How to fix leaky bellows?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by camperbc, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. camperbc

    camperbc Subscriber

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    I finally started feeling a wee bit better lately, (permanent spinal injury; long story) and a good thing too, because I'm really tired of laying flat on my back in bed for days/weeks at a time, so I decided to get up and about, and attempt to find a way to adapt my lovely 1917 Kodak Autographic 1A folder to accept 120 roll film. Turns out it's quite simple really; just a matter of sticking plastic wall anchors into each end of a 120 spool, and then make a mask to support the narrower film. Piece of cake.

    Then I got the bright idea that I should at least shine a light into the back of the camera to check for any leaks in the bellows, although the camera looks absolutely flawless; as if it is brand new. So how bad could the bellows really be!

    Well, quite bad, it turns out. Although it shows no signs of wear on the exterior, the flashlight clearly tells a different story. So my question is... what can I do to fix these multiple leaks? I assume (hope!) that there must be some product out there that can be applied to fix light leaks in bellows, (I'm about to Google this shortly) and I'm hoping that some of you may have some personal experience with fixing these; that you may feel like sharing some of your wisdom?

    I really, really want to use this camera. It's a real beauty; the finest I have ever seen. (well, aside from the bellows, that is!) The Anastigmat 130mm f7.7 lens looks like brand new. The leather is immaculate. The shutter is perfect. It even still has the original engraved stylus for "texting" a message onto the film. If there is any (affordable!) way to get this fine camera back to being light-tight, I know that it will take beautiful pictures. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!

    Thank-you all!

    Glen

    [​IMG]
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    nice camera !

    pva-glue and india ink ( thanks jeremy ! )
    it works like a champ.

    extend the bellows, and use the flashlight, and apply.
    leave bellows extended until glue is dry. then see how it looks with flashlight.
    re-apply as needed.

    equinoxphoto.com also sells a bellows fix if you want a
    concoction that is made by someone else.

    have fun !
    john

    ps. sorry about your back !

    the link should have read equinoxphotographic.com
    ( look under large format )
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2012
  3. camperbc

    camperbc Subscriber

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    Thanks John. I just went to check out the Equinox Photo link, but nothing comes up. So, I'll try to find a place to get some pva glue and India ink!

    Thanks!
    Glen
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  5. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    I've used what Equinox makes and it works well. It's best to apply whatever you use to the inside of the bellows.
     
  6. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    PVA should be available at your local art supply store. Bill Barber
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's rather a large variation in black acrylic (PVA) paints, some will stick to themselves even after drying so need to be avaoided. I deally you need one which gives a matt black finish, I can't recommend a make as the one I use is only sold in Turkey.

    Another option is the invisible meand patches for suits/trousers, I foud some that are self adhesive and very thin, strong and more importantly light-tight. I've used this on quite badly damaged bellows and they are still OK 6 or 7 years later.

    Ian
     
  8. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Camera looks great!
    For bellows patching I have used liquid rubber glue made by Bison and shutter curtain thin fabric.
    The leather might need some cream to restore elasticity. Usually the leather dries out and the lightproof fabric inside start cracking.. so don't forget to add some cream.

    Have fun!
     
  9. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I've been using Tulip brand matte black acrylic paint as sold in Michael's or AC Moore (craft stores here in the states).

    Dan
     
  10. camperbc

    camperbc Subscriber

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    Thank-you everyone, for all of your excellent suggestions; very much appreciated! It is far too nice of a camera not to be using it!

    Glen
     
  11. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    i have used a neoprene glue that is found in a diving shop...

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