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  1. #11
    Greg Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Nicholasville, KY
    8x10 Format
    If it's any help, I am making a 20x24 camera and I bought my bellows from Camera Bellows. I asked them what glue to use for attaching it to the frames. They told me any neoprene based contact cement should be used so it wouldn't destroy the rubber backing on the fabric.


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  2. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Large Format
    Hi there,

    What I posted is probably overkill for a straight / square bellows but is handy for tapered / odds sizes. Making it up in paper will show everything, like what happens when you the spray contact cement and everything sticks to everything. Thats why I started doing it in a block, I'm a klutz.

    Thanks for the link, everyone should check it out.

    "Is this the same method shown on Doug Bardell's bellows-making page?"

    Exactly, almost.
    1) it cuts better on a white plastic 'poly' cutting board. Glass kills the blades and masonite is messy.
    2) the 2 blades cut cleaner. When you cut the first pass with 1 blade, the paper get 'loose' and the second cut is a pain. It is very easy to modify the knife to hold the 3 blades.
    {cut from the top ALMOST to the bottom, then cut from the bottom to meet. It TOO easy to overcut in 1 pass}
    3) I make the ribs with the end 'triangles' on the ribs, his version looks a little loose in the corners but probably folds down even smaller.

    The only problem I have found with making bellows is finding the outer skin fabric. That and not doing it sooner. It is much easier if you have the original bellows for the measurements but there is no rocket science here, children were doing this a century ago. Like Nike said, "Just Do It"

    Good luck with it, all.

  3. #13
    RAP is offline

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    4x5 Format
    This thread has got me thinking. I have a Wista Field 45 I bought back in 1977 and the bellows is worn out. I tested it and it leaks. Instead of making a new one, why could I not use the old one and glue a new outer lining to it?

    What would be a good outer liner? Would vinyl, leather, work?

    Suggestions appreciated!
    Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Austin, TX
    Multi Format
    Quote Originally Posted by RAP
    Instead of making a new one, why could I not use the old one and glue a new outer lining to it?
    What would be a good outer liner? Would vinyl, leather, work?
    I have never done this, but I have heard of it being done. You'd want to stretch out the bellows as far as they'll go so you have essentially a flat surface to glue to. Then you'd have to work the folds back into place after gluing on the outer layer.
    The problem is that now you have 3 layers so it's thicker and won't compress as tightly as the original. Also, you'll need to use a light-tight outer layer. My understanding is that in building a new bellows you don't worry so much about this and rely on the inner layer to provide the light-tightness.
    You'll want to use a very thin light-tight material, probably some type of rubber/vinyl coated cloth.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Multi Format
    I have used Dough's method (which I had to read 3 times before fully understanding, not being native English) for making a bellows and it works well.

    Firstly, make a paper model. Make a second paper model and then, make a third. By then you should be able to make a rather well looking bellows. Don't use the real lining yet as you will be messing up things.

    For the impatient amongst us, rather than drawing everything on an oversized sheet of cardboard, make a PC drawing and print each side of the bellows on 120 g/m2 paper. That should be strong enough as stiffeners.
    Cut and paste everything according to Dough's instructions.
    If you'd prefer to use M3 spray, no problem, but be sure to sandwich the stiffeners between 2 layers of paper and you're ready to start folding after 5 minutes of glueing. In order to see the stiffeners and having a guide for folding, I used brown wrapping paper on the inside and and a rather transparant thin layer of paper on the outside, like the one people put on tables at weddings, festivities etc.
    Using a double layer of paper will help you in folding the bellows afterwards. The stiffer (but then again, not too much) the material, the easier it will be to fold. I noticed that difference between my first and second bellows.

    After folding, apply multiple layers of spraypaint. I used matte black car paint and it looks good.

    As stated, I used this for paper bellows. The real thing will be made soon :-)


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