Just to keep this thread at the top of the list, I thought I would post an update as far as the restoration of the camera is concerned.

I had the good fortune of meeting a cabinetmaker the other day that is excited about the chance to work with me in bringing the camera and the glassplate holder up to modern specs for practical usage.

I went out and purchased a piece of mahogony to use as the raw material in order to match as well as possible the rest of the camera parts.

The first thing that had to be done was to have a couple of spare lens boards made. Not just a rectangle of wood cut out with a tongue on each side to fit into the existing track...oh no, that would be too simple. The grain of the wood must run in different directions in order to prevent any future warping of the plate.

Next, the circular opening on the base of the camera, intended for use with an old fashion tripod system, will be filled in with a circular base of mahogony, then a second circular base, slightly larger will be glued on top of that with the grain running in a 90 angle to the first plate, again to insure that the plates remain flat and stable, no warping. In the middle of this base plate, a 3/8" tripod connection will be inserted.

All of the wood will be glued using bone glue. Yup, bone glue. Animal bones are cooked down until a glue is formed. I guess that's the kind of glue they used to use dead horses for. According to the cabinet maker, it's the best glue for woodworking. And I like the way this guy works, using only hand tools and horse glue....fits right in with a 100 year old camera and a photographer that developes in ABC and uses Azo and Amidol.
After he's done with theses stages of the project, he wants to make a few extra 12X15" glass plate holders for me! He's as excited about this project as I am.
Then he sent me to a buddy of his who is a tinsmith. He's making a set of film sheaths for the glass plate holders, which will allow me to use modern film in them.
All in all, a very productive day.
BTW, in case anybody is curious, he's making the lensboards and camera base for $80, complete with a shellac finish to match the rest of the camera. And the film sheaths are going to cost me $10 a piece! Such a deal!