Now for the reflex route

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Ian Grant, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    After restoring a couple British folding cameras 1/4 & 1/2 plate, plus a couple of Speed Graphics and many Thornton Pickard roller-blind shutters I've taken the plunge into Reflex cameras.

    On the way is the first of 2 Thorton Pickard Ruby reflex cameras, described as the shutter having finished it's life, no focus screen, no silver on the mirror, and no lens, there's corrosion of the back, basically a real challenge. The plus side was the price at under £20 ($31).

    new-tp.jpg
    Hopefully this restoration will be more time and effort than further monetary outlay. I've a 7ft lenght of shutter cloth to make a new shutter blind and glass for the screen & possibly the mirror. It would be nice to find a sunken mount lens but that's not imperative at this stage. At the moment the biggest challenge will be the new reflex mirror although I do have an old article on making one !!!

    I see this one as a learning curve as a local museum would like to have one in use at special open days, I don't want to experiment with theirs, I need to be confident I can fix it :D

    The second if I get it will provide addional lenses etc and is in much better condition.

    My fingures are crossed based on the premise that usually things look far worse than they really are. The 1/4 plate Victo looked like this
    LFcamera0_sm.jpg and is now restored, athough awaiting a new carrying handle.

    And my pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic looked like this :unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure:
    IMG_1701.JPG

    IMG_1692.jpg
    but is now fine, and the shutter's smooth,although the body's naked :D

    Will document this restoration :smile:

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This looks like a very worthy project for you.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Any after restoration pictures to show?


    Steve.
     
  4. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I just wish I had half the skills... I am always tempted by the fixer-uppers. Which for me has meant a few cameras sent off to repairmen instead. :smile: But the positive thing is, a few cameras (Nikon F2, Pentax S1, Rolleiflexes and some more) will live on a bit longer as fully functional tools.

    I really like these reflex cameras, but how practical are they, really? Slightly clunky, odd beasts or better?
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    This is the Houghton's 1/4 plate Victo, it really needs a carrying strap fitted & re-photographing as it was still missing a couple of brass fittings as well.

    cam08sm.jpg cam06sm.jpg

    I've made some adapters to allow me to use a Graflex 6x7 roll film holder with this camera and modern 5x4 DDS with the Houghton's Half plate Duchess. The great thing about these cameras is it's easy to make lens boards and fit different lenses, add shutter, even fit different backs.

    I'm going to have to find out :D

    Ian
     
  6. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    By uncanny coincidence I have just spent the last few weeks playing with a Thornton Picard Ruby reflex.

    Oh dear... :confused:

    There is a science fiction film. I can't remember what it is called. It is one of these set in the future 'Everybody living underground after the nuclear holocaust because the planet's surface isn't inhabitable any more' type things. One guy tries to escape - and is pursued by 'android supermen' types. In the last scene he is running down a long tunnel to escape. The androids are after him - and in a control room somewhere we see the cost being expended on capturing this guy clocking up by $$$$. At a certain point, the androids stop and just let him go. He doesn't know why, but it is because the 'system' has decided they've expended enough resources on him and so they just give up and write him off.

    So, the question is, does anyone recognise the film?

    Because, that is exactly what it was for me like trying to fix a Thornton Picard Ruby Reflex... :blink:
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    That's quite an improvement. Is the front standard fixed or can you apply some movement to it?


    Steve.
     
  8. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Here's a few pictures. I have a LOT of these - the full strip down sequence. Then reassembly. Then strip down. Then reassembly again. Then strip down - and finally a picture of a box of bits :sad:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of the original shutter curtain (right) and my first attempt at making a replacement. (It is a bit ragged around the edges and the top lip isn't very tidy. The second and third attempts were much neater, but no more successful)

    [​IMG]

    At one point I got the shutter working outside of the camera. It jammed up (again) as soon as it was re-assembled...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2012
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Steve, I suspect it's the curtain material that's causing your problems. I may be able to help you out there if you want to pop down and collect some :D

    Ian
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    On this model the front standard is fixed, although it'sremovable to fold the camera up. Of course there's rear tilt which on a smaller format is usually sufficient.

    standard.jpg

    Ian
     
  11. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi Ian,

    This is a bit of Deja Vu all over again!

    Didn't I send you some shutter cloth about a year ago?

    One thing I noticed during my strip down was that I have one shutter tape that is black. The rest are white...

    So... I am not the first person to have attempted a repair. The trouble is I am no longer certain that what I have can work. Maybe someone has replaced the tapes with something too thick or changed the length or who knows what else?

    Obviously, if you know a camera is original then you look for the part that has gone faulty and fix it. When I realised I may be looking at a modified shutter.... it made me doubt if I can ever get it working. I gave it a good go, though!

    I'll be very interested to know what shutter tapes are on your camera.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    :smile: yes but more like 3 or 4 years ago when I restored my first TP shutter. I've restored a lot of shutters since then.

    It's beginning to sound like we should compare notes on these Ruby shutters, I guess I'll get my camera in a couple of days, it's coming by courier. So lets see what tapes etc it uses.

    Somewhere I have some Patents for TP shutter, I'm not sure if there's one with drawings that covers these particular shutters though. Tomosy has a section on the Ruby's shutter in his book Restoring Classic and Collectible Cameras. How appropriate it is I'm not sure yet as he chose the Ruby Duplex shutter.

    Ian
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    have fun ian !

    reflex cameras are the best ..
    i have a graflex series d that has been
    my favorite camera to use ( ive had it since the mid 90s :smile: )
    it looks like it has been through a war at this point ...
    but it works like a charm!

    john
     
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  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I have parts left over from a 3x4 auto Graflex, What size is the camera? Maybe the screen or mirror will work for you.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thanks Wayne. The focus screen isn't a a problem I make them on a regular basis and sell a few online as well :D The reflex mirror maybe, but the camera is still in transit so I don't know the exact size yet , I'll be in touch. Come to think of it I don't know what size the camera is yet either :blink:

    Parts left over Wayne !!! So far I've been very lucky and been able to build another camera from those parts.

    Ian
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The camera arrived this morning, a Thornton Pickard Ruby Junior Special, Quarter plate as I'd guessed. I was hoping to be able to just clean up the casing with some minor patching but it'll flake off when I open the camera up to take the shutter mechanism out. There's also a crack in the wood of one side that'll need glueing up so I've ordered some Moroccan Grain Black leather cloth.

    I've already cut a new focus screen and am now contemplating what to do with the front surface silver mirror. Judging by the silver on the edges and a bit on the rear as well Thornton Pickard made these individually which made me realise if they could make them then so can I :smile:. I have some Silver oxide, ammonia etc so will give it a try, just need to rig up a hot-plate outside.

    Before I begin stripping the camera down I'll shoot some photos of it.

    Ian
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I nice attitude. Similar to the line I have used for many years: "If someone else can do something, so can I".


    Steve.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    "Thornton Pickard Ruby Junior Special, Quarter plate" translates into X"xY" [please specify Imperial Inch, US Standard Inch, Imperial Nautical Inch, US Standard Nautical Inch or screw it and tell us in metric.}
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Quarter plate in the UK is 1/4 plate in the US and vice versa except for US Tintypes :D 3¼"×4¼" although sometimes erroneously called 3x4 in the US. Many film sizes are nominal reflecting older glass plate sizes with an allowance for a film adapter.

    Ian
     
  21. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi Ian,

    You won't have any trouble stripping this down, it is quite easy, but here are some pics of those 'sneaky' hidden screws I promised you.

    Basic strip down sequence is to take the back off (three screws at the bottom and two at the top, I think?), remove the knob (screw at the base of the knob. It passes through the threaded shaft so need to be removed completely). Pull off the knob, four screws to remove the wooden plate covering the gears.
    There is a mirror return spring which needs unhooking at one end, too.
    There is a light trap between the top of the shutter and the body which is glued in place (you see it hanging down in the last picture). On mine the glue was so old and dry it pulled straight off. If yours is stuck more firmly it might need a little acetone or careful peeling off.

    Undo the four screws in the pictures (one onthe left side, one at the bottom, two inside the timing gear housing) and the shutter should pull straight out the back.

    You can pretty much jump in and pull it apart. No nasty twangs and things shooting across the room, or bits falling out before you can see where they've come from. There doesn't seem to be any need to mark up positions of knobs or anything, either. Just dive in :wink:




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  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thanks Steve, I'll probably start tomorrow evening. I've already spotted the light trap between the top of the shutter and the body. There's some variations with these cameras and so I expect to run into the odd baffling bits :D

    I need to decide on the second one, it has 4 or 5 lenses and other accessories.

    Ian
     
  23. Megrez

    Megrez Member

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    I hope this works, and the users who previously commented on this thread can read this:

    Firstly, huge thanks to Ian for providing a link to the photographs, and for Steven for posting them.

    I'm currently refurbishing a Thornton Pickard Junior Special Ruby Reflex - the variant which has a 120 roll film back. Thanks to the information above, and some generous help, I have managed to get the shutter out of the camera. Unfortunately for me, one set of tapes have decayed to such an extent that it is no longer possible to ascertain their original length. However, the second blind is in tact. Is it safe for me to assume both sets of tapes were the same length? Secondly, does anyone know a source for shutter blind material? I am found some black fabric which is used in the manufacture of vertical blinds. This is the correct thickness, and is light light, but unfortunately is 6mm short of the correct width. Finally, when I come to reassemble the shutter blinds am I correct in assuming they are both set to the same tension (i.e. x number of turns on the take-up blind), therefore the exposure is governed not by variation of speed of travel, but by variation in the width of the slit which is effected by the two blinds operating in unison?

    Many thanks,

    Gary
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You make the tapes with excess lenght, then when you fit the curtains you adjust tapes/spindfles to position the curtains.

    I make shutter curtain material and supply it to a leading US repairman, he's recently restored a 7x5 Reflex Graflex for a Chinese collector that needed 8" x7' of shutter cloth :smile: I've some left here in the UK but a large quantity in Turkey which I@ll bring back in about 3 weeks

    Yes the slit width governs the speed, you'll need to judge what tension is going to give a consistent release. I found you could get teh shutter working with one blind to start with.

    My shutter's working fine outside the camera but I need to change the thickness of the tapes, if it's too thin (same as the curtains) they dont wind up enough.

    I'd expected a sunken mount TTH Cooke Anastigmat in the post yesterday or today, as soon as that comes I'll be finishing my Ruby Reflex. I've no lens boards but I'll make new ones, I have a TTH flange that may be the correct size. I've made a new lens-hood/flap, although I did find one on Ebay with fittings from Romania for £3.10 but as I've recovered the complete camera I decided a new one would be a better match. Then I can turn my attention to my Ensign Speed Rol-film reflex once it's finally completed.

    Meanwhile I've parts for two whole plate cameras that I picked up at a flea market and more parts and two TP shutters on the way !!!!!

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2012
  25. Megrez

    Megrez Member

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    Hi Ian,

    I would be interested in buying some shutter cloth from you. I wouldn't need as much as the US Repairman! Each blind is approximately 100mm wide x 180mm long. Each tape is 274mm long x 4, obviously.

    Yes, I have noticed the post is very slow at the moment. I hope the Cooke turns up soon! The whole plate cameras sound interesting. I have always had a special place in my heart for that format.

    Gary
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I had a whole plate. half plate, 5x4 De Vere Monorail camera until last year but only ever used it for 5x4 and almost exclusively as a copy camera, it was rather heavy

    The plan is to use the vintage cameras at some open days at a local museum with Ilford/Harman Direct positive paper, so Half plate & Whole plate are ideal, Quarter plate moe economic for some demonstartions :D

    Gary, yes I'll sort out shutter cloth for you via email.

    Ian