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Thread: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

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  1. #1
    Jonathan K. jcoldslabs's Avatar
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    Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    I recently acquired a Century 10A 8x10 studio camera in reasonable--but by no means good--shape. There are two main problems that need to be solved before I can start shooting with it. The first is that the rear standard has been torn off its base; the screws were pulled straight out of the wood. The camera does not show evidence of being dropped or otherwise abused, but the screws clearly protrude from the base and line up with the open holes in the standard. So, first round of questions (see photos for more detail):

    1. What is the best way to reattach the camera to the base? My first thought is to hammer snug fitting dowels into the holes with some wood glue, let it dry, then drill pilot holes and screw it back together as-was. Not being a woodworker I have no idea if this will hold as well as it should.

    2. Would it be worth screwing a piece of brass shim stock to the forward portion of the standard to reinforce the connection? (See photo #3). With the sliding carriage attached the weight pulls the standard backward and a reinforcement at this spot should help reduce stress on the screws in the base.

    3. In any case, how do I disassemble the base to get to the screws in the first place? The top plate of the base is the part that swings on its axis and the large wood screws are countersunk up under this, but I can't get to them without separating the top part of the swinging base from the bottom. It is not immediately apparent how to do this.

    ***

    Secondly, the bellows are structurally fine with no sagging, but being rubberized cloth the rubber coating is flaking off at most of the folds. I would assume I could apply a black sealant of some kind to make them light tight again, but what kind? Another thread mentioned RV roof sealant, or I could try black silicone caulk, something that would remain flexible. I'm not too worried about the folds sticking to themselves because I plan to use the camera with 20" or longer lenses at portrait distances, so the bellows will remain well extended all the time. This is, in fact, why I bought it. (I have an 8x10 2D I can use for shorter lenses).

    So, any ideas about how best to seal the creases and perhaps spray or otherwise coat the failing rubberized outer coat? A new bellows is a bit beyond both my skill set and pay grade at the moment.

    ***

    Lastly, like with a major car repair, once I have it apart this far is there any maintenance I should perform before reassembly? Oil or wax the brass rods and gears? I am not going to refinish or restore the camera fully; I just want to get it functioning and put it to use.

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any help you all can offer.

    Jonathan
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CenturyScrews.jpg   CenturyScrewHoles.jpg   CenturyBrassPlate.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    Congrats with the camera.
    No need for strengthening with brass. It looks to me as though the bottom of the rear standard will take a longer screw and with a slightly large thread (bore out first!!).
    You may find the repair to the bellows not necessary. Just throw the dark cloth across over the bellows after you have composed and focussed. I do this all the time with a big field camera with an ineffective light seal between the sinar copal shutter and the bellows.
    You have checked out the long thread on Century renovation?

  3. #3

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    I can offer some advice on the bellows issue. On one of my cameras, a Kieth 4x5 twin lens camera with double bellows, the original bellows corners were worn. I decided to use liquid electrical tape and it worked great. Liquid electrical tape comes in a can with a brush attached to the cap like nail polish, it's black and dries flexible without being sticky when dry. About three bucks a can at Home depot.

  4. #4

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    For access to the screws, it may be necessary to dismount the bellows at one end (screws on the inside, going through the bellows frame and clamping it to the standard) and then slide the rear standard completely off of the tracks. The screw heads will then be exposed.

    I'm not sure that I would agree with just using longer and larger screws; if they were stripped on installation (as I suspect, given that it would be quite an achievement to evenly pull out all four without doing any other damage) then the wood around the holes is probably damaged. By the time you get to a screw large in diameter to engage beyond the damaged zone, it may be too coarse to work well.

    Gluing in plugs and re-drilling is an option, but a lot of the joint will involve gluing to end grain, which is always a bit iffy for strength. A large dowel (at least 3/8 inch, possibly 1/2) will give substantial joint area and will probably work.

    The ultimate repair is probably to install brass threaded inserts sized to the original screw. You can probably get them locally, and certainly from McMaster-Carr; they simply thread into a straight-sided hole, and accept a machine screw (consider McMaster part # 90016A021). If you are careful not to drill completely through the bottom of the standard, the repair will be invisible unless the camera is disassembled.

  5. #5

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    please check your PM. i am send i a link to a video i made that will help you with your task. there is no need to take the bellows off the camera....don't do it as there are a real PITA.

    i had some still photos that were perfect for what you are asking AND it is your lucky day as i had not emptied my trash folder and i found them.

    check your pm

    eddie
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

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  6. #6

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    Re filling the holes with dowels - might be easier to mix up a paste of sawdust and epoxy to about peanut butter consistency and carefully fill the holes with it then drill. IF the holes are reasonably large (1/4 or larger,) then another way is to drill the hole out and get a plug cutter the same size as the drill you used which will cut a dowel out of wood perpendicular to the grain, align the grain within reason and tap it in with a little bit of glue then chisel off any excess and re-drill.This eliminates drilling into end grain and will be quite strong - you might want to cut a few very small grooves in the side of the plug to let the glue escape when you tap the plug into place. Easy to do with a hand saw - you only need a couple of grooves the width of the saw blade and maybe a 16th or less deep.

    If you do this you should also get a drill that will cut a flat bottomed hole so you don't have to drill all the way through the piece. This is all best done with a drill press but if you're careful a hand drill can work.

    I've plugged a lot of holes with the plug cutter technique and if you're careful to use the same kind of wood it can look quite nice - this is how they cover screw heads in nice furniture.

  7. #7
    Jonathan K. jcoldslabs's Avatar
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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    Thanks for the tips. I'll have to decide how confident I am in my woodworking skills before attempting a plug or glue repair. I guess that's why I wanted to reinforce with brass as a hedge against shoddy work!

    ***

    eddie,

    Replied to your message. Looking forward to the photos. Thanks.

    ***

    John,

    Liquid electrical tape comes up so often in regard to bellows repair I'll definitely give it a try. I'll test it out on a few folds, let it dry and see how it works. My plan has been to supplement this with the dark cloth thrown over the bellows or better yet, since this is a studio camera after all, just buy a length of blackout fabric that semi-permanently lays across the bellows.

    ***

    Harold,

    I like the brass insert idea and it seems feasible, but the original screws are tapered and rather coarsely threaded. Not sure if I can get a brass insert to match. I suppose I would likely have to use new screws, which, once I can gain access to them, is fine with me.

    ***

    Jim,

    Sounds like a good plan; thanks for the detailed description. I'll measure the holes and see where to go from there.

    ***

    I realize there is no one right way, and opinions will differ. I'll consider all the options and see which one I am most comfortable trying. I don't want to mangle the camera, but since it is meant to be a beater/user I am not overly concerned with period-correct or invisible repairs. Just a warning--I may be back with more questions before you know it!

    Jonathan

  8. #8
    Jonathan K. jcoldslabs's Avatar
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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    Success! (So far.)

    Thanks to Eddie's photos I was able to decipher the mystery of the 10A rear standard and remove it entirely from the camera rails. (See photo below). I still need to decide how best to approach the reattachment given my small skill set and even smaller collection of hand tools. Screwing in brass threaded sockets and bolting the thing back together is appealing. I'll research the parts over the next few days.

    Now I will dust, clean and tidy up the bits I have access to. Can anyone recommend a regimen for oiling/waxing/sprucing up the brass works while I have them exposed? I'm not sure if some lubrication is warranted or if that will just be a dust and grime magnet down the road.

    Again, the advice and help received here has been of great assistance.

    Jonathan
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CenturyRearStandardRemoved.jpg  

  9. #9

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    Jonathan,

    I'm glad you found out how to access the screws without pulling off the bellows; if anyone would know how to do this it would be Eddie.

    Regarding the brass inserts: if you decide to go this route, look for a "brad point" drill and "stop collar". These (along with the inserts) can be had from practically any woodworking house (Rockler, Woodworker, etc.) and will let you drill an almost flat bottomed hole of predetermined depth. As far as bolts go, these would be standard flat-head machine screws which should be available from any hardware vendor.

    Harold

  10. #10

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    Re: Century Studio 10A Repair Advice Needed

    glue in some dowels or other wood into the existing holes. wait one day. drill to the correct size and reuse the original hardware. there is no need to do an reenforcing.

    i sent the video today but it looks like the stills were enough.
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

    My YouTube videos
    oldstyleportraits.com
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