Graflex 3A Teardown and Rebuild

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by luisalegria, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. luisalegria

    luisalegria Member

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    I have a DOA Graflex 3A - I bought it for nothing as a wreck, with the intention of trying my hand at a total rebuild - one of the varnished wood-bright brass sort of things. Looking for help on some points.

    Some previous owner had already modified this, changing the back to be for postcard-format pack film - the spool holders are 1 - sealed in place and the other removed. That postcard format pack film holder may be a collectors item in itself. I have removed the previous owners efforts. I think I can probably build a Graflok back for 4x5 on there, it looks like it may work with an inch or so of standoff- the guys who mod Polaroids into 4x5's do this after all. If not I can probably build it flush where the pack film holder was, to shoot 3 1/4 x 5 on 4x5.

    The cover leather is overall decayed and atrocious and I sanded it off. I removed all the outer brass bits for cleaning and polishing. That part seems pretty straightforward.

    The bellows are very bad but I may be able to rescue the inner liner and ribs to re-cover it, if I can get the bellows out. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to do so as the bellows are attached to an inner frame thats connected to a lot of other bits. Any suggestions ?

    The shutter curtains are complete and working but dry, cracked and pinholed. I will have to make a new one using the old one as a pattern I guess.

    The focusing hood is in great shape but I will have to remove it to reposition the groundglass to match the focus on the back, unless I figure something else out. Unfortunately unlike other Graflexes the hood seems to be glued in place. Or is it ? How would one shim the groundglass on the 3A's ?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Go for it, I do these restorations and it's fun. I've a current thread on restoring a Ruby Reflex.

    Ian
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi

    i think your camera was modified ...
    the handle pops up, and the hood is attached to it
    the same way it attaches to other graflex slrs ( i use a series D,
    and have had and used b's ) there are 2 clips that slide up /down as the hood extends
    and the base of the hood attaches under clips by the ground glass.
    the glass can be removed ( i didn't do it ) mine has a few screws and clip
    that hold the glass in place.

    i never modified mine but use 122 size spools i roll with paper, or a 5x7 sheet of paper right across
    the film gate, it works great :wink:

    good luck with your rebuild, its a great camera !

    john
     
  4. luisalegria

    luisalegria Member

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    Thanks all.
    The hood is held against the top cover by the usual Graflex bar arrangement, and I've separated that part. I have also removed the top cover.
    The hood now looks like its attached to a frame thats screwed down, unfortunately the screw heads are inside the hood, which is difficult and awkward to deal with.
    The bellows also look like they are held on the internal frame by screws in the inner sides of the internal frame.

    Also, the bellows are not, it turns out, made on a tapered but straight form, but seem to be curved. Thats new one for me !

    This is a $&*^%$(*@# system to work on !

    To mount a 4x5 back I will have to reposition the groundglass higher by about an inch. That may prove interesting.