To clarify the question of using plywood. The reason I would be cautious using plywood gernerally is that there are so many types available. To reiterate, all wood is
is a living material, this applies equally whether it is in single plank, block or ply form.
I agree that generally ply is less prone to movement than most woods particularly the softer grades. Nevertheless, there are a number of ply woods that would be most unsuitable. These may be those plys made from any of the resinous wood types. It is also necessary to consider the glue used for the binding.
It is just as important to know whether the ply is a 'round cut' or 'plank cut' Avoid the ply made from round cut veneers as they will tend to crack when any coating is applied to their surfaces.
The better quality plywoods will be 'plank cut' and these are likely to be the marine grades which are most suitable - if ply is to be selected over other materials.
If only a stand by panel is required then a good quality dense hard board will be more than up to the job and will not move at all, it is also very easy to work. Even so when coating ply or board be sure to give both sides equal coverage of sealer or coating.
'Determine on some course more than a wild exposure to each chance' The Bard.
You might try black plexiglass. It comes in large sheets that are 1/8" thick, is relatively inexpensive, can be cut, drilled and sanded, and is firm and sturdy enough to work well as lensboards. I've used black plexiglass for all my lenses and they work well. I sand the inside surface of the board so that it has a flat matte surface that doesn't reflect light, and I leave the outside surface shiny. I originally got the idea from Bender's website, and it works really well.
Umm, what's wrong with masonite? I have several lensboards made from it. Dimensionally stable, stiff, and easy to work with and downright cheap.
A second for masonite. It works easy, and routes beautifully. It may not look purddy but I'm out to take pictures not impress anyone. Since I don't leave my camera set up in a down pour water is not an issue.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
Good stuff here..but what do you guys use to cut the hole for the lens? Guessing you center it and then cut based on lens?
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Home depot offers a set of hole saws that will cover a good many ranges of shutter sizes, I think I purchased mine for about $10.00 I just cross the board from corner to corner and then carfully use the drill and hole saw, pretty easy to do.
I use Forstner bits to drill the holes, as they create nice clean edges. As I use natural hardwoods, mostly 1/4" thick, for my boards, I mark the center on both sides, and then use a larger bit to countersink the back side for the retainer ring, and then the nearest size bit for the actual hole, drilling from the face side. Once the drilling is done, I then rabbet the outer edge of the board on a shaper to create the edge light seal.
Originally Posted by photomc
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I have used MDF (medium-density fibreboard) to make a lensboard. Then, I have covered it with a plating of acajou like the wood of my large format camera Gilles-Faller 18x24.
I have used recycled ABS plastic (from an old Western Digital MyBook external hard drive) for mounting a shuttered lens onto a Beseler enlarger. It is about 1/8 inch thick, and easy to cut. Plus is is already a very dark grey. Not really an elegant option for a nice wood camera, but it should look fine on my 5x4 technical, which looks odd with a wooden board for some reason.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Another vote for MDF. Paint it matte black. Looks like hell. Works. Are you into pretty cameras (yes, I am) or taking pictures (yes, I am, even more so)? Hence an MDF lens board on my pre-WW1 Gandolfi Universal 12x15.