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Thread: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

  1. #1

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    Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    This is mostly for Daniel 'Cheffalo' but others might find it useful which is why it is not a PM:

    Book holders are the type, made of mahogony or walnut, that split in the middle and are held together by 2 or 4 brass clips. 2 clips are usual with up to 5x7 and 13x18 size, whilst full plate and 18x24 are often with 4 and larger sizes always with 4.

    As the plates were clamped against all four edges on the side that was being exposed, it is possible to replace the tensioning glass square with a stiff plastic or metal square which is just big enough not to "fall through" the opening in the frame.

    If you have the right-sized film sheath holders, these can be used - just mounted in reverse, so that the completely plain side faces the back of the film. This is one instance where 13x18cm and 5x7" can be mixed without problems.

    Book holders have a central pressure plate/light barrier which can be locked up to one side of the book holder. The side with the lock is one to load first, otherwise the metal backing plate will fall out of the sunken frame. Note that the position of the notches must be thought about as they "swap position" in the left and right hand side.

    Photos are:

    1. Open book holder. The dark slide needs to be checked as, in my experience, about 50% have light leaks from cracking thin mahogany strips.

    2. Film is placed in the square "hole".

    3. Pressure plate is added. This is a 5x7" film sheath reversed in a 13x18cm hole.

    4 Central plate is locked in position - now for the other side...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails bookholders 001.jpg   bookholders 002.jpg   bookholders 003.jpg   bookholders 004.jpg  

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Northern Plains
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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    I've found some black foam core board that was just the right thickness for my half plate holders. I cut them to fit, put a little dab of honey in the corners on the back side of a sheet of 4x5 film, and place in the holder. Works great!

  3. #3
    2 Bit Hack
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    Feb 2014
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    940

    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    Quote Originally Posted by Brassai View Post
    I've found some black foam core board that was just the right thickness for my half plate holders. I cut them to fit, put a little dab of honey in the corners on the back side of a sheet of 4x5 film, and place in the holder. Works great!
    I love this place! LOL

  4. #4
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    Interesting, I'm in the middle of restoring quite a few book-form plate holders various sizes half plate, whole plate and 11"x14". I've thought about thin foam instead of the springs on one where the springs missing.

    My problem is that they were all in poor condition, some have been used for Wet plate work, some slides needed new tape and others were cracked and broken, lots of light leaks. It's a good learning curve. I've managed to get 4 decent half plate holders by switching parts from 5, and 3 11x14's from 4.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    Ferrara, Italy
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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    In my 8,5x15" and 10x12" bookform holders I use a 2-3mm black painted dibond sheet and small pieces of thin paper adhesive tape to keep in place xray and "normal" film
    Filippo

  6. #6

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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    I know that people have used foam strips and thick cardboard after removing the spring(s) - because I have found these systems in recently used book holders that have come my way! I am convinced this is not a good solution as far as film flatness/distance is concerned.

    Perhaps it will work reasonably for smaller format - but I have 30x40cm book holders that need a firm backing and pressure on all 4 edges.

  7. #7
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    I think some lateral thinking is needed occasionally, I agree about the firm backing and pressure on all edges. The 11x14 book form holders I'm restoring aren't mine and the metal middle bit with the springs aren't too bad so not an issue I need to really worry about.

    However if they were mine I'd prefer to use a thin foam layer, then you could make a card film insert instead of metal to use film in a plate holder. Finding metal film inserts get very much harder as you move up in format. I have the materials to make metal inserts but no workshop until I move.

    Ian

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gothenburg, Sweden
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    Re: Using sheet film in old book plate holders

    Thanks a ton, Steven! And good idea with the honey! I wonder if non permanent spray glue would work too, or if it reacts with the film/developer. Got to test..
    I feel I'm about to start using this old camera of mine!

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