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  1. #1
    the-new-old-school's Avatar
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    Graflex Crown Graphic Restoration

    Hello fellow APUGer's I have a camera that belongs to my dad and it needs a little work. I was wondering if you fine folks here could give me a ballpark figure on cost, or point me in a direction of DIY.









    The bellows appear to be in pretty good shape, so I don't think I will need to replace them. What is worrying me is the corrosion on the body of the camera. If I believe the guide at graflex.org then the camera is from 1948 according to the lens. Which makes this a Pacemaker model right?

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I've restored 2 Speed/Crown Graphics that were in far worse condition, this one shouldn't be too difficult at all. You need to reove the back, view finder and range -finder, all very easy and take them to pieces. It should just be the cover on the range-finder that needs restoration.

    The corroded metal parts need all their paint stripped off them then cleaning with a wire brush to remove all the corrosion, with the aluminium parts that must be thorough. Then paint with a spray primer (automotive paint) and rub down with #600 grit wet & dry paper, do this until any pits are filled and the parts look good, then spray paint with satin black paint. Then reassemble.

    The black leatherette polish with black boot polish.

    Ian

  3. #3
    the-new-old-school's Avatar
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    By rangefinder you mean the thing with 2 windows on it on the right side of the body right? What about the shutter lever that's on the body?

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Yes that's the range-finder. The body shutter release will depend which part is corroded, if it's the plated surround you may need to get a replacement, the bit you push should clean with a wire brush.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    s/n 951075 was in a batch of serial numbers assigned 4/5/62. The next batch was assigned 9/17/62. Your father's camera was probably made between those two dates. The lens is, as you determined correctly, older.

    I'm a little surprised by a 1962 Crown Graphic with Kalart rangefinder and spring (Graphic) back. In '62 Graflex' own top RF and Graflok backs were standard. Could be that parts were swapped after the camera was sold, although new front door on old body is pretty well unheard of. Where is the "bump" for releasing the front door when the camera is closed? If on the side, pre-1950. If on top, later.

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Dan, the S/N of my Crown Graphic dates it to 1963 and it's the same as the one here, spring back & side mounted range-finder.

    Also the door release is on the side (see attached) the same as my mid 50's Speed Graphic, as is the catch on the OP's camera (5th photo).

    Ian
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails crown_graphic.jpg  

  7. #7
    the-new-old-school's Avatar
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    Dan, as Ian has pointed out the release button is on the side near the top. If you go here the second picture down shows it with the kalart on the side. Thank you for the info on the date of the serial number though. The lens seems to be in ok shape except at the slower speeds. The timing seems to be off or lagging. Might have to get that CLA'd. Just going to have to figure out where to take it, or send it to, first.

    I just want to get this in working order again. I have really only work with 35mm film and barely started in on 120 about 2 months ago. So I am thoroughly excited for the chance to work with large format. Plus I think that this camera is pretty cool by itself.

  8. #8

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    It looks like it is usable as is, if you don't mind a few cosmetic warts. You can go to Graflex dot org, where they have posted instructions for calibrating the rangefinder. While you have it open, you can carefully clean the film off of the mirrors and rangefinder glass as well.

    The entire back is easy enough to replace once you find a donor camera. That will take care of the corrosion on the back, and you can "upgrade" to a Graflok back while you are at it. The parts camera may also come with a usable cover for the RF, which would take care of the other main cosmetic issue. Parts cameras might be anywhere from $25 to $100. It'll probably be just as expensive if you buy those two parts alone, as opposed to an entire parts camera. Plus with the whole parts camera, you could get other potentially helpful items as well. Screws, brackets, infinity stops, etc.

    You have a solenoid, which means that you can mount a flash handle in place of the hand strap, and very smoothly release the shutter from the handle electronically by running a cable from the handle to the solenoid. You don't have the right-hand flash brackets, though, which go over the RF on the top end. You might prefer that, especially if focusing with your right hand feels awkward. The drawback of releasing the shutter this way is the added weight of the D-cell batteries. I think I have a spare cable and flash handle if you decide to track one down, and I am in L.A.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 07-04-2011 at 05:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9
    the-new-old-school's Avatar
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    What's the deal with the Graflok back? I have seen a couple other posts mentioning it, but have no idea as to the differences between it and the one that's on there now. I didn't even think about trying to source a parts camera. That is definitely an alternative to cleaning and painting stuff myself. And I have a flash unit for it. I should take a pic of the case that has 20+ film holders and the flash tube plus bulb pan. Not too sure where a shutter release cable would plug into though.
    Last edited by the-new-old-school; 07-04-2011 at 05:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Hi,

    With the Graflok back, the ground glass frame is attached by sprung clips, and can be removed quickly and easily. Once you remove it, there are two sliding bars on the camera back that are then used to hold accessories to the camera. This let you attach things such as roll film backs and Polaroid pack film backs. With the other (spring) backs, you have a back and ground glass frame that are not designed to be disassembled. You need to use accessories that slide under the ground glass, such as Polaroid sheet holders or Calumet- and Adapt-A-Roll-style holders. You can spot a Graflok-type back because it doesn't have leaf springs, just two metal bars on either side of the GG frame. The bars have hooked ends, and they are sprung with "hidden" coil spring, as opposed to the fully-exposed leaf springs of the spring-back models.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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