Who makes Porters bellows cloth?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by barryjyoung, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Hello:

    I use Porters bellows fabric for making bellows. Anybody know of a different source for opaque, flexible, thin, and less expensive bellows cloth?

    Thanks
     
  2. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I haven't made a bellows yet, but I've been looking into it lately. I'm assuming your talking about Porters 'Darkroom Cloth', I didn't see anything called bellows cloth there.

    I have heard of this used as both the inner & outer linings of the bellows. More than one person has said that it was hard to find a glue that sticks well to Porters dark cloth, others said they had no problem using the Dupont spray-on glue. What is your experience, and how do you use it?

    Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics (owfinc.com) has a nice selection of fabrics. I like the idea of a Cordura type fabric for the outside layer.

    Dave "SatinSnow" has suggested 'pellant' as an inner lining. I'm not familiar with that fabric.

    Nathan

     
  3. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    Barry,

    I know this doesn't answer your query, but which type of Porter's cloth do you use (nylon or polyester)? and for what size bellows?

    Nathan,

    Have you been able to find a source for "pellant"? I have had no luck on the net, nor at fabric stores. Is Cordura light/flexible/light proof?

    Thank you.
    Clarence
     
  4. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    No, google didn't turn up anything for me either.

    Cordura is a tough fabric often used in luggage. I don't think it's necessarily light-proof, but the inner layer can take care of that.
    Here's the official Cordura web site ... and here's the Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics page for Cordura & Cordura-like fabrics.

    Again, I haven't actually made a bellows yet, and I don't know just a heck of a lot about fabric, such as what a 'denier' is so I'm not sure what thickness to try.

    I had a bellows for my Kodak 2D made by Western Bellows a while back, they did a fine job and used a rugged-looking black fabric for the outside layer. By that I mean it looks great, and it looks as though it's pretty tough stuff.

    Nathan
     
  5. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    hi Barry,

    I've used blackout curtain material, which is available at any fabric shop (used to line window curtains) and is inexpensive (about $5-7 a yard as I remember). The only problem is that it is mainly available only in white, so you need to add extra layers --I added a black sheer layer on the inside, and a thin red nylon on the outside for my Kodak 2D. All layers glued well, nylon though probably the worst of the bunch. Recently, I've found similar curtain material in colors, including black, which will remove a layer --but it is a bit more expensive --about $20/yard

    cheers

    Tim
     
  6. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    forgot to mention --the blackout curtain material is completely opaque

    Tim
     
  7. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    I use the coated nylon darkroom cloth. I believe it is a type of cloth used for raincoats. I use this as the outer cover and line it with china silk (habotai) for 10 x 10 tapered bellows
     
  8. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    I think Dave meant repellant as in water repellant fabric. The glue I use works very very well. it is spray on headliner cement for car headliners. Available at any good auto parts store
     
  9. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    denier is the thread count. 300 deiner cloth has 300 threads per inch.
     
  10. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Hi Tim:

    The blackout cloth you mentioned is too thick for my use. It does not fold up thin enough to allow the caneras to close properly. I made two sets of bellows with that stuff. The other thing is that it does not crease well cause there is so much rubber impreganted into it. Thanks
     
  11. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for the info. I have had the same experience with blackout cloth - too thick and not pliable, but I have had good luck with it for other darkroom uses. I recall getting some focal plane shutter material from Microtools and was intending to use some of it to rebuild the bellows for a Foth Derby 127 (quite small) - still on the "to do" list. Microtools said they could provide larger pieces at better prices on special order, but it seems impractical for anything except a very small camera.
    Cheers,
    Clarence
     
  12. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    Hi Barry,

    The bellows I made for my 8x10 Kddak 2D using this cloth was a copy of the original --about 30" extension, and I didnt have a problem folding it up to properly collapse the camera (about 2.5 -3" thick folded).

    I did find in my search for cloth that not all blackout cloths are the same --I went with the thinnest, which may account for our different experiences. The fabric dealer said it was an imported cloth from Europe...

    I agree about making the folds though --I used a lot of compression to "set" the folds of the bellows (nothing fancy, just a pile of thick books), and they are a still a bit "roundish" on the edges.

    Tim
     
  13. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Thanks Tim
     
  14. argus

    argus Member

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    Don't know if anyone mentioned this before:

    I laminate my own bellows darkcloth:
    - 1 layer of brown wrapping paper, so it is easy to fold. Spraypaint it black. You can stick cardboard to it to define the folds.
    - both sides covered with thin black satin.

    It is not thick but sturdy enough so the bellows won't sack.

    Blackout curtains are way too thick, heavy, won't fold, etc...

    G
     
  15. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Thank you G
     
  16. argus

    argus Member

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    you're welcome.

    Additional to this, I prefer to use 120grams/m2 paper as stiffeners. Take a lighter paper and it will almost be impossible to retrieve the outlines of the stiffeners when folding.
    I also tried 160g/m2 but the bellows became too thick and clumsy in folded (=closed) state.

    G