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  1. #1

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    Restoring old rubberized bellows

    Hi,

    I have a HUGE Centuary graphics process camera which I wish to restore.

    I believe it was probably intended to be an 8 by 10 camera, although the plate holder external dimensions are nearer 12 by 12" (too small for 11 by 14", but 10 by 12", maybe?).

    Anyway, fully extended the bellows must be nearly 5 foot.

    The woodwork is fantastic. The camera was picked up in a very damp and cold 'antiques market' (a derelict shed, really) and had clearly been sitting in virtually outdoor conditions for probably years and years. It was very filthy and damp, but the wood hasn't warped, split or rotted at all, greatly to my surprise. After some initial cleaning it looked it remarkable condition.

    The bellows are rubberised fabric. Although they have also lasted well, they have cracked a litttle around the joints.

    Years ago it was possbile to buy liqued rubber to re-proof canvas tends and such like.

    Does anyone have any idea where I might be able to obtain some liqued rubber to renovate these bellows?

    I tried searching the internet.

    I typed in 'black rubber' and 'latex' into google.

    :o :o :o :o :o

    I am now a different person to what I was before.

    However, no rubber suitable for coating camera bellows! :rolleyes:

    (Seriously, you can see the problem trying to find something like this on the net!)

    If anyone can point me in the right direction or offer any advice on renovating bellows then please let me know, thanks.

    Steve

  2. #2

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    "Brush-On Electical Tape", available at most hardware stores, has extended the life of a couple of old Korona bellows.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  3. #3
    Buster6X6's Avatar
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    There is a liquid rubber I used for my bellows. It is used to coat tools with different color rubber. It can be brushed on and you can dilute it with naphta camping fuel. It is made by Performix and it's called Plasti-dip.
    Any good hardware store would have it.

    Hope this helps Greg
    Looking is a gift, but seeing is power.

    Buster6X6

  4. #4

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    Thanks for that info, guys. Performix has a uk site which I've found by googling:

    http://www.plastidip.co.uk/index2.cfm

    I'm going to order 500ml of black plastidip and give it a try.

    Steve

  5. #5

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    One cautious sidenote re: plastidip - if you use it diluted it may not deliver the lightproofing properties you are after (just ask me how I know ).

    Chris
    [SIZE=1]Tiptoeing through life's grand theater - and falling down flat.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
    colrehogan's Avatar
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    Perhaps you can contact Camera Bellows, they may be able to help you.

    http://www.camerabellows.com/
    Diane

    Halak 41

  7. #7

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    I managed to find a picture of the camera (I knew I had one on my hard drive somewhere!)

    This was taken after I cleaned it up, but before attempting any sort of restoration.

    The champagne bottle on the top gives it a bit of scale...

    Steve

    PS. I've visited "Camera Bellows" a few times and bought several bellows from them for smaller cameras in the past. I think, scaling up the prices that I have paid in the past, that I would need to sell my house to replace the bellows for this beast! Really, though, they aren't that bad considering the age of the camera. I think a bit of careful resoration and they will photograph again
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P2230004.jpg  

  8. #8
    Charles Webb's Avatar
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    Steven,
    I have used Artists Acrylic paint for many years for major and minor bellows repairs. I does not dry hard and brittle but flexible enough to work with out making the folds to thick to fold.

    For black bellows I actually use the Acrylic Black sold at Walmart. For best results thin with a bit of water and then paint it into the folds. Lightly at first then a second or third thin coat where needed. In the corners where it seems most of the pinholes like to hide use a tooth pic or brush handle to move the paint around a bit forceing a tiny bit of the acrylic into the actual light leak. I seldom us the acrylic full strength as it comes in the bottle, but
    usually thin it with a little water. Do not close the camera after one of these aplications wait intill the paint drys completely so it does not stick to itself. The acrylic can also be applied on the outside and be almost invisable if care is used.

    Any color will work to match a bellow color but black should be used inside for it's opacity. Gloss Medium acrylic can be used to thin or give a gloss finish just as Matt Medium will make a dull or matt finish. As with all things dealing with antiques test first. A bit of Talc added will also help eliminate any sticking and can also be used to thicken up paint mixture.

    I have used this method even before acrylic paint was avaiable in liquid form. I first used Artists Acrylic paint sold in tubes as less demanding for an oil or impasto look. Keep it thin, several thin coats work better than one thick one.



    Charlie...................................

  9. #9
    Freneticist's Avatar
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    WOW!! And I thought I was the only one that would pick up something like that! I purchased an old Tasope Photogravure camera made by Aurora School of Photogravure here in the US. Same dimensionally as the one you found. Bellows were garbaged, wood was stained, back was gone. Turns out the entire thing was made from walnut. Even the 2x4 runners underneath. Solid walnut!! I made a set of bellows using micro-suede. With the size of the beast, the bulk didn't matter. It had a Tasope lens, but I opted to make it a variable pinholer. Rotating pinholes of different sizes for different f.l. and f-stops. Here is a "before" and "after shots of it. Lots of fun to load in the station wagon and take out for an afternoon shot. My grand-daughter thinks I built it for her to hide her toys in.



    Last edited by Freneticist; 06-17-2007 at 09:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    A wonderful beast! Does it take good photographs?

    Solid walnut?

    I must admit I don't really know what mine is made of. I have assumed mahogany, but only because I didn't know they made them out of anything else!

    Mine came with a brass Ross lens of about 10" focal length (for whole plate, I assume). It was mounted on a deeply recessed panel (more of an internal box, complete with brass tube and flange for the pneumatic shutter, alas not included).

    I bought the camera really because I have quite a big lens collection and when I get the camera up and working I should be able to put any of my larger lenses on on it

    Steve

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