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Thread: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

  1. #21

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Oh, c'mon... join us in the Pessimists Cllub... err, I mean, the Realist Club.

  2. #22

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Oh, c'mon... join us in the Pessimists Cllub... err, I mean, the Realist Club.
    PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.

    OPTIMISM, n. The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile. Being a blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof an intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  3. #23

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Tuffin View Post
    I was just given an old 12x15 camera that needs a bit of work. The double bellows is intact and in good shape, it's just as stiff as a board. I haven't tried to pry it apart as I know it will tear.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how best to soften it and make it pliable again...at least so I can see if it is usable? It's free from the rest of the camera BTW.
    I suggest candle light, some Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin in Hi-Fi, with plenty of good wine for lubrication
    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
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Be conscious that to get new bellows made, it would behoove you to have the old bellows reasonably intact so it can be measured.

  5. #25
    loujon
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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Try Ballistol Multi-Purpose Lube (www.ballistol.com). It's a spray lube designed by the Germans to have a ph balance which will mix with water instead of repelling it so it holds moisture and will not make glues fail. It was made for leather as well as most other materials.

    I spray the stiff bellows down well & then wipe off excess. Try expanding bellows after a few applications and letting it soak in a while. If they are not completely back to life do another application or two.

    I have truly brought back a few stiff bellows this way. It works. Oh yea! Spray the entire camera down as it's wonderful on conditioning the wood as well.

  6. #26

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    It'd seem worthwhile to attempt, no? Versus the cost of a custom-made 12x15" bellows, as the OP mentioned being given the camera-- a size for which film may not be commonly available and the bellows alone could be half a kilobuck or more to outsource and wait months for delivery.

  7. #27

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis Pacilla View Post
    Try Ballistol Multi-Purpose Lube (www.ballistol.com). It's a spray lube designed by the Germans to have a ph balance which will mix with water instead of repelling it so it holds moisture and will not make glues fail. It was made for leather as well as most other materials.

    I spray the stiff bellows down well & then wipe off excess. Try expanding bellows after a few applications and letting it soak in a while. If they are not completely back to life do another application or two.

    I have truly brought back a few stiff bellows this way. It works. Oh yea! Spray the entire camera down as it's wonderful on conditioning the wood as well.
    +1
    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.

  8. #28

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    +1
    Really... I've never heard of this product. Sounds like good stuff!

  9. #29

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    Re: Dry, stiff bellows...how to soften?

    Ballistol is great stuff, IIRC you can even use it as a topical antibiotic. I'm dubious about it's utility for leather, and I would never use it on any fine wood.... A baltic beech stock on a kar. 98, yes. The mahogany parts of a camera, probably not.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

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