Just an update to my progress: I stripped the #8 Cycle Graflex down to a pile of wood and screws.

I have a new FS mirror to replace the broken mirror in the little rangefinder.

I discovered that the reason for the chittering while turning the bellows extension knob was due to many cracks in the wood base, screws that wouldn't hold, and one of the brass bellows rails being bent. Coming from Michigan, the camera probably spent most of its life indoors, a heated dry environment in the winter and a hot humid environment in the summer. Enough to crack anyone's base.

I spent days getting liquid hide glue in all the cracks and clamping the base. Then I drilled out all the screw holes. I bought a chunk of Mahogany at the House of Hardwood in West Los Angeles, and made 20 or so tapered plugs. I glued the plugs into the drilled out screw holes, planed them down to the base surface with a tiny finger plane. I'm at the point now where the areas where the finish was worn off and the area under the rails and hinge, where all the plugs are, have multiple coats of shellack. I still need to get a few more coats of shellack into the brass gear shaft groove, which I cleaned. Since much of that is end grain it has just soaked up the shellack and still looks unfinished.

Next I'll buff those areas out with 000 steel wool and then use Howard's Mahogany Restor-A-Finish with 0000 steel wool to make the entire base look uniform without stripping and totally refinishing - I think it is supposed to "reflow" the finish.

When the rails and other brass parts go back on (after cleaning and polishing with Simichrome Polish), all of the plugs will be invisible, but the screws should hold like when the camera was first made. When I made and installed the plugs I made sure the grain paralleled the surrounding grain. I didn't make plugs from the end grain, so there shouldn't be any splitting. I also have a tapered screw starter bit to make tiny pilot screw holes.

In a post on the Yahoo Cameramaker forum I detailed my search for a bellows liner. I still have a sample of camera shutter cloth coming from "Aki-Asahi" (info@aki-asahi.com) in Japan, a sample of BFK12 Hypalon impregnated fabric on the way from ThorLabs, and some e-mailed feelers still pending, but the UK's Custom Bellows will sell me a rubberized cotton (@ 16.00 per metre) that they use for bellows and The Leather Supply House (http://www.leathersupplyhouse.com/) sells a number of fabrics that are used for bellows including a very thin unlisted rubber + silk fabric that can be used as a light tight liner (# 030-6 @ $56.30 a running yard).

By the way, the UK's Custom Bellows was the Camera Bellows division of Lee Filters, which went out of business - or as they term it, stopped trading. Custom Bellows will start trading in the March time frame with the people from Camera Bellows.

I bought a chunk of red skiver (very thin leather used in bookbinding) and some acid free thick paper for new bellows ribs from Talas in New York. I also got some of their Leather Saver (used by museum conservators), Saddle Soap, Neetsfoot Oil, Lexol Leather conditioner, and Jade 711 acid-free PVA adhesive which is used in conservation and bookbinding. I'm ready to tackle the bellows!

I just shipped the Betax Shutter off to Carol Miller (flutotscamera@earthlink.net) at Flutot's Camera repair for repair and cleaning. I'll see about getting the lens elements cleaned and perhaps re-cemented at a later time.

I have been taking pictures and when the whole thing is together I'll post them all - before and after. After the camera is working I'll dig into the Cirkut back. However, it doesn't look like it needs to have too much work done to it. I also bought a F&S #2 Tripod so I can use the camera with the one 6.5x8.5 film back I found - I don't know if it was made for the Cycle Graflex, but it fits and appears to be good enough. I'll find out later.

I'll post again when I've removed the bellows.