View Full Version : Deardorff Hint of the week..........or two

21-Aug-2011, 16:17
Last time it was how to lube your Deardorff. To those private messengers who deardorffs suddenly started working smoothy, you are welcomed. Now on to bellows care!
DISCLAIMER. The following methods have worked for me. Quite well I might add. But I will not make any claim for your bellow. Because many Deardorffs have had their bellow replaced I can not guarrantee my methods will work on your bellow material.
Deardorff bellows more or less in order were made from:
{A}Leathers different colors Black and red (Cow, Sheep, pig),{B} Naugahyde (a Vinyl), {C}A Uniroyal Fabric,{D} More Naugahyde, {E} A military raincoat material and finally a {F} custom coated material. Oh, There are some sub versions of each.
Since I've seen them with my own eyes I can tell you that going back to the 20s there are cameras with their original bellows still being used. Why? because from the first day of use the owners took care of the bellows. With leather bellows {A} a lanolin or Neetsfoot oil or even Mink oil treatment will keep an intact soft leather bellows nice.
Now there some treatments that will soften the glue binding the bellow layers together. How do you know which to use? The gentlest. Thats Lexsol in the brown bottle. Follow the instructions.
The rest of the bellows except the Uniroyal rubber are synthetics and they are really only able to be cleaned. Nothing really soaks in keeping them flexible. Nothing will really make them new again, I use lemon Pledge (silicone) to clean them and keep then nice looking. The Uniroyal rubber ones I use a wet wash cloth. . Now we come to that subject that is tiny yet gets everyone yelling. PINHOLES. I've tried everything. From adding a layer of bellows material in a long strip on the inside to black rubber coating for plier handles. The best and this is from using it on dozens of repairs has been black silicone seal. From the auto parts store. Stretch the bellows out and apply some to your finger tip. Draw your finger through the length of the inside corner. Do it the full length on all four corners. Scrape excess with a popcicle stick. Do the top first and let it cure a day then the bottom. Cure a day and fold it up. The silicone fills the little holes nicely. It really works. It is the only one I recomend. I've used it for 30 years on my own and customers cameras and they are holding up fine. How to clean up your finger? Naptha. Or wear a tight exam glove. I now open it up to: "Here's how I did it". Have fun..........

Dave Wooten
22-Aug-2011, 07:16