Beseler 45M Restoration & Questions
Hey, folks. This is my first post here, so be gentle.
I recently acquired an older Beseler 45M enlarger from my boss (I work in a local camera shop) for cheap due to her moving; said enlarger sat in a workshop attached to the house for probably 10 years without being used. Consequently, it needs a lot of work. I have a web gallery up of photos documenting my progress, they're in roughly chronological order.
Everything's functional except for the polycontrast filter head. The filters are faded and in pretty bad shape. I was thinking I could just pop the case open, take the filter holders out and replace them with a new set of Ilford multigrade 6" filters (which I use with Ilford paper).
The problem is that the case won't open. I've taken out all of the screws I can find, and I still can't figure out how to get it open. In the picture below, there's a screw in the top-right corner that looks like it was put in upside-down. I'm thinking I may be able to grind it out and hopefully get the case open that way.
I've done a web search as best I can to try to find more information on this particular head; I don't know if it was a Beseler item or a third-party item. The original owner is long gone, and my boss' husband (who owned the enlarger) bought it used 25-some years ago and never messed with it. Does anyone have any information about this particular head, or know if replacements are available?
More pictures of the filter head can be found here and here.
I'm also wondering what this little guy is for:
The rusty bit to the left of the lens board... I don't know if there's supposed to be something else there that I don't have, or what.. but I'm totally stumped.
If anyone has or knows where to find more information about the original 45M, I'd be grateful.
Thanks in advance!
I've got an old 45M and an older one. Never seen this head before. Kinda clever. You got a good bit of stuff with it. Good job.
I don't know if it is worth the salvage. Depends on with this is a restoration or just a matter of getting the enlarger working and printing. I might just put a coldlight in it and use filters under the lens. I know that will sound distasteful to some, but it does work quite well.
I'm almost thinking the filter head was custom built; the Dymo label on it says "FH-22 Polycontrast", which leads me to think they're Kodak filters.
Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
It's more of a restoration at this point; I've gotten the condenser and lenses cleaned up, and I'm looking at having the motor either overhauled or replaced (it's loud, slow and smells bad). I can use it as is by putting my current set of 3" filters in the negative carrier if I have to, but I'd rather be able to use this filter tray.
I'm graduating to this from a 23CII I inherited from my college newspaper when it went digital, so the idea of a filter under the lens doesn't bother me that much. Although I am using better glass now than I did then, so that may make a difference.
Thanks for the response.
Not sure if I am looking or understanding the screw in the upper right corner being in upside down. It appears to have had the head broken or stripped off. I have used adjustable vice grips to remove problem screws and bolts. Clam it tight and turn, reposition, clamp, and turn. Repeat till removed.
The rusty bit by the lens board, are you referring to the filter drawer? Usually has a red filter in it but you could also put VC filters in it.
Hope this helps.
Is your motor slow both directions? If it is slow one way and fast the other, you can adjust this to be even both ways, or add a counter balance. The newer of the two 45Ms that I have is basically brand new. Never used except for the development of a product. Although the enlarger is 15 - 20 years old, I'll bet the motor has been up/down 50 times. It stinks after even the shortest of operation. The older one I have is a little slow and doesn't stink. I bought it 25 years ago out of someone's backyard. It was a little moldy, but cleaned up fine and works great. It's been modified for 8x10.
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Try contacting the guys at khbphotografix.com. They have been very helpful with my questions about the Beseler 45 series of enlargers.
If you can afford it you may want to wait and see if you can get either a dichro or polycontrast coldlite head for it. It would be very convenient and allow more flexibilty in contrast control.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
VC coldlights are a pain in the shorts. They are not very bright and difficult to stabilize without split printing. Stick with V54 and filters if you are using coldlights.
Originally Posted by Claire Senft
Beseler made a set of VC filters in a little plastic frame to fit this drawer. You could also cut the Ilford filters to fit in a cardboard frame. They work great.
Originally Posted by fotch
I agree. Add a little V54 head, coupled with the Ilford filters, and you would have a great enlarger. From the frame color and silver bellows, it looks like an early 70’s version.
Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
I did exactly that. I wasn't sure how the drawer worked until I took it apart and cleaned it up; I've since cut my Ilford 3.5" filters down to fit the 2.375" square hole in the drawer, it looks like they'll work like a charm.
Originally Posted by resummerfield
Now I need to get to printing. :-)
Last edited by lifein2x3; 09-03-2006 at 11:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.