View Full Version : 11x14 project

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tim k
05-02-2011, 05:23 PM
Thanks Pat,
Things are progressing, a little bit slow, but still moving forward. The back is pretty much done, and I was able to put her on the tripod and have a look see a couple of days ago.

Here are a few things that I have noticed, what you guys told me about depth of field, well, its pretty much true. Focusing doesn't seem as critical as the 4x5, seems to move in and out of focus slower if that makes any sense. And my old dark cloth looks so cute hanging over this buggar. Guess I need to upgrade.

05-02-2011, 06:28 PM
Wow... using plans or building as you go?

tim k
05-02-2011, 08:00 PM
Wow... using plans or building as you go?

I'm pretty much making things up as I go. Pictures on the web, and the advice I've been getting here, have been keeping me in between the lines. (I hope.) :whistling:

05-02-2011, 08:58 PM
That bellows making looks interesting. I built a sailboat from scratch, (10 year project) but had the sails made, I don't think I would have the patience to fold bellows.

05-04-2011, 12:02 AM
The folding is easy.... if the layout was correct.

I got my first box of Kodak Green 11x14 film, it's 11x14 minus 1/32" on each dimension. I'm starting the film holders next, it's going to be work, fine work, fine woodwork to be exact but what the hey.

Bellows length, 24" or 32"? If my patients run out I'll break down and order one; right around $400.00, ouch. Life is short and I must move on though. That's 20 hours of work at $20.00 per hour, if I could make a bellows for $20. an hour and the time to make one is 20 hours. Think one can be made to match the best commercially made bellows in just 20 hours? What's a person's time worth?

Funny thing, 11x14 looks kind of small and 8x10 sheets looks, well, tiny. Oh No!

Tim, is there any part of your project that you won't be making?


Jim Fitzgerald
05-04-2011, 08:49 AM
Curt, you want 32' for the bellows. It is nice to have the extra length. BTW for any of you building 11x14's or looking for holders I have two to sell. Send me a PM if interested.

tim k
05-04-2011, 05:26 PM
Curt, if 11x14 looks tiny, I'm afraid your toast. Just as well start planing the next step up.

I've probably got 10-15 hours in my bellows, and perhaps 30-40 dollars. But I rather enjoy the project and satisfaction of doing it myself. I guess thats my rationalization for having more time than money.

For what its worth, my plan "A" was to build everything but the gears and knobs. I've started on the holders. My idea might not work out, but I'm going to try it anyway. Worst case is do a spring back and spring for a thousand bucks worth of store bought holders. Jim, I might be PMing. I'll post a pic or two of the holders when I get something together.

05-04-2011, 07:11 PM
Tim, I'm going with 32" for the bellows, my material will make a 36" with over lap so 32" will be fine. I'm trying hard not to buy ready-made products too. If I built it by buying new parts then I might as well buy a factory made camera.

I'm lucky to have some old wood holders, one taken apart which I've examined throughly and two 11x14 "glass plate" holders. When I got the film yesterday I measured it and then dropped it right into the plate holder and it's a dead ringer for the the glass. I'm sure it will be a challenge but I have the facilities to work at will and the motivation to do the work. I just put in an order for the materials needed for the light traps, slides and septum's. I was thinking of making single sheet holders but I'm heading for the double sided ones.

It's going to take some time to make them and I have no illusions as to the complexity involved.

Thanks Jim for the offer, how's the 14X17 working out for you? Got them hangers made yet? I check last night to see how the film handles. When dry it's fine but when it's wet it's susceptible to scratches and scrapes. I did a job on one just to see. With care it's OK though. I've wasted a couple of sheets but at 50 cents a sheet there's no lost sleep. I've got 98 left in the box, better order some more. :laugh:

Back to the salt mine.


tim k
05-21-2011, 07:57 PM
I'm lucky to have some old wood holders, one taken apart which I've examined throughly

Curt, Any chance you have a picture or two of the light traps in those holders?
My prototype holder is pretty much done, except for the light traps. I have a plan, but it wouldn't hurt to get some more ideas.

05-21-2011, 09:34 PM
This is what I'm using as a basis for my design of the light traps. These digital photographs are of a 5x7 wooden holder that I had sitting around and it has one piece of brass with a finger / comb piece on top of it and all covered with some felt like material.

I'm going to use one piece of brass shim stock covered with velvet like the wood holder shows in configuration. The brass wraps around the holder and is continuous from one side to the other. There is a wood piece on top of it where the locking screws are attached into. So there are two pieces of wood. One has an opening for the septum plus film and has a surface that is even to the dark slide plane; it has a recesses on both sides for the velvet light trap to go into when the slide is inserted. The top piece is thicker at the bottom where it sits on the light trap. The trap brass/velvet is not glued to the holder and stays in place because it is wrapped over the wood and held down by the top piece and a cover is place over it.

The old manufacturers, designer, inventors spent a lot of time work to make this design. I have a holder made, it's made of mahogany pieces that I had in the shop. I've made my septum groove 1/8" and the dark slide 1/16" but I'm going to make a septum groove 1/16" on the first 'real' holder to exact size.

My first model is a size of 5x9 inches, there isn't a film size for it, it's to see if I could actually get the holders made and to experiment on the assembly and procedure before I make a set of them.

I found that Garolite XX cuts very smooth on my Powermatic 66 cabinet saw with a fine tooth carbide blade, no problems with that. I bought a 1/16" four wing carbide shaper cutter for my Powermatic 27 shaper. It's like cutting through butter. I got some new DeStaCo clamps for a custom cutting platform jig.

I have an excellent planer and a Uniplaner so surfacing the stock isn't a problem. What I thought was hard is easier and what I thought was going to be easy is a bit harder.

This week I'm going over to get the cherry stock that I'm going use for the holders. My plan is to make 6, then make a second run of 6 for a total of 12 11x14 holders. Believe me I've spent many many evening with a caliper pencil and paper going over all the materials and dimensions. There are some things that became apparent with a mock-up that just isn't apparent when drawing them on paper. I did some work on cad but I'm not going to spend months with drawings when I have already made one and now can see how it's done.

My suggestion is to make a model, mock-up, what ever you want to call it and see how it works. Originally I was going to make a single side holder but I slowly realized that what came before me was what I was slowly modifying my holders to. I figured that I was trying too hard to reinvent the basic film holder. I'm making double side holders.

I hope you can read this as I've just returned from the North Cascades National Park. I've been house bound and it was nice to get out. I saw some things I want to photograph with a large format camera. I have 100 sheet box of Kodak green 11x14 film here and that's what I'll probably use for the most part. I will use some regular film too later on.


tim k
05-22-2011, 09:17 AM
Curt, thanks for the pictures. That was a quick reply. The pictures help out a lot, actually seeing what someone has previously worked out.

Here are a couple of shots I took with my phone. One is gluing the exterior frame, the other is how I cut my grooves for the dark slides and septum. I'll get some more current pics soon.

05-22-2011, 03:57 PM
Tim that's excellent, using what's available and the right jig is the key. I'll post some pic's of mine soon. I've taken this as a challenge and it takes camera building to a new height. The design and planning stage is always longer but worth the effort.


05-23-2011, 01:11 PM
Hey Tim, What type of saw blade is that in number 2? What is turning it? I've never seen anything like that. Looks mighty handy.

tim k
05-23-2011, 04:58 PM
Mark, its a slitting saw, usually used on metal. They come in all sorts of different thicknesses. The machine is a mill drill. This is not mine, (much too clean) I snatched the picture on line.

05-23-2011, 11:31 PM
Tim, I'm rechecking my design of the light trap. Upon careful examination and with some thought I figured out what the combed brass does. I had just laid down to sleep and it popped into my head. I thought the second layer of brass which is not connected to the larger brass strip just added some increased force to the set but suddenly I thought that if that's so then why not use a stiffer or heavier single layer. The combed brass strip work like this. When the dark slide is inserted the larger brass bends down and as the slide is inserted the combed brass pushes up behind it making not only one contact point but a plane of contact. It's easy to see this happen when the cover plate is off. It's a very cleaver invention, someone or some people knew how to design and manufacture back then.

So does it have to be combed or can it be a straight piece. It would take days to cut one in the combed configuration. I'll have to recheck this. I think the combed design provides even more independent pressure so if a change in the slides straightness is encountered the comb will compensate. It's a very nice design. The velvet or felt material has to be attached to the underside of the larger brass and not to the top of either.


tim k
05-24-2011, 08:13 PM
It would take days to cut one in the combed configuration. I'll have to recheck this. I think the combed design provides even more independent pressure so if a change in the slides straightness is encountered the comb will compensate.


I think your absolutely correct about the even pressure on a curved surface. I think it could be cut rather quickly if you have a box joint jig. Just screw your thin piece of brass between two pieces of wood, then run the whole thing thru the jig. The only issue I see is getting a thin blade. Here is a link to the type of jig I'm talking about. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://home.comcast.net/~kvaughn65/box_joint_jig.jpg&imgrefurl=http://home.comcast.net/~kvaughn65/jigs.html&h=329&w=503&sz=12&tbnid=l7azlDQwnU6MXM:&tbnh=85&tbnw=130&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbox%2Bjoint%2Bjig%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo% 3Du&zoom=1&q=box+joint+jig&usg=__gugebSwwBeWeWKWNKtseC4icMhY=&sa=X&ei=F1fcTevuCYO0sAOI9aCeDg&ved=0CDgQ9QEwAQ

07-27-2011, 12:09 AM
I've completed my prototype 11x14 film holder, at least far enough to start planning the set I need. I've made mistakes along the way but in return I gained a full understanding of the operation of a light tight holder.


My camera is only partly completed however. Now I want a better camera so I have to burn the midnight oil on the design. That's ULF, help!

tim k
07-27-2011, 02:53 PM
Curt, thats good to hear. I've got my first holder done as well, Actually I'm far enough along to actually expose a piece of film. The camera is about 90% done and my holder is 99.3% functional. I'll get some pictures up soon.

tim k
11-20-2011, 04:27 PM
Its been done for a while. I've just been lazy about getting a picture to upload.

I've shot a couple of paper negatives, and go figure, it works.

Film is in the brown truck. :D


11-28-2011, 05:13 PM
Thats nice !
Congratulations with the finished project, whats next ? ;)