Quote Originally Posted by Johnny V
Hi All,

I just purchased a 5x7 B&J tailboard camera.

I'd like to refinish it. Right now it has the battleship gray paint on it. I'm going to guess the best way to take the paint off is using paint remover.

Can someone recommend a brand?

Also for finishing I'd like to keep the natural tone of the wood. Is a satin urethane the way to go? Or an oil finish?


John V.


When I stripped the surplus WWII US Navy grey (gray???) paint from my 8x10 B&J, I used "Circa 1850" paint remover. It is far better than what else is/was available locally. I found doing it outdoors on the back deck in the heat of summer somewhat difficult in that it "dried off" a bit too fast... so I opened all windows and doors, layed newspapers on the the kitchen table and went to work. Applying the gel somewhat liberally, I then waited a few minutes and, using a one inch putty knife, found that nearly all the paint came off with the greatest of ease. I light rub with the finest grade of steel wool removed what the putty knife left behind.

Do not try and remove the bolts on the front standard... they are "stapled" in place to prevent the "bolt' from turning. I had to resort to removing the entire front board (a slight sideways twist allows this) and then, using a metal spatula, carefully removed the bellows from the board. For re-assembly the bellows glue back in place quite readily.

Two light coats of "pure" tung oil applied with a piece of old cotton T-shirt left the body in beautiful condition. If you decide to use tung oil, make sure you get the "real" tung oil. There are some brands of so-called "tung oil" that are not 100% pure tung oil.

If you would like a quickie .jpg.... drop me a line