Suggestions for cleaning up a Bergheil

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by walter23, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I got a Bergheil listed as excellent condition from an ebay seller... and alas it's actually in what I'd consider maybe okay to good condition and the interior is quite gunky with dust, grease, hairs, etc. I can work at the gross bits inside the camera housing with cloths and Q-tips and the likes, but I'm wondering about suggestions for cleaning up the hardened lubricant that some errant soul put into the front standard and focusing rails. Is there a way to remove the front standard so you can clean gunky lube out from the shift mechanism, or can you use some kind of solvent to penetrate in and flush it out (methanol? I've got some relatively pure methanol in the form of 'eclipse cleaner' for lens cleaning).

    Also: when I'm cleaning the interior are there any suggestions for avoiding marring the painted finish? Any cleaning solvents that would be best? I guess I can spot test on the paint in an out of the way place but I figured someone here has done this before.

    I'm also a little miffed at the seller for representing it as basically excellent condition, as I would have bid a bit lower had I known I had a cleanup job ahead of me - and it was without a lens so I bought it primarily as a nice clean body to put my lens from another scruffy body on.. but still it's a pretty sweet little bergheil and it'll probably clean up alright.
     
  2. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

    Messages:
    641
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huntington B
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Perhaps kerosene, but definately spot test to see what it might do to the enamel finish. I know paint thinner and lacquer thinner (great degreasers) will take it right off. I'm not sure if Ronsonol lighter fluid (naptha to the rest of the world) will take off the enamel.

    Good luck!
     
  3. apkujeong

    apkujeong Subscriber

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    Seoul
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A variety of cleaning fluids are useful, I use a liquid kitchen cleaner for getting the caked on grime off the interior, on some kitchen towelling or a cotton bud, then methylated spirits to clean up the tracking and paintwork.

    I'm a dab hand with Black nail polish to discretely touch up chipped paint work, these camera's are quite easy to clean upnicely.

    Ian
     
  5. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Shokan, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If the finish is shellac, alcohol is NOT the thing to use . It is the solvent for flake shellac.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    These are metal cameras and the parts are painted or chrome so there's no shellac used.

    Ian
     
  7. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,234
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I cleaned up the rails on a Speed Graphic using a citrus degreaser I had handy for cleaning bike parts (in this case it was a spray can of Finish Line brand but any should do). It's pretty strong stuff so I'd want to test it on a small painted bit and keep it away from bellows and such. And, it'll make a mildewed camera smell orangy fresh ;-)

    Dan
     
  8. apkujeong

    apkujeong Subscriber

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    Seoul
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Should have mentioned, I've used IPA to clean up parts of a Zeiss Ideal 9x12 (which I think is similar enough to a Bergheil).
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wouldn't waste good beer cleaning up a camera :D

    IPA - India Pale Ale

    Ian
     
  10. Soeren

    Soeren Member

    Messages:
    2,436
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Naestved, DK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes drink the good beer and use Weissbier for the cleaning :tongue:
     
  11. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    FWIW, although the finish is not shellac (like wood camera), you should be aware the leather is adhered using shellac, even if the body is metal...as is the card (old version of mdf) that is often used on front of the front fold down bed
     
  12. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

    Messages:
    861
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might find that setting it in the sun for a bit frees up the gunked lubricant. Always test a spot with any other solvent prior to use. I have often used 99% alcohol for cleaning old cameras, except the leather bits. A good leather cleaner is a better choice or sometimes you can get away with using skin cream on leather parts of cameras. Cotton swabs are a gentle way to apply solvents and cleaners, and soft lint free cloth is another excellent choice.

    I sold a Bergheil not long ago, but I made sure it was clean prior to shipping it out. I don't understand someone selling something without doing a little cleaning. At the very least, dust should be knocked off of the camera, and a simple wipe down of all parts should be common practice.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography
     
  13. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yeah, that was my thought :wink:
     
  14. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Weissbier for cleaning? You're joking!

    (My 84 year old grandmother mocks me and tells me I'm drinking "girly beer" whenever I enjoy a hefeweizen or something similar... but hey, I also like a good bitter IPA).
     
  15. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yeah, I was a bit pissed off actually. I bought it because it was represented as clean and in excellent condition (and photographed with nice flattering light), and I wanted a nicer body than the really rough one that I've already got. Paid over $100 for this stupid thing. Seller just said "Sorry man... I have a lot of stuff to sell and don't have time to look over it all very carefully. You can have free shipping next thing you buy."

    Right.

    Anyway thanks for the tips. I picked up some camp stove cleaner and I'll do some carefully cleaning with ear cleaners and stuff when I can find some time for it.