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Thread: Bellows repair

  1. #1

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    Bellows repair

    I was looking for some posts on bellows repair and bellows replacement.
    If you don't mind the looks too much and just want light thight bellows again, I can recommend Tesa multitape.
    The damage I encounter on bellows is always on the corners and ridges.
    Cut small strips from the 5cm wide tape, and if you want cut these in half, and then you can easely repair your bellows part by part.
    Great thing about this tape is that it is very permanent, and very thin, I did corners over the whole length of some bellows and the camera still closes with ease.
    And if you use little patches of tape you can use one hand to push the bellows out for taping.
    See pictures of patched up bellows.

    Kees.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Seems to be only available in Germany and EU.

    USA Duct tape is not great for this purpose.

    How thin is it?

  3. #3
    Stephen Willard's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Gaff tape works really good for below as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Willard View Post
    Gaff tape works really good for below as well.
    Just because tesa is black doesn't make it light tight, be careful, test it out on a bright day in direct sunlight because I Wouod be wary.

    I agree with Stephen, gaffers / gaff / gaffing tape is best, there's a reason it's the tape of choice for movie production, theatre production, photography studios, etc.

  5. #5

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    Re: Bellows repair

    I used it for two years on a Speed Graphic in all conditions without problems, With the shown camera I shoot wetplate and avoid sun as much as possible.
    But I just stretched the tape over a led light and i must say I can see it coming through, when I double it I see nothing, Maybe not a good recommendation then.
    I use it on tears and cracks in corners and ridges, so maybe that's why it works good for me.

    How thin is it?
    I cannot measure it or find information about it, but it is very thin and plyable.

    gaffing tape is best
    So how thick is this stuff?

    edit; I just got some from my neighbour , Nichiban gaffers tape, but that is way to thick, to do corners over the whole lenght of your bellows.
    Last edited by case-ie; 21-Nov-2015 at 01:43.

  6. #6
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Gaffer tape is the worst option, in time it dries out and begins to peel off it also leaves a mess that makes subsequent repairs even harder.

    3M make a very thin flexible black tape with a permanent adhesive but it's expensive only available in bulk. It's very similar to the invisible mend tape that was cut and packaged in squres for mending small tears etc in suits, it was sold by a Dutch company who've now ceased trading but was light-tight and when I used it on some Pacemaker bellows it's now hard to spot the repair.

    Ian

  7. #7
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    Re: Bellows repair

    I remit to IanG's knowledge on the gaffers tape. 5 years and all my gaffers tape is intact, my understanding was that gaffers tape was removable without residue that's why it is used so often, however many adhesives will dry or get gooey over time so he's probably right.

    To me, at the point a bellows cracks, it's time to just replace the bellows, at $150 on eBay for an 8x10 bellows, there's no need to risk a days work ruined by a bad tape job or the time it takes to tape it.

    Also, wet plate is a lot less sensitive than normal film, you probably didn't have any issues because you aren't shooting film.

    Still good to know about more options.

    Gaffers tape comes in different thicknesses, but even the thinnest gaffing tape is probably thicker than some other kinds out there.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  8. #8
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    Gaffer tape is the worst option, in time it dries out and begins to peel off it also leaves a mess that makes subsequent repairs even harder.

    3M make a very thin flexible black tape with a permanent adhesive but it's expensive only available in bulk. It's very similar to the invisible mend tape that was cut and packaged in squres for mending small tears etc in suits, it was sold by a Dutch company who've now ceased trading but was light-tight and when I used it on some Pacemaker bellows it's now hard to spot the repair.

    Ian
    The 3M tape is Type #850 Black Polyester Tape. It is ultra thin, light proof, with strong non-bleed non-creep adhesive. I managed to get a single roll from Harbour Freight but at over $100. So far I've patched more than a dozen bellows from 8x10 format on down. The roll still looks the same size as when I bought it more than ten years ago.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

  9. #9

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    Re: Bellows repair

    I must say that this discussion made me aware that multitape might not be the best thing for bellows repair but yesterday I taped some corner light leaks on my "new" Gandolfi with the multitape, hold a led light behind it and it did not shine through.
    Also, wet plate is a lot less sensitive than normal film, you probably didn't have any issues because you aren't shooting film.
    Indeed it helps but only for the time around your exposures, during the exposure it's the speed of your lens that masks light leaks, not the speed of your material.
    at $150 on eBay for an 8x10 bellows
    I cannot find them and I see nothing for Gandolfi.
    The 3M tape is Type #850 Black Polyester Tape
    Thanks Ian and Maris, must take a look at that.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bellows repair

    Quote Originally Posted by case-ie View Post
    I must say that this discussion made me aware that multitape might not be the best thing for bellows repair but yesterday I taped some corner light leaks on my "new" Gandolfi with the multitape, hold a led light behind it and it did not shine through.

    Indeed it helps but only for the time around your exposures, during the exposure it's the speed of your lens that masks light leaks, not the speed of your material.

    I cannot find them and I see nothing for Gandolfi.

    Thanks Ian and Maris, must take a look at that.
    http://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/170966156900

    Contact this guy, I believe he does custom jobs, as long as you have the original bellows/frame you can remove yours and attach the new one to your frame.

    Hope that helps.

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