View Full Version : Cleaning a bellows for enlarger

17-Jul-2016, 05:19
I just got a Beseler 45H enlarger. It has been in a basement 30 yr. Doing a clean-up. What is a recommended way to clean the bellows on the outside. Is there some kind of preservative to put on it? Saddle soap? What would you use? More important, what would you avoid. Of course, when I get it all put back together, I'll check for light leaks.

17-Jul-2016, 06:22
Depends on the bellows material

17-Jul-2016, 06:58
I assume that they are vinyl covered... You can dust the inside & outside with a shop-vac with a drywall dust filter bag inside and using a vented small tool attachment cleaning brush... You can then wipe the outside with a slightly damp no-lint cloth... If it has started to stiffen, sometimes applying mink oil shoe protector might soften the vinyl (from the shoe care department at your store)... But before that, check for leaks with a flashlight inside to see if there are any holes to be touched-up with Plasti-Dip tool handle covering liquid (from your hardware store)...

Good luck!!!

Steve K

17-Jul-2016, 07:26
There is a sponge-like product from Sparkle Plenty called Dry Magic Lamp shade cleaner that is great for doing the inside of bellows. It picks up everything without using wet chemistry.

Joe Ortola
18-Jul-2016, 10:35
I too am in the process of "cleaning" the bellows on my enlarger and I thank Hartley for the post and the good suggestions from Steve and Jac. Best regards guys.

20-Jul-2016, 06:40
When doing a routine clean up i use a air compressor to blow off the dust (for the entire enlarger as well) then occasionally apply a small amount of Murphys oil soap with a cloth.has worked for me for several years,it keeps the bellows soft.

22-Jul-2016, 06:50
Has anyone out there used something like Armor All on bellows--good stuff for Vinyl, but how about the glue?

22-Jul-2016, 16:36
Has anyone out there used something like Armor All on bellows--good stuff for Vinyl, but how about the glue?

Using something for a dressing for the vinyl is OK, as long as it does not get sticky over time, holding on to dust... If it is a thin enough coating, it should be fine... But check for light leaks first, as most coatings are silicone based, and it is difficult to bond a sealant to anything that has that coating... The mink oil mentioned above seems to replenish dried plasticizers in stiffening vinyl...

The glue on those bellows outside probably is contact cement based, so not as much of a worry if it does not get too wet... (I think that Armor All is water based silicone solution ,so don't slather it on just in case...)

Steve K