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Scott --
14-Aug-2010, 06:09
Well, even though it arrived weeks ago, I'm finally starting officially work on the Seneca View 8x10:

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_0592.jpg

First up: Regrinding the glass.

As usual, I'm blogging the whole thing (http://wp.me/pWENv-2i). Take a look if you're interested.

Scott

Walter Calahan
14-Aug-2010, 06:46
Most excellent. I need to do the same to my Seneca.

Steven Tribe
14-Aug-2010, 09:46
I can understand the bellows and the ground glass etc. But I would have thought that the wood finish and condition of the brass is very acceptible for a camera of this age. Giving a finish, that may well be better than it was when new, would make it look like a "reproduction" rather than a "restoration" in MHO!

Scott --
14-Aug-2010, 09:56
Steven, there are some (albeit) slight repairs to make to this camera. There's no extension rail, which will have to be fabricated from new materials, including new brass. There's no handle or associated hardware, again to be fabricated from new brass. Crazing and tarnish, IMHO, weren't original to the finish of this camera, but that hardly matters. New cameras, including this one, had proper finishes and polished brass.

Now, there are purists who decry removing "patina", favoring the ravages of age over clean finishes. If that's your gig, then good for you. I'm not doing a museum-grade restoration of an important antique; rather, I'm rehabbing an old, neglected camera to more of a like-new condition, with finishes compatible to the original. Which is more my gig.

Thanks for your thoughts.

cdholden
14-Aug-2010, 10:05
I love to see these projects where someone resurrects a dead camera (I have one of my own that keeps getting bumped down the "to do" list).
A resurrected camera gives its owner one more reason to buy film.
It also gives the owner the opportunity to introduce someone else to the merits of film photography. All good things.

Steven Tribe
14-Aug-2010, 10:35
I have done "radical" restoration with mahogany and brass bodies and book plate holders with scores of brass pieces and 100's of screws. But in this case, the brass was green and the lacquer was more than 1/2 gone on the cuban. I am no supporter of museum type restoration and I believe that some refinishing is necessary to stop corrosion of the brass and bleaching/discoloration of the wood.

I often see "lost" extension bases on sale - you know where! You have the exact size you require so perhaps you could find something there? Modification of a near match is often more simple than starting from scratch. Getting hold of the right mahogany to make a match with the existing base will be otherwise almost impossible.

Scott --
14-Aug-2010, 10:55
I often see "lost" extension bases on sale - you know where! You have the exact size you require so perhaps you could find something there? Modification of a near match is often more simple than starting from scratch. Getting hold of the right mahogany to make a match with the existing base will be otherwise almost impossible.

Even more reason I don't worry about polishing the brass and renewing the lacquer! Any rail option I choose will not be original, and will not match the original finish perfectly.

That said, the woodwork involved in fabbing a new rail is insiginificant - a couple hours to plane, mill, and join the mortise and tenon joints I prefer. Brady lists the bed as cherry, and I think I agree. I have plenty of good cherry that will take a very comparable finish, some of it quartered. And of the extension rails I've seen, there's always been slop in the gear racks from decades of use. I think I'd prefer a new gear rack in order to optimize performance. Also, they're easily found on McMaster-Carr. And taper pins can be found at Ace Hardware. Truth be told, I'd only use a used rail as a hardware donor.

Steven Tribe
14-Aug-2010, 12:02
You seem to have command of material, sources, processes involved and access to the right machine tools and expertise! Doing this sort of assembly for mortals like me will result in both scrap half-prepared cherry and days of frustration and compromise.

McMaster-Carr seems a very good supplier with lots of flat head, traditional slotted brass screws (they always seem to get lost or damaged!) in stock.

Scott --
14-Aug-2010, 12:07
Steven, it's a mixing of interests: Years of furniture construction, and wooden field camera rehabilitation. :)

Well, the new ground glass is finished (http://wp.me/pWENv-2l).

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_0605.jpg

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_0607.jpg

Scott --
15-Aug-2010, 11:24
(Re)finished the ground glass frame today (http://wp.me/pWENv-2p). Back's next.

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_0615.jpg

ic-racer
15-Aug-2010, 13:39
Looks like a nice project. I'll want to follow along.

Did you see this thread? : http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=29267

Scott --
16-Aug-2010, 09:46
Oooh - back's done (http://wp.me/pWENv-2s).

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_0622.jpg

Steven Tribe
19-Aug-2010, 03:43
Looks good! Looks like just the "right" finish.
Nice table top too! Red oak?
The red and green paint marks add to the composition!
More contributions soon?

John Jarosz
19-Aug-2010, 04:20
Re the extension rails:
I've been told that the racks (with the gearteeth) are not made anymore with the same pitch that is in the existing racks on those old cameras. So you may have to find a derelict extension in order to get the racks. The basket case cameras I've found over the years all had the extension rails so Inever had to go out and find the right rack gearing.

BarryS
19-Aug-2010, 04:30
Nice work so far. May I ask, how you're cleaning and refinishing the brass? I have two cameras to restore and I'd like to find a better method than my usual Brasso polish.

Scott --
19-Aug-2010, 06:07
Looks good! Looks like just the "right" finish.
Nice table top too! Red oak?
The red and green paint marks add to the composition!
More contributions soon?

Thanks, Steve. Re: the table, yep, red oak. Belonged to my wife's grand father (or great-, can't remember, but it's old). The paint would scrub off, but with the kids, it hardly matters. Had it a total of two weeks before one of the dogs chewed up the carved claw feet.

Next step is grinding down the peened head on the rivets that hold the rear standard in place. The rivets then get drilled and tapped. I've been actually shooting more lately, so that ugly step is slightly delayed... ;)


Re the extension rails:
I've been told that the racks (with the gearteeth) are not made anymore with the same pitch that is in the existing racks on those old cameras. So you may have to find a derelict extension in order to get the racks. The basket case cameras I've found over the years all had the extension rails so Inever had to go out and find the right rack gearing.

Yeah, I've wondered about that, John. I'm hopeful that a close, compatible pitch will be available from one of the sources (fingers crossed for McMaster Carr, though there are direct manufacturers to order from, too). Donor rails are difficult to find.


Nice work so far. May I ask, how you're cleaning and refinishing the brass? I have two cameras to restore and I'd like to find a better method than my usual Brasso polish.

Barry, I use Flitz polish (http://www.flitz.com/) and a Dremel on slow speed with a felt buffing wheel for the brass. Flitz works so much better than Brasso and a cloth. I've always used the paste stuff in a tube, but recently switched over to the cream in a bottle. Seems to work just as well.

goamules
19-Aug-2010, 06:32
I've had an 8x10 Seneca Improved for a few years, the mahogany one like yours. I'm simply amazed at the finish. It looks like a fancy gunstock with xxxx polish. Compared to my later 2D, the Eastman looks like a packing crate. The Seneca almost looks like French Polish.

Scott --
19-Aug-2010, 10:07
Garrett, I'm convinced the old Senecas (especially the non-black ilk) are some of the most elegant wooden cameras there are. Fit and finish are superb.

FWIW, I Dremeled off the ends and washers on the side rivets. Worked fine, but geez does that make me nervous. Next step is to cut off the shaft of the rivet down to the finish head, buy some 6-32 brass bolts, and get to tapping. Strip and polish the hardware from the rear standard, refinish the standard itself, then put it all together. And the rear truck assembly polish and finishing. Photos/blogging will come a little later.

c.d.ewen
19-Aug-2010, 11:56
Garrett, I'm convinced the old Senecas (especially the non-black ilk) are some of the most elegant wooden cameras there are. Fit and finish are superb.


Depends. You're working on a Camera City View. In the "R" catalog (one of the later ones), it's listed as being "for home portraiture and general viewing". It's price was $50.00.

The Competitor View, "for scientific purposes, as well as general photography", is also unpainted cherry, and sold for $19.00.

The New Improved Seneca View, mahogony, painted black and also, 'for home portraiture and general viewing", was listed at $28.00.

The Camera City View was the top of the line, while the Competitor View was entry level.

Charley

Fragomeni
20-Aug-2010, 02:38
When you figuring anything out about the extension rails do let us know please. I'm working on a restoration of an Eastman 2D, although I'm not going as full on as your project, and I need to figure out a solution to my lack of a rail extension. I have no problem making one...if I can find something that works.

Martin Miksch
20-Aug-2010, 07:04
...especially the non-black ilk...
I have a black Improved View and find it very elegant

Scott --
20-Aug-2010, 07:12
I have one, too, Martin. My opinion is the mahogany version has an extra level of finish that brings it up a notch. YMMV.

desertrat
20-Aug-2010, 10:21
I have a stained and lacquered Competitor View and a black painted Improved Seneca View. Both cameras had what I consider fairly major defects from the factory.

On the Competitor View, the two holes in the rear standard that form the pivot points for the rear tilt were drilled different distances from the front of the standard. The difference was almost 1/4 inch. So I have to use some rear swing just to get the rear standard parallel with the front.

On the Improved Seneca View, the rear focus was very rough. I could feel the pinion teeth being forced into the rack as I turned the knob, and getting the rear standard onto the extension rail was very difficult. I fixed this by partially disconnecting the brackets that hold the pinion shaft and slipping shims under them made from short sections of plumbers tape ( the galvanized steel kind). Now, it's pretty smooth, but has a little slop. Getting the rear standard started on the extension rail is pretty easy.

The Competitor view is a little on the flimsy side, but it was plenty usable as my first 8X10 camera. I haven't done anything with it for a couple of years now that the Improved Seneca View is working pretty well. I'm pretty happy with these two cameras, and don't see the need to shop for another 8X10 anytime soon.

David Karp
20-Aug-2010, 10:42
If you ever figure out where to get hardware to make a new tailboard, let us know. I would be interested in doing that for my WP Improved Seneca.

IanG
20-Aug-2010, 10:56
If you ever figure out where to get hardware to make a new tailboard, let us know. I would be interested in doing that for my WP Improved Seneca.

There are people on these forums who can make most if not all the hardware. A CAD programmer (he writes the software) volunteered to make the missing hardware for my recent Quarter plate camera restoration.

Many model aircraft hobbyists can help as well.

Ian

Scott --
28-Jan-2011, 10:02
Well, I dug this project out again recently, all eager to get it going. Conferred with a machinist friend about replacement gear racks for a new extension rail. Not good news. The existing setup uses an archaic diametral pitch of 46; the closest available these days is a DM of 48. Not compatible, apparently. Which means either having Boston Gear (et al) fab a new rack at the old pitch, or replace the existing rack and pinions with new parts, again logistically and financially bad. So, I'm going to start trolling for a complete basket case Seneca 8x10 to rob the rack off'n. I'm in love with this camera, but can't imagine restoring it with the shortened draw.

What a drag.

Graybeard
28-Jan-2011, 15:53
Even more reason I don't worry about polishing the brass and renewing the lacquer! Any rail option I choose will not be original, and will not match the original finish perfectly.

That said, the woodwork involved in fabbing a new rail is insiginificant - a couple hours to plane, mill, and join the mortise and tenon joints I prefer. Brady lists the bed as cherry, and I think I agree. I have plenty of good cherry that will take a very comparable finish, some of it quartered. And of the extension rails I've seen, there's always been slop in the gear racks from decades of use. I think I'd prefer a new gear rack in order to optimize performance. Also, they're easily found on McMaster-Carr. And taper pins can be found at Ace Hardware. Truth be told, I'd only use a used rail as a hardware donor.

It surprising that mention of McMaster-Carr doesn't occur more often. The racks and gears which they offer seem ideal for this type of project.

Scott --
21-Feb-2011, 17:33
Graybeard, my machinist friend assures me that the small difference in demetrial pitch between the archaic sizing of the original gear rack and the newly-spec'd stuff from McMaster-Carr would cause solid binding.

No matter - I found a donor set of gear racks (http://wp.me/pWENv-4D)! The 8x10 project is back on the front burner. Along with a half dozen other projects... :rolleyes:

Graybeard
22-Feb-2011, 16:17
Graybeard, my machinist friend assures me that the small difference in demetrial pitch between the archaic sizing of the original gear rack and the newly-spec'd stuff from McMaster-Carr would cause solid binding.

No matter - I found a donor set of gear racks (http://wp.me/pWENv-4D)! The 8x10 project is back on the front burner. Along with a half dozen other projects... :rolleyes:

You might be able to replace things as a compatible set. That is, replace both the racks and new matching gears at the same time.

fenderfour
24-Feb-2011, 11:02
@Scott - I didn't know you were blogging this restore.

I'm quite glad I shipped the parts now. That's a gorgeous camera.

@Fragomeni - I might have some parts for your 2d.

I have a project as well, but I'm going to use commonly available gears. I have a rack or two from 5X7 2d's. Send me a PM.

Curt
24-Feb-2011, 17:02
As much as I like the look and feel of wood with a clear finish I have have a Seneca 8x10 improved model that's black with chrome hardware. When I bought it there was an extension rail and film holders in the original case that holds them. The case is a thick cloth covered with leather straps and some nice looking buckles. The straps are broken and need to be replaced but the case kept everything in great condition. The bellows was replaced and is new. It's a nice camera.

For projects it seems that the natural wood look is what people do. I know I've done that too on a Kodak 2D 8x10 and just cleaned up a Kodak 2D 5x7 that I use most. I have the extension rails for all the cameras and consider it a must.

I like the work I see here, thanks for showing us what you are doing.

Curt

vpwphoto
10-Mar-2011, 14:43
If you come across a set of rear rails for a 5x7 Seneca Camera City View please advise.
vincent@vincentseye.com
Thanks.

Scott --
2-Aug-2011, 04:25
Back from the dead. Started working on this camera yesterday, again. Finally drilled and tapped the side rivets (http://wp.me/pWENv-5U) and reassembled the rear box. Need to make a front bellows frame yet and fabricate the extension rail. I'm revising my position on polishing the rest of the brass on this - the finish on the wood's been dealt with, and this project is dragging on way too long. I'm all about patina now... :rolleyes:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6150/5997825983_fe8691c082.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scott--/5997825983/)
IMG_1967 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scott--/5997825983/) by Scott -- (http://www.flickr.com/people/scott--/), on Flickr

TheDeardorffGuy
2-Aug-2011, 14:04
Hi Curt
The metal is not chrome plated. It is nickle plated. Slightly yellow in hue. If you were to ever have it replated and asked for chrome you would be very unhappy.
Ken



As much as I like the look and feel of wood with a clear finish I have have a Seneca 8x10 improved model that's black with chrome hardware. When I bought it there was an extension rail and film holders in the original case that holds them. The case is a thick cloth covered with leather straps and some nice looking buckles. The straps are broken and need to be replaced but the case kept everything in great condition. The bellows was replaced and is new. It's a nice camera.

For projects it seems that the natural wood look is what people do. I know I've done that too on a Kodak 2D 8x10 and just cleaned up a Kodak 2D 5x7 that I use most. I have the extension rails for all the cameras and consider it a must.

I like the work I see here, thanks for showing us what you are doing.

Curt

Jay DeFehr
2-Aug-2011, 16:15
Another great project, Scott. I'm inclined to agree with the previous poster who suggested only the pinion gears need to match the new racks, not the entire focus assembly. Don't the pinion gears slide on the rod and set by a small screw? I would think compatibility would be limited to the diameter of the hole in the pinion gear matching the OD of the pinion gear rod. Maybe I'm oversimplifying? Good luck, in any case!

Scott --
17-Oct-2011, 13:53
Well, I'm back to work on this, at least for today. Fabricated the new front bellows frame (http://wp.me/pWENv-69). Last item will be the extension rail, which still requires some engineering.

http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd359/smpsweeps/IMG_1986.jpg

c.d.ewen
17-Oct-2011, 16:42
Scott:

Just wondering: Why oak?

Charley

Scott --
17-Oct-2011, 17:27
Scott:

Just wondering: Why oak?

Charley


It was scrap;
It was the right size;
It's completely enclosed and won't be seen.


I'd generally use cherry for this, but the oak is plenty robust, and, honestly, it was handy. Couldn't find anything else the right size, and I've got a thing against ripping narrow stock on the tablesaw (which is why I dimensioned this with the planer - ask me about my three fingers sometime...).

TheDeardorffGuy
17-Oct-2011, 18:16
It was scrap;
It was the right size;
It's completely enclosed and won't be seen.


I'd generally use cherry for this, but the oak is plenty robust, and, honestly, it was handy. Couldn't find anything else the right size, and I've got a thing against ripping narrow stock on the tablesaw (which is why I dimensioned this with the planer - ask me about my three fingers sometime...).

Most bellows frames are Poplar. Soft enough to take the brads or staples. Oak may need pre drilling.

Scott --
17-Oct-2011, 18:22
Most bellows frames are Poplar. Soft enough to take the brads or staples. Oak may need pre drilling.

I predrill everything, Ken. I'm a product of Norm Abrams... :)

Roger Thoms
17-Oct-2011, 18:59
I predrill everything, Ken. I'm a product of Norm Abrams... :)

Then I'm sure you are Familiar with Fuller tapered drill bits and counter sinks, if not here is a link. Awesome bits, plus they have small sizes for all the little screws you find on view cameras. Nice work btw, I've been enjoying you posts on you various camera projects.

http://www.wlfuller.com/index.html

Roger

Scott --
18-Oct-2011, 12:26
Then I'm sure you are Familiar with Fuller tapered drill bits and counter sinks, if not here is a link. Awesome bits, plus they have small sizes for all the little screws you find on view cameras. Nice work btw, I've been enjoying you posts on you various camera projects.

http://www.wlfuller.com/index.html

Roger

Thanks, Roger.

I actually have one of those Fuller bits somewhere, but have to admit I'm painfully cheap when it comes to drill bits, and most often end up drilling stepped holes in two or three passes...

Curt
18-Oct-2011, 14:23
I've got the bits plus photographs autographed of Norm from the IWWF's that I attended for years.

He's a great person, soft spoken and very knowledgeable.