I've put NOS bellows on a few old Edwardian Kodaks that take 120 film and used them with more or less good results.
My next project is a No. 2 Folding Pocket Brownie with a red bellows. At first inspection the bellows is light tight and I don't want to replace it (unless you have a NOS red replacement!).
The question is this: any suggestions on brightening the bellows? The camera on the whole is in nice shape but the bellows seems faded. I think they are actually paper on the outside.
building model aircraft, had an ideal product for recovering bellows. I believe it was called "MonoKote", and was a very thin polimer shrink sheet that was applied with a heat tacking iron.
Don't know if it's still available....but judging from how good it was at it's job, I would guess so. It was available in a rainbow of colors. I've used old scraps to redo an older folder.
Just ran a search and it is still marketed through shops carrying "Top Flite" supplies.
Have you tried wiping them over with a damp cloth? This is a Thomas Thomasy suggestion from his books.Often the dye was water soluble and wiping them gently with a damp sponge or cloth brings the dye back up to the surface and brightens them up. It doesn't always work - it depends onthe type of dye and if the bellows have been sealed with wax etc. But no harm in trying.
I'd paint them with red flexible vinyl paint. Like leather "dye" sold here. I have used these products and they work well on leather, vinyl and fabric.
I also do model aircraft for over 40 years (I'm a old geezer!) and there are other heat shrink covering you can use besides good old monokote(it is still being made)A side note do you do FF,CL, or RC?
Originally Posted by jolefler
I quit building and crashing CL and FF long ago. Never was rich enough to get into RC. RC is much cheaper now but guns, cameras and grandson keep me busy enough. I know how to work with silk and dope. Some of my brain cells still function properly.
Originally Posted by Jeff Kubach
I am not really rebuilding this red bellows camera. Just cleaning it up and making the very basic shutter work. If it works out I may shoot a roll of slow B&W in it but a user is not the real goal. My oldies should work, at least be able to.
I know what you mean. RC is not bad in the long run. Seems like the people who fly RC airplanes stay in the hobby longer. I mount a camera on one of my models and did some ariel shots. Had some success.
I've used monocote also,but would be worried about its shrinking on a bellows ,causing the bellows to distort.
if I'd use it on a large format bellows, but it didn't distort the 2 1/4 square bellows I did. Easy, peasy... tack it on, rotate, tack, rotate, tack, trim, done.
I would imagine the opaque black would seal corners, as well.