View Full Version : home-made lensboard for Toyo?

29-Oct-2007, 16:48
currently there's a spending freeze in my house, as a result of my insane decision to make photography a full-time job. i'd happily buy lensboards on ebay for my Toyo-View C (6 and a bit inches square), as they're not all that expensive. however that's out of the question currently.

meanwhile i've got a couple of lenses i want to mount. they're light: one off an Ansco 3A vest pocket camera, and my Dagor in a Raptar shutter. i've got luan wood in garage, ready for cutting. i made a lensboard for my calumet/cambo 4x5 when i owned it, and it was no big deal.

however the light traps are a little different on the toyo. this could conceivably be simpler than the cambo lensboard, if i could only think what to run along the edge of the board to fit into the light trap on the front standard.

anyone done this? any ideas?

i could do felt, but it might not be adequate. i could glue a strip of wood, but it would have to be thin and tall-ish, making it not very durable if it's glued.

Ralph Barker
29-Oct-2007, 17:03
I use a shaper to cut a rabbet along the edges, but a router could be used for the same purpose. If one glues a second square of wood with smaller dimensions to the back side (with a center hole large enough for the O.D. of the retaining ring) a similar rabbet is created. Paint it flat black on te back side, and you're probably OK. Adding a felt or foam strip around the edge would help, too, but might end up too thick for the board to seat properly, as the retainer bars on the Toyos are really designed for the thin metal boards.

erie patsellis
29-Oct-2007, 20:52
I use a 1/2" or so wide strip of self adhesive foamie (wally world, less than a buck for a 9x12 sheet) around the perimeter of the lensboards I make out of .060 aluminum, tight squeeze at first, but once it compresses, it works fine, if you wanted to make a lensboard out of 1/4" plywood, I'd rabbet the edge so it fits snugly.


29-Oct-2007, 23:12
Ralph: well i had to look up "rabbet" but i get it, yeah. that's actually what i had to do with the cambo lensboards. i just wasn't sure if it was going to be enough on the toyo, since the light trap design is different. i don't have the tools or the skill to be routing this sort of thing, so i will be cutting and gluing an inside panel instead, to create a rabbet. if i make it a pretty close fit, and perhaps thicker than the luan, it might keep the dark in. perhaps that and something thin around the edge of the 'real' light trap area would do it.

erie: you're compressing the foam against the metal flange of the standard? do i understand right? i see your point, it would work with aluminum but would put too much stress on plywood. but perhaps a thin strip of self adhesive foam around the light trap area, in conjunction with a rabbet, will get me where i need to be. and won't take too long to make either (always a factor as i have the patience of a ferret.)

thanks both! i'll give it a try soon.

Ralph Barker
30-Oct-2007, 05:41
Instead of solid wood for the front section, you might try model-maker's plywood for greater strength around the edge. You can find this at craft stores in small pre-cut pieces. The laminations are thinner than construction or furniture grade plywood found at the lumber or home-improvement stores. Laminated wood floor tiles are another option.

30-Oct-2007, 10:35
ralph: is model-maker's plywood going to be stronger than 1/8" luan?

are you suggesting i just use it for the edge, and not the whole lensboard? if so, why? i've never used the stuff so i don't know.


ronald lamarsh
30-Oct-2007, 10:40
If you are going to go to the trouble of making something like this consider taking you current lensboard and converting it to use Techinka style boards. I did this with my cambo and it works great except for 90mm lenses that my cambo needs a recessed board for. Otherwise switching between my Tech III and the cambo is a snap. I make all the Technika style boards I want out of formica: I cut the pieces to size then glue 2 together back to back, to take care of any warpage, in a vise then cut the hole for the shutter with a hole saw mounted in a drill. I have many of these and they work just as well as a metal bd.

30-Oct-2007, 13:15
well...i don't know what a technika style board looks like, or what the benefits are.

basically i foresee three ways of doing this. my barrel lenses will get mounted in front of a packard shutter, a la Ash's mod. got someone drilling some holes for me in a metal lensboard. "proper" modern or near-modern lenses will get their own metal boards, as they're heavy and need the support. it's just the lenses (in shutters) that i might use only occasionally that will get wood lensboards. because the lenses are light, and i can't justify shelling out for a metal one for those.

so are you suggesting modifying a metal lensboard to take wood technika boards? or a wood-on-wood scenario instead? can you or someone else point me to a link that shows how a technika board looks and works?


31-Oct-2007, 10:28
so i forged ahead and made a lensboard last night. it's a simple device (as they all are anyway). a rounded square of 1/8" luan plywood. four pieces of 1/2" square basswood (i think) glued and nailed to the inside, both to act as an inner light baffle, and for extra rigidity. hole was made with a hole saw. this is the unpainted version...the painted version is drying in the garage right now, but it's easier to see when not painted flat black.

i think this will be plenty light-tight. the 1/2" bits mesh nicely with the bellows mount to make a lot of corners for light to try and sneak around. i don't think putting something in the 'official' light trap area on the board will be necessary.

proof's in the pudding of course, so i'll have to shoot with it to make sure.



Nicolai Morrisson
9-Nov-2007, 12:54
Y'all are fancy. I use cardboard, a Sharpie, a knife, and tape. :)

9-Nov-2007, 13:01
and i held my pinkie out while i made it too. now that's fancy!

but seriously, it wasn't all that fancy. took an hour, not including drying time. i do want it to last longer than a cardboard one would, and wouldn't want it to come apart and drop the lens on the ground. call me paranoid.

but i'm all for cardboard!

Nicolai Morrisson
9-Nov-2007, 13:08
Hey, if I had any woodworking equipment or a place to put it, I'd be all over it! (Or, my personal dream, a robust-yet-affordable and compact at-home CNC machine... *drools wistfully*)

While it does technically work and is obviously incredibly cheap, cardboard does get pretty banged up from normal and even careful transportation.

9-Nov-2007, 13:18
woodworking equipment? what's that?? :)

the fanciest thing i have is a hobbyist's miter saw, which was like $20. but i can cut 1/2" wood with other things too. the main board was cut using a utility knife, and the hole was cut with a 'hole saw' drill attachment. nails, glue, c-clamps...amazing what one can do with basic stuff.

mind you, i already had the 1/8" plywood and wood stock because of my previous projects from the 'Primitive Photography' book.

some of my best pinhole cameras are made out of cardboard.

Nicolai Morrisson
9-Nov-2007, 13:22
Drill? What is this thing you speak of?? :)

9-Nov-2007, 21:38
oh the lensboard works by the way! keeps the light out and the dark in. here's a picture i took with the lensboard.

(Goerz Dagor 6" f/6.8 lens at f/8, shot on ortho-litho film at ASA 3, developed in TD-200 two-bath developer)


Nicolai Morrisson
17-Nov-2007, 06:53
Right on!

17-Nov-2007, 08:23