Graflex Crown Graphic Restoration

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by the-new-old-school, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    Hello fellow APUGer's I have a camera that belongs to my dad and it needs a little work. I was wondering if you fine folks here could give me a ballpark figure on cost, or point me in a direction of DIY.

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    The bellows appear to be in pretty good shape, so I don't think I will need to replace them. What is worrying me is the corrosion on the body of the camera. If I believe the guide at graflex.org then the camera is from 1948 according to the lens. Which makes this a Pacemaker model right?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I've restored 2 Speed/Crown Graphics that were in far worse condition, this one shouldn't be too difficult at all. You need to reove the back, view finder and range -finder, all very easy and take them to pieces. It should just be the cover on the range-finder that needs restoration.

    The corroded metal parts need all their paint stripped off them then cleaning with a wire brush to remove all the corrosion, with the aluminium parts that must be thorough. Then paint with a spray primer (automotive paint) and rub down with #600 grit wet & dry paper, do this until any pits are filled and the parts look good, then spray paint with satin black paint. Then reassemble.

    The black leatherette polish with black boot polish.

    Ian
     
  3. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    By rangefinder you mean the thing with 2 windows on it on the right side of the body right? What about the shutter lever that's on the body?
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes that's the range-finder. The body shutter release will depend which part is corroded, if it's the plated surround you may need to get a replacement, the bit you push should clean with a wire brush.

    Ian
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    s/n 951075 was in a batch of serial numbers assigned 4/5/62. The next batch was assigned 9/17/62. Your father's camera was probably made between those two dates. The lens is, as you determined correctly, older.

    I'm a little surprised by a 1962 Crown Graphic with Kalart rangefinder and spring (Graphic) back. In '62 Graflex' own top RF and Graflok backs were standard. Could be that parts were swapped after the camera was sold, although new front door on old body is pretty well unheard of. Where is the "bump" for releasing the front door when the camera is closed? If on the side, pre-1950. If on top, later.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Dan, the S/N of my Crown Graphic dates it to 1963 and it's the same as the one here, spring back & side mounted range-finder.

    Also the door release is on the side (see attached) the same as my mid 50's Speed Graphic, as is the catch on the OP's camera (5th photo).

    Ian
     

    Attached Files:

  7. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    Dan, as Ian has pointed out the release button is on the side near the top. If you go here the second picture down shows it with the kalart on the side. Thank you for the info on the date of the serial number though. The lens seems to be in ok shape except at the slower speeds. The timing seems to be off or lagging. Might have to get that CLA'd. Just going to have to figure out where to take it, or send it to, first.

    I just want to get this in working order again. I have really only work with 35mm film and barely started in on 120 about 2 months ago. So I am thoroughly excited for the chance to work with large format. Plus I think that this camera is pretty cool by itself.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It looks like it is usable as is, if you don't mind a few cosmetic warts. You can go to Graflex dot org, where they have posted instructions for calibrating the rangefinder. While you have it open, you can carefully clean the film off of the mirrors and rangefinder glass as well.

    The entire back is easy enough to replace once you find a donor camera. That will take care of the corrosion on the back, and you can "upgrade" to a Graflok back while you are at it. The parts camera may also come with a usable cover for the RF, which would take care of the other main cosmetic issue. Parts cameras might be anywhere from $25 to $100. It'll probably be just as expensive if you buy those two parts alone, as opposed to an entire parts camera. Plus with the whole parts camera, you could get other potentially helpful items as well. Screws, brackets, infinity stops, etc.

    You have a solenoid, which means that you can mount a flash handle in place of the hand strap, and very smoothly release the shutter from the handle electronically by running a cable from the handle to the solenoid. You don't have the right-hand flash brackets, though, which go over the RF on the top end. You might prefer that, especially if focusing with your right hand feels awkward. The drawback of releasing the shutter this way is the added weight of the D-cell batteries. I think I have a spare cable and flash handle if you decide to track one down, and I am in L.A.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2011
  9. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    What's the deal with the Graflok back? I have seen a couple other posts mentioning it, but have no idea as to the differences between it and the one that's on there now. I didn't even think about trying to source a parts camera. That is definitely an alternative to cleaning and painting stuff myself. And I have a flash unit for it. I should take a pic of the case that has 20+ film holders and the flash tube plus bulb pan. Not too sure where a shutter release cable would plug into though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2011
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    With the Graflok back, the ground glass frame is attached by sprung clips, and can be removed quickly and easily. Once you remove it, there are two sliding bars on the camera back that are then used to hold accessories to the camera. This let you attach things such as roll film backs and Polaroid pack film backs. With the other (spring) backs, you have a back and ground glass frame that are not designed to be disassembled. You need to use accessories that slide under the ground glass, such as Polaroid sheet holders or Calumet- and Adapt-A-Roll-style holders. You can spot a Graflok-type back because it doesn't have leaf springs, just two metal bars on either side of the GG frame. The bars have hooked ends, and they are sprung with "hidden" coil spring, as opposed to the fully-exposed leaf springs of the spring-back models.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Refurb the back, it's not that hard.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You don't need a Graflok back, just refurb as John says I've given you my suggestions, it's two or three nights work because apints need time to dry, but it's very easy.

    Ian
     
  13. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    I never said it was too hard to do just merely an alternative. I don't have much experience with cleaning and painting things, so this should be interesting. I do appreciate everyone's insight and advice. Also have a 4 1/4 x 3 1/4 that will most likely become a display queen since film isn't made in that size.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Don't worry about lack of experience we learn by mistakes :D

    When I bought 2 Speed Graphics a few (4 or 5) years ago sold on ebay as 2 for parts to rebuild one good camera I was horrified to find they were quite different one pre-Anniversary the other a Pacemaker so no common parts. However both are now back in action.

    As it is your camera's worth very little at the moment and looks bad, a new back will be $70 or more as they are sought after to make reducing backs for larger camera's, you'd also need a new range-finder.

    You've nothing to lose taking the existing back off (6 screws from memory) and then taking apart and cleaning up, use a wire brush for an electric drill and just see what appears.

    It's fun I really enjoy the challenge. Get the 5x4 fixed then think about the other, Quarter plate film is still available :D It's a bit expensive though. I am using an early 1900's 1/4 plate camera :smile:

    Ian
     
  15. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    I have a 3-1/4x4-1/4 Pacemaker Speed Graphic, a 3-1/4x4-1/4 Anniversary Speed Graphic and a 3-1/4x4-1/4 Graflex RB Super D and I use all three cameras. Those that say you cannot use a 3x4 camera aren't trying very hard.
     
  16. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Hey Old School, Just in case you haven't run across it, the Graflex.org website has everything you'd want to know about Graflex and Graphic cameras:
    http://www.graflex.org/
    I have two Graphics and two Graflexes, and the site has been a treasure for me. Very nice helpful people.
     
  17. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    You can get 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Efke film from Freestyle; I've tried it in my RB Graflex.
    I have also cut down some 4 x 5 Arista EDU film as I am not in love with the Efke 100 I bought.
     
  18. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    I have perused that site already on a few occasions. I just haven't really delved to deeply in yet. I think between here and the graflex site I will find more info than I ever thought I needed lol.

    Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware there was any film in that size available. I think I'll still stick to the 4x5 though. Since we only have a couple of film holders for the 1/4.
     
  19. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    There is a place in Whittier called Flutot's that does CLA's on shutters for a reasonable price.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Carol's work is superbe. See http://www.flutotscamerarepair.com/

    Steve
     
  21. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    Thanks for the link! Whittier isn't too far from me and when I get a spare couple of bucks I will have to go out there with my lenses.
     
  22. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Contact Carol and get on the wait list. No obligation, she will contact you when your name comes up and then if you still want the shutter serviced you send it in or in your case drop it off. Unless things have changed Carol has a pretty good backlog and doesn't want the shutter till she is ready to work on it.

    Roger
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    There is usually a wait, but it is definitely worth the wait.
     
  24. the-new-old-school

    the-new-old-school Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to giver a call in the next couple days then.