View Full Version : How to repair bellows?

Jeffrey Elliott
14-Jan-1999, 17:44
Can someone tell me how to repair pinhole light leaks in a bellows please!

I have a 8x10G Toyo view camera. The pinholes are at the bottom corners along th e length.

Thank you!

brian jefferis
14-Jan-1999, 18:05
I remember reading somewhere that one can temporarily repair pinholes in a bellows with black photographic tape or electrical tape. Although this will probably work for the time being you might have to bite the bullet and buy a new bellows. They are pretty costly for an 8X10. Maybe someone out there can offer a better suggestion>

Sean Billy Bob Boy yates
14-Jan-1999, 21:52
I have read of people using Liquitex an artists latex substance but have never tried it my self. I can reccommend Universal Bellows 25 hanse Avenue, Freeport, New York. They replaced my 8X10 bellows for 150.00 and did it in 1.5 - 2 weeks. They may not be top quality, but they work fine.

richard w
14-Jan-1999, 21:57
There is a great place in Florida. I do not have the number on me so you will have to get a copy of Shutterbug. Yhey advertise in the back under "services". The name of the place (or at least what is on the ad ) Replacement Bellows. They are very nice and helpful. They will guide you to repair your bellows or make a new one. I just had a 8x10 bellows made new from them for $150.00 I am very happy.

15-Jan-1999, 00:33
i used a material i found in a local fabric store. it's a thin material, nylon with gray pvc backing i believe. it's light proof. you can cut out small patches and place them with contact cemet. on one camera of mine i covered the bellows with this material. i think what some of the bellows companys are doing is taking the old bellows and using them as a core and then just cementing this space-age material over the old frame. the results look good, and the repaired bellows works well. good luck.

16-Jan-1999, 02:41
There is a product originally designed for coating the handles of tools (pliers, etc.). The product comes in liquid form so it can easily be brushed on, is waterproof, flexible and comes in a variety of colours. I can't remember the trade name but I've seen it at Home Depot and many of the factory supply centres. Although I've not used it (except on tools), I can remember reading somewhere on the net that this is what folks used.



19-Jan-1999, 15:06
This is advice from the Equinox home page

What? Only a few holes? Be advised that they may multiply like rabbits, but you can get along for a long time with patching. Forget the tape. Forget the silicone. Mix the below formula and daub it, using a small brush, on the INSIDE of the misbehaving corners, with the bellows stretched out as far as you will be pulling it. Let dry. This material turns out DRY and FLEXIBLE: 1 thimblefull white Elmer's glue, two drops dish detergent, & a couple drops liquid lampblack [paint stores, in tubes; used to color paint]


Rob Hale
29-Mar-2006, 15:20
Hi Jeffrey. A very simple and so far effective repair, 2 years and still light tight is Dow Corning Silastic Gasket 100% silicone rubber Plastic Putty, down under it has the part No GS 75 and comes in a blue and white tube and it is black, you should be able find this rtv in any of your larger automotive parts supply stores. I looked at a number of RTVs that I had in the shed and tried some out. The winner is the above.

Trick, donít put it on the inside. Because it has a sheen to it which might bounce light around and it is quite hard to apply in the confined space inside the bellows. Applied outside it makes neat repair which has so far remained flexible. After you have put a small blob on the offending corner you can tidy up the wisps by generously slavering you finger tip and gently patting down the rtv.

I have repaired a couple of now useful cameras this way ( one had about ten pin holes ). I view it thus, if it looks scruffy but works well I am getting negatives I might not other wise have.

I also found that I had to recheck that I had identified all of the pin holes, which I did by soldering wire with crocodile clips on it to a side light bulb, removing a lens from a lens broad, putting the bulb in the camera and blocking the lens hole in the lens broad with card broad and masking tape. The better you light proof this bit the smaller the light leaks you will find, then install a dark back ( film not required ). Now after dark, before moon rise or if you live in a city in a dark garage clip the crocodile clips to terminals of a car battery ( remember to clip on to the earth terminal of the battery first or you might have sparks if the other lead touches the car ) you can now search out the light leaks. If you put enough lead wire in the camera with the light bulb you will be able roll the bulb around the whole inside of the camera and you may surprised where light comes out.

If any one needs to do a field repair in NZ or Aussy, the ubiquitous Repco stock this rtv.