Re-foaming an F2
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 ....?
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! :)
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!
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.
Originally Posted by BradleyK
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.
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
Licking the foam to position it easily sounds like a great tip, but are you sure that doesn't make the adhesive weaker?
Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings
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.
Many repairmen use black chenille yarn for back seals. You'll never have to do it again
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
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.
Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut
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 +