What ever your futrue plans are on building these holders for sale Bill, I think there would be demand. There are a lot of folks like me who are either starting in wet plate or very interested that have modern view cameras and a fast lens or two. Even though it is pretty easy to convert a 8x10 holder to hold a plate a nice dedicated holder to fit modern cameras would be desired if one decided to shoot wet plate on a regular basis. Couple that with folks like Bostick and Sullivan who are now selling kits with the all the necessary chemistry it is becoming easier than ever to experiment with wet plate for a reasonable investment.
I know there is a group that likes to keep everything close to period as far as gear goes but since I still shoot film I like the option of shooting a plate and maybe a sheet of film of the same subject with the same camera.
I fully agree with Jim. Interested to hear about the results of the field tests and the price... it just lookslike the perfect way to get involved and shoot both wet plat and film. :-)
Thanks for the feedback Jim and Steve. I fully plan to make them available if all works well. So far, so good and I think they are going to stand up well. I've poured many plates through a few of the prototypes and all are working so far without a hitch. I'm just completing a whole plate version that will ship early this week. Unfortunately I have no whole plate camera to test on, but I don't see why the design should fail on a smaller holder.
My plan is to make them in advance so that people don't have to wait for a long period when they order. I've also seen too many people get backed-up and get into trouble taking orders and getting overwhelmed. This way they will be shipped on order. The other thing is keeping the price down. They are pretty labor intensive at this point and even though I want to keep the cost below what I've seen custom ones go for, it is hard to make that worthwhile ... yet. It takes about 10 hours from start to finish at this point. Even though it is definitley more efficient to do several at once like I've been doing, it is still a lot of work. The plan is to have the parts milled so that assembly will be less labor intensive in the future. It's been a great winter project for me, but I'd rather give someone a job anyway. Even if it is only for a couple days at a time!
For now though I am still planning to keep them well under the 400.00 - 500.00 I have seen and heard custom builds costing. Still sounds steep, I know, but it is not likely that demand will be enough to manufacture these on a grand enough scale to make them significantly less.
Thanks again for the feedback as I really appreciate it. I'll keep you posted.
The design translated well into the Whole Plate version and that too is now ready. One has gone out for field testing and I am now on to a 4x5 version of the dedicated wet plate holder. So far, so good!
I'm quite serious, this sounds just excellent. I have an old Korona View and 12" brassie that I will bring to Photostock -- this seems like a great solution.
You're on Colin. Thanks.
From one who has known only modified holders, I'm really enjoying a dedicated holder. Modifieds are fine, don't get me wrong. I'm just finding it a lot easier. It even seems I am getting better plates due to less fiddling with 2 slides, loose, pressure springs, etc. I also find with modified holders that they are less substantial and easier to mistakenly compress the plate up against the darkslide and perhaps that is why my plates are cleaner.
Looking forward to seeing the camera! It'll be good to have another for the workshop.
Not sure if it'll help, but I have a half-plate built by Ty Guillory I can bring too...let me know.
If it fits, bring it along. I'd love to see it. Photostock is like a big show and tell. Thanks!
I'll preface this with the fact that I do consider Bill Schwab a friend, but I also believe friends need to be truly and sometimes bluntly honest with each other.
Mr. Schwab has hit a F'in homerun with these holders. I was honored to get one of the first holders to test out.
I spent the entirety of today out shooting with the North Light wet plate holders. Completely flawless.
I made about 6 collodion plates on aluminum and 2 plates on black glass.
The holders is extremely well made and the design is executed impeccably to function specifically for wet plate, and function well.
Lots of nice little touches. Theres a "frame" edge all the way around where the aluminum/glass sits inside the holder. This edges works well to keep any residual silver from seeping into the darkslide slot or other areas. The edge is made form a white plastic material so is easy to see even in a dimly lit darkbox. This was really handy when placing the aluminum plate into the right place as the white material made seeing it a breeze. This might seem miniscule, but its a nice touch as often youll get collodion tears if the al/glass plate moves any inside the holder.
I'm accustomed to using a holder with corners as opposed to an 1/8" edge all the way around. I found the 1/8" edge nice because the plate sits securely in the holder and doesnt move in the least.
The holder is about as light tight as is possible. I was out shooting in bright sunlight and moved it around in every possible direction and got clean plates every time.
The retaining clasps that hold the back closed were easy to work and the pressure spring was plenty tight to create enough pressure to keep the plane of focus spot on. The 8x10 creates a plate that is 7.75" x 9.75" I was using aluminum and glass that I'd cut for my older holder that was 7.75x9.5 so my plates didn't fill the entire holder but this caused no issues as the backing glass helped to hold the plate in place. You'll notice the lack of black border on the bottom edge in the below triptych.
The holder slides into my 8x10 and locks into place perfectly, no moving around and absolutely no issues with light leaks or incomplete "seating" in the back. Another notch on the "well designed" belt.
Bill has really done a knock out job. I've been using a modified older wooden 8x10 holder and this is night and day better. Don't have to fumble around with two dark slides, bent plastic as a "pressure spring", darkslide rubbing against the plate...
Highly recommended. If you want to get out and create plates and want a good quality holder. You can't go wrong, especially at this price.