I recently traded a lens for a 11x14 camera. It came with a 10x12 back from a different manufacturer. Before I used it I needed to build an adapter (I wasn't about to butcher the 10x12 back in the event that someday it found a good home). Additionally, the rear geared frame needed to be stiffened up. It was rather floppy and would never hold a good focus.
This weekend I set to work using Oak and a simple design to build an adapter. After several hours of work I had built a pair of shims that stiffened up the rear frame. These slivers of wood should hold up for years. I looked carefully at the mounting block and realized that the original manufacturer had glued in special wood guides. More importantly, the camera was probably made to remove the guides and replace them with properly cut blocks. Alas, my job was a quick repair and failed to take advantage of the original design.
The adapter frame went together fairly quickly. Once the glue dried and the mount pins in place, I painted the interior flat black. The paint dried and I was ready to mount the back on the camera. It fits perfectly. One thing I learned, though, is that Oak is probably not the wood to use to build fine ULF cameras. The grain structure is too course.
Mounted up a couple lenses to look at how the 10x12 might work. I like what I see. I tried a 300mm APO Germinar knowing it would never cover the format. Well, the image circle reaches the edges of the frame. But the resolution drops dramatically. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this lens might work on 8x10 at infinity. It gave me the idea to try the optic for portraits on 10x12, since the subject would be just a few feet away from the camera. We'll see how this works out. I have a 305 GLaron to fall back on if the APO doesn't for some reason work out.
Company bonuses should be out soon. So I'm hopeful there's enough in there to buy a couple boxes of 11x14 film. I hope to also pick up a box of 20x24 film. It'll be cut to fit the newly adapted 10x12 back.
Did I ever mention that I love this thing called photography? :-)