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Thread: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    Hi
    I have decided to have a go at vintage camera restoration....just as a hobby not for re sale purposes
    Does anyone know where I can get replacement locking knobs and any other spare part as I have looked everywhere with no luck. I am in the UK and have a few US cameras to sort. Bellows are no problem just the furniture so to speak
    Any advise would be grateful
    Cheers
    Keith

  2. #2
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    You can post a wanted ad with exact part you need, for a specific model of camera, and photos would also be helpful. Also junk cameras are occasionally available on ebay.
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast: www.jonshiu.com

  3. #3

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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    Quote Originally Posted by calibre61 View Post
    Hi
    I have decided to have a go at vintage camera restoration....just as a hobby not for re sale purposes
    Does anyone know where I can get replacement locking knobs and any other spare part as I have looked everywhere with no luck. I am in the UK and have a few US cameras to sort. Bellows are no problem just the furniture so to speak
    Any advise would be grateful
    Cheers
    Keith

    Hi Keith,

    Jon's spot on. It's very hard to help without any specific detail for over 150 years of wooden camera types.


    Most of us curious DIY repairers as well as more skilled repairers frequented the now defunct classic camera repair forum - sadly archived, but at least, archived. You can find sources of the resources required, trawling through for your specific camera type here:

    http://rangefinderforum.com/classics...rd-topics.html

    It is kindly hosted by the owner of the Rangefinderforum now so the information contained therein is still reasonably contemporary.

    In the UK, it's often a challenge, although the Screwfix stores will have many of the wood screws; rails and parts are harder to source from these commercial outlets. The USA source supplier which I used to use, had a minimum postal charge. Some of the USA repairers were particularly supportive and would help us order a few items and post on from the USA to the UK. Tripod bushings for example, were sold in batches of 25, making 24 extra spares a necessity to order for one camera part. Unfortunately those days of collaborative DIY camera repair are now over. You may find it cheaper to find a donor repair body frame and join them up, and forfeit the remaindered donor body for someone else' repair project.

    If you are just after the locking knobs and not heritage restoration, you can probably order any brand new machined wooden camera manufacturer parts (for example - Wista parts, if you know the reference item, Kumar on this forum can order these parts). The fitment onto your own camera rail rod type may require some cold soldering skills.

    Kind regards
    RJ

  4. #4

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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    Thanks John, I sort some photos out

  5. #5

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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    Cheers RJ
    Sourcing over here is a pain as everything is now metric not imperial ( and I cannot blame Brexit for that )
    I will arrange a photo to see if that helps
    Cheers
    Keith

  6. #6
    multi format
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    local
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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    hi keith

    sometimes the only way to find parts
    is to find another camera with the same parts
    plate cameras and their makers haven't been around for a long time

    when i used to work on an old 73 flat windshield vw bug
    i had a parts hog in the back yard to strip parts off of.

    unfortunately sometimes vintage 100+ year old cameras are not the same as
    a 40 year old car. i needed septums ( sleeves for dry plates ) for a camera i bought 15 years ago
    and it took 15 years to find another camera to grab the sleeves from !
    i am certain your camera won't be as difficult as the falling plate camera i have,
    but still, it might take having a few saved searches on eboink, and looking at places like etsy
    and googling the brand camera. it was etsy i found the camera / septums ..

    good luck !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

  7. #7
    Foamer
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    Oct 2010
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    South Dakota
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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    My solution was to take the part to my local precision tooling company and have a copy made. I was missing two knobs from an 1890s Watson & Son half plate camera, and had a local tool & die manufacturer make me copies of a remaining knob. I've also had them make a copy of a broken part. If I really wanted to restore an interesting camera, I would buy another on ebay etc., take the part in to be replicated, and then sell one of the cameras. I have to think that with 3D printers becoming more and more common, this will soon be the way to get parts.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    179

    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    You can also make the part the way they did 100+ years ago. A hacksaw and file will handle 90% of the parts on a camera. In a lot of cases they will be faster than using modern mills and lathes. Casting brass is also relatively easy to do. Woodworking hasn't changed all that much in 500 years.

    A thoroughly modern way of making parts would be a 5-axis CNC machine like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c0vXsuhqds

  9. #9
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    It can be frustrating finding the correct parts I need some bits for a Seneca New View and have decided to make my own, luckily I have two other cameras so have a pattern to follow. It took me a year to find the parts to restore my Super Graphic.

    McMaster Carr in the US is a great resource but they won't export outside the US unfortunately. We have no equivalent here in Europe.

    Ian

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Re: Where can I find vintage plate camera parts?

    Thanks for all the useful information, I do know an machinist who can probably help with the required knobs, I was just hoping there was a supplier out there....never stops to amaze me what you can find out on this forum
    Cheers guys ��
    Keith

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