View Full Version : Restoring a camera, but keeping the bellows

25-Nov-2011, 08:18
I've recently bought a B&J 8x10 Commercial View and thinking of getting rid of the awful paint. I've read these notes on restoring this camera:


Very interesting reading, but in my case I want to keep my red bellows.

Does anybody of you know if that is possible to detach the bellows and then glue them back on?


John Koehrer
25-Nov-2011, 15:43
If you're careful with the cuts, you may be able to remove the bellows and only lose 1/2-3/4" from each end. This would cost a slight bit of extension for close up work. As in 1:1 or greater unless you use really long lenses.

William Whitaker
25-Nov-2011, 16:30
It's been a long time since I've played with a B&J, so I can't say definitively. But most older wooden cameras have bellows that are attached to wooden frames at the front and rear. Those bellows frames are attached to the standards with screws. Look at your camera and underneath the end-most pleats of the bellows and see if you can't simply unscrew and remove the bellows frames. Then after you've refinished the camera, they can be replaced. Save the old screws. The new ones at Ace Hardware won't be exactly the same size.

26-Nov-2011, 03:57
The B&J hasn't got any frames for the bellows unfortunately.

But is it hard to glue the bellows back again? What kind of glue do I have to use? This sounds like a big project with the bellows.

26-Nov-2011, 04:41
Contact/impact glues are ideal for bellows etc, in fact thats's what Camera Bellows (now Custom Bellows) used to glue my bag bellows to the aluminium frames.

Trade names vary around the world, I se Evostick Impact (Instant contact adhesive) wnen making & installing bellows, restoring shutters etc.


26-Nov-2011, 04:42
Alternatively do as I did when I tried the first time around (with a Kodak 1/2plate) - strip the paint with the bellows attached.

You can wrap something around the bellows to avoid paint stripper dripping onto them. You might not get as good a job on the internal parts (where the bellows sit in the frame) but it will save some hassle.

That's what I did. I guess you could try my lazy way first and if it's no good then remove the bellows and do it the 'proper' way.

Last time I removed bellows from a camera I wished I hadn't.

26-Nov-2011, 05:00
My thought when I was faced with the same problem was to use a razor blade and run it around between the wood and bellows, hopefully just cutting glue. Just a theory mind you as the paint on mine turned out to be as new so I never went ahead. I do like the above idea of wrapping the bellow in plastic. Be interested in seeing what you end up doing

John Koehrer
26-Nov-2011, 13:12
It shouldn't be difficult to build frames from basswood using half lap joints.
Yes, you would need to install screws either from the inside to the standard or from the standard in. From the inside, there wouldn't be any sign of the change.
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