View Full Version : What to do with the ugliest knuckler?

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 04:52
I guy in an antique shop kept trying to sell me (over several visits in the course of a year) the ugliest knuckler in existence. He finally succeeded, but now what do I do with it? He was (literally) using it as a doorstop. It weights about five kilos, so was good for that. In the course of its life (or possibly death) it had clearly been dropped from a great height on to a hard surface, then rolled down a mountain. Dented everywhere, including a massive dent in the massive brass body, nothing at all will turn or unscrew. Here are some pictures.

26-Dec-2013, 05:09
5kg should be a 18" f4.5.
Send it to me and I will take care it :).

Edited: Agg, I dont think it's 5kg. Did your weight scale calibrate :p? It looks like an E series to my bad eyes.

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 05:09

So, since nothing can be taken apart, my idea is to cut it in half and salvage the lenses (and the diaphragm if I can), then make a new body out of plastic, or brass tubing if I can find it. What do you think?

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 05:17
Its a 10.5 inch (270mm) series IID f/3.5, and must have been a nice lens before it rolled down the mountain. Without flange, lens hood or brass knuckles it weights 2.5 kilos (I just checked), or more than five and a half pounds (it felt like five kilos:p).

26-Dec-2013, 05:25
Interesting! I've heard but never seen a series D f3.5 before. If I were you I just keep it as is and shoot it. If the image is as beautiful as the Cooke always does, keep playing with it. Otherwise you will have a nice paper weight.

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 05:42
There is too much gunk inside, including penetrating oil residue, to shoot through, and the diaphragm is stuck at about f/8. Its got to come apart to be cleaned, but its not just stuck, the heavy brass housing is dented so that it exerts mechanical pressure on the joints. I really believe the only way to get it apart is to cut it.

26-Dec-2013, 06:37
Before you say "you can't", shoot a few sheets of an attractive face and post them here.... I'll bet you get offers.... If you can see through it, you can shoot through it .... You might make an artistic statement that is very successful. This could be your finest lens.....

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 06:45
I'm sure I could sell it to someone, but what's the point? I'd not get much, and then I couldn't use it. Seems better to me to take it apart, and then rebuild it so that it can be used as intended. If I put it in plastic it might even be light enough to use on my 4x5, and for th soft-focus adjustment, I could do it the way Stephen did the Dallmeyer (I think it was a Dallmeyer). Then I would have a working Cooke knuckled that would be worth nothing to a collector but would be as useable as any other with similar conditions lenses.

Louis Pacilla
26-Dec-2013, 10:04
Hey Tim, You sure you have all three elements present? I can't tell from your posted images.

I can see your missing the outer brass barrel w/ the knuckler & the hood that once screwed home holds the outer brass tube w/ knuckler in place. I have a 15" Series IIE which has the same barrel construction of the Series IID and this how I'm making my conclusions.

Steven Tribe
26-Dec-2013, 13:31
Can't keep away from this, although I have no easy solution!
I have a couple of the slightly smaller 2E - also 10.5".
Once the lens hood is screwed off, the turning mechanism can just be pulled off.
The internal clearance between the items making up the front parts is very small and substantial denting of the hood, even at the extreme edges, will remove this clearance and, and the same time, distort the fine thread enough to render unscrewing difficult, if not impossible. The hood section's function is only to lock the turning ring in position - the front lens' mounting is completely separate. A mechanical removal of the lens hood will give you better access to the front lens.

Whoops! Too quick a response. As Louis mentions, the fixing lens hood unit and the brass ring with screwed spectacles are already gone. This is probably to your advantage as the hood can be impossible to turn.

There are only simple lenses in the Cooke so drastic cleaning solvents may be appropriate.

Tim, I think what you recall was a Leitz Epis projection lens which , when cut up, would provide fixed rear and front lenses and a central hellecoid section which moved the central -ve lens forward - like both the Heliar Universal and the soft Cooke solution.

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 14:52
No, not missing any outer barrel. The screw holes for knuckler are there.

So you are saying the the ring that holds the knuckler should just slide off? I don't think so. Anyway, that barrel has a really heavy dent in it, and that brass looks 3/16s of an inch thick, and is pinched in on the threads beneath, so I don't think any amount of solvent is going to loosen it. I might be able to drive a chisel between the outer ring and inner ring and open the dent, relieving some pressure. If I could unscrew the parts that would be ideal, but I'm pretty sure the mechanism is not reparable minus a pretty sophisticated machine shop.

Steven, was that it? I'll search for it. i recall you had a piece of brass tubing laying around that you converted.

Tim Meisburger
26-Dec-2013, 15:02
Well, I found a reference to it, but cannot find the thread. You had the elements for a Dallmeyer 3B, but not the tube, and made one yourself.

Tim Meisburger
27-Dec-2013, 02:47
Okay, I got the lenses out. I wasn't able to save the body, but it was too dented to ever use anyway. I have not removed the aperture yet, and am still hoping to salvage that. Looks like it will be relatively uncomplicated to remount the elements in a new tube, and the glass, while not perfect, is in remarkable shape considering the state of the case. Once I start construction I'll start a new thread in the DIY sections.

Cheers, Tim

Steven Tribe
29-Dec-2013, 04:02
Well done!
Do not throw anything away yet - the scrap brass gives the lens positions which is prettty important in the triplet design. It is possibble you may be able to cut out the female threads and reuse them. Give me an idea of the internal diameter of the new brass tube you will be needing and I will have a look if I have anything which would be appropriate.

Mark Sawyer
29-Dec-2013, 11:24
Tim, I'm sure you've thought of this, but Thailand has long been known for brass-smiths working in shops large and small, making figurines, tableware, and the like. Perhaps an independent artisan could fashion something at a reasonable cost? And I'd consider Waterhouse stops for the aperture. Moving the elements for soft focus may be a trick...

And as Steven said, save those old parts for measurements, perhaps even repair and re-use! Brass is very re-workable.