Re-leathering a Graflex?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kb244, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Has anyone ever replaced the leather or thought bout doing so on a graflex camera. The one I have corners are kinda starting to fray, and surface in some areas are starting to peel off the leather itself. Also would seem the screws under the leather creating a dimple look in areas of the leather. Or do most of you just keep it going as it is to give it an 'aged' look.

    I thought if releathering wasn't too difficult (probally just requires some accurate cuts, and rubber cement or bellow cement). I would probally be a little more creative, like how they do on cameraleather.com, maybe a deep jade green, or a nice textured black. As I've decided I want to get a spring green goat skin for my Canonet G-III QL-17 rangefinder since the picture made it look rather nice.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    Have you tried asking the folks at cameraleather.com if they're interested in making a kit for it? There are a lot of Graflexes out there.
     
  3. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Is it a Graphic or a Graflex? The Graphics should be really easy, just find some very thin leather, cut to match the removed pieces, and attach with contact cement. I recovered a 3a Kodak that way. The Graflex may be harder depending on what you want to do to the hood.
     
  4. buze

    buze Member

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    Funny that, I "accidentaly" pimped my Contax 139 because of aki-asahi (another great source for camera skins!) : he sent me my ordered "originalish black" and a "super plastic snake skin" one for free, to practice.

    So I installed the "practice" one, my wife saw it like that and loved it, now she refuse to me change it back ! :D

    I wonder what kind of wacky covers we could think of for a graflex :D
     
  5. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    The top of the frame says "Graflex" and the metal badge on the front panel inside says Crown Graphic.
     
  6. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    I once say a website on this where the author had refinished these camera bodies...they were wood underneath and quite lovely. Can t remember which model camera had a wooden body...maybe they are all wooden?
     
  7. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Depends on the model, mine is definitly wooden, upon removing the rangefinder, and viewfinder, the holes all reveal unfinished wood.
     
  8. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Coincidence?

    I just covered the door to a Speed Graphic. That panel was missing and instead of recovering the whole camera, I found a piece of thin BROWN leather, cemented it down, then selectively dyed some of it black. I did all of the flats in black, but left the protruding surfaces and corners brown. Just looks like it's worn like the rest of the camera. A Crown should be really easy 'cause you don't have to remove the FP hardware. I'm thinkin' zebra :tongue:
     
  9. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I think all of the Crown Graphics have an aluminum front and wooden sides. Many of the older Speed Graphics are all wood. Go over to graflex.org and poke around for more information.
    juan
     
  10. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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  11. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I've recovered a Speed Graphic and it was surprisingly easy. The key is to carefuly remove the old leather to use as a pattern for the new leather. The leather needs to be quite flexible and will need to have a bit of stretch as well to be able to cover the bump on the front door. I went for a tasteful and restrained acid yellow.

    I've written a quick description at my website: www.paulewins.com, follow the link for "Portrait Speed Graphic".
     
  12. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I was thinking if I gona do it, on a graflex I'd want a deep jade, or forest green.
     
  13. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    The leather fell off the bed of my Anny. At first I considered redoing it, but now, I decided I really like the war-torn look. I think standerbys tend take it more as a serious tool then as a novely the more beat to hell it looks.
     
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  15. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    You got a point there, though if done very nicely it can seem like a very precious expensive collectible... like a linhof or something. Though that might require chroming the hell out of it.
     
  16. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Being honest with you, I could care less what they look like, the only thing I care about is if they work and do the job I want to do with them..

    But redoing a graphic is not that hard and cameraleather.com can supply the leather to do it with.

    Dave
     
  17. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I got the following email back from cameraleather.org and would appear they do not have plans to do so as it would not be economical of them.

     
  18. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    I remember seeing that site too Dave (I can't find the link). He totally stripped off all the covering and it turned out looking good with just the wood refinished.
     
  19. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I'm having nightmares after looking at your Speed Graphic :smile: It's like something out of a 1960's acid trip . . . . . . and should have been used to photograph the Beatles or the Stones, or better still the Greatful Dead.

    Nice one though it does look amazing, I'll have a good read of how you recovered it as I have a tatty slightly damaged late Speed Graphic in dire need of renovation & recovering.

    Meanwhile I'll finish restoring my pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic, but thats far better with no covering instead just the natural wood that Graflex never meant to be seen !

    Ian

     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I came accross the same website very recently when looking at restoring my pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic, the camera is all fine, shutter works well, but the covering was disintergrating and mostly missing, and most aluminum parts badly corroding

    However the Crown Graphic in the linked site has had 5mm of teak veneer added so it's not the original wood at all :smile: A great idea though.

    The Speed Graphic body shown at the bottom looks sfailrl imilar to my older one, except the trackbed mechanism was totally upgraded for the Anniveray models, and all subsequent derivatives.

    Ian

     
  22. Rob Vinnedge

    Rob Vinnedge Member

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    Karl,

    I recovered a 5X7 Linhof super Technika V using self-adhering leatherette from www.micro-tools.com. I did have the original leatherette as a template, but with a little extra effort, you might be able to do it from scratch. The result was spectacular in my case. The camera looked brand new.

    You'll also find that Micro-tools (Fargo) is a wonderful resource for camera repair in general.
     
  23. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    I stripped down an old wrecked Crown to the mahogany wood underneath. The wood was not the best. Mine had small chunks taken out of it. Even after sanding it down they were still present. The wood was meant for strength, rot resistance, and light weight, but not for beauty in this case.

    I think adding a veneer of new wood is a good idea.
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your right Frank, the wood is not the best, there's only one chunk missing on my Speed Graphic, I'll try filling it and sanding the body down if it looks ok I'll stain and varnish it.

    Otherwise I may have to go down the veneer route but I'm no woodworker :smile: and would prefer not to.

    Ian
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Today I removed the last bits of leatherette, the spirit levels proved the hardest bits to remove. So I sanded down the body, the woods nothing special probably some kind of box wood, Then I stained it with mahogany coloured wood stain, it's now at the french polishing stage and looking great already.
    [​IMG]
    There's still a bit of slow work to do getting a perfect wood finish, but it could be left as it is now, Bellows are dirty but ok, the aluminim parts are ready to be painted semi-matt black

    Then the bits and pieces - springs, spirit levels, handle etc need refinishing.[​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    So I'm glad I can restore the camera to a wood finish without resorting to using veneer. The camera is a very basic 5"x4" it has a lack of movements, but it cost next to nothing.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2006
  26. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    The camera is starting to look good.

    Now that you have gone this far, are you going to clean and re-dye the bellows too?

    I love these kinds of projects. Salvaging and restoring old items to their former glory or, in this case, a new kind of glory.