J 8x10s? I think to get them machined by SK Grimes is about 100-120$ ( Im BROKE!).. Any ideas?
     
  2. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Zan,

    Is it metal or wood? I think they are the same as a Kodak D2 board.
     
  3. Zan

    Zan Member

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    Its wood. Its from the "Battleship Grey", red bellows burke and james.. 6x6 inches i think.
     
  4. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Try Midwest Photo, Lens and Repro, Equinox Photographic, Stephen Shuart, Photo Graphic Systems, etc... Very common size and if you tell them its for a B and J they'll know what you're looking for. Or take whats left of yours to the local high school and promise the woodshop teacher a bottle of his favorite scotch and he'll probably knock a half dozen of them out for you while you wait.
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Please post the dimensions you need - I have some boards that might do.

    Regards,

    David
     
  6. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I know nothing about B&J lensboards, but if they're just flat pieces of wood then you might as well make your own. If you're handy with tools you can make any kind of lensboard you want to, but the flat wooden ones are easiest.

    I use hobby plywood for all of my lensboards. For flat boards, just measure the thickness of the board, find a piece of hobby plywood at a hobby shop or art supply store that's the same thickness and at least as wide as your lensboard, trace your existing board on the plywood, and cut it out. To make the center hole, you can use a drill to punch a bunch of holes around the perimeter of the circle then use a box cutter (or even a pocket knife!) to remove the wood between the holes you drill...voila, a lensboard with a hole that matches your current one. You can clean up rough edges easily with sandpaper.

    If you have a Dremel-type rotary tool or a jigsaw at your disposal, things get even easier.

    Even Linhof boards (those small things with all of the funky angles and cut-outs) and Cambo boards (with rounded corners and the light trap on the back) can be made with just a little thought. I can't tell you the last time I actually paid for a lensboard...it takes me 10 minutes and about $1 worth of wood to knock out anything I need with a Dremel tool and a jigsaw.

    Again, if your board is just a simple square of wood, making it yourself is a no-brainer. If it's more complicated, then it's up to you to decide if you feel comfortable making a new one...but in my experience lensboards are the single most overpriced part of a view camera, given how easy they are to make.
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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    I would 2nd the above post to make your own. Did just that for the Eastman No. 1 because the lens board that came with it was the wrong size for the lens that I had. Turns out is was not to hard to make, the plus of it is you can pick up some of the 1/8 inch hobby board at a craft/hobby shop, cut one piece to fit the opening, then a 2nd piece a lttle smaller to use as a light dam..or if you have access to a router or know someone you could use 1/4 wood. Just use the one you have as a pattern, find a fortner bit if you can and it will make a nice clean hole.

    A little effort, maybe some black paint on the inside, paint/stain on the outside and Wow..you will have lensboard and maybe some $ in the pocket to spend on some film.

    Good luck (BTW - have not been in lf very long at all, and really not a good wood worker, so just about anyone can do this)
     
  8. Zan

    Zan Member

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    Im pretty sure its a little to complex for me to make myself, I wish I could post some pics of it. I have no tools at all, save screwdrivers and a hammer. I read about restoring a B&J, and this is what the guy said about making a lensboard:

    "You'll need a table saw and a tiny amount of skill for this next part. Need I say that table saws are DANGEROUS, and it's hard to work the camera without all your fingers?

    I used 1/4' plywood (really 3/16"), which is just slightly too thick to fit. You need to take off 1/16" in a band 3/16" (slightly more is OK) all the way around the edge (see the picture). I'm not going to tell you how to make a table saw do this. If you don't know, you need to have someone with experience show you, or buy a lensboard. They're on eBay now and then. Mine was 6" square, and I bet yours is, too. "
     
  9. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Zan,

    I can make lens boards for you which are an exact fit for the Burke & James. Check your personal messages.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2005
  10. Will S

    Will S Member

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    He used 1/4' plywood? I didn't know they made it that thick.

    You might be able to get someone at Home Despot or a similar place help you to make this cut. They sell masonite, which is a very hard board that works well for flat lensboards.

    Best,

    Will
     
  11. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    My Eastman uses 4 1/2" square boards. I use 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood from the hobby store for my wood lens boards. I cut a 1/8" deep, 3/16" wide rabbet around the entire perimeter (film side) with the router table so the board locks nice and snug into the recess.
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

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    And people say we are not supportive or helpful.

    I make my lens boards from masonite. The plywood always warps on me no matter how or where I store the stuff, or chip on the router. Masonite does not look real pretty on the camera but it works a lot easier than the plywood.
     
  13. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Repeat this ten times: "I will sharpen my router bits!" :smile:

    Seriously, I have a small diamond encrusted hone that I use to dress the router bits before I mount them in the tool (it looks like a nail file on steroids). That little extra step makes for much nicer cuts.

    I used to have that problem with 1/4" ply as well, tear out and chipping was a pain. It was one problem that was partially solved by pouring money at it - I bought the best router bits I couldn't afford and I make sure that I feed the work a little slower than my heavy handed router technique leads me to want to do. As for warping, if you can find 7 ply 1/4" Baltic Birch, give it a try. It tends to resist warping much better than the 5 ply stuff and is worlds apart from the 3 ply crap.

    I tried Masonite a few times, but I don't like it as it tends to swell during damp weather and the edges can get rather ratty.

    I spray my lensboards with Krylon flat black paint on both sides after I cut the mounting hole, then let them dry for a few days before mounting the lens.
     
  14. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I recently acquired a B&J Grover 8X10 from a friend, and acquired an original B&J lensboard from another APUG'er. After stripping the grey paint from the front, it appears to be ash in tongue n' groove pattern ( thick, light and sturdy). Only unusual feature is a 90 degree bevel on one side of back probably for ease of insertion into bottom area of standard.
     
  15. mark

    mark Member

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    DOug, Kodak has the same bevel. It fits a bevel on the front standard opening.

    Bob. It is a good thing I live in the desert. No problem with swelling masonite. As for sharpened bits. I went out and bought a new bit and it still splintered. I guess I'll have to buy a sharpener. I can hear the wife now. Not another purchase?
     
  16. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon,

    Be sure to use tempered Masonite; it's denser and harder than the regular stuff which has a tendency to "fuzz up" on the edges. If you're worried about moisture, just use a sealer on it, especially the edges; you'll probably want to paint the back side black also.

    Konical