New project, 4x5 Field Cam...

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by bliorg, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. bliorg

    bliorg Subscriber

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    Hi, all -

    Well, I've wanted a dedicated 4x5 for a while now. Against all odds and inflated BIN prices, a beater project 4x5 came up for sale on eBay last week. Not quite a true basket case, it still needs a good deal of TLC to make it usable again, but the price, relative to a complete and functional 4x5, was too good to pass up.

    It's patterned after an English view camera, but after quite a bit of research, the hardware and configuration suggest to me it's a Japanese-made Asanuma King half plate camera:

    [​IMG]

    There's no back; the previous owner had tried to fit a Graflex spring back to it instead:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, he removed the top piece that the plate holder slid into. I'll need to remake that piece before I can build a new back :smile:mad:smile:. But, I'm looking forward to having a real 4x5, and this looks like a fun project. I'll be blogging the whole thing, too.

    The camera shipped yesterday; I'm crossing my fingers for tomorrow's mail... :wink:

    Scott
     
  2. bliorg

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    More research indicates that the Asanuma King has triple extension to 20", which is a darned good thing. Also, while the existing back looks very poorly adapted, it seems that both clips are in place to hold the back. If my thinking's right, that means the original owner cobbled the Graflex onto the original plate back. If that's true, I should be able to slide the plate back out and either use it directly or as a pattern for the 4x5 spring back. And I think the springs from the Graflex back will be usable for the spring back, which means less metalwork for me.

    This is all pending receipt and inspection, but the photos are pretty encouraging!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. bliorg

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    Oooh - found a nice board of black walnut in the garage. Fairly straight-grained; I think it'll make a fine back. And some lensboards... :wink:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's a bit like the half plate camera I bought recently. I'm going to make a 5x4 back from scratch, but I've rebuilt an early Speed Graphic back and know what wooden parts I need. I also have a spare Pacemaker 5x4 back attached to a 10x8 reducing back that I don't use so that's another option.

    Does yours fold like this ?
     

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  5. bliorg

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    Yes, it should fold similar to yours, Ian. I won't have it in hand for another day or two, though. There will be other work to do as well - patch/replace the bellows, adapt the base for modern tripod mounts, cleaning, refinishing. But the cameras appear very similar. Yours is quite the looker, BTW.
     
  6. Jerevan

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    The Graflex spring back looks like a Terminator bionic leg or something. Probably useful but it ain't pretty. :smile:
     
  7. edp

    edp Member

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    The work you did on the Vageeswari 5x12 looks good (seen on your blog).
     
  8. bliorg

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    Yeah - needs to go. The springs may prove useful, but it needs a proper, wooden back, doesn't it? :wink:
     
  9. Jerevan

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    Yes, if I had a spare 4x5" back I'd send it to you, just to see the Graflex go! :smile: The only thing I got is a 5x7" Kodak back.
     
  10. bliorg

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    I appreciate the offer! Truth be told, I'm looking forward to fabricating the back from scratch. Kind of a hobby. :smile:
     
  11. bliorg

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    Well, the box finally arrived! But, my wife's off work today, so I've had (will have) minimal play time. But I got it out of the box. The seller didn't know how to fold it, so it was extended. It's so stinkin' petite! Cute little thing. Gonna need a lot of TLC, though. Nothing looks damaged, though. There are some obvious things - gluing joints, replacing screws. The sliding lensboard lock is on upside down, and locks the standard down when folded, which is why (I'm guessing) the seller didn't fold it. But the camera is clean, and looks sturdy enough, and like it'll be a good user. The locks for the back are easy to move. The back comes off cleanly, and the design is reversible. There's no name on it anywhere, but the knobs for the rise and fall lock are indicative of the Japanese Asanuma.

    So far, this was definitely worth the wait! I keep sneaking out to the garage to fondle the thing... :cool:
     
  12. bliorg

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    Okay, wife's picking up the kids. Briefly, here's what I gots:

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Half Plate Project Cam... by Scott --, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Half Plate Project Cam... by Scott --, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Half Plate Project Cam... by Scott --, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Half Plate Project Cam... by Scott --, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Half Plate Project Cam... by Scott --, on Flickr

    Wood's mahogany, nickled brass hardware, except the braces in the base, which are lacquered brass. Front rise/fall and tilt, rear tilt and swings. Apeloads of rise/fall on the front. The bellows are shot, but I think radiophoto's up for making a 4x5 Bel-Jac to get me through until it's time for a replacement bellows (hint hint). Needs lensboards, some kind of tripod mount (the spider's here, but not shown), and a new back for 4x5. Maybe a 5x7 one, too. Gluing loose joints as well. Might use the walnut I'd picked out for this; might use some of my dwindling stock of mahogany, too...

    There ya go. A project is born!
     
  13. bliorg

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    Updated the blog on this project. And, curiously, the bellows are glued to the standards, not to any kind of frame. They need to come out to work on the camera; I need to decide how I go about this...
     
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  15. bliorg

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  16. bliorg

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  17. bliorg

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  18. bliorg

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  19. bliorg

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    A couple shots of where the camera is now:
    [​IMG]
    Progress to date... by Scott --, on Flickr

    Everything's been reassembled. The metalwork didn't come out as nicely as I'd hoped, but will be completely serviceable. The woodwork turned out pretty nicely. And it's time to start in on the 4x5 insert. Still need to decide if I'm scrapping the spider to fill in the hole, or if I'm building a base plate to maintain the integrity of the original camera. Dunno. Want to keep weight down, but want to maintain operability and aesthetics. Hmm... :whistling:
     
  20. bliorg

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    This really has nothing to do with anything, but I had a PM exchange with a guy on Flickr about workbenches. I added to the blog about mine. Read if you're inclined.
     
  21. Ian Grant

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    Scott, you put me to shame.

    I'm restoring my Houghton's "Duchess" in parallel but I've not shot the stages :D

    Your camera is based on a Houghton design from what I can make out. There's a thread about your camera and a virtually identical Indian field camera on the LFPI forum.

    I do need a work bench though, but our apartments too small, and my wood working skills too meagre . . . . . . . and then I need some tools.

    Great progress, these camera's are so light but rigid, I can't wait to start using mine and I guess it's the same for you :smile:

    Ian.
     
  22. bliorg

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    Yeah, Ian - I can't wait to have this one in use, either!

    Oooh - cherry!

    [​IMG]

    I've been sitting on this board of somewhat curly cherry for about 8 years. *Glad I finally found a good use for it. *The board planed out to 7/8" thick; at 17" by 6", it's more than ample for the insert and ground glass holder. *And with a coat or two of oil and some gloss lacquer, it's gonna be beautiful. *The photo doesn't show the color - it's a soft, creamy pink, like good cherry should be.

    Think this is going to be a woodworking week!
     
  23. bliorg

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  24. bliorg

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  25. bliorg

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    Planning ahead a little: I have a nice set of springs I'm harvesting off the Graflex spring back that came with the Asanuma. Black anodized, two-piece, should work great. Saves me some metalwork, too, which is good, 'cause I hate working metal. But that still leaves the ground glass clips. I've made them before, and they turned out kludgy. Got onto Lee Valley's hardware site and found some Tansu screen corners (specifically, I'm looking at B and C). I think these might be just the ticket for glass retainers. I'll check at Ace, too, but these might just work.
     
  26. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    nice joinery in post #23