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  1. #1
    BradS's Avatar
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    whether to strip...or not to strip...???

    So, I have been reading about other folks refinishing their old 8x10 wood cameras....and living a bit vicariously. At the same time, I've been eyeballing the old Kodak 2-d that I have and have been thinking that I could/"should" do a light restore on it and improve its aesthetics a bit. Keep in mind that the darned thing works just fine as it is and makes fine photos....still it is a bit cosmetically challenged.


    So, to the point...I have read about people who use nasty chemical strippers and then completely re-do the finish and others who use a sort of less agressive product, like "Formby's Furniture Refinisher".

    and I am wondering about the differences between the two and the relative benefits of each approach.


    Any insight in this matter would be appreciated.

    What have you used? Why? would you use it again? what would you recommend?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    On my Century restoration I stripped one piece. The rest got just an overcoat of clear laquer, followed by a hand rub-out. The problem with the stripped piece is that the grain filler stripped off also. So it was a lot more work getting that piece to look like the rest. The wood had and still has multiple dents and from 100 years of getting knocked around. I chose that method because it was quick and gave a nice shine. I was anxious to get the camer back together again to start using it.

  3. #3
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    It's at times like these the great heaven knows
    That we wish we had not so many clothes.
    So let's loosen up with a playful tease
    Like all lovers did through the centuries

    We're just following ancient history,
    If I strip for you would you strip for me?



    Strip it. Nothing looks better than beautifully finished wood and brass. I use acetone and a scraper (just a piece of metal). Pour the acetone on and let it sit for a minute, then scrape off the gunk. Repeat until you have just bare wood. Then start sanding with the grain from 100 grit (if it's rough) up to 800 or higher. Shellac it and finish with carnauba wax. You'll have a beautiful camera that glows in the light and is the envy of all your friends and acquaintances.

  4. #4

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    Yeah... git 'er nekked and rub 'er down good!!

  5. #5
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    Indeed.

  6. #6
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I think I need to see a photo of the camera, but I am leaning strongly to leaving its history intact and using the camera to shoot.

  7. #7
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
    I think I need to see a photo of the camera, but I am leaning strongly to leaving its history intact and using the camera to shoot.
    Is there any reason why refinishing it would make it unshootable? I use all of my cameras whether refinished or original.

  8. #8

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    In any case. I've used Formby's and the more aggressive stripper and have to say Formby's was much easier to deal with. I used them both on larger than camera pieces & won't use anything but Formby's in the future
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Brad, I've got a couple of questions for you. Doing a small camera shouldn't be that hard. I've refinished a lot of furniture recently (including a 100 year old grand piano top to bottom that took over a year on and off). You can go with the Formby's, but it may actually be faster and you may get better results using the stronger stuff.

    What kind of wood is the camera made of? What is the finish now?

    I would guess it's a stained hard wood with a lacquer on top. If so, I recommend using Klean-strip Premium Stripper (to remove the lacquer coat) and using a 50/50 mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner (to remove the old stain). Obviously remove anything that isn't wood before you go apply stuff. Use nitrile gloves while handling the chems and do this outside. Apply the stripper liberally with a brush in one direction only once (don't brush back and forth or it doesn't work), cover with wax paper, leave 15 minutes (but don't let it dry out completely), then peel off with a paint scraper. Repeat until you're down to cloudy wood. Then use the 50/50 mixture with 0000 steel wool to clean it up and bleed out the stain. Rub a piece till the stain starts coming up, then immediately wipe behind it with clean paper towel. It takes time and multiple passes depending on how much stain you have, but it comes out totally new. Assuming you don't have chunks of wood missing, you can now finish it as you like. My favorite is Formby's tung-oil finish. Very easy to use, just wipe it on, leave it a day, do it again. The more coats you do, the better it looks. About 4 coats and it looks awesome!! It needs to be refreshed with a coat every year though and it's not that hard against the elements, though, so you may want something tougher. Anyway, hope this helps if you want to do it the more aggressive way.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    and others who use a sort of less agressive product, like "Formby's Furniture Refinisher".
    All (or at least nearly all) these products contain silicone. It penetrates the varnish down to the wood. After an application you will not be able to get a new coating with varnish on unless you strip it completely including the first layer of wood. Thus I can not recommend it.

    Ulrich

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