View Full Version : Western Bellows Phone Number

Scott Sharp
24-Aug-2009, 12:09

Last month I contacted Western Bellows and took my Seneca WP camera up there for a new set of bellows. I put a deposit down on the work and was told the bellows would be done in 3 to 4 weeks. Jim seemed like a very knowledgable guy and was interesting to talk to. I had confidence he would do a good job on the replacement bellows.

Today when I tried calling his number for an update, I got the dreaded message that the number was no longer in service. I tried information and the same number was listed. However when I tried the operator asssisted call. we got the same message. No other listing under his name or the company name Western Bellows.

Anyone have an update on Jim's new number? Is he still in business? Has he moved?


David Karp
24-Aug-2009, 15:31
This is the number I have: (909) 980-0606.

24-Aug-2009, 16:47
I'll be watching this closely as I have a new-to-me Deardorff that is in need of a bellows. Please keep us posted on any progress either way.

Nathan Potter
24-Aug-2009, 16:55
Indeed, I have an antique Linhof bellows that needs replacement.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

David Karp
24-Aug-2009, 18:05

I hope he turns up. He did a beautiful job on my WP Seneca. Please let us know what happens.

Pete Suttner
24-Aug-2009, 19:29
I just had Jim replace a bellows on my Linhof rail camera. I had problems communicating also / phone out of service. When I finally did get ahold of him he said he was having health problems. I got my bellows / he did a good job / 4 weeks after the 4 weeks he quoted.

Scott Sharp
24-Aug-2009, 21:06
Thanks everyone for your replies. I may make a trip up to see Jim next week. I'll keep everyone posted on a new contact number for Western Bellows. and I'll post a photo of my Seneca when I get it back.

Dave, the number you listed is the same one I tried to use. (909) 980-0606

Thanks, Scott

Scott Sharp
31-Aug-2009, 10:16
Hello everyone:

The number for Western Bellows is up and working. My Seneca bellows order will be completed in a couple of weeks time. Jim is active and taking orders. This is the current number: (909) 980-0606

Last week, for whatever reason there was a glitch in the phone service, and I was not able to reach him. It probably was from my end on the line. If for any reason you are not able to reach Jim, he answers written correspondence promptly.

From the bellows samples I have seen at his shop, the quality of Jim's work is excellent and I look forward to installing the new bellows on my WP Seneca.


David Karp
31-Aug-2009, 10:39
Glad this is working out. The bellows that he made and installed on my Improved Seneca Whole Plate is beautiful.

Scott Sharp
2-Sep-2009, 10:16
Thanks for your thoughts Dave. I look forward to the day the WP Seneca is ready to take out onto the field. I'll post a couple of photos when it is finished complete with new bellows.


Scott Sharp
19-Sep-2009, 17:23
I just picked up my completed bellows from Western Bellows for my Seneca Whole Plate camera and Jim did a beautiful job. Very professionally done. A new bellows really gives an old view camera a new lease on life. My Seneca WP should be good for another 80 years of service.

My experience with Western Bellows. Communication was a little hit and miss at times but Jim eventually got back to me. Jim is perhaps working somewhat slower, but definitely completing orders. The quality of his work is well worth the wait. See attached pics.

David Karp
19-Sep-2009, 18:31
Looks great Scott. From experience, I think you will be very happy with it.

I see you did not have him try to connect the metal "supports" for use when the bellows is extended. Good choice.


Scott Sharp
20-Sep-2009, 10:28
Thanks for your post Dave. As you know Seneca was very proud of their (Bellows Retainer patented Nov. 2, 1905.) These bellows support arms are supposed to keep the bellows from sagging. I have them attached on my 8 x 10 Seneca and they dont really help anything. Best advice is to disengage them if an when you have new bellows made for your vintage Seneca. These support arms do mark the difference between the earlier Seneca View Camera (without the support hardware) and the Improved Seneca View (with the support hardware). I left the support arm hardware on the camera and simply wired them out of the way.

The whole plate (6 x 8 ) Seneca has a whopping 26 inches of bellows extension with the second bed in place. And the camera is reasonably rigid at full extension. Im still looking at replacing some of the 3/8 inch screws in the rear standard hardware with inch or longer screws for increased rigidity. The camera is very lightweight at
7 pounds for the format size.

Here are the specs for the four Improved Seneca View Cameras from the
1918 Seneca Catalog.
Size of camera: 5 x 7 Length of draw: 23 inches Weight: 6 lbs.
Size of camera: 6 x 8 1/2 Length of draw: 26 inches Weight: 7 lbs.
Size of camera: 8 x 10 Length of draw: 30 inches Weight: 10 lbs.
Size of camera: 11 x 14 Length of draw: 39 inches Weight: 18 pounds

David Karp
20-Sep-2009, 12:45
Here is some more information: www.fiberq.com/cam/seneca/sennew.htm

It is really cool that you have the extension rail. I was disappointed because I come close to picking one up once and missed it (assuming that it would work with my camera). I had Jim make the bellows assuming I might find a rail one day.

In the meantime, I made an extension lensboard for it that allows me to use a 450mm Fuji C (see below).

Scott Sharp
20-Sep-2009, 21:58
Dave, that website you gave the link to is one of the best sources on vintage American view cameras out there. I don't know how that guy managed to assemble that wealth of information, but he did a great job.

I can sympathize with your wanting an extension rail. I am missing the rear rail on my
5 x 7 Seneca. Last December I purchased a parts camera on that auction site advertised as a 5 x 7 Seneca with the extension rail. Much to my surprise when I opended up the package out came a WP Seneca camera instead. With cleaning and a new bellows I think it will be a good camera.

The extension rail for the WP Seneca body almost fits the 5 x 7 body but not quite. Things don't quite line up right. So I am still searching for that 5 x 7 rear rail.

Your solution for a telephoto lens looks great. And your camera looks to be in nice shape. Good looking set of bellows by the way.

David Karp
20-Sep-2009, 22:04
Yes, it is in nice shape. I bought it from Jim Galli. As advertised, it needed a lube and cleanup, and the old bellows were a bit stiff but usable so long as you covered them with a darkcloth to be safe. The new bellows are much nicer, and allow the camera to easily compress for folding up. I used some spray dry lube on the gears and tracks, and they move very easily.

Funny thing about my extension. If you visit the Yosemite visitors center, they have a photo of someone making a photo in Yosemite with an old camera. It has a gizmo on the end of it that looks just like my extension lensboard.

Michael Carter
22-Sep-2009, 11:03
Hello Scott,
Did you send your complete camera to have the bellows installed or did you install them yourself? Thanks.

Scott Sharp
27-Sep-2009, 10:31

I took the bellows off the camera and took them up to Western Bellows. When I got the bellows back, mounted on the wooden frames, I temporarily put the bellows back on the camera to take the photos and to see how they fit. I've subsequently taken the bellows back off to finish more work on the camera. There are eight screws front and back holding the wooden bellows frames to the camera body.

You can do it both ways. Either send just the bellows in and specify to have the new bellows mounted on the wooden frames which Jiim does for a small fee. Then mount the new bellows unit back on the camera yourself.

Or you can send the whole camera in and have Jim make the new bellows, mount them onto the wooden frames and re-install the whole bellows unit back into your camera. There is a small labor charge for that also.

David Karp
27-Sep-2009, 12:23

As Scott said, you can go either way. I brought the entire camera to Jim, and he removed the old bellows and installed the new ones. He did a very nice job.

Mike Herring
27-Sep-2009, 14:01
Jim did an excellent job on the bellows for my Sinar P 8x10.
I believe he had experienced some health issues and it took a while for him to finish the work.
We should do our best to support people like Jim. We live in an age where there are very few craftsmen anymore. Especially people that will repair large format "film cameras".
I wish you Good Light,

Michael Carter
11-Jan-2010, 13:05
On Oct 6th I sent my camera and money to Western Bellows. To this day I have not gotten them back, January 11. No calls are answered except by the answering machine. I did talk to the man before I sent them and later on Oct 26 he said 4 to 6 weeks more. Well, it's been three months now.
Is he still alive?
Has anyone seen or talked to him?
Michael Carter

11-Jan-2010, 13:48
Hi, I would like to exchange greetings as per my first mail.

I am waiting for bellows purchased in November. I've called them before Christmas and a man confirmed that my purchase will be shipped soon. So far no bellows, no any contact about a month, I hope this means - vacation.


Scott Sharp
11-Jan-2010, 21:05
If you haven't heard from Jim and you are having trouble contacting him by phone, try writing him a letter asking for an update on your job. He got back to me reasonably soon after I wrote him.

As has been mentioned in previous posts Jim's health is slowing him down somewhat and it is taking him longer to complete the work. The quality of the bellows work is excellent however, and well worth the wait.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Michael Carter
18-Jan-2010, 15:55
Hello there,

Jim called me last Wednesday? or Tuesday and said it was in the UPS mail. It arrived today, Monday, MLKD. Everything is fine. The bellows is a fine supple thin material that extends all the way out. I'd asked for that special. The camera is a Poco 19 triple extension. It fully extends to 27 inches. The ground glass is 6 1/2 x 8 1/2.
It was a long wait but looks great. There are two rings, one on either side, too.
:) I called him and left a message that it arrived today, January 16, 2010.
Michael Carter

Scott Sharp
20-Jan-2010, 12:22

Sounds like you received a well made set of replacement bellows for your Poco 19 whole plate camera. You should enjoy shooting with that camera. Jim does very nice work as I can attest from the bellows he replaced on my Seneca whole plate camera. I'm glad everything worked out.