Making lens boards

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tony-S, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I've had a Korona 4x5 (actually 5x7, but with a 4x5 back) with a Schneider 210mm (pre-WWII) for several years but have not used it as much as I'd like. That's about to change. I'm planning to buy 75mm and 135mm lenses in the next couple of months. The lens board size for this camera is 3"x3" and I'll need to make a couple of boards for the new lenses. I have lots of woodworking tools in my shop (table saw, drill press, jointer, planer, etc.) so fabricating them from wood would be a piece of cake. However, I'm unsure as to what kind of wood to use - cherry? I have plenty of that laying around. Or would it be better to make them out of plastic?
     
  2. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Are you trying to match the camera, or just get lensboards that work? If the latter, it probably doesn't matter too much as long as you don't use a transparent wood...

    My wife has made several using cherry thinstock. The hard part is apparently the hole, especially for larger shutters where even if you have a big enough hole bit, it's hard to get a good place to clamp. If you have a planer, it wouldn't be imperative to start with thinstock, which would open the door to using all sorts of random interesting woods. Cocobolo lensboards, anyone?

    -NT
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I like to use 1/8 inch Finnish plywood, but you have to paint it, as it's too thin to be light tight. Masonite works too. If you want solid wood for the look, the cherry would be a good choice, especially since you have it on hand, but you might want to use quarter sawn slices for stability, otherwise the thin stock could be prone to cupping.
     
  4. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

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    lens boards

    I second the use of 1/4 sawn stock.. walnut, cherry, pear, mahogany and indian rosewood have worked well for me.. you'll have to get a fly cutter for your drill press to cut the hole although it will be a PIA to clamp a 3x3 board solidly. I use a dremel with a small router table set to cut sound holes in my instruments. Bill
     
  5. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    For plain utility boards, I agree with Masonite...
    And then, there's always 1/16 inch aluminum. Almost as easy to work as wood...

    For quick, nice looking wood boards; one quarter inch Baltic Birch ply is super stable and takes a nice stained finish.
    Dado the front edges with couple of rabbets for the retaining clips.
    Counterbore the backside for the retaining ring.
    Paint the backside flat black.
    Done.

    Reinhold

    www.classicBWphoto.com
     
  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Alright, thanks for the tips. I'll dig around my scraps to see if I have any quartersawn laying around.
     
  7. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    I have successfully used a Forstner bit to cut the hole. They are relatively cheap at Harbor Freight.
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    This has worked ell for me, with one alteration. Since I cut my boards with handtools I've found it easier to use 1/8 inch and build the board out of two pieces, glued together. I've built Graflex "C" boards, that are well-suited to this two-piece approach due to the way they designed their light trap.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to agree with the ply approach, and I've found I can stain and march them to suit various camera finishes.

    Ian
     
  10. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I use 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood - Michael's (or any of the craft stores) sell it in various sizes. Getting the hole size right can be a PITA - I've used Forstner bits, hole saws, occassionally the flycutter when I really need it close. For small boards, I've found the best way to clamp it down is using a square fixture sized to go over the rabbet so there's room to put several clamps well out of the cutters diameter.

    Dan
     
  11. anon12345

    anon12345 Member

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    I have used a plywood known as Luan or Luaun, purchased from a local Lowe's Home Improvement Center in 4x4 sheets. It's a 3 ply (2 thin wood veneers and a soft wood core) about 3/16 of an inch thick. One side stains and varnishes quite nicely. It can be scored multiple times from both sides with a razor and cut without the aid of a table saw. For some boards I have doubled the layers of plywood to add strength, and to add an inside edge to block incoming light.
     
  12. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    If you are finding it difficult to cut the hole because of limited clamping ability, you might try cutting the whole first on a larger piece of wood and them dimension to size.
    regards
    erik
     
  13. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    And when cutting the hole put a piece of wood under the broad then drill throw both,that way you won't splinter the ply wood.