I recovered a 5X7 Linhof super Technika V using self-adhering leatherette from www.micro-tools.com. I did have the original leatherette as a template, but with a little extra effort, you might be able to do it from scratch. The result was spectacular in my case. The camera looked brand new.
You'll also find that Micro-tools (Fargo) is a wonderful resource for camera repair in general.
I stripped down an old wrecked Crown to the mahogany wood underneath. The wood was not the best. Mine had small chunks taken out of it. Even after sanding it down they were still present. The wood was meant for strength, rot resistance, and light weight, but not for beauty in this case.
I think adding a veneer of new wood is a good idea.
Your right Frank, the wood is not the best, there's only one chunk missing on my Speed Graphic, I'll try filling it and sanding the body down if it looks ok I'll stain and varnish it.
Otherwise I may have to go down the veneer route but I'm no woodworker :-) and would prefer not to.
Today I removed the last bits of leatherette, the spirit levels proved the hardest bits to remove. So I sanded down the body, the woods nothing special probably some kind of box wood, Then I stained it with mahogany coloured wood stain, it's now at the french polishing stage and looking great already.
There's still a bit of slow work to do getting a perfect wood finish, but it could be left as it is now, Bellows are dirty but ok, the aluminim parts are ready to be painted semi-matt black
Then the bits and pieces - springs, spirit levels, handle etc need refinishing.
So I'm glad I can restore the camera to a wood finish without resorting to using veneer. The camera is a very basic 5"x4" it has a lack of movements, but it cost next to nothing.
Last edited by Ian Grant; 10-01-2006 at 03:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The camera is starting to look good.
Now that you have gone this far, are you going to clean and re-dye the bellows too?
I love these kinds of projects. Salvaging and restoring old items to their former glory or, in this case, a new kind of glory.
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Now the french polish has dried and hardened, I can see that just a light sand down and a last couple of coats is enough. The bellows are now cleaned and re-stained.
This old pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic was not quite what I expected when I bought two Speed Graphics on the auction site, the idea was enough parts from the two to make one good camera.
Instead this nice little camera needed a little simple work, and will soon be working beautifully, like the tale of the ugly duckling has emerged like a swan - in this case displaying its wooden elegance.
The other awaits restoration and will need recovering, after some replacement parts are found or fabricated, and the bellows repaired or replaced. This one will take longer than the 3 or 4 hours spent on the first.
Re-leathering Graflex/Graphic camera bodies
I have been collecting/repairing/restoring these cameras for over 25 years, have re-leathered at last count, 27 camera bodies, several in my own collection as well as for customers!
The moroccan leather is getting hard to find, I suppose for lack of demand, but it can still be found! Elmers white glue is what I use for new leather as well as repairs (damp cloth used to wipe excess)!
Carefull removal of old leather, paint scraper usefull to get to the bare wood!
You must be carefull not to gouge holes in the wood as every imperfection will show thru the new leather finish...Bondo works great to fill holes! Carefull scraping and finish sanding is important to the entire project!
The most difficult item to recover, are the aluminum front doors on the Speed/Crown Graphics! I have made wooden frames that I clamp down slowly after stretching/pulling the leather to lay smoothly over the lens clearance bump in the center....it also helps to pre-cut the leather to fit around the hard to cut features, like around the focusing shaft and the strut arm support plates....it is important to leave excess leather so you have something to pull on to stretch the leather smoothly in place!
I have many repair instructions (Graphic/Graflex only) ready to send out via direct email free of charge, that I have written up from experience over the years....and I will help via email to answer any repair questions you might have! I have fabricated from scratch almost every item on these cameras (except the hardware) but including such things as........
aux lensbds (for adapting all of your lenses to a single board)
Lensboard retainer locks (turn a D model or Super D upside down and the lensboard will fall out) my retainer prevents this from happening!
shutter curtains (I have instructions and matl. sources, to fab your own
conversion backs to convert 3x4/4x5 RB Graflex backs to 4x5 Graflok RB backs
And I have many spare parts from parts cameras I have bought over the years!
have a nice day......Bert