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  1. #11

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    If I were stripping the finish I would use a low heat hobby type heat gun, not a standard heat gun. I would use stainless steel English cabinet scrapers to remove the softened finish. You would have to either remove the name plate so the black paint does not soften from the heat or protect it with a heat resistant tape. be careful of tape lifting off the black paint. You do not want the glued components to get too hot so be careful. Wood can be scorched from too intensive heat so only use a low heat output and keep the heat moving at all times. If needed, I would use super fine 0000 bronze wool on the brushed brass components or 3M red pads. Don't use steel wool or you will leave small steel particles behind that will rust and discolor the finish or brass. I would do the basic polishing with Flitz liquid or paste polish. I would use Never Dull on any areas where you do not want polish build up in cracks, joints, seams and crevices.
    As an alternative you can use soy stripper on the finish which is not nearly as caustic as standard strippers. Though, I would not use any chemical strippers myself.

  2. #12
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John R. View Post
    If I were stripping the finish I would use a low heat hobby type heat gun, not a standard heat gun.
    .....
    As an alternative you can use soy stripper on the finish which is not nearly as caustic as standard strippers. Though, I would not use any chemical strippers myself.
    Interestingly, heat has been what everyone I have talked to has repeatedly stressed should be avoided, since it can cause warping even at low levels. I am also interested in your desire not to use chemical strippers as I understand this to be the quickest and most cost effective way of working. While I understand the desire to use a more environmentally friendly product, I am not convinced the "green" products will work as well. Assuming you use proper handling techniques, most chemical products are just as safe.

    When I spoke with a chemist friend about getting some denatured alcohol, he suggested using nail polish remover as a more cost-effective method. Any thoughts? I was able to get the rails out after much wiggling but I noticed the leather handle is riveted in; can I assume almost anything I use will be bad for the leather?

    Most interesting tip I have found, mix up some sawdust and epoxy and fill the screw holes in order to get a better fit with the screws. I like this as some of the screws are a little loose even when screwed in.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  3. #13
    George Nova Scotia's Avatar
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    I too would avoid heat. The glues used are likely hide or fish glues which soften with heat. You may find joints coming apart. Nail polish remover is acetone with a few things added. It may soften some lacquers. You might also find some of the brass is lacquer coated. If you have some polish remover or acetone give it a try with a qtip and see what comes off. Some of the smaller rivets might also be small brass nails. I don't think you need epoxy, ordinary wood glue with sawdust or even a toothpick will do. Put the screw in while the glue is still soft or use a steel screw to make the hole then put in the softer brass screw. I still think steel scrapers will make quick work of the finish.

  4. #14
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    Avoid heat and use a product specifically for the finish. It's an optical instrument and should be conserved as such.

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

  5. #15

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    I too would avoid heat. Plus, I'd only strip the finish if absolutely necessary. I restored a Korona last year. One section needed side needed refinishing due to a crack I repaired. For the rest of it, I used automotive polishing compound to renew the surface, and a new coat of lacquer here and there. If the current finish is lacquer, a new coat will blend into the exisiting, unlike varnishes and polyurethanes.

    Also, the epoxy and sawdust thing would work, but using regular wood glue and sawdust works just as well, and is much easier than dealing with epoxy.
    My second choice, and sometimes first, if I'm in a hurry, for screw hole repair is sawdust and cyanoacrylate (aka super glue).
    In general, avoiding epoxy will make future repairs easier, should they be necessary.

  6. #16

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    I have refinished a Kodak 2D that had everything painted white. It was a chore to strip the paint from the wood and brass because the paint had penetrated the open grain in the wood. The brass was stripped and polished with Brasso and 0000 steel wool and the parts have a duller finish than new but still look fine on the camera.

    After stripping the paint and sanding the parts I re-stained the wood and finished it with a spray lacquer. I used an aerosol spray and put 4 coats on - sanding between coats with finer grit each time. If you use lacquer make sure you have good ventilation. I sprayed mine outdoors just to be safe as lacquer has a strong odor and is quite flammable.

    Regards
    Gord

  7. #17
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I restored my spare Agfa Ansco Universal 10x8 last November, I stripped off the old shellac where it was badly cracked with Methylated spirits. I filter my meths to remove the purple dye first, charcoal works well or an old water deioniser (jug type) but that need a few cycles.

    Being a purist I re-French polish my cameras, this takes a few days sometimes a couple of weeks but is worth while it's a more natural finish than lacquers/varnishes, I can now re-stain to match existing parts, I experiment with off cuts.

    Brass like others I just use Brasso, but sometimes I need to soak in Vinegar first to remove Oxidation, then I re-polish. I've just rest6ored a large shutter and had to remove solder from parts that looked almost a write off, but heat to remove all the solder then wet & dry and Brasso mean the parts look like new. I will give brass a flick of lacquer to prevent oxidation but I'm not 100% happy not to be using the original 1890's lacquers (on older cameras_.

    Ian

  8. #18
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    The gel stripper will eat through anything, even nitrile gloves (use rubber, or remove the nitrile glove immediately if you get some on it). Have good ventilation for this (outdoors or in a well vented garage)

    Doesn't seem to hurt brass though. I recently stripped and re-poly'd a century studio camera. Used brasso for the brass parts.

    pix: http://jason.philbrook.us/gallery3/i.../2010/album212

  9. #19
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Ian, sound like exactly my sort of desired workflow - I have been looking at varnishes/stains and would love to recreate the original finish. I am starting next weekend (long weekend in Canada) with the removal of shellac/stain. I don't expect to use the camera this summer, maybe the winter as bellows alone from Custom Bellows are 6 weeks to construct (and I need to raise the funds first). Where did you get your materials, as I am assuming your local hardware store does not stock a French Polish kit as a normal item?

    Jason, thanks for the tip on the nitrile gloves, which is exactly what I was going to use. Might need something a little more resilient. I plan on working out of a friends garage, since I live in an apartment.
    Last edited by Kevin Kehler; 05-13-2011 at 04:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  10. #20
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    In the US, denatured alcohol is available at hardware stores for a few dollars for a pint. It will only work if it is shellac. If it is the original finish, it probably is. Acetone (fingernail polish solvent) is also available at hardware stores. If it is lacquer, then lacquer thinner would work. If it is a varnish, you are probably out of luck and need to use stripper, but I'll try paint thinner as that is the solvent for conventional varnish.

    Shellac is a very traditional finish. French polish is a way of applying and finishing a shellac finish so everything you'd need would be at the local hardware store.

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