View Full Version : Film holders: What to do against flattened velvet?

Martin Patek-Strutsky
16-Oct-2004, 04:14
Just bought 20 used Fidelity film holders and realized that 10 of them show the typical light leaks at the light trap where the dark slide enters the holder. As the holders look almost mint I guess this problems results not from wear but from flattened velvet in the light trap.

Is there a chance that the velvet will recover if I take out the dark slide and just leave the holders in the closet for some weeks? It would be a pitty to throw away these fine film holders.

Is it a good idea to store film holders always with pulled out dark slide to avoid this problem for the future?

John Kasaian
16-Oct-2004, 04:43
Bummer man! If it comes down to tossing 'em consider this---not that I don't know what I'm talking about, but it could be fun to try(now these holders are plastic, right?):

Pull the dark slides.

With a very thin blade, like a coping saw, zona, or something like that (maybe even a dremel tool blade) cut off the cover of the light trap. You should be able to make two cuts from the slot to the top of the opening. Make your cuts at an angle so you'll have a "keystone" cross section if viewed from the slot end. You don't have to be precise, but don't cut any deeper than the plastic cover.

Remove the old velvet and replace with new stuff.

Clean the pieces---be meticulous!

Replace the cover and glue it on using superglue very sparingly. Align the locking ridge so it jives like it should. Shim the cover from underneath(where the film would sit) if neccesary so it fits on correctly.

Let it dry.

Remove any shims if you used them.

Mix some PC-7 two part epoxy. Get the gray stuff, not the white. Fill any gaps created by the "operation" You can even reconstruct sections of the locking ridge if you have to. Pay close attention to the edges where the slot is.

Let dry.

Smooth out any imperfestions with fine sand paper.

Vacume everything. Use a shop vac and with the smallest micro attachment suck up as much of sanding residue s possible from the slot, film tracks, ...everything!

mask the unmolested parts of the holder and hit it with some black enamel spray paint---a very light coat.

let dry.

load her up and test her out.

Fun on a rainy day;-)

Ralph Barker
16-Oct-2004, 08:08
It sounds like the velvet has simply become compressed due to non-use (or, perhaps depressed due to lack of purpose in life ;-) ).

Prior to taking the leaky holders to the "hospital" for a velvetectomy, you might try giving them a good cleaning with a vacuum while the darkslide is removed. I'd work from both sides of the opening, using a nozzle attachment. If that doesn't fluff up the velvet strips sufficiently, you might try directing a light volume of steam into the opening - like from a tea kettle or a curtain steamer if you happen to have one. Let the steam work for a few minutes, and then dry the velvet with a hair dryer. Then, let them sit for a day or two prior to reinserting the darkslides.

Gem Singer
16-Oct-2004, 08:23
Hi Martin,

Remove the darkslides, hold the filmholder over the spout of a teakettle containing boiling water, allowing the steam to go up into the slots where the darkslides were inserted. Be careful not to apply too much heat, and make sure that the steam rises up into the slots. Just a few seconds of steam, then allow the holders to dry for several hours, or over night. If the velvet (felt) light trap material was leaking because it was crushed down, the steam treatment should solve the problem. If the metal spring that holds the velvet (felt) material against the darkslide has lost it's spring tension, or the velvet is completely worn out, forget about trying to remedy the situation inside of a sealed plastic holder. It's a good idea to cover the filmholder slots with a darkcloth when photographing outside in the sun light, even when using new holders, as well as completely removing the darkslides for long-time storage.

Gem Singer
16-Oct-2004, 08:26
Ralph, you and I posted the same idea at the same time----"Great minds think the same way".

Ralph Barker
16-Oct-2004, 09:11
Eugene - this forum seems to be a steamy hotbed of great minds. ;-)

Eric Wagner
16-Oct-2004, 20:56
Fidelity greatly improved their holders about 25 years ago. The new holders are "Fidelity Elite" and the old ones were just marked "Fidelity" I think. I had a lot of trouble with light leaks through the light traps of the old style holders when they were new. There is probably no way to fix them if you have the old style.

Doremus Scudder
17-Oct-2004, 04:32
I have run my holders under warm water from the tap and even put a couple through the dishwasher with no ill effects (although I imagine too much heat or solvent activity might cause the velvet light trap to separate or peel off). Plastic holders are not as delicate as many believe. Try the steam method, but don't be afraid to just wash the holders as a last resort.

Let us know how you do.