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  1. #1
    Tom Nutter's Avatar
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    5x7 wooden film holders

    Just won some crusty old wooden 5X7 film holders on Ebay---anything I should know about them or do to them before trying to use them?

    :o

  2. #2

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    I usually start with a damp cloth to get all the gunk off them. Then dry and vaccum the dust out of them. Then i load them with RC paper and take them outside and leave them in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes turning then every few minutes. Them develop them in dektol and see if there are any leaks.

  3. #3

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    I have a bunch of the wooden 5x7 (8x10 and 4x5 also) that I have bought off ebay. This is what I do:

    1 - Inspect them for cracks or splits in the wood. This often happens at the hinged part, where it is split to accept the dark slide. It can also happen at the sides. Usually they can be repaired with wood glue using small c-clamps to hold the wood together while the glue dries.

    2 - Replace the tapes if needed. I bought a bunch of it from B&H several years ago but any thin black cloth tape should work.

    3 - Blow them out really well. I have been shocked at the cloud of dust that comes out of the dark slide slot from holders that were supposedly in use.

    4 - I take some junk negatives and place them in the holders with the slides out and then carefully spray paint them with a satin black paint. The negatives mask the holder, they can be reused. Angle to avoid shooting paint into the the dark slide slot. It is easy to do. Two coats. I don't use flat black because it makes for a rough surface. The holder will be hard to insert into the camera if the face is rough. A black 'sharpie' felt tip pen can be used to darken any scratches through the paint in the area behind the film. Don't totally trust the anti-halation backing on the film.

    5 - Make sure the slides are the correct ones. I got one batch where two holders had slides that did not quite go all the way in . . . just about 1/8 -1/16 inch of plastic showed at the top. But, two holders leaked light at the bottom . . . guess what . . . the slides were in the wrong holders! The slides are not all identical.

    They will look great when you are done and all of this does not take all that long. I prefer wood over plastic as they are thinner, lighter and seem to hold less of a static charge. I also find that the plastic ones can develop hairline cracks at the seams (near the top on the sides) that leak light before they are easily visible. YMMV.

    And finally . . . test them with film (cheap and out of date if you can find some) in sunlight for several minutes.

  4. #4
    Tom Nutter's Avatar
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    All good advice, thanks!

  5. #5

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    Whats already been said, plus:
    Test the holders for light by loading some photo paper in then an letting them sit in daylight for a few hours. Develop the paper and look for leaks.

    A bit of Pledge wiped on the edges of the dark slides will make them slide in and out easier(less chance to jossel the camera, don'tcha know)

    john nanian recommends book binders tape for replacing the hinges. I use gaffer's tape but I've got to agree book binder's tape is a classier approach (and far more flexible)

    Never throw away a bad holder---put it in a cannibal box and use the parts to keep your other holders on line.

    Get a micro attachment for a shop vac to vacume out all the nooks and crevices.

    Keep your clean holders in a zip lock baggie.

  6. #6

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    John, isn't several hours a bit long for a direct sunlight test even with 3 ISO paper? Maybe a half hour would do... or three hours in open shade with the holders propped up on edge?

  7. #7

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    What's with the few hours thing? It either leaks light or it doesn't. It will only take a few minutes in direct light even with slow enlarging paper to show if there are light leaks. Running a strong flashlight around the edges will do the same thing.
    Frank Schifano

  8. #8
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    just got my first 8x10 holders(4 of em) for about $10/each from fleabay,

    gonna try this!

    -Dan


  9. #9
    eddie's Avatar
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    I load them with RC paper, and hit them with a few bursts of a strobe light.

  10. #10
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    Mind that some of the deals on wooden 5x7 holders really are too good to be true, and you get plate holders with no film inserts.

    I have also found that while many of the oldies are fine for visible light photography, they can be iffy for IR.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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