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Thread: Ken Hough Experience

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    7

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardRitter View Post
    Alex
    What was the problem with the camera?
    I work on then all the time. Currently I do weight lifting with two 11 x 14 Deardorffs I am working on.
    I bought it used and was a bit beat up so I wanted it refurbished into like new condition, I wanted a new 4x5 back, a lens board, etc.

  2. #22

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    Refinishing the camera 3 to 6 months depends on work load.
    lens boards in stock,
    4 x 5 back to 5 x 7, 3 months.
    No deposit required.
    Richard T Ritter
    www.lg4mat.net

  3. #23

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,184

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Klazek View Post
    I have been dealing with Ken for a few years, but strictly for parts. All of my dealings have been positive...money sent...parts shipped. I have spoken to him a few times on the phone and he was great. E-mails were answered on technical questions in a timely manner. Sorry to hear about the bad experiences. I guess I have been lucky in my dealings with him.

    Kevin
    My experience with Ken Hough is the same as Kevin's. I bought some parts from Ken and with his help over the phone was able to install them myself. With another camera (5x7 Speed Graphic) I sent it to Richard Ritter and it was returned in a timely manner and repaired to my satisfaction.
    Thanks, Mr. Ritter!
    What I've learned from these experiences (and from reviews posted here) is that if the problem can be solved by purchasing a few 'dorff parts and some coaching over the phone, Ken Hough is a very viable option, (especially if you like working on your own 'dorff) but if my camera has to go to the "hospital" for repairs I'll send it to Richard Ritter or perhaps another fine craftsman closer to my home since shipping to Vermont from California adds considerably to the cost (although I haven't found anyone yet whose work compares to that of Mr. Ritter!)

    Keep on 'dorffing!
    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.

  4. #24
    Andi Heuser
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Düsseldorf,Germany
    Posts
    339

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    @ Alex,

    I hope you get your camera back soon and you will have more luck
    in the future.


    @ Eddie,

    these long waiting times seem quite astonishing to me.
    When I need a camera repair with my Sinar, I send to the Sinar Service in Germany,
    I only wait some days. And I pay after I get my camera back.
    What they are able to do another company should also be able to,
    this is my opinion.
    Maybe a refurbishment of an antique camera will need more time,
    but a whole year?



    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post

    i have two friends waiting on repairs now that are 6-9 months over due from the days promised (a different service) and this is after the estimated repair time....so they have been waiting over 1 year each.



    eddie

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    7

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    I'll try Mr Ritter next time since my plan is to get comfortable with the 4x5 gormat then go up to the 8x10 someday. I once ordered a custom knife from Ernie Emerson. He told me it was a $25 deposit to get in the queue, but I do not have to pay the balance until he is ready to ship and that day would not arrive for another 2-3 years because whenever a military contract arrived I would be pushed to the back of the line. He was very upfront about everything. I forgot all about it, but that day did arrive so I sent him the balance and received my knife via FedEx in a day or so. That's the way to do business. Under promise and over deliver. Not the Kent Hough way which so far has been over promise and never deliver with respect to my personal experience.

  6. #26
    Michael Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Posts
    524

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by sanchi heuser View Post

    these long waiting times seem quite astonishing to me.
    When I need a camera repair with my Sinar, I send to the Sinar Service in Germany,
    I only wait some days. And I pay after I get my camera back.
    What they are able to do another company should also be able to,
    this is my opinion.
    Maybe a refurbishment of an antique camera will need more time,
    but a whole year?
    That' s the difference between a one person shop and a factory operation.

    Most large format facilities/vendors are "one person" operations with that one person (or if lucky, a significant other) manning all aspects of busines operations.

    Refinishing a camera takes about 40 hours of labor. That is not counting waiting for other suppliers to furnish parts, such as bellows, or waiting for the finishes to dry between coats. The 40 hours gets spread over a long period of time.

    If your work load is high, the waiting time to get in line for those 40 hours can be extensive. I've had camera parts and lenses in line for months and be gone most of a year. On the other hand, I've sent lenses to Schneider and they were back almost in the return mail.

    Mike

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    7

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    I have had custom refinishing/refurbishing jobs before from other master craftsman on non-camera equipment. They have all under-promised and over-delivered. I don't mind waiting. I just want the truth. If it is going to be a year, then let me know,

    What got me all heated up was being told, it will be done next, month, then it was next month again and again. When he asked for his final payment on April 9th, he said he was done.

    As an update: I DID get my camera back. From a visual point of view, it looks great. The lensboards look fabulous. If he told me from the beginning, it was going to be close to a year, I would be a happy customer. If he had shipped my stuff when he said he was going to ship as opposed to two months later and only after the threat of legal and criminal action, I would be a happy customer.

    He does very nice work, but I cannot do business with him again. It's too aggravating.
    Alex

  8. #28

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    I've had three transactions with Ken, and through research and advice from others, I was aware of his timeliness issues before I decided to go ahead. Two of the transactions were timely, and the third was delayed. Here are three observations for anyone who thinks they might want to consider using Ken to repair, refinish or restore their Deardorff.

    1) There are certain things for which Ken may be the only and/or the best solution. I would say if you need parts, want a factory color/finish, Deardorff decals, information or advice on how to fix something yourself or care for your camera, or a restoration to make the camera as it was when it left the factory the first time, he's the guy. My 8x10 had a bed crack that was getting worse, and Ken advised me he was still in contact with the foreman from the Deardorff woodshop and could have a new bed made for my camera (vintage mid 1940's). The bed he provided was spectacular, and all extensions work smoothly. I also needed some parts from him, and he had them in stock.

    2) Ken seems to do better with smaller jobs. This may seem obvious, but I bought a reducing board (6x6 to Linhof) and he built it for me in a matter of weeks and provided hardware that was nearly identical to the original. Also, I had Ken modify a sliding front panel for a V5 so that it would take Linhof boards, and he did the work on time and the modifications looked like the factory did them. For the sliding panel, I didn't need it refinished as I was refinishing the entire camera myself, and I wanted everything to match. When I had the 8x10 bed done, I disassembled the rest of the camera, stripped and prepped all of the wood myself and sent it off to him so the entire camera would have a factory finish that matched in color, etc. I thought by doing all of the unpleasant work myself, the job would be faster, and it probably was (though it took 2-3 months longer than I had hoped). Again, my experience is that he is timely on less complicated jobs, but seems to get backed up on the larger jobs.

    3) Don't use Ken if you are in a hurry. I had a back up 5x7 I used while he was conducting his repairs to the 8x10 so I wasn't shut down. If that was my only camera, I would have been quite frustrated.

    I accept Ken for his shortcomings and don't expect delivery when he promises because I value his knowledge, his access to parts, and the fact that he is the only link left to the factory that produced these fine cameras. I realize that this is a seriously flawed business model, but I appreciate the wealth of information he has provided me, and, when I use my 8x10 now (a couple of years after he finally got it back to me) 6-8 months to give it another 50 years of life on top of the 60+ it had already seen doesn't seem so bad (I have to admit I was quite irritated by the delays-but the irritation is gone....dimmed by the beauty of his work and the fact that I knew what I was getting into).

    Ken's not for everyone, but I hope my experiences will provide something to think about if you are considering using Ken for a repair, a refinish, or a restoration.

  9. #29
    Andi Heuser
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Düsseldorf,Germany
    Posts
    339

    Re: Ken Hough Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Jones View Post
    That' s the difference between a one person shop and a factory operation.

    Most large format facilities/vendors are "one person" operations with that one person (or if lucky, a significant other) manning all aspects of busines operations.

    Refinishing a camera takes about 40 hours of labor. That is not counting waiting for other suppliers to furnish parts, such as bellows, or waiting for the finishes to dry between coats. The 40 hours gets spread over a long period of time.

    If your work load is high, the waiting time to get in line for those 40 hours can be extensive. I've had camera parts and lenses in line for months and be gone most of a year. On the other hand, I've sent lenses to Schneider and they were back almost in the return mail.

    Mike

    O.K. , I didn't knew how that refurbishment business works.
    Now you've told me I understand more.

    sanchi

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