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Thread: Bellows Glue

  1. #1
    lenser's Avatar
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    Tim from Missouri
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    Bellows Glue

    I've got a fairly nice little 4x5 Seneca with some external bellows problems that I want to repair so I can put this camera back into service. I'm curious to see what the Seneca Uno lens (or is that the camera name?) might be able to do as the glass is impeccable.

    The bellows interior is in great shape and the whole bellows is quite flexible with no apparent pinhole problems. The leather is intact on the exterior.

    The problem is that on one side and the bottom, the external bellows layer has completely come loose. It looks as though the front of the bellows can be removed by removing four small internal screws, but the rear is anchored by quite a few tiny flat head nails that I would rather not address. I think that once the front end is loose from the standard, I can remove the whole front frame for better access and can simply stretch out the bellows and glue the loose outer layers back into place.

    My earlier thread question about repairing the bellows for my Kodak 8x10 master yielded suggestions of Contact Cement and Barge Cement, but this leather on the Seneca seems to be a much thinner material. Any suggestions for another glue product, or should I stay with those already recommended?

    Does anyone have information on what kind of glue was used in the original bellows manufacturing process back in the early 1900's?

    Thanks in advance for all the good answers.

    Tim
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    A camera repair guy once recommended Pliobond to me.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

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    Re: Bellows Glue

    Pliobond is a contact cement glue. I used it to glue a loose leatherette on a Hasselblad body, with great success. Went photographing with it in -20C, windy winter mornings in northern countries not very far from here, and no ungluing occurred.
    J. K.

  4. #4
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    Pliobond is an excellent suggestion; I've used it on four or five bellows replacements, and it works very well.

  5. #5

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    Re: Bellows Glue

    The one bellows I have that dates to the early 1910 has disintegrated but what's left seems to show
    that some sort of plant (mucilage ?) or animal glue might have been used but rubber cement might have
    been used also since it was invented in 1900.
    One thing to watch out for is soak thru with contact cements, especially if the leather is thin, apply sparingly.
    Fwiw, Contact cements like Weldwood ( red label ), Wilsonart, will work fine, if Barge is hard to obtain,
    they're flexible when applied in thin amounts

  6. #6
    lab black
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    +1..... Pilobond
    "We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have."
    Henry James

  7. #7
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    Thanks so much for all of the great suggestions everyone. I'm going to tackle this next week, so we will see how the project turns out.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  8. #8
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    The original glue would have been a bone glue. Like others have said contact adhesive (cement) is ideal it's what bellows manufacturers use. Evostick contact ahdesive is available in most countries.

    Ian

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    Re: Bellows Glue

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    The original glue would have been a bone glue.
    Hmm, another glue to look into

    Did a quick Google, bone glue seems to be similar if not the same as gelatin ( hide ) glue.
    Last edited by Jim C.; 3-Aug-2013 at 11:47. Reason: added info

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Glue

    There were lots of different types of glues used in the past, such a fish glue. Book binders (and stringed instrument makers) still use some of them. I use two different types of hide glue when making a violin. The biggest advantage of those glues is fairly easy removablility. If you heat them up, they will fail, which makes it possible to separate parts, such as a violin top from the ribs.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

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