Graflex Guru's I need some help please...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by AZLF, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    I was perusing the local Craig's List and ran across a listing for "An old camera $10.00". I looked at the photo and it was a Graflex 4x5" press camera though I couldn't tell what model from the photo. I called the guy and went over and bought it. It appears to be a Crown Graphic I think because it does not have the focal plane shutter but does have the rangefinder and a Graf-lok back. Someone closed the camera before the lens and rails were in the right position and now the rear rails are slightly higher than the front rails and the focus won't work. There is a little rod that sticks out on the bottom lower left of the body near the lens that appears to be bent.

    My questions:
    1. How do you remove the graf-lok back? I have slid both rails on the back to the unlock position but nothing seems to come loose.
    2. Is this a Crown Graphic? I thought those did not come with the Graf-lok back. At least my other Graflex which was sold to me as a Crown model did not have it.

    This camera did not come with a lens but I have a 135 mm for it with the other camera. This body is in much better shape and I would like to get this one back into working order.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     

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  2. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Nice find! Try unlocking the front standard and racking the focus rails completely off the camera, then back on.
     
  3. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    To take off the GG back, press doen on both the silver levers on the right hand side, and slide the back right.
     
  4. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    AIM me at "easmithv", I'll be glad to try and walk you through it.
     
  5. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    I envy your find. :smile:
     
  6. skyrick

    skyrick Member

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    Moving the slide locks on the back should let you remove the ground glass focusing plane and the viewing hood, not the Graflok back. There are two screws; one top center and one bottom center. Removing these two screws will allow you to remove the Graflok back, which is basically a frame with quick releases to allow easy swapping of sheet film back and roll film adapters.

    If there is no focal plane shutter it is almost certainly a Crown, unless it is a Super Seed Graphic. You have a top mounted rangefinder so that's a possibility. The top slide lock for the lens board should say Crown Graphic or Speed Graphic. Try this link for a pretty good explanation of the different backs. http://www.xs4all.nl/~lommen9/holders/index.html

    Good luck with the rails. Tuscon should have a camera shop that has someone familiar with press cameras.

    Rick
     
  7. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    Thanks for all the replies so far. Even with the detailed instructions sent to me I have not been able to remove the ground glass as yet. But as one person pointed out this does not remove the graf-lok back. To remove that there are six screws which is what I really want to do. I need to remove the bellows entirely to get at the rear rails and find out why they are sitting higher than the rails on the front swing down panel. I can see they were forced up when the camera was closed improperly but I don't see why they remain too high.

    I just got the ground glass off. No problem. But as I said I need to do a lot more dis assembly to get at where I need to look.
     
  8. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Try rolling it out a bit, unlocking the bed braces, and while tilting the bed up a little bit, rolling the focus frame back in.

    I closed it once wrong by mistake when I first got the camera, and this fix worked for me.
     
  9. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    After a closer look I can see what the problem is clearly. It is as I thought. Someone tried to close the front panel when the focus rail was not in the "close" position. This bent the rear left in body rail and to some degree the right one up about a 1/16th of and inch. The front moving rails are connected to the rear by a link on each side and with the rear rails pushed up as they are this freezes the front moving rail. I think what I am going to do is use the focus rail system from my other Crown Graphic on this body which is in much better shape. The push rod for the rangefinder system is also bent. If I can successfully straighten it then I think the rangefinder will works as well. Considering it's age this camera body is in very good shape.
     
  10. cblurton

    cblurton Member

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  11. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    That website helped me a lot last time :smile:
     
  12. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    Well it's done. I swapped the focus rails from my other Crown Graphic (which was in horrible shape and was much older than this one) and it now racks out and focuses as it should. The rangefinder actuator was too bent to slide back into its metal sleeve so I'll have to use the infinity stop and ground glass for focus. No matter. This one is in much better shape than the other and has the original covering on it. My other had been stripped by a previous owner to attempt a "Natural Wood finish" with so so results. This one looks like a press camera should. I'll test it out this week.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.
     
  13. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    I took a picture of the focus rail I removed from the body. As you can see it got severely strained when the camera was closed improperly.
    Thankfully the removal and replacement of the rail system was pretty straight forward and I finished it last night. I hope to do some shooting this week to see how it does.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and links.
     

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  14. skyrick

    skyrick Member

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    That's a sweet looking $10 camera. Congrats on the repair. Let's see some photos, now!

    Graflex forever

    Rick
     
  15. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Did the rear guide blocks survive the abuse? If so, I think I have an extra set of rails. PM or e-mail me if you want them.

    Dan
     
  16. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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  17. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Find a friend who is a machinist/mechanic. Those don't look beyond bending back.
     
  18. AZLF

    AZLF Member

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    I don't think you can see it clearly in the photo's but the thin upper side of the "slot" which the lens frame base slides into normally has been ripped away cleanly from the rear rail section when the rail was bent in the original "event". Even if the rear rail section was bent back into shape it's still missing the upper side of what keeps it in alignment and in position.

    Correction: It's not the rear rail which was stripped but the mounting plate the rear rail rides in. There is an upper lip under which the rail is supposed to slide. When the camera was forced closed the rail lifted and both bent as seen in the photo and ripped the thin upper lip clean off both rail mounts. I could probably bend the rail section pretty close to straight but pretty close won't work in the assembly. It's got to be straight or the lens mount will bind on it.
    I guess the front section could be salvaged but the rear section is history.
     
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  19. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I've never seen the rails get mangled that badly. usually it's the rear blocks that get chewed up. I have an extra set of rails from a top-RF Speed - they're fine. The tiny groove in the rear blocks was completely trashed - the top lip just peeled away. It's the inevitable result of someone trying to close a Speed/Crown without racking the rails back fully. And, it renders the camera mostly unusable (unless you're patient enough to deal with the rails coming untracked every time you open and close the camera).

    Dan
     
  20. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    That manual will help you a lot.. The six screws in back will remove the back (literally, just just the graflok) then you can either unclip the bellows, or unsnag them with a fine flatheat screwdriver.

    The clips are easier and cleaner IMHO. There'll be two, one on top and one on bottom securing the bellows the body.

    The initial six screws; do not strip them, do not lose them.

    Pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
     
  21. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Also would be a good chance to remove the front standard/bellows assembly from the track, try to not loose any ball bearings (!).. and clean the rail guides and tighten them. Tighten everything.

    For $10 that is an absolute steal regardless of condiion. If the graflok looks nice you've made about $50-80 profit. Never mind the bellows.