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Thread: Removing bellows for refinishing

  1. #1

    Removing bellows for refinishing

    I recently purchased a Deardorff 4x5 Special that I am going to refinish. As I have never done this before, I was looking for some guidance on how to remove the bellows. How are they attached?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Removing bellows for refinishing


    I can only comment on 8x10 'dorrfs and only the attachement to the rear standards at that, but the info might carry over to the 4x5 models. My info came from a telephone conversation with Ken Hough.

    Take the back off your camera.

    Look at the rear "box" and see if there are three bright finished wood screws on each side of the box. If so get a new, properly fitting screw driver and unscrew them all. This will release the frame holding the rear of the bellows onto the camera.

    On some 'dorffs, the frame was screwed on from the inside of the bellows. These screws were given a black finish and are often corroded. If this is the arraingement your camera has be extra cautious when unscrewing these screws because the slotted heads can deform to the point where they can be unscrewed, or the head of the screw might twist off entirely and that'll be a mess for sure.

    By all means check out The Deardorff Historical Website if you haven't already.

    I hope this helps.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3
    Michael Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Removing bellows for refinishing


    John's notes are correct for your Special. The front bellows frame is also screwed on. As John points out, sometimes the bellows are folded over the screws and you need to "peel" the material back to see them.

    Make sure when you screw them all back in to the standards that the holes are good and the screws stay tight. I usually take black photo (masking) tape and seal the back frame to make sure there are no leaks.

    Good luck.

    “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

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