View Full Version : Bellows pinhole repair

06-19-2009, 10:18 PM
I just bought an Agfa B2 Speedex folder camera. I've got about five small pinholes in the bellows and was wondering if there was a quick fix for them.

Is there some sort of thick flexible paint I could dab onto the pinholes to make the bellows lightproof?


06-19-2009, 10:20 PM
I have used black liquid fabric paint with success.

06-19-2009, 10:31 PM
Thanks for the great tip, I'm off to the crafts store now.

07-02-2009, 02:20 PM
I have used Wetnwild's Wild Shine Black Creme #424A nail polish with excellent results on several different types of bellows materials including my Titan which uses the same material as your pre-war B2.


Ian Grant
07-02-2009, 02:28 PM
Have to think John's suggestion is better, the fabric paints are usually water based acrylics, I've used some from a craft store to repair bellos and also shutter cloths on a Speed Graphic & a Thornton Pickard shutter, it's very flexible & tough.


07-02-2009, 03:23 PM
I've had decent luck with black liquid electrical tape, but it's fiddly to apply (a toothpick works better than a brush). In the US it should be easy to find at hardware stores.


07-03-2009, 06:52 AM
I've tried many things, and the best method for me is to simply apply patches with gaffer''s tape.

But what you want to do is apply a thin layer of contact cement on the bellows before applying the gaffer's tape. Contact cement will bond but remain pliable, and gaffer's tape won't leave any residue like you might get with other types of tape.

I've tried liquid electrical tape -- worked great for automotive work but wasn't so great with bellows. My exerpience was a sticky mess.

By the way, if that Speedex has plastic bellows, you'll be patching that thing forever. Your best bet is to find a Speedex with leather bellows.

07-03-2009, 02:11 PM
I've had great success with the Bostick & Sullivan patch kit, made especially for bellows repair:

Ian Grant
07-03-2009, 03:52 PM
tessar, I use something very similar - a re-inforcing fabric - made in Holland that I buy from a Sewing/Needlecraft shop, it's very thin but light tight. I've used it to patch a set of Pacemaker bellows that were rotten on one edge, it's almost invisible. You can use it inside.


08-04-2009, 04:46 PM
Hello, Ian, do you have the name of the reinforcing fabric or the paint you bought? It would make it easier when I next get to one of those sewing/craft shops; or maybe I can find it online.

Thanks, Jon.

08-04-2009, 08:44 PM
equinoxphotographic also sells a bellows repair liquid ..
i've never used it, but jeremy turned me onto
black india ink and pva (glue)
i repaired a huge bellows with that with great success ..

Stewart Skelt
04-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Bumping this thread to share my experience.

Preparing for an overseas trip with my Horseman 45FA I thought I would check the bellows by shining a small torch from the inside. Sure enough there were a few pinholes in the corners of the pleats. TBH I'm not sure how bad a problem this really is - they were very small and the pleats themselves prevent a direct line from the corners to the film plane. But nevertheless...

Went to a craft shop to buy fabric paint, but I found this and thought I'd give it a try:


(Just in case the picture doesn't display for some reason, it's of a tube labelled "water-based gutta").

It's intended for outlining pictures on fabric and is slightly rubbery. You apply it directly from the tube. I tried it out on a canvas shopping bag in which I had made some small holes and it seemed to work, taking about 24 hours to lose tackiness, but remaining flexible.

I then applied it to pleat corners on the bellows and after the first application all but one of the pinholes was gone. A second application fixed the last one. Because of the slow drying time I left the bellows fully extended for 24 hours, then closed it. All seems well so far.

I'll test for light leaks again in a couple of months and report back.