First of all, a giant thanks to everybody for the support, the kind and complimentary words and Mike...for spelling my name as Godman...well, I usually keep a $50 bill handy for situations like this, but the new world economy hasn't been so good lately. Fact is, for the past few years I've been busier than a one-legged man in a sack race.
Some of you have asked me about the disappearance of the general light seal kits from the E-Bay auctions. Please let me keep this as short and antiseptic as possible: about 18 months ago a seller on E-Bay began buying my kits, cutting them into pre-cut kits and presenting the instructions I have written as accompaniments to his kits. When I refused to sell any more kits to him, he began having shills buy the kits and send them to him. When I refused to sell to his shills, he became agitated, sent some threats and then vanished for several months. Now he has re-appeared, and he is doing the same thing. Here are a few more facts for you: in 18 months he has operated under 5 different E-Bay IDs. One of them was nterslice. This person simply removed the first "i" from my ID. More recently, he began using the account of one of his shills who last lived in Las Vegas (darolb) but the ID was altered recently to camerasealkitsandmore. He claims to be out of Eugene, Oregon, but that is not true. He is out of Flagstaff, Arizona. He does not reveal his name to the buyers of his kits. That in itself would be a large red flag if I was a buyer. He has copied the bamboo tool I designed many years ago and he continues to point buyers to my instruction page (on the Classic Camera Repair Forum).
This whole project...the 10 year span of it has been a complex set of risks. Most have been financial, some more personal, but all of them have been assumed by me. Not one bit of this fell out of the sky. Not the specialty foam, not the specialty tools, cutters, tables I designed and built, not the instructions I've written, not a bit of it landed in my lap.
On the positive side of the ledger, I'll be making as many pre-cut kits as possible. As many as time permits, that is. The cutters, templates, dies all require time to make. The waste will be less. It will be easier and quicker...All seal pieces will be carefully checked with actual cameras whenever possible. If you have a camera you want me to consider, please contact me by email and we can discuss it.
Hi Jon thanks for the reply.
I have many older cameras and most are well sealed because of you. Would you be willing to sell a generic kit on a custom auction. I/we contact you and you send us an auction. I am so sorry that you have to put up with a jack ass, because you have helped so many keep their cameras up and shooting.
Maybe you should sell directly, through APUG. The advertising rates are very reasonable here
My Koni Omegas are grateful to you.
That guy ripping off your product should be fitted with a cement overcoat.
What a smaghead!!
Getting a kit from Jon is the best way forward. However, I have quite a lot of black self adhesive foam about 1mm thick here so if anyone wants some to have a go themselves, I can post you a bit.
We have it on a 36" roll, many metres long.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
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One thing I forgot in my original post was to put a length of "painters tape" along your film rails.Helps keep the gunk from landing of the film curtains.
Well, I got the kit ordered from Jon. He said to say hi to you all! Very nice to deal with. I also got a kit for my FM2. He wasn't for sure on the measurements for one part on the EM and sent me an extra piece so I can let him know which are right. Very easy to talk to. Can't wait to get going on my camera repairs.-Lori
Oh, I see he already posted above! Lori
Thanks again, folks. I do appreciate the support...more than you know.
I can't put the general kits on E-Bay. Please believe me. I get email messages from shill buyers almost every day and not only is it getting tiring but it is also harassment.
In addition to this problem is the fact that over the past 6 to 10 months every single component of the kit has escalated in price steadily and without decline...even the cost of paper, envelopes, toner, bamboo...some of these products have increased by 50% or more. I have not increased the cost of the kits, but there is no way to avoid that at this point. The loss of value of the US$ has not helped any importer. Bottom line is the $9 kit is going to have to become the $13 kit or the $14 kit. And honestly an important factor is how many frictional costs there are. E-Bay and PayPal are not cheap. I am open to alternative suggestions.
As for the pre-cut kits, I've gone to great lengths to make them attractive, and I hope you'll keep an open mind. For example: take the Canonet GIII. With the general seal kit, unless you are very careful you may only be able to re-seal one GIII because of the amount of foam used on the film door. The pre-cut GIII kit is $12, I've made templates to duplicate the door strips precisely, and I send you two choices of hinge seals...depending on how far you want to go with the restoration or how handy you may or may not be. Plus I took the time to explain how to remove the top plate and clean the viewfinder and where the adjustments are for the rangefinder. That's right. At the end of the 6 pages of instructions the buyer gets, there are 14 images showing how to do this and a narrative. The Yashica 124g? $9 and I teach a secret which is probably worth $20 to know and I solve a design defect in the original camera. The XA series for $12? In that one I've made a design change I've been considering for over 15 years. It makes the seal material much easier to install, and it will make the seal more effective. For the do-it-yourselfer, it changes a tedious job into something much less threatening...something a complete novice will not be nervous about. Plus, I send the pre-cut pieces so the user can choose between self-adhesive foam or the 1mm velvet which I have proven to be a superior choice over the 8 or 9 years since I first tried it.
Some people have asked if I am going to limit the thicknesses of the foams or eliminate some components of the kits. No, not at all. I will continue to offer the same foam in thicknesses of 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm and 3mm and the two thicknesses of fabric material will not change, either.
Some people have asked if I plan on using a cheaper grade of foam. Absolutely not. Of course, I would make a greater profit by selling junk foam, but what would be the point? If you own a Maserati or a Lamborghini, you wouldn't put re-tread tires on it. Why would you use less than the finest in your camera? Besides your camera was originally built using cheap foam, and how did that work out? The foam I use is peerless, but it has always been incredibly expensive. For anyone who understands foam or foam production, the method I require is that the bun be skived one pass at a time and each sheet be backed with pressure sensitive adhesive individually. The precision of this method versus rolling a bun shakily through a cutter and backing with self-adhesive as it rolls through...to me it is the difference of going to a well-respected surgeon versus a witch doctor suffering from delerium tremens. There are three stages to the production and delivery of the foam I sell. Each one takes place in a separate country. Knowing this may make it easier to understand why the import process causes me to lose sleep, but it is the only way to get the world's best foam product made to my specifications. The cutters used in this process are manufactured only in Germany and are crazy expensive. I'm told the blades for the machine cost over $250,000 each. But no...I have no plans to sell anything but the finest.
A couple of people have asked me if there are new camera products on the horizon? Yes. Actually I am awaiting the finalization of patent paperwork on a new process and a new product. I can not discuss it, but I will tell you it is something I've wondered about for 20+ years and the end of over a year in study. I think it would be interesting to all camera owners and particularly those with large format or antique cameras...
So that is it for now. Sorry to be so long-winded, but because of the numerous questions I've received, I thought answering some of them in this fashion made more sense.
Hate to see you treated like this.
The Idea of selling your kits through APUG is not a bad one.
Price increases are unavoideble, so make them.
Keep the universal kit in your program for us, as out here there are many with many old camera's that need your great product.
Get a seperate email adres for APUG so we can order directly from you an post it down here.
The cost of PayPal can be avoided by bank-transfers, or include a price WITH PayPal if that suits you better.
You got your self a lot of fans and supporters on this place, ya know !
All the best,