View Full Version : Fixing a Fidelity, part II - Felt Fixins'?

Scott --
16-Jul-2010, 17:59
Hi, all -

Ok, after some heat and clamps, the bow in the top of my Fidelity plastic 8x10 holder has been removed (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=64583). Cool. But, looking through the top, I can see there are two "holes" (for lack of a better word) in the felt. Which, I think, is the root cause to the leak problem I experienced yesterday.

So, now I've got to ask if there's a way to repair the felt. I can't tell if it's just matted down or actually damaged physically. Is there a way to get into this light trap and fix things? Or am I down to a one-sided holder? I don't see any obvious way to fix this.



Gem Singer
16-Jul-2010, 18:39

If pieces of the felt are not missing, but merely matted down, run the crevice tool of a vacuum cleaner back and forth on the outside and inside of the dark slide slots a few times, using the suction to fluff up the felt.

No way to open a plastic holder to replace the light traps without damaging the holder.

Robert Vigurs
16-Jul-2010, 18:56
I use older film holders. Once I have set up the shot, and installed the holder, I use the dark cloth to shade it, just to be sure. It has become habit with me to never let the sun shine on the holder when changing the slide.

17-Jul-2010, 00:21
I use older film holders. Once I have set up the shot, and installed the holder, I use the dark cloth to shade it, just to be sure. It has become habit with me to never let the sun shine on the holder when changing the slide.

That's what I do, even if the holder is new or newer I still do it.

17-Jul-2010, 02:21
Dear Scott;
When I worked in a studio we had the same problem with several 11 by 14 sheet film holders and the boss was going to toss them so I took them home and bought some thin black felt. I cut strips 3/4in wide by the length of the dark slide slot and used quilting adhesive that comes in a roll like tape and the paper is removed leaving only the adhesive. Since I could see with a flashlight that the trap damage was on the septum side of the trap, I placed the strip along the middle of the septum and gently pushed the felt without the adhesive into the slot. Only the center of the strip had the adhesive to adhere to the top of the septum. To test the holder for light tightness I used a piece of printing paper instead of film and took the holder and left it in the midday sun and it was light tight. Then the real test in the camera in direct sunlight removed the dark slide for 10min and replaced it and in the darkroom developed the paper....Success !!! I just saved the studio a lot of money and didn't even get a thank you. You might try it yourself and see if it cures the problem. The process is reversible so nothing to lose and the felt is cheap and can be found at any fabric store. Oh! one more thing, the trap damage in those holders was caused by a small chip on the bottom of the dark slide where it had been dropped so be sure to check the dark slide and smooth any damage with 600 grit crocus cloth.
Denise Libby

Chuck Pere
17-Jul-2010, 05:16
Here's an article about taking a holder apart: http://benneh.net/blog/index.php/2008/06/26/cleaning-10x8-8x10-fidelity-double-dark-slides/

Maybe as a last resort.

Scott --
18-Jul-2010, 04:38
Thanks for the tips, folks. I'll start out simple and work my way toward disassembly. If the felt doesn't pop back up, though, the holder's useless to me, so disassembly may be the only option.

Scott --
18-Jul-2010, 06:55
Well, I'm up to disassembly/nothing to lose. A single-sided holder's not worth it to me, so apart it comes.

But the above link is misleading. These things are held together tight. Have one side off, that I used a woodworking vise to open up. Now to remove the other side...

Scott --
18-Jul-2010, 14:59
Ok, after a lot of persuasion from a rubber mallet, I have the holder in pieces. The felt is clearly damaged:


I think Pliobond is my friend here...

[EDIT] OOH - I got the felt part out. Steam iron, here I come!

Scott --
18-Jul-2010, 15:15
...And an iron, and some careful forming, has the entire thing straight and ready for reinstallation!

Scott --
19-Jul-2010, 04:57
Okay now - have the holder back together. A little bit of Pliobond on the tops of the posts, a couple clamps, and the reassembly is nearly complete. Before gluing, I checked the operation with a couple darkslides - smooth as silk. Will let the Pliobond do its thing, then glue the bottom light trap back in place, and test with film. Inspection with a bright light, however, suggests the test will be successful.

Overall, not a bad project. Thanks for the help, everyone.

Scott --
19-Jul-2010, 12:47
Just adding a post-script: Tested the holder out on both sides in the sunlight this morning. No leaks. Woot!

19-Jul-2010, 17:14
Scott, how is the felt held in, is it glued or a press fit or another method?


Scott --
21-Jul-2010, 03:58
The felt is kind of sleeved over the tabs on the brass spring piece. The whole assembly just slides into the top of the holder, and is held in place by the septum.

I've used this holder several times now successfully. It's light-tight now.