Wow, thanks for all the replies! I was thinking I was just incompetent when I put the lens into the shutter and (flat) lensboard since it was the first time I did it. I didn't even think of the problem being caused by not having a bag bellows or a recessed board.
You guys (and girls?) are all fantastic! Thanks so much for the help!
I think you need both since the camera mechanics (at least on my Norma) gets in the way. There is simply a limit to how close I can get the standards. One thing I found helped was raising front (lensboard) and rear (back) since the bagbellows tended to get jammed between the parts sliding on the rail.
who are you calling a girl
I do not understand why a short lens will not focus on a subject close up, when the bellows are extended??? I understand why it cannot focus at infinity. The focal distance is closer than you can compress the bellows but when you extend the bellows for closer subjects why will the lens not focus???