View Full Version : Making lens boards for Speed Graphic?

23-Jul-2009, 23:35
Does anyone here make their own wooden lens boards and if so, how are you doing it and what tips can you pass along?

It looks to me as a fairly straight forward proposition but I thought I ask before starting any project.

I believe I have the necessary tools and experience to make a good go of this and I have a small but fairly diverse, well seasoned supply of hardwoods, Ebonies, various Cherry, Maples, Rosewoods, etc so if you have a favorite wood recommendation, please speak up. I am thinking a Cherry or soft Maple would be a good choice but nothings been decided yet.


24-Jul-2009, 00:12
it's not quite your agenda but I've made several boards for my graphic based on sheets of 1.6mm aluminium....

i used an original graflex board for a template and cut them out from a large sheet being very careful to keep everything absolutely flat. Then I cut some MDF to fit the inside of the front standard and glued that into place. The whole process was done with very basic tools.

The trap was that when i got another graphic I found that the dimensions on the inside of the standard aren't all exactly the same and the boards that were a neat fit on camera 1 were very snug indeed on camera 2. In future I'll cut the dimensions a just little smaller.

24-Jul-2009, 06:03
I wood use a wooden lensboard on a wooden camera, matched ofcourse, and aluminium for a metal camera.
The wood needs to be cross-layered to get the propper strength.
For the best looks vertical grain up front showing.
You could have just vertical for a small (light) lens, but for the heavier lenses you need horizontal grain.


24-Jul-2009, 06:28
I use two pieces of masonite (pegboard material without the holes) glued with gorilla glue. Then I spraypaint flat black. But for a wooden camera I contact cement a verneer of mahogany on the top.

24-Jul-2009, 08:26
You're talking about the wood Type C boards, right?

I make those using 1/8" modeling plywood in two parts, glued together and then painted and drilled. Often take less than 30 minutes, not counting paint drying time.

Chauncey Walden
24-Jul-2009, 09:07
Yes, hobby shop plywood is probably the best, especially if you can find some of the original 5 layer stock. Seems like the new stuff is just 3 layer.

24-Jul-2009, 09:45
Thanks for the feedback guys, it's good to hear from others that take the time to do this themselves.


robert fallis
24-Jul-2009, 10:02
I use 2mm plywood of good quality

Glenn Thoreson
24-Jul-2009, 21:18
I use 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood from Rockler. You can mass produce a whole lot of the things all on just a table saw in a short time. You can set up a router table to do the edges if you're so equipped. Sand 'em down real smooth and stain or paint to suit. Krylon Rust Tough semi flat black spray paint makes 'em look extremely close to original.

Michael Cienfuegos
27-Jul-2009, 10:31
I also used the 1/4 inch 5 layer plywood from the hobby shop. I cut it on my table saw, then did the edges CAREFULLY with the table saw and rip fence. Cut the lens opening with a hole saw of the proper diameter. Painted it with flat black. It works great on my Pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic. :)