View Full Version : Burke and James Grover 5X7 bellows replacement

24-Jan-2015, 09:20
Recently i needed to replace a bellows on an aging Grover 5X7.

Over time i have seen at least 4 different configurations of this camera, which seems to be in tune with everything that is B&J. This particular one has a different rail with no gear track, and with removable end caps as if you can add extensions to the rail. The bellows was gray/light tan vinyl bellows, with interior fabric and construction cardboard material for pleats instead of the traditional red stuff. Someone also spraypainted most of the camera with awful black paint which was only almost everywhere making it look even worse.


This bellows was crumbling away in every corner and fold. The only solid thing about this bellows was the glue points to the front and rear standard. It was almost impossible to remove it without destroying the camera, though eventually it came off, leaving lots of debris behind.

This is the camera after cleaning the metal, when i thought the old bellows might still work... what was i thinking.

The replacement bellows is from HK, (http://www.ebay.com/itm/271184934209?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT) which arrived fairly fast, and is made of beautiful "high tech" nylon fiber fabric of some kind. It is incredibly light, yet firm. Red on the outside and black silky stuff on the inside. This material is indestructible as i found later when attempting to add screw holes and other slight modifications.

The fit was nearly perfect, the only thing that needed attention was the very front edge, loose section, which is used to wrap around the front bellows "frame/holder" and was cut a bit to long. The rear was a perfect fit on every side. For the front, i was able to save the front frame holder which was the backing of the original bellows, screwed on to the front frame. In this camera the front frame is made of Bakelite, which is a dagoures thing to push screws into especially if the drill holes are not an exact match, while i was able to save all but 2 screws, i was also able to find 2 matching screws for the front frame. Still at least 2 of the holes started buckling under the pressure of the screw.

I should have marked the screw hoes on the bellows before putting in the first one, as the material was so tough is was nearly impossible to drive the screws through it, even with a sharp point, nail and drill bit.

For the rear, i used a very malleable epoxy glue, which was easy to handle and not get all over the place, and simply pressed the rear frame right on to the folded bellows resting on the front frame, with a heavy weight on top, and let it cure over night.

The result was amazing. The camera was transformed from a useless pile of metal and wood to a functional monorail camera with shiny red bellows!


Liquid Artist
24-Jan-2015, 10:19
Looks good.
I'm thinking of doing the same thing to my B&J folding camera, just because the bellows seems a little to short when using the extension.

24-Jan-2015, 10:23
You might want to get a custom, longer bellows.
This bellows has a limited max draw as you can see here:

24-Jan-2015, 10:27
Looks great; Rudy is getting better all the time at doing the bellows right.

24-Jan-2015, 12:28
Yeah, Rudy does nice work. He made a red set for my camera as well.