Oxidation on a Graflok back

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Wade D, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I recently bought a fairly nice Crown Graphic. The only part that doesn't look to good is the Graflok back. A lot of missing paint and oxidation. The spring action is good though.
    My question is what is the best method of removing the oxidation? After that has been done what would a good paint be? I was thinking a satin black would match the rest of the camera nicely.
    Thanks for any suggestions,
    Wade
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How about a good auto polishing compound(not wax) can be had at the parts house. Strip all small parts and buff 'er up. Flitz, Brasso, silver polish, maybe "Dip-it" or even "CLR". As to paint, prep is 90% of the job,sand smooth, nice even prime coat, light sand w/600 grit, clean and spray with Krylon or other quality paint. Spray 8-10 light coats(light mist/coat) wait 15-20 mins between coats to avoid sags or runs. Dont be in a hurry, build the paint slowly, then let it cure for several days/couple of weeks to harden properly. Then put a coat od good paste wax on it. If you really want a paint job, put as many clear coats on as paint, then finish out. That ought to make a head turner, and durable as possible.
     
  3. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Thanks for the tips, Rick. I will check out the items you mentioned. It will have a good long time to dry. I still need to find the newer style (round corners with a lip) lens boards for my 3 lenses.
     
  4. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I had that problem with my speed graphic. I was going to remove the back, take it somewhere and have it sandblasted and repainted, but I never got around to it. After a couple years of service, it has shined back up to a nice patina, and most of the powdery oxidation and loose paint is gone.
     
  5. Alistair Wait

    Alistair Wait Member

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    I have a similar restoration under way. I have stripped all the small parts from all the affected parts. I tried a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to soften the oxidation up then took to it with small wire brushes about the size of a large toothbrush that I got from a $2 shop. I am yet to finish but will use polishing tools on my dremmel rotary tool to really clean it up before refinishing. It is looking really good even at this stage, even though I have just used a little permanent marker refill ink to colour it up in the meantime (antique dealers trick). When I get around to it I will do a proper spray finish - Rick's suggestion sounds like a good one.
     
  6. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

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    For a FAR tougher and more chip-resistant finish, go to http://www.lauerweaponry.com/,
    get one of the "Shake 'N Spray" kits, and apply two or three coats of Duracoat.

    Duracoat is normally applied to small machinery and firearms destined for severe field service (such as in Iraq and Afghanistan), and I believe it's as near bulletproof as anything you can apply at home. Airbrushing used to be required and is still a good idea, but they now have a spray can kit (albeit a bit expensive) if you don't have an airbrush and compressor. Worth every penny IMHO, I've used it on several items in the past few years that are subjected to rough service, including a large Gitzo tripod, several cameras, and other small tools and machinery. Great stuff. Can be cured by gently baking in your wife's oven, or air-cured--although full air-cure can take several days to several weeks, depending on humidity and temp.

    Here's a photo of a Leica M2 I restored. Stripped to bare brass, three coats of WW2 light olive green semi-matte Duracoat. Before repaint/recover, this camera was mechanically excellent but a cosmetic basket case.
     

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  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    That duracoat job is beautiful.

    For my speed graphic, I cleaned it up the graflok back (off the camera) with simple green (diluted) scrubbed it gently with a towel, rinsed it off. After drying, I re-greased the springs with spray-on lithium grease. To fix the missing paint, I bought some black brush-on touch up paint for a couple dollars at the autoparts store. I also used the black touchup paint elsewhere on the camera where there were scuffs and dings in the finish. The paint goes on pretty smooth if you don't put it on too slowly.
     
  8. Alistair Wait

    Alistair Wait Member

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    Thanks for the info. Duracoat looks like a fantastic product. I have just tracked down the local distributor and will order some this week. Cheers
     
  9. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    Film backs are rather precise. Casting and machining spec's would have taken into consideration the paint thicknesses, but this would be for paint contemporary to a 50+ year camera. You should be okay with typical rattle-can spray paints but I'd be cautious of using high-build modern chip-proof coatings. I'm especially thinking of the film holder gate-- particularly the base side toward the lens where the film holder rests. Too thick of a paint film build and you may start interfering with the focusing by moving the film plane. Similarly, too thick paint on the Ground Glass half of the back could affect focusing accuracy. Goes without saying that if you use wrinkle paint, use it only on the exterior parts of the back, not the measurement critical surfaces of the gate.

    Also avoid excess paint in the grooves that receive the film holder ribs. (I once found a spot of corrosion and associated chip of lifting paint as the source of a light leak.)
     
  10. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I don't plan on painting the interior surfaces where the film holder goes. There are 2 felt strips which are still in good condition on the long edges. Just going to give the interior surfaces a good cleaning and lubricate the springs which have a bit of rust. Only the exterior will get a new paint job. Thanks for all the replies so far.
     
  11. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

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    To blacken aluminum and several other metals without adding coating thickness, check Brownell's, Midwest Shooter's Supply, or other gunsmithing websites for chemical "blackeners". Also check Caswell, Inc.'s website for similar chemicals. Most are easy to use at home, a few are not and can be very dangerous, but there will be major warnings associated with those so you can tell which is which.