Ansco Studio #5 and stand, tight, but ugly
Today I brought home an Ansco Studio #5 has #38 stamped on bottom. The bellows are excellent. Everything works except rear focus gearing. I bet I can fix that. BUT it is ugly. Factory grey peeling all over with plenty of rust. The thing is fairly tight with the joints swelled and paint gone.
I do want to shoot with it and it came with a working 4.5 inch double piston Packard. I have a few barrel lenses.
It needs oil on all moving parts. What type of oil is good? Thinking not motor oil as some will drip onto unpainted wood. Olive oil? Linseed oil? Ideas?
The bellows are so nice and extremely tough, that I do not want to remove them. I could scrape the existing paint, but it seems to be coming loose all over, except under the standards near the bellows.
I could scrape and repaint grey or I could be an idiot and try to 'improve it' with natural wood finish.
I have read quite a bit here about refinishing horrors and endless projects.
What do you people think?
First, the camera looks very nice to my eye. Looks like it just needs a gentle cleaning and minor metal work.
If you really intend to use it, my sincere advice to you is to do absolutely the minimum necessary to get it in usable state and then, use it! Perish the thought of stripping paint or doing anything like it until you've worked with it for at least a year (or 100 sheets of film).
Also, if you do decide to strip or scrape the paint, do not even think about doing it with the bellows in place! It really is not difficult to remove the bellows.
This advice is based upon my experience with several restoration projects. The last, an 8x10 Kodak 2D, took me full two years to complete...it was a tear down, strip and complete refinish. Yeah, it was beautiful when completed but, in retrospect, it was not worth the effort. Contrast that to one of my first restoration projects, an 11X14 Century studio camera...completely disassembled and cleaned everything and then put it back together...total time: about three weeks.
SAE 30 is a good choice for oil. Olive and linseed oil are two of the worst choices - both will turn to gum over time: linseed oil is the oil in 'oil paint'; in addition to turning to gum, olive oil will go rancid and start to stink. Stay away from WD-40, 3-in-1 and other 'penetrating' oils.
Get rid of all loose rust before oiling with a selection of small wire brushes, emery cloth and stainless-steel wool. A small wire brush on a dremel (or a larger brush on a bench grinder) can get rid of rust in gear teeth and racks but remove the rack first or there is a good risk of damaging the woodwork.
You need _very little_ oil. There should be little to no trouble with oil seeping into the wood. Apply the oil to a rag or Q-tip and use that to wipe oil on to the gears. Run the gears back and forth to distribute the oil on to the rack.
I've become a real fam of the teflon-based dry lubes. I "discovered" them at the bicycle shop. Apparently it is a technology that bicyclists kew about for quite some time but I did not. Not cheap but a little goes a long way. Goes on wet and quickly the liquid carrier evaporates. Then the lubricant is both effectve and dry to the touch. Fantastic stuff. The brand I have is Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube -- $7 for 2 ounces. I know there are other brands too. As others have said -- clean everything up first.
The problem with TFE and other dry lubricants is that they afford no corrosion protection.
After all the rust has been removed, the surface of the metal will be finely pitted and 'active' - all set to rust again unless a sealing coat that will get into the microscopic pits is applied.
WD-40 was originally developed (or so the story goes) for preventing rust on polished steel [not stainless steel] rocket nose-cones. The accronym stands for 'water displacing formula #40'. It wasn't designed to be a lubricant but to be a penetrating drying oil. After WD-40 dries it gets very gummy and is a very poor lubricant.
Machinery, like bicycles, will have been coated with a fine film of penetrating oil at the factory. If this protective oil is removed then TFE lube is not the right thing to use.
In retroscpect, a light wipe with WD40 for corrosion inhibition, followed by a light oiling with SAE30 may be the best solution.
Old machinery, such as this camera, often had a clear varnish applied to the steel to keep it from corroding. With time the varnish develops cracks and moisture gets under the varnish and corrodes the metal.
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Thanks for all the good advice. I am NOT going to strip it or repaint. I will lightly brush the chipping paint away and apply some Watco oil finish to exposed wood. Watco wipes on and will not stick to the paint. I hope. Testing will be done. I am very familiar with spray teflon as my former overlord used to bottle it. Good for many things, but I think not this. We also used to have several oil coating sprays for rust protection, but Loctite bought us out and discontinued our products. Some were unique and now not found anywhere. Careful cleaning of the rust will be necessary and I think light coats of WD 40 for rust protection and heavier oil for the screws and gears. I may wax the the sliding wood ways. I am tempted to sandblast and paint the major stand parts. I also have glue separation on the stand uprights. They are made of 2 pieces. The lower half is still held together by the stand castings and bolts, but the upper portions are separated. I have noticed on similar Ansco models that there are cast top caps that would prevent splitting. A factory improvement! I could re-glue or bolt them together without disassembly. Perhaps that rust converter stuff may be sufficient for the very rusty stand castings and eliminate any disassembly. I am as lazy as the next guy and learned not to do antique automobile, motorcycle or radio restoration ever again. I hope. Again!
This week I need to procure an air shutter bulb and mount an old meniscus lens. I also need some real tiny screws. Hobby shop? Is the Packard company air bulb and hose the best way to go or can I cheap out with the eBay knockoff?
I saw a u-Tube video where this Ansco model often had a film holder rack attached with 2 bolts and a storage place for the now missing 8X10 back.I am amazed at how many LF cameras are missing their full size back. A pity. There are no unused holes where these accessories were perhaps mounted.
Thanks again for all your responses!
btw, I have the opportunity to buy a very original and extremely good condition Kodak D2. I think I better buy it as it needs absolutely nothing but a dusting. This camera business is getting out of hand...Now how do I get rid of the big Levy process camera...
WD-40 is not a particularly good corrosion inhibitor. Instead I could recommend one of the CRC products such as SP-350. WD-40 works best as a parts cleaner and can be used as a lubricant for cutting aluminum ect.
Thanks, I will check it out.