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Two23
28-Sep-2016, 19:08
I have a c.1926 Gundlach Korona in very nice condition. I've just finished polishing up the metal (nickel plated brass), cleaning up the wood, and had four very nice replica lens boards made by the guy in Chicago. I mounted two nice old Voigtlander Petzvals, one E. Woods pillbox, and a 12 in. Velostigmat in Betax 5 to the boards. I have both a 4x5 & 5x7 back for the camera. Camera also has a working Packard shutter which I have questions about for later. My intention is to create a show piece I can actually use to take portraits. It all came together very nicely and is stunningly beautiful! However, I discovered a problem. The bellows are old and very stiff. I've used the camera several times already and got nice results most of the time. A few times there were light leaks, but I assumed they were from the vintage holders I was using. Well, that turned out to be wishful thinking. I gave the bellows the flashlight test and the thing looked like a tea strainer! No way they can simply be patched. The coatings on the corners have broken down.

So, I need new bellows. I see a guy on ebay, in Hong Kong, sells replacement bellows for this camera for about $150. Sounds like a deal! Offered in black or red: obviously black is correct to the vintage. Now, I'm not at all sure how the old bellows come off! It looks like they are wrapped around a wooden square on the front and that is held in place by four small screws from the inside. The rear bellows I just can't see, mainly because the bellows are stiff and I haven't separated them enough to see if there are similar screws. I do see many, many (many!) tiny tacks or screws holding the rear bellows to a wooden frame.

Here's my questions:
1. How do I get the old bellows off?
2. Since the old wooden square the bellows attach to are full of tacks, would I be better off having a new frame made? Or, will I likely be able to reuse the old one? I'm thinking of both tacking and gluing the new bellows on.
3. Any tips on this project? I've never done this before.


Kent in SD

Two23
29-Sep-2016, 05:55
Poking around inside the bellows I found four small screws inside the front opening. These look like they screw the wooden square the bellows are tacked on to, to the front standard of the camera. The rear attachment is slightly different. There are two screws on each side of the frame, making eight in total. There are also a lot of small tacks, which I assume hold the bellows to the wooden square. I think I can reuse the squares for the new bellows. I will both tack the new bellows on and sparingly use a hot glue gun. I ordered a new black bellows from the ebay guy in Hong Kong. Should arrive in the next two weeks. Not sure how hard it will be to get old bellows off and then attach new ones, but it doesn't appear to be overly difficult.


Kent in SD

Tin Can
29-Sep-2016, 07:06
I find the cameras with frame mounted bellows easier, as we can mount the bellows to the wooden square which is a frame and then attach the frame to the standard.

Long screwdrivers are handy to reach inside.

I have not done a Korona.

We await your comments when done, with pics! :)

Stephen Thomason
29-Sep-2016, 07:14
You may want to reconsider the hot glue. I would recommend instead Pliobond - It is soluble in alcohol and is much easier to clean up and stays flexible.

Tracy Storer
29-Sep-2016, 08:01
Another "Ixnay" on hotglue. Cools and hardens way too fast, is too thick, etc.

Use a contact adhesive which will be more like what bellows mfgrs use to attach bellows to frames.

Jim Noel
29-Sep-2016, 08:50
Remove the bellows still attached to the front and rear frames and send them to Custom Bellows in England. After a couple of weeks you will get in return a beautiful bellows ready to easily install in your camera. They are not the cheapest, but they are by far the best. A few years ago they even made a replacement for my 8x10 Deardorf and it was perfect.

Two23
29-Sep-2016, 14:28
You may want to reconsider the hot glue. I would recommend instead Pliobond - It is soluble in alcohol and is much easier to clean up and stays flexible.


Noted.


Kent in SD

Liquid Artist
29-Sep-2016, 21:32
I hope that you don't mind me asking this on your thread Kent,

However has anyone had a bellows made by Turner Bellows (http://www.turnerbellows.com/photographic_bellows.html)
If so how was the quality?

I for one would like to support N.American companies whenever possible. Even if I need to pay a little more.

Milonian
29-Sep-2016, 23:17
Hi,
Sounds almost exactly like a Gundlach-Manhattan Criterion View 1/2 plate that I refurbed.
At the front the bellows were wrapped round the small board and glued. The board was attached by 4 small screws from inside the bellows, to the front standard assembly. A long screwdriver is essential and it's a fiddly job! Or at least it was on mine as the screws had more or less welded themselves to the wood.
The bellows on mine were completely shot full if pinholes too so I removed them. I made new bellows so can't comment on suppliers other than to say I've heard good comments about the Hong Kong supplier and the guy in England.
At the rear, between the inner and outer bellows there is thicker card (?) material and the tiny pins go through that (and the bellows outer and liner layers) and into the rear frame. From memory glue was also used here.
That camera is now at Manchester University in England and is used for Wet Plate Collodion work.
PM me if I can be of any more help. I have lots of photos somewhere of the whole process.

Terry276
2-Oct-2016, 15:26
Kent,
I've done several Koronas in a couple of sizes. I've always bought my bellows from Rudy (a.k.a. Ecbuyonline) via Ebay. He does impeccable work, in my experience. I also always use Pliobond to cement fabric to wood--there's nothing else as good. I'd advise you to carefully pry out the tacks so you can re-use them. Tiny little upholstery tacks are hard to find and I've never found a staple gun adequate.

fauxtographer51
21-Sep-2018, 10:51
Poking around inside the bellows I found four small screws inside the front opening. These look like they screw the wooden square the bellows are tacked on to, to the front standard of the camera. The rear attachment is slightly different. There are two screws on each side of the frame, making eight in total. There are also a lot of small tacks, which I assume hold the bellows to the wooden square. I think I can reuse the squares for the new bellows. I will both tack the new bellows on and sparingly use a hot glue gun. I ordered a new black bellows from the ebay guy in Hong Kong. Should arrive in the next two weeks. Not sure how hard it will be to get old bellows off and then attach new ones, but it doesn't appear to be overly difficult.


Kent in SD

Sorry to dig up this old thread.

I have the same camera and the same bellows replacement circumstance.

I removed the old bellows by first individually removing each tack (saving them) and then took a small flat screwdriver/chisel style and scrapped away along the inside edge to remove the leftover bellows material and whatever adhesive attached it. Came off decently easy just tedious.

I was wondering if you still had the camera and what ever came if the attempt?

I have two things missing from mine. The first is the original bolts/screws you mentioned that hold the frame in place (missing both front and rear). Iím also missing what seems to be two small ďplatesĒ that I assume held the front portion of the bellows in addition to the adhesive.

Would you mind taking photos of the bolts and plate? Mine just has two missing notched in areas on the front frame. And I donít know what kind of screw / bolt to get from the store and want to try and match whatever was originally used since the wood has already been drilled etc.

Attached is the notch.

I didnít bother removing the front bellows material as it seemed like extra work and itís bery affixed so Iím just going to apply the new bellows over the old which shouldnít add any bulk because itís an ďoutside jobĒ. So tolerances arenít going to matter. But those two missing plates might cause an issue :(

Thanks for any assistance.

182676

Jim Noel
21-Sep-2018, 14:18
Replacing the bellows in this and similar cameras is a piece of cake. Remove the front and rear wooden bellows frames. Send everything to Custom Bellows in England and receive back in a couple of weeks an impeccable bellows on the frames and ready to install. I don't fool with anyone else when I need a bellows.

Pfsor
21-Sep-2018, 16:23
Well said, Jim. +1.

Whir-Click
21-Sep-2018, 18:45
+1 for Custom Bellows. Excellent quality, reasonable price, and foolproof.

fauxtographer51
21-Sep-2018, 19:34
Replacing the bellows in this and similar cameras is a piece of cake. Remove the front and rear wooden bellows frames. Send everything to Custom Bellows in England and receive back in a couple of weeks an impeccable bellows on the frames and ready to install. I don't fool with anyone else when I need a bellows.

Well Iíve already done the lower portion. Itís really not that hard. I just want to see what the screw looks like.

I did the back frame this afternoon, original tacks and all. Iím probably going to just glue the front without the missing part/plate (See third image with ďgougeĒ in the frame, ďsomethingĒ goes there). But the screws seem specific.

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Two23
21-Sep-2018, 23:14
My new bellows are on the way and should be here in a couple of weeks or less. I ordered two from Custom Bellows since I have two of the same camera. (Will sell one--they don't act as stereo LOL.) The screws were about 3/4 inch long and very skinny, almost like needles.


Kent in SD

fauxtographer51
22-Sep-2018, 04:47
My new bellows are on the way and should be here in a couple of weeks or less. I ordered two from Custom Bellows since I have two of the same camera. (Will sell one--they don't act as stereo LOL.) The screws were about 3/4 inch long and very skinny, almost like needles.


Kent in SD

Wow, the bellows place took two years to do the job? Or you just had delays on sending? The latter I understand, it took me a while to attempt the job, it seemed very difficult. Once I started it wasn’t so bad, but I have picked up more “handyman” skills since then.

I assume they were skinny and the thread was only at the end and the rest was smooth? Are you able to measure them for the length and the thread gap/number/tooth? And / or post a photo? I’ll take this to a special screw company in town for a match.

Thanks Kent!

fauxtographer51
3-Oct-2018, 07:20
Just to update. I decided to simply apply the bellows over the missing notched area, it was a small enough area that it didn’t seem to matter, I applied the proper adhesive and went to a specialty screw store to get the #3 1” size screws and cut them down to an appropriate length for the front and back distances which were different. 3/4” and 5/8” and 3/8” make a big difference when the tolerances are so tight and you don’t want to puncture through the outside of the wood. It’s possible they may have been closer to #2 size but the thread depth seemed “deeper” than the modern screws and so I opted for the #3 to be safe. Anyway, it’s done. Hope this is helpful to others. They look great.

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Two23
4-Oct-2018, 18:43
The bellows came back from England and are really nice! Worth the 300 pounds they cost. I did screw up a little though. I sent frames & old bellows in, marking the top of the frames with "T". I had one of them turned 90 degrees though, which confused me a little. I ended up carefully drilling new pilot holes for the screws in the rear frame. My second screw up is a bigger problem. I only sent the wood frames in for one of the cameras. (Remember I have two Gundlach Korona 5x7 cameras.) The bellows look great but I need to figure out how to glue them to the frames. The good news is they appear to fit. The bad news is I'm not sure what glue will work here. Will have to figure out a way to clamp them while drying too. I think I'll just do one edge at a time, and use a thin popsicle stick and several small clamps to keep the pressure even. Camera looks good with my 8 in. c.1865 Voigtlander Petzval. Annie the Cat approves!


Kent in SD