Graflex RB Series D

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Fotoguy20d, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'm trying to repair the damaged latch and shade curtains on this 4x5 RB-D (photo attached since there seem to be many variations on these things). There seems to be a missing metal hook of some sort on the door. And, there's a pin in the bottom of the front standard. Is the only thing missing the hook on top or is something missing from the pin? Can someone show me what it looks like?

    I was going to make new curtains out of some black cloth and just glue them to the door and standard. Anyone have a better way to do this or will it work okay?

    Thanks,
    Dan
     

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  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I have an old camera like that. The hook part is kind of like a spring catch, or latch that latches onto the pin.

    Jon
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    on mine ...
    the flap that closes in front of the lens
    had a piece of metal that was like a spring catch too
    it latched by friction on a little nubby thing like yours.
    (it broke off 10+ years ago :smile: )

    the shutter is rubberized cloth with metal pieces around the slotted shutter holes.
    fred lustig ( and his wife ) have the material and a die to cut and make perfect shutters.
    if you don't feel like reinventing the wheel, you might consider contacting him ( fred ),
    his prices are reasonable .. and he does very good work ( from what i have heard ).

    you might be able to find a work-around on graflex.org as well ...

    good luck!
    john
     
  4. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    John,

    I had a piece of .015" thick german silver (nickel silver - there's actually no silver in it - it's nickel and copper and some other elements in small percentages). Here's what I came up with lacking a template. It does work, but the doubled over section that hits the pin is too thick to spring up once the pin is lifted (ie, once the standard is retracted fully into the body). So, right now, you need to hold the door down while cranking the standard back the last half inch or so.

    The shutter curtains on this camera are nearly perfect actually. They were filthy but after I washed them down gently with a little warm water they're clean and fully light tight, and the shutter works well throughout the range (although who knows how acurately). I'm not sure I'd bother with it if the shutter wasn't functional.

    I'm referring to the little sunshade curtains on the front that keep the door from springing all the way up. They also seem to have some sort of a plastic coating on them - more like a shellac than rubber though. I see there's a bar screwed into the standard that holds them down on the bottom and on the top they're pressed/glued? under the sheetmetal lip on the door. I'm not sure I want to try prying that lip up and then reforming it so I may try just a bead of silicone adhesive. I'm not sure what material to use - maybe I'll contact Fred Lustig and see if he has something.

    Dan
     

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  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi dan

    i wish i could help ..
    my little wings that were attached to
    the lens-flap were long gone by the time i got my camera ...
    fred or bert sanders ( also over at graflex.org ) are the masters.
    they would be the ones to ask ..

    good luck!

    john
     
  6. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    If your shutter is working ok, you are most of the way home free. I have a 3x4 RB Series D, and also a 3x4 Auto-Graflex. The side curtains you are talking about aren't totally necessary for the camera to work, they do cut down on the glare. You can also use a Series VI lens shade which may work even better. My latch for the little door covering the lens is quite sticky, but it is still in place.On my Auto-Graflex I had to clean out the old grease or whatever was in there to get the spring latch to pop out. I used lighter fluid to clean it out. The shutter curtains on these old cameras are amazingly tough. The Auto-Graflex is nearly 100 years old. I'm not sure of the timing on the shutter, but it seems to take a pretty good picture. Good luck with your project. I have three bag-mags, only one is usable right now, the leather in the other two is full of holes. I have disassembled one and will try to make a new leather bag. If I am successful, I will post the results in this forum.
     
  7. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I also have a 3x4 RB-D to go with this 4x5. That one's in excellent condition in every respect (barely used it would seem). The latching mechanism is completely different from the 4x5 - I wonder if that's inherent in the 3x4s or it's a function of age. Also, the 3x4 is marked as a "RB Graflex Series D Curtain Aperture" while the 4x5 is simply a "RB Series D Graflex". If you come up with a fix for your bag mags it'd be nice to see.

    They're fun cameras to shoot with (albeit a little clunky to handle) and they certainly attract attention. The attached is from a Civil War Living History event (not a historically acurate camera but better than a digital) :wink:

    Dan
     

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  8. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    of latch

    photo
     

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  9. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Sorry for reviving an old thread but I've been repairing bag magazines like crazy lately. Pigskin leather on the outside and old t-shirt material inside (because that's what I had laying around). They work great so far. Disassemble the old bag and cut it along the two seams, then lay that flat and use it as a template. Go a little large. Trust me, it's better than making one too small.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    jon,
    YES!
    that is what mine looked like too before it broke off :wink:
    it was just a friction latch ..
    dan,
    a few years ago i had a 3x4 rb that i sold soon after i got it
    the front door latch was very different, as you described ..
    the pin was retracted into the body until the bellows were fully retracted
    and then it popped up and poked into a little hole on a piece of metal that
    stuck out from under the door

    ---

    for my bag mag repair
    i removed the bag carfuly from the box
    and found someone who is a tailor that repairs leather goods.
    he knew how to repair and make a new bag, and did what
    he called a "light proof stitch" it was done in 95 or so
    and still works great!

    i think it cost me about 30$ ...
    if you have the tshirts and leather lying around
    that will save you the $30 :smile:

    have fun!
     
  11. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    $30 is a fantastic price. I'm sure it would be higher today, but even still it might be worth it just to have it be someone else's problem. I use a cement along the inside of the seams to improve the strength and light-fastness, so I let them dry overnight before reassembling. I've got it down to about two hours of labor from unscrew to screw. Not sure about the materials, maybe $5 or so per bag, depending on what I have around.
     
  12. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    I have yet to make a new bag for my mag. I took it apart, drew out a pattern, but have been busy with other projects on other cameras. I still have two bag mags in good condition for my 3x4, one each for my 2x3 and 4x5. I also have a 3x4 Speed with a Graflex back, so I can also use the bag mag with that one.