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  1. #1

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    Rebuilding Ansco 5x7

    I just received an Ansco 5x7 which is worse off than I thought it was when I bought it. It's battleship grey with a built-in extension rail and front tilt, but the non-moveable tripod block. One of the racks (actually the strip of wood it's screwed to) will lift directly off the front rail. All the knobs will need washers to tighten them. It will need a new bellows, as the one it came it is not long enough to use the extension rail and the height of the first pleat prevents the use of the tilt. The strip of metal depressed by a screw to hold the built-in extension in place does not do so. The gears for the front and rear standards slip quite a bit. While I've got it disassembled I figure I may as well strip the paint and either varnish it or repaint it?

    Any tips for a guy with only basic shop experience to go about this? I'd rather not spend a ton of money to have someone else fix it when I could have bought one in good working order to begin with (which I thought it was).

    - Justin

  2. #2

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    Hi Justin,
    I got an Ansco just like that too - it was my first 5x7 and guess what - it still sits disassembled in a shoebox to this day. What I am saying is this - you will have to set aside ample of time, LOTS of time.
    Stripping the camera and repainting it is veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery time intensive. How about just repainting over it? Stripping would only make sense if you want to show the wood underneath. Then you should think about staining it, cuz the wood probably won't be of a uniform colour.
    If the gears are worn and therefor slip, you could try gears from a hobby store which caters to the RC crowd. You still need to deal with a machinist to get it to fit; and getting anything machined will cost... See if you can get the metal strip that locks the extension to work; just don't permanently remove it (otherwise the locking screw will eat into the wood of the extension rail and ruin it - somebody pulled this stunt on another Ansco I got and it ain't a pretty sight).
    Another great tip - talk to a custom cabinet maker; often these guy just love to get something else to do for a change and might not charge you much. That's how I got the main rails on my Ansco remade for a mere 20$ mind you.
    Oh and think about how much money you want to sink into the project - especially the bellows might put a sizeable dent (200-250$) into your pocketbook for a new one. You could of course try to make your own; there are plenty of instructions on the web.

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

  3. #3

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    I don't think it's wear that's making the gears slip, but rather that one of the racks is loose on the rail and some of the fittings are loose. I wouldn't mind seeing the wood, so I might strip and stain it. I've sent in my only 5x7 lens for shutter repairs so I've got plenty of time to get this thing going. I may have a go at making the bellows myself, but I'm not sure how to take off the old one. How do I get the old one off? Also, to strip the paint would I just sand it with fine sand paper until the old paint is off?

    - Justin

  4. #4
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    Used cameras are the smaller version of a used boat, it starts out simple enough, just some hardware and new paint, bellow, canvas, new keel, a couple of weekends and it's done.

    In reality it's not that simple, ask how many have these are in shoe boxes sitting around unfinished. Be realistic about the repairs and the time to do them. It may not be worth it in the end. If it's replacing a bellows and cleaning up the finish that's one thing but a compete breakdown with making and replacing hardware then that's a different story. Keep it simple. If the back is good and the basic mechanics are good then it might be worth the effort. 5x7 puts it in a higher category than say 4x5 were the cameras are abundant. Do you have holders?

    The best of luck,
    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  5. #5

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    I doubt it would require anything beyond some washers and screws to tighten the fittings, getting the rack to properly attach to the rail, a new bellows and perhaps a new finish. The main concern is the bellows, as I do not know how to attach it or where to get/make a new one for less than I paid for the camera.

    I did get some new fidelity holders from Calumet (after phoning to make sure their website was not mistaken). The camera may be worth the effort but before I do anything I've contacted the APUGer who sold me the camera to see if we can reach an arrangement, as I believe it was an honest miscommunication.

    How would I go about removing the bellows? it seems like the camera is pretty sturdy and if I got the new bellows and tightened everything up it would work fine. Of course, I'd prefer to have a properly functioning camera to begin with.

    - Justin

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Silber View Post
    I wouldn't mind seeing the wood, so I might strip and stain it. I've sent in my only 5x7 lens for shutter repairs so I've got plenty of time to get this thing going. I may have a go at making the bellows myself, but I'm not sure how to take off the old one. How do I get the old one off? Also, to strip the paint would I just sand it with fine sand paper until the old paint is off?

    - Justin
    Getting the bellows of shouldn't be a problem. On mine they were screwed to the body.
    I hope you got a realistic idea of how long it takes to sand off the old paint; it's not done in an hour or two. On the bright side, your arms may end up looking like Scharzenegger . That is if you haven't died of some mysterious cancer before - the paint dust isn't particulary good for a healthy lifestyle. I'm being sarcastic here, but the underlying message still holds true - be careful with the safety precautions. You could also go with a chemical paint stripper; but it's still extremely toxic stuff you have to deal with.
    [SIZE=1]Tiptoeing through life's grand theater - and falling down flat.[/SIZE]

  7. #7

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    Justin,

    " It will need a new bellows, as the one it came it is not long enough to use the extension rail and the height of the first pleat prevents the use of the tilt."

    Sounds just like the standard factory bellows. Designing custom bellows to clear the front tilt would be trick and making them long enough to use full extension may not close-up into the folded camera.

    The bellows have screws around the perimeter front and rear, the rear may be covered with thin wood or press board strips.

    The gray painted version has a very thick coat of primer also so have lots of fun sanding. Don't use stripper, you will NEVER get it out of all the corners and cracks, NOT EVER, and it will screw-up any other finish you use. It may also loosen the joints.

    Have fun with it.
    (been there, done that, have the tee-shirt and tattoo)

  8. #8

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    Unless you paid a lot for the camera [grossly over paid] then new bellows would cost more then the camera is worth.



 

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