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  1. #1

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    1904 Seneca View 5x7 restoration.

    My first post here, not sure if this type of thing is allowed or accepted and couldn't find anything in the rules. So just let me know if this is a no-no.

    I picked this badboy up for just $40 with the tripod yesterday from craigslist. Protip: search the antiques section for camera. I was able to grab this off someone who knew nothing about it that's why I got it for so cheap. Anyway, on with the pics.

    The camera


    The tripod


    The head of the tripod was broken and will be getting its own restoration as well with new fittings and hardware. And the ability to use a modern head on top of it. But for now this will do. I used a bolt with some washers to support the camera.


    For the initial cleaup, I used a variety of chemicals. The first being liquid gold to clean and treat the wood.


    You can see here how dirty it was (dust) then how it looked with the dust off, and finally how it looked once treated (the lower level).


    Upon closer inspection you can see the mnfr stamp.


    The metal fittings have started to pit and show some serious wear, although they are in relativly good shape still.


    So I took them all off


    it was filthy underneath


    But I cleaned and treated it all

  2. #2

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    And used a metal polish for the metal fittings


    It made quite the difference


    The screws were trash as well so I took some sandpaper and sanded off all the tarnish


    The bellows inside were dirty but light-proof still


    The back panel is in so-so shape. The ground glass is cracked and the wood has a brace installed. Which will not be fun to repair. Thank god my grandfather is a woodworker. It will make this a lot easier


    I removed the fittings to see how bad it was. Someone obviously did a terrible job fixing this as there was wood glue everywhere.


    While the ground glass was out however I noticed there is an "L" in the upper right hand corner. I wonder what was written there


    I will be making a new lens board as this one is clearly not the one that came with it. It is spray painted black and is made of particle board


    Masking tape was covering this hole


    Anyway, here it is on the tripod

  3. #3

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    Bellows closed


    Completely folded up


    This thing is HUUUUGE, here it is next to my 2nd oldest camera, a 1916 Kodak brownie. Mind you this takes 120 film. So it isn't exactly small either


    And folded up next to the kodak


    Went to my favorite local camera store today. Right as I walked in a customer who was there complimented me on the camera (as I had brought it in). Turns out he was the lead photographer for Nike for 14 years, and now works as a college professor for photography! My friend and I ended up chatting with him for a while. Turns out he shoots mostly large format, he even has a 12x20 camera. The negatives for that cost $50 a pop, not something you want to screw up. He was a huge help, picked out the best lens for me that they had there (I had the owner put it aside) and found some film holders for me as well.

    Only grabbed two, but he has 4 more I will probably buy later on.


    Fits great in there


    Next to my buddies 4x5 Crown Graphic which I used to think was a big camera lol


    And both of them open

  4. #4

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    Did a little bit more yesterday. So far I am still focusing on the small things like the cleanup before I make a new ground glass (which I picked up the cutter for today), a new ground glass carrier and going in to re-drill a few of the spots that some of the adjustment knobs have been knocked off track. But it is coming together nicely.

    I polished some of the adjustment knobs, here is a before and after. There is still some grime that just would not come out. I will probably need to go in there with some steel wool.


    I also removed more of the chrome to find dust and 106 year old gunk underneath.


    So I cleaned it all up and put it back in. While it was out I also adjusted the retainer for the hinge as you can see on the right side of the before photo where it is sticking out of the hinge.


    Unscrewed the bottom portion here to find more of this substance (not surprised)


    But what I was not expecting was what was on the back of the chrome plate.


    I cleaned it up as best I could and re-installed it



    My next task was the heavily tarnished brass guide rails that go the entire length of the camera


    But when I removed them I found nothing hidden underneath!


    So I started to polish them

  5. #5

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    Even got creative with getting into the cracks


    And here is a before (left) and after (right) of the brass. Quite the difference


    Anyway, hope you enjoyed, more to come soon as I make a new ground glass and start getting serious.

  6. #6
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    So jealous.
    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

  7. #7

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    I wish I could score something like that off craigslist.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by snay1345 View Post
    I wish I could score something like that off craigslist.
    Do what I do and leave a tab open 24/7 and hit refresh every so often when you are on the computer. I've scored a 35mm complete darkroom for $40 and a 4x5 darkroom for $50 (but at the time I didn't have a use for it so a friend picked it up).

  9. #9

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    That is awesome!

    Jeff

  10. #10

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    Great job! How long has it taken so far?

    And welcome to the site.

    Mike

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