View Full Version : Bellows care for Tachahara

William Lindley
5-Apr-2010, 13:39
I live in a very dry climate in the New Mexican desert, and am concerned about the care of my 4x5 Tachahara. I check it regularly, and it seems fine, but I worry, as our humidity is often 20% or less. The wood seems fine, and with the varnished finish, doesn't seem to need any extra care. It's the bellows I am concerned about. I'm sure it's not leather. It's some synthetic, but I don't know what it is. It's a late 80's model I think, as I bought it used. In any event, It looks great and is supple and works fine. I just wonder if there is something I should be doing to prolong it's life?

Mark Sampson
5-Apr-2010, 14:40
My 1982 Tachihara had very thin black bellows, made of goatskin leather. I eventually figured out that Lexol was the best stuff for it. Neats-foot oil would have dissolved the glue that held them together, eventually. If your bellows are synthetic there's not much you can do for them, not that they'd need help. I use Renaissance wax on my current wooden camera once a year, per the manufacturer's instructions.
Whatever you do, keep the ArmorAll away from your camera.

Maris Rusis
5-Apr-2010, 17:20
Tachihara bellows seem to be very durable with no special care.

All of the Tachiharas here, two 8x10's and two 4x5's, have been worked hard in landscape situations for the last twenty years. The bellows seemed light-tight and no pictures have been lost BUT when I tested them recently using the "light bulb in the bellows in the darkroom" method I found several pinholes in the corners on all cameras. One of the 8x10's had a neat round hole on the underside of the bellows where a lens had focussed a sun image which had burned clean through!

Even though a few pinholes etc seemed to make no difference I patched the bellows with 3M #850 Black polyester tape. This tape is so good I wish camera makers would fashion bellows out of it.

I'll check things again twenty years from now.