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Will Frostmill
13-Sep-2019, 08:45
What do you suggest for waxing leather bellows, and polishing finished wood?

I've read a bunch of threads on here, but I've also seen some contradictory information, and I can't quite seem to wrap my head around the problem.

I get that using silicone based furniture polish is bad for pretty much any kind of finish. I understand that some kinds of leather conditioners are good for leather, but bad for cloth stitching. I've read that some kinds (or all kinds?) of metal polishes damage wood fibers, causing screws to come loose.

Is there something generically safe? Beeswax or paraffin wax?

(Alternatively, can anyone suggest an authoritative resource, a book, a journal, or a conservation website?)

Thanks, everyone.

asf
13-Sep-2019, 10:12
Look up Rennaisance Wax

Greg Y
13-Sep-2019, 10:22
I used Lexol leather conditioner on my Deardorff bellows with good results. I've used a product called Trewax traditional on wood projects...it's a clear white paste wax

Bob Salomon
13-Sep-2019, 10:26
Why not ask Richard Ritter or Ken Hough or an experienced service center?

Tin Can
13-Sep-2019, 10:42
Ditto

Iím even using it on dark slides as it works without showing any buildup.




Look up Rennaisance Wax

Drew Wiley
13-Sep-2019, 11:27
Anything containing silicone is miserable for either wood or leather, a big no-no. For one thing, it tends to break down cell structure; for another, it prohibits a more suitable product from absorbing. Beeswax gets old and sticky, and traps unwanted dirt and grit. Trewax is a modified Carnuba floor wax, so-so. If you insist on using a wax, Renaissance Wax is a pure microcrystalline paraffin which would be the best choice. But I'd need a lot more information before recommending any kind of wax. It's a bit of a complicated subject, depending on specifically how your camera was finished to begin with, and what kind of maintenance protocol you want now, or are willing to undergo. You should at least cite the specific make and model of your camera for sake of those with previous experience refurbishing similar cameras.

Greg Y
13-Sep-2019, 11:51
....i've also used straight paraffin wax rubbed on the wood-on-wood extension parts of the Deardorff. That was more worthwhile than any other maintenance.

Jac@stafford.net
13-Sep-2019, 14:38
Look up Rennaisance Wax

It is the best, and a tiny dab combed into the mustache keeps it in shape during our deadly MinneSnowta winters.

Greg Y
13-Sep-2019, 15:42
It is the best, and a tiny dab combed into the mustache keeps it in shape during our deadly MinneSnowta winters.

Shh.... prices will soar if the hipsters catch on :)

Tin Can
13-Sep-2019, 15:54
Hey, I resemble that!

I was a black beret, black turtleneck, black pants beatnik hipster at age 11 in 1962.

and so on...

TB guided us for decades until we gots Fake Books...

now where is my fedora...

I see Nothing! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ag4nkSh7Q)


Shh.... prices will soar if the hipsters catch on :)

Mark Sampson
13-Sep-2019, 21:05
Zone VI recommended Renaissance Wax for their wooden cameras. I followed that advice... works well and is conservator-approved for the application. Lexol (which was meant for leather-bound books) was the good answer when I had a camera with leather bellows. Neat's-foot oil may dissolve the glue that holds the bellows together; saddle soap is meant for dirty equestrian gear. ArmorAll is a creation of the Devil.

Will Frostmill
14-Sep-2019, 09:00
Thank you everyone,

I've researched Renaissance Wax before, and came across a conservation case study that lets me know it's not for me.

I've now filed Lexol and Neat's Foot Oil away for further research.

Drew, thank you for the explanation regarding why silicone causes problems! It's those details that help me better understand the consequences of my choices.

The camera itself is probably a Conley No. 1 View Camera, manufactured on contract for Sears, probably between 1913-1915. It's a humble, non-collectible camera, and I'd like to treat it with the same dignity as any of my regular working tools. Clean, functional, and kept in good health, not a super-shiny "minty" show piece. I don't mind wear marks, scratches, and patina, but I do mind corrosion, warping, cracking, and blistering.

I'm willing to test the finish destructively on the underside of the tripod block - I have 95% rubbing alcohol at hand, if a dot or two of that would tell us something about what it's coated in.

p.s. Randy, when you write:

I was a black beret, black turtleneck, black pants beatnik hipster at age 11 in 1962.
I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957), with Michel Auclair as the terribly hip Professor Emile Flostre. Now I have to locate a copy - it's been at least 35 years since I've seen that, and anything that has a Gershwin song and dance number in a darkroom is probably required reading around here.

Tin Can
14-Sep-2019, 09:04
I am curious about your issue with Renaissance Wax. We all need to know.

I have posted about 'Funny Face' before here, I love that movie.



Thank you everyone,

I've researched Renaissance Wax before, and came across a conservation case study that lets me know it's not for me.

I've now filed Lexol and Neat's Foot Oil away for further research.

Drew, thank you for the explanation regarding why silicone causes problems! It's those details that help me better understand the consequences of my choices.

The camera itself is probably a Conley No. 1 View Camera, manufactured on contract for Sears, probably between 1913-1915. It's a humble, non-collectible camera, and I'd like to treat it with the same dignity as any of my regular working tools. Clean, functional, and kept in good health, not a super-shiny "minty" show piece. I don't mind wear marks, scratches, and patina, but I do mind corrosion, warping, cracking, and blistering.

I'm willing to test the finish destructively on the underside of the tripod block - I have 95% rubbing alcohol at hand, if a dot or two of that would tell us something about what it's coated in.

p.s. Randy, when you write:

I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957), with Michel Auclair as the terribly hip Professor Emile Flostre. Now I have to locate a copy - it's been at least 35 years since I've seen that, and anything that has a Gershwin song and dance number in a darkroom is probably required reading around here.

Jac@stafford.net
14-Sep-2019, 10:17
I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957)

Is this it? (https://youtu.be/9xo1onGh3us?t=6)

Mark Sawyer
14-Sep-2019, 16:28
It's worth remembering that unless there's been some stripping and sanding going on, you're polishing the lacquer, not the wood.

RichardRitter
15-Sep-2019, 06:28
Why not ask Richard Ritter or Ken Hough or an experienced service center?

Best thing is to keep the camera clean. Soft cloth and distilled water.

Depending on the product you use you could do more harm then good.

The main thing to think about is how you store the camera when not in use. This is where damage and ageing happens to the camera. Never store the camera in the darkroom.

goamules
15-Sep-2019, 11:33
Lexol conditioner for leather. There are a few others you can use for fine leather, research saddlery. NOT Neatsfoot Oil unless you want a floppy, oily mess.

For wood, there really isn't much you can do to "feed and moisturize" it from a goop. Humidity control helps wood, not anything you can put on it (though suppliers try to convince you to). But a polish won't hurt it either, keeps water spots off, and makes wood shine. I like Johnson's paste wax. It is made from Carnuba wax, "Microcrystalline wax, and parrafin with some solvent. Works well on metal and wood, I wouldn't put any on leather.

Tin Can
15-Sep-2019, 12:02
Some belows like 50's Linhof LF are very good even now without treatment, ever. NOS

The Russian Red leather bellows on some Primo cameras are also well preserved with nothing.

Self Casing cameras if stored in dry low temps and closed seem to last longest, per my Prewar Linhof Standard and three Primos. Like new still.

I think Horseman used leather that fell apart as I have several of those disasters. Or it's a plastic. Maybe I will burn test one someday.

I used to use HUBERD'S SHOE GREASE from Mcminnville OR to waterproof my leather boots every day while walking in icy puddles. Used it for a decade. I worked outside in Chicago for a very long time.

Now I use https://www.obenaufs.com/ which for me works best. I have a lot of leather. Recommended by Firemen. Made in Idaho.

Fred L
15-Sep-2019, 12:11
I have Conservator's Wax, can I presume it's the same, or very similar to Renaissance Wax ? It's also microcrystalline and has a slight scent.

Drew Wiley
15-Sep-2019, 16:34
Well, Garrett, I was a supplier of high quality wood finishes and can unequivocally state that some of them can make a staggering difference in how wood holds up to the elements over time. But they might not be period authentic to how an old camera was originally finished, if that kind of restoration is in mind. But even true shellac, which has been used for centuries, has protective value if itself maintained. Certain modern marine coatings are rather remarkable; but I don't think many people would spend a hundred dollars a quart to touch up an old camera. I had access to free samples for testing purposes, so it's a little different story. I don't suppose there are a lot of teak yachts in the desert; but there quite a few around here. To anyone contemplating buying, berthing, and maintaining one, I offer the following financial advice: "Give up all hope, ye who enter herein." I think Dante first said that.

Will Frostmill
18-Sep-2019, 07:40
I want to thank everyone for their contributions to this thread, particularly Drew Wiley, and Richard Ritter. I'm going to be away from the forum for a little bit, and if I discover anything new on this topic, I'll post it here.

Once again, thank you kindly for your help!