View Full Version : Great material for lensboard!!!

Mark Sawyer
3-Aug-2004, 20:47
I was making a batch of lensboards a few weeks ago, and was searching for what material would be best. Hmmm, what would be available, fairly cheap, durable, good-looking, easily workable with woodworking tools, and wouldn't warp with humidity changes?

I searched the forum here, and found some okay suggestions, like plywood (though it splinters easily) and masonity (though it flakes apart sometimes). I was at a freind's house and asked him about it, but he had no better suggestions. But I looked down, and noticed he had a pretty nice hardwood floor. AHA!!!

To make a long story short (oops, too late), if you're looking to make lensboard, go find some nice hardwood flooring. There are a bunch of styles available everywhere from Home Depot to little mom'n'pop flooring stores, in everything from real finished hardwoods to synthetic laminates like Pergo (which I went with). They're designed not to warp, tough enough to walk on (!!!), and most of the ones I looked at were about the right thickness. I'm quite happy with my Pergo lensboards; not real wood, but real tough and look pretty good. (I went with a dark cherry finish to match my old 2D.) If you're hardcore, go with a real hardwood flooring. Too good a discovery to keep to myself.

james mickelson
3-Aug-2004, 21:19
Try black or grey ABS plastic. Very easy to work with, and never warps from anything. I have some I've made and they work wonderfully.

Mark Sawyer
4-Aug-2004, 00:34
Dan makes a good point, which reminds me- after spray-painting the backside of the lensboard black (which I assume most people do), I always let it dry in the Arizona sun for a few days before mounting the lens. For a few hours after painting, one can still smell paint fumes, which can't be good for a lens... and I store my lenses in a large cupboard which has the door opened daily, and click their shutters once a month, just to keep them happy!

- Mark

Terence McDonagh
4-Aug-2004, 06:51
I use the $0.99 clip-boards from CVS made from tempered hardboard. Provides plenty of material for a 7 1/2" lensboard, or four 4" lensboards.

The discarded clips then get attached to my office wall to act as paper hangers for phone lists, etc.

Bob Fowler
4-Aug-2004, 08:58
"I always let it dry in the Arizona sun for a few days before mounting the lens."

Great, now I have an excuse for moving out of New Jersey. Thanks for the tip!


Gem Singer
4-Aug-2004, 10:26
Bob, I didn't realize that anyone really needed an excuse to move out of New Jersey.

Terence McDonagh
4-Aug-2004, 10:57
In Hoboken, NJ we're trying a different tack. People are trying to get us declared NYC's sixth borough. If that doesn't work we're suggesting an even swap for Staten Island. We're closer, we all work in NYC, we're already connected by subway, and we don't have landfills. And just to keep on topic, our lensboards are already dressed in stylish black with wasp waisted lenses, perfect for a night out on the town.

11-Aug-2004, 11:35
I lived in Hoboken for years, but I grew up and moved to Weehawken.

Right now I'm in northern Michigan vacationing for the month. Due to a combination of circumstances found I needed to make a bunch of lensboards for my old Calumet 4x5 monorail "view" camera. I found the perfect material from the darkslides of some old film holders. A cheap rotary tool from KMart will cut it down to size, and the same tool will cut the openings too. Now, if I can do it, anybody can. The material is a little flimsy, but it's no problem to stack a couple together to get the right thickness.