Easy method of Bellows Repair?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Aurum, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Does anyone have any experience or tips on this. I've got a No2 Autographic Brownie that I've been playing with, and it appears that this stirring from its slumbers has caused a few pinholes to appear in the bellows.
    The bellows themselves appear to be a loose weave cloth that has been impregnated with a resin type material. A good analogy would be like waxed cotton fabric.
    The pinholes have appeared on several of the folds of the bellows.

    Can anyone suggest something that I could apply to the cloth to seal it and make it light tight. Its got to be flexible enough to allow the bellows to move, yet robust enough not to flake off.

    In theory I could remove and replace the bellows, but I would like to keep everything as original as possible. The thing has survived the best part of a century already, so I'm not looking to gut it and bin it. Its earned some rights.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi there

    i followed in the footsteps of fellow appugger jeremy moore
    and mixed some india ink and elmers glue ( white glue ).
    i fixed a big bellows that way ... the glue is flexible and the ink is black.

    as always
    YMMV

    good luck!
    john
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    As John says PVA glue with black i8nk or pigment.

    But there's also a very thin black repair material you can buy in needlecraft (sewing, knitting etc) shops. It's very thin, very strong and has a excellent adhesive backing. I've used this on the inside of bellows to repair quite bad rotten corners and it is thin enough while still being lightproof to allow the bellows to compress normally.

    Ian
     
  4. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Bellows repair

    There's some stuff out called "Liquid Electrical Tape" that's intended to be painted on a surface - kinda similar to some other stuff intended to coat and insulate tool handles - "Plasti-Dip" is the name, I believe. This stuff sticks really well IF you first clean the surface. It comes in all manner of colors and paints on with a brush. Check out your local industrial supply place for it.

    This stuff will probably give your bellows another 100 years of life. I've got some corner repair to do to my old and beat-up 2D - that's the stuff I'll be using.

    As was pointed out by ntenny (post below), this goop is loaded with MEK - I believe it's basically neoprene in suspension and rather nasty stuff. Just use with plenty of ventilation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2008
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    This is the stuff I've used for bellows pinholes. It works quite well for small spot repairs. Just don't breathe the fumes.

    -NT
     
  6. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I haven't had too much luck with LET. I definitely second the Plasti-dip though. Let it thoroughly dry before you close he bellows though or it can stick.
     
  7. Rob Archer

    Rob Archer Member

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    I've used 'photo opaque' and liquid rubber - the kind you get in cycle tyre repair kits. I patched up my Graflex Century Graphic about 2 years ago and the pinholes haven't reapeared yet despite regular use.

    Rob
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Home Depot or Lowe's should have this stuff.
     
  9. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm thinking that PVA glue and some lampblack watercolour paint might be the way to start, purely for the reason that I have it already to hand from my excusions into modified gum bichromate printing, for when I want the hardcore lith look.
    I may try the solvent based stuff later if the PVA fails

    I'll report back on how it goes

    Now where are the fine artists brushes... :D
     
  10. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    The black Plastidip worked great on the bellows of a Kodak monitor. Just dilute it with about 15% of Naptha and brush it on in several thin coats, concentrating on the corners. Let it dry well and you are as good as new - maybe better.
     
  11. desertrat

    desertrat Subscriber

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    I use the fabric paint that's sold in craft stores for putting lettering on T-shirts by hand. I've also found it in Wally World. It comes in many colors, but I use black, of course. It's very flexible after it dries, and allows the camera to be folded up afterwards if not applied too thick.

    I've used it to make the stiff and brittle bellows light tight on two 1910 vintage Seneca 8X10 views. It worked on a 1930s vintage Wirgin 120 folder, too.

    Of course, this isn't really permanent. After a few years, I'll have to break down and do a complete bellows replacement. For the time being, it's working fine.