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View Full Version : Suggestions for cleaning up a Bergheil



walter23
02-26-2009, 03:42 PM
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.

athanasius80
02-27-2009, 12:28 AM
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!

apkujeong
02-27-2009, 06:02 AM
I'd try IPA (Isopropyl alcohol) on a cotton bud, or on a toothpick for the rails. It'll dissolve gunk fairly easily and won't damage paintwork or enamel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropyl_alcohol

Ian Grant
02-27-2009, 06:19 AM
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

Bill Harrison
02-27-2009, 06:41 AM
If the finish is shellac, alcohol is NOT the thing to use . It is the solvent for flake shellac.

Ian Grant
02-27-2009, 08:05 AM
If the finish is shellac, alcohol is NOT the thing to use . It is the solvent for flake shellac.

These are metal cameras and the parts are painted or chrome so there's no shellac used.

Ian

Fotoguy20d
02-27-2009, 08:11 AM
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

apkujeong
02-27-2009, 08:27 AM
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).

Ian Grant
02-27-2009, 08:49 AM
I wouldn't waste good beer cleaning up a camera :D

IPA - India Pale Ale

Ian

Soeren
02-27-2009, 01:46 PM
I wouldn't waste good beer cleaning up a camera :D

IPA - India Pale Ale

Ian

Yes drink the good beer and use Weissbier for the cleaning :p

Anastigmatic
02-28-2009, 05:58 AM
These are metal cameras and the parts are painted or chrome so there's no shellac used.

Ian

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

HerrBremerhaven
02-28-2009, 01:55 PM
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 (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

walter23
03-01-2009, 02:05 AM
I wouldn't waste good beer cleaning up a camera :D

IPA - India Pale Ale

Ian

Yeah, that was my thought ;)

walter23
03-01-2009, 02:07 AM
Yes drink the good beer and use Weissbier for the cleaning :p

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).

walter23
03-01-2009, 02:08 AM
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.


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 (http://www.gordonmoat.com)