View Full Version : So I smashed my ground glass

12-Jul-2009, 10:29
On my speed graphic 4x5.

Had the dark hood propped open, had it on my suitcase and i went to sit down and like nudged/pushed a little the top of the dark hood with my arse and heard a shattering sound and was like "oh shit on a crap sandwich".

Not happy.

But it was dirty and dim anyways.

So I'm shopping for a new one.. and living in Australia, that means eBay, and most likely from the U.S.

Are there any other "drop in" choices besides this - http://cgi.ebay.com.au/4-x5-Super-Super-Speed-Graphic-Ground-Glass-drop-in_W0QQitemZ230355002114QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item35a23a6302&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A1|66%3A2|39%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

I dont have anything to cut glass with, so itd' just end up smashed again if its any kind of complex procedure more than fitting one in :P

12-Jul-2009, 10:46
go to your local glass store and buy some....very cheap! or:


Steve Hamley
12-Jul-2009, 10:50
I'm very happy with Steve's product. But safe shipping of glass is relatively expensive, so order a spare.

Cheers, Steve

David Karp
12-Jul-2009, 11:03
Steve Hopf does a very nice job. His product is at least as nice as my Satin Snow GG. He is quick and reliable too.

mark e mark
12-Jul-2009, 11:38
I second Davis's comments. Steve sent the screen to me in the UK in less than a week-fantastic.

Mark Sawyer
12-Jul-2009, 11:49
If you want a quick-and-cheap interim ground glass, just have the local hardware store cut window glass to fit, and spray it with glass-frosting, also available at most hardware stores. It works surprisingly well.

12-Jul-2009, 14:54
You can take a piece of common framing, scanner/copier or museum glass, cut it to size and tape it down to a work surface. Don't forget to trim the corners for bellow venting while you've got the glass-cutter out!

Cut a 3x3 or 4x4 square out of the scrap for a muller. Bevel/round slightly the edges of both pieces with carbide sandpaper or emery cloth for safety and to avoid ugly scratches in the final product.

Hot glue a section of mop handle or some such to the middle of the square for a handle and use about a half to one teaspoon of fine grinding compound, such as valve compound or carbide powder in a wet paste to grind a fine surface into the replacement glass, using a 'figure 8' motion with the muller. Keep the plate wet and work from different angles for an even finish with a very light pressure; 180 or 220 grit should be about right for this project.

If you like, you can press-fit a pound block of modeling clay around the handle on top of the muller to give it a bit of weight, that's about all it needs.

Once you've got it ground, rinse well, dry and if you like, use a #2 pencil to draw some grids or guides into the ground glass and mount as usual.

I did this with my Speed Graphic and haven't really felt the need to replace it, though it is a pain in dim interiors. It sounds like a lot of work/effort but it isn't in practice.

I buy carbide powders from a lapidary supply store but auto supply, machinist and art stores that cater to stone lithographers, printmaker/artists will also have it.


Peter K
12-Jul-2009, 15:19
Don't forget to trim the corners for bellow venting while you've got the glass-cutter out!
Good advise! The corners are not for venting the bellows but for checking the vignetting as one can read here (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/how-to-operate.html) at point 9 and 10. ;)

Turner Reich
12-Jul-2009, 16:39
I checked and Steve has the 3x3 listed as the smallest size so a screen for a 2x3 is out I guess, I would definitely buy a screen from him next time.

Dan Fromm
12-Jul-2009, 16:57
I checked and Steve has the 3x3 listed as the smallest size so a screen for a 2x3 is out I guess, I would definitely buy a screen from him next time.I followed the link that eddie provide (thanks, sir!), then looked at a listing. It said:

"Please note that there is no complete list of screen sizes for all the different cameras out there. It is your responsibility to measure your old screen or camera opening and to know what size you need. Very often a camera's screen size does not exactly match the format size. So be sure to measure carefully before ordering…it’s easy!"

In other words, he'll cut glass to order. So all our friend on OZ has to do is figure out which model of Speed Graphic he has, find a kind person who has one of the same (back type included, I don't know for sure but wouldn't be surprised to learn that spring and Graflok back focusing panels have different sizes of glass) and will take measurements for him.

BTW, the listing says that the actual size of the nominal 6x9 GG offered is 6 x 8.8 cm. I wonder which camera takes that size.



13-Jul-2009, 00:28
As Eli says it's very easy to make your own screen, and it can easily be as good as any Glass screen you can buy commercially. It's harder to cut the glass than grind the screen, and you can make a screen in about 20 minutes.

If a screen is fractionally oversized it's easy to take 1 or 2mm off, I've used coarse Wet & Dry (used wet).