View Full Version : Does anybody actually use a Volute shutter?

Kevin Crisp
16-Apr-2006, 11:27
Usually when I get a lens in one of these, they are a basket case and I don't consider a repair. But now I've got one that seems sluggish but otherwise everything looks good. The upside is it has 7 aperture scales which would certainly be useful -- IF -- these are reasonably useable after a CLA. It also appears to be part of an original Century Grand Sr. 5X7 camera set up. If you've gone the CLA route on this shutter (I think mine is a #2 if that matters) I would appreciate it if you let me know if you got a useable shutter for your efforts or if this is a hopeless cause. Thanks. PS: Where does one get a sqeeze bulb and air hose for one of these, by the way?

Roger Hein
16-Apr-2006, 12:24
I used one with a 141mm Protar V. Squeeze bulb and hose can be pretty much anything that will fit - it doesn't take a lot of pressure to trip the shutter. I went through all the servicing, etc and quite frankly found it to be one of the most undependable and inconsistent of the 'old' shutters. Looks 'neat' and has great nostolgia but not something you can count on in the field.

Robert A. Zeichner
16-Apr-2006, 14:50
I bought a Century Grand Sr. several years ago and it came with B&L convertable Protar in a Volute. The previous owner said he had the shutter worked on and I did indeed make some nice negatives with it, but I have to tell you, I never got used to the three aperture scales engraved on one plate. As I recall, the shutter had a standard release socket and so I never needed an air release. The camera was designed for glass plates though and I had to machine a spacer to allow me to focus on what would be the plane of sheet film in a normal holder. I was successful in doing that so I made up a bunch of lens boards and mounted various of my more modern lenses to try it out. I keep one of my 203 f7.7 Ektars on it as it folds up nicely with lens in place. Now I have a Deardorff and so I never use this thing anymore. The old Volute is history as it was not consistent enough for me but, those 2 and 3 second settings were kind of handy.

Ron Gratz
17-Apr-2006, 07:05
I have an ancient Dagor in a Volute shutter that came with an equally ancient ICA Universal Juwel 440. I was able to fit a rubber bulb and hose to it (I dont remember where I got them) and it works just fine. The speeds are consistant and as another post stated, the 2 and 3 second settings are nice to have. One thing I learned, do not squeeze the bulb too hard, if you shoot too much air in it can jam the shutter. Unless something is broken they are reasonably simple mechanisms and easy to work on. Ron Gratz

Jim Galli
17-Apr-2006, 08:27
Kevin, I have quite a few in use. Before you spend a lot of $$ try unscrewing the piston chamber that is sealed. Clean it and the piston with some alcohol and re-assemble. Might be all it needs. Many of these shutters were threaded for cable release after the fact. You simply thread where the air tube goes on to accept a cable release, and the cable pushes the piston to release the shutter same as air would. Just more convenient. B&L certainly didn't skimp when they made them, and I love listening to a 100 year old shutter click open, time out, and click shut.

Kevin Crisp
17-Apr-2006, 08:39
I hate the sound of a 100 year old shutter opening and doing nothing else. Thanks for your comments, I will at least try your fix, Jim. Interesting how the shutter leaves also form the aperture on these.