Re-foaming an F2

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BradleyK, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    The time has come - after a lot of years - to re-foam one of my F2s. So, the question is, do I send it out to NPS, or do I attempt to do the job myself? I have seen kits for sale on eBay and have contemplated picking one up and having a go at it. However, being mechanically declined (one of the reason I buy things that don't break like my my F2s, my M6s and my beloved 500cms), I am hesitant. How difficult is the job? How risky is it? Thoughts on this ....?
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I did mine a few years ago, alsowith one of those kits: not much you can do wrong, except maybe get your mirror dirty.

    Mainly it just takes a lot of patience, careful work and a bit of time.
    Maybe cut a piece of clean paper to place over your mirror to keep any old foam/new glue away from it. Take the focusing screen out.

    Good luck! :smile:
     
  3. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Refoaming cameras is cake! Its the cleaning that is annoying.

    Best to measure all the pieces that you need before cleaning. Once you scrape and clean out all the gunk (I use naphtha to break down the foam and old adheasive), you can apply the foam seals. I use a home made trimmed bamboo skewer which doesn't mar (its also included in many precut kits).

    I found a brand called foamies, which makes black 2mm thick adheasive backed closed cell foam (they also make other colors), which is really cheap, and comes in nice large pieces. I measure and precut the foam with a sharp razor and metal ruler. application is basically removing the backing, licking the adheasive (lets you position it easily), and working it in with my hands and another piece of clean bamboo skewer. take care around the film counter reset button. removing the back film door makes it easier too. for the mirror box, just use a razor and trim/scrape off the old foam, and apply foam right over, no need to clean. Also be careful with the amount of naphtha you use, you dont need a lot. dont touch things like the mirror or shutter curtains.

    So far, I have done a Olympus RC, and Nikon EM, and a Nikon F3HP, and a Nikon AF1 gel filter holder, a Thomas Duplex safe light, and still have half a sheet of the foam left. I got 3 sheets from a seller on ebay for $5.50 shipped.

    You can find them labeled as Darice Sticky Back Sheets, or Foamies - Foam Sheets Sticky Backs. find them online or in a craft store.

    edit: meant to say I still have half of the 1st sheet I bought left!
     
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  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    The only foam I remove and replace is the the mirror bumper and the the strip at the hinge end of the film door. Replacing foam around the prism and mirror box is asking for trouble, especially if it's gicky. Light leaks, at least in my experience with Nikons, tend to happen at the door hinge. The channels along the length of the film door are really there more moisture/dust protection, not light blockage.

    Foam kits are overkill. I've used the thin adhesive-backed sheet foam Newt suggests, along with thin felt, in a number of cameras and medium format backs with no issues. Lots of online "how-to" resources, too.
     
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  5. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Indeed felt works well too, and some areas require it, its cheap to buy in rolls as well. In a pinch Ive used black tape to cover the hinge area of film doors. not fun when you develop them and get streaks haha
     
  6. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Licking the foam to position it easily sounds like a great tip, but are you sure that doesn't make the adhesive weaker?

    To the OP:
    Rotten foam particles from around the viewfinder, ect. can wander on to the focusing screen. Since changing it there really is no trouble at all, I'd advise doing it.
     
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  7. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Many repairmen use black chenille yarn for back seals. You'll never have to do it again
    Mark
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I usually do the door channels, end of door and mirror bumper using the same custom bamboo skewer that newton does.
    The door channels are the easiest things, why skip them?

    You do need to be careful with the area around the mirror bumper. I'd remove the screen to be careful
     
  9. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Haha it's best to not slobber too much all over them, but the moisture evaporates fairly quickly and the original tackiness returns. It's been working well for me so far. But of course you can try with a small test strip of foam on a similar smooth surface to replicate the camera body.
     
  10. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    All that foam deteriorates. MEK and a wood toothpick clean out the old junk. Work outside.

    I redid my F2, Nikormat, and FE2 with acryllic yarn in the groves and black felt for the mirror damper. I wish I could remember the adhesive or could find it. These three will never need fixing again.

    Top end movie cameras all use yarn.

    Anyway all three worked the first try and have remained good for a year +
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The foam kits from interslice are top notch. The foam is pro stuff, not that cheap craft stuff.
    The foam is different densities for different areas, or felt if it is required. It is pre-cut for areas like the hinge or latch, whatever it requires.

    It's your Nikon F2. spend the $10.
     
  12. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    The guy at interslice made/makes his own adhesive foam by buying craft foam. If you look at the paper backing you can see that he used old magazine covers. He does use a diifferent foam density for the mirrror damper but it doesnt really matter as long as the foam you use has good give and won't scratch.

    Using your logic you might as well send it out for cla.
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Not worth it. That "cheap craft stuff" seems to hold up remarkably well. Pre-cut? C'mon. Perhaps if you're not allowed access to sharp objects...

    interslice produces a nice product but it also trades on the presumption the job is tricky and likely to wreck your old Spotmatic or Nikkormat if you use "lesser" stuff.
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Door channels really aren't that critical and thin yarn is best if you really have to cram something in there. Seems some sort of waxed yarn or cordage was used on my old F's body where the film back slid in--no foam in sight.

    Putting a fitted piece of copy paper over the mirror to catch any gick has always worked for me.
     
  16. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    The later cameras used foam door seals, but maybe it was for ease of mass production. The yarn/string gets tricky to place when there is a film counter reset latch that you don't want to cover. yes the foam I'm putting on will probably break down in 20-30 years but im sure I can do it again then.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jon Goodman (interslice) is great to deal with, and the illustrated instructions he packs with the kits provide a substantial proportion of their value.

    To anyone who has never re-foamed a camera, I would suggest you buy one of his kits, follow the instructions and then, once the work is complete, come to your own decision whether or not to buy a kit for the next camera you work on.

    That's what I've done, and I've got two recent kits sitting here waiting for my attention.

    One thing that adds to my appreciation of dealing with Jon is that his shipping charge is minimal, even for his Canadian customers .

    He seems to be in the process of leaving eBay and setting up his own, free standing web site.

    YMMV, but I am a satisfied customer.
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Add me to the list of "Foamies" users. My life testing shows that so far that product has lasted 8 years and shows no sign of degredation yet.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    p.s. I use the version WITHOUT the sticky backing and apply tiny dabs of contact adhesive when necessary (which is a lot less than one would think).
     
  20. cmo

    cmo Member

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    I am lazy... well, I never refoamed a camera and have 13 cameras here waiting for new seals before I will put them into the apug classifieds ... I will definitely get the pre-cut seals to save a little time, and I am ready to pay for that.
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    That is the big difference in my mind as to how I would advise people on the Interslice vs using raw materials. Cutting them isn't difficult but can take time. It's not a matter of "lazy" but more a matter of how one chooses to spend their available free time.
     
  22. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    The time consuming part is cleaning, the measuring and cutting take a minutes tops, all you need a metal ruler, a sharp blade, and a steady hand. Most seal widths range between 2mm (most surrounding door/body seals) and 5-6mm (most door hinge seals) in width. Working with your multiple cameras its easy to slice up a few long lengths (that run the entire length of the foam piece) of each, then individually part them out to the required lengths as you go down the list of cameras.
     
  23. cmo

    cmo Member

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    I find it pretty simple to cook a good meal from fresh ingredients. Many people prefer ready-to-serve meals. When it comes to bricolage I am a convenience food lover :smile:
     
  24. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Amen. It's really just that simple, kids. Sheet foam/felt is about a buck/8x10 sheet--that's a lot of practice material!

    I just did a couple of NOS Mamiya RB67 ProS backs whose foam had either gone or was going fast after years in boxes. Removal and clean-up require time and care but the cutting and fitting of new foam was very straightforward.
     
  25. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Thanks all for responding; I have ordered the kit off eBay and am going to give it a go.
     
  26. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Once I find out what the foam size/density is, I'll get my own I probably should redo about half of my cameras that would be a couple dozen kits...