(I added a photo link at the end of this long post)
I borrowed a Zone VI 4x5 from a friend who calls it 'too heavy' since back surgery & hasn't used it much since.
He's probably going to sell it and I was going to show another local guy who laments having sold all his LF gear, but I had a couple questions on a few things about it. My friend could probably SHOW me, but talking to him on the phone when I have it in my hands and he doesn't, wasn't very productive. I have taken a bunch of pictures of it. I'm trying upload them elsewhere and not clutter the server here with too many images.
It's definitely more confusing to open & close than my simple Crown Graphic.
I'm also trying to ID the vintage from its physical characteristics. The owner recalls it was likely purchased from Calumet in Illinois which sounds like possibly the last phase of production.
I emailed Richard Ritter, but have been advised in response to the original pre-edited post it's better to call him. There was no manual but between the responses here and PM's received, I should be in good shape. I hadn't called him because I had not yet posted pictures and thought calling with a bunch of questions and descriptions would only be helpful if I could wave my hands around at the same time and have him not see that either!
I do have one quirky question about the alignment of the bed(s) and base but that is probably best addressed in conversation.
What is the proper sequence for opening and closing it?
It was a pretty stressful experience the first time for me, and the brass dimpled closure latch appears to expect pretty precise reassembly to actually hold it closed (front and rear standards and movements need to be returned to some 'standard' location?).
Feel free to correct my misused terminology in descriptions of the following...
There are I believe (going from memory) 4 larger knurled brass knobs involved with two different moving mechanisms in the base. It seems that two are locking (friction) knobs and the other two are fixed on shafts coupled to I assume one or two racks & pinions or similar devices.
One knob moves the front standard and extends the bellows.
The other knob does something similar I can't really describe accurately...possibly moving the rear standard separately from the 'base' that has the tripod mount.
What purpose is served by two 'racks'? More range than a single one alone can provide?
I have read about the various vintages and suppliers of 4x5 cameras for Zone VI, and some details of note I picked up were that it has the brass plate with script engraving indicating it's made in Vermont. It has the gold-plated lacquered hardware I mistook for brass before becoming enlightened. It also has the anodized aluminum 'tilt bail' back. All three of these features supposedly narrow it down significantly.
My experience recognizing woods is failing me. I understand the Vermont-made camera was available in mahogany but for a while there were Cherry & Walnut limited production versions before Calumet discontinued them.
What's confusing to me is that all the mahogany I ever worked with (1970's, probably Central American) was much darker and more orange than what I saw in decades later. I heard rumors about 'no more real mahogany', and only luan or Phillipine Mahogany but that stuff looked nothing like mahogany to me. I suppose there are many varieties.
The camera wood grain could pass for walnut, but the color is too light in my opinion...almost like butternut in some areas, or an unstained cherry. I can't remember if cherry is one of the rare woods that lightens rather than darkens with age.
I was never into staining woods so the finished traditional colors in the 'cabinetmaking' world are much diifferent than personal prefernce in a high school wood shop.
Thanks for humoring me.