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Thread: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

  1. #11

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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Zone VI recommended Renaissance Wax for their wooden cameras. I followed that advice... works well and is conservator-approved for the application. Lexol (which was meant for leather-bound books) was the good answer when I had a camera with leather bellows. Neat's-foot oil may dissolve the glue that holds the bellows together; saddle soap is meant for dirty equestrian gear. ArmorAll is a creation of the Devil.

  2. #12

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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Thank you everyone,

    I've researched Renaissance Wax before, and came across a conservation case study that lets me know it's not for me.

    I've now filed Lexol and Neat's Foot Oil away for further research.

    Drew, thank you for the explanation regarding why silicone causes problems! It's those details that help me better understand the consequences of my choices.

    The camera itself is probably a Conley No. 1 View Camera, manufactured on contract for Sears, probably between 1913-1915. It's a humble, non-collectible camera, and I'd like to treat it with the same dignity as any of my regular working tools. Clean, functional, and kept in good health, not a super-shiny "minty" show piece. I don't mind wear marks, scratches, and patina, but I do mind corrosion, warping, cracking, and blistering.

    I'm willing to test the finish destructively on the underside of the tripod block - I have 95% rubbing alcohol at hand, if a dot or two of that would tell us something about what it's coated in.

    p.s. Randy, when you write:
    I was a black beret, black turtleneck, black pants beatnik hipster at age 11 in 1962.
    I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957), with Michel Auclair as the terribly hip Professor Emile Flostre. Now I have to locate a copy - it's been at least 35 years since I've seen that, and anything that has a Gershwin song and dance number in a darkroom is probably required reading around here.

  3. #13
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    I am curious about your issue with Renaissance Wax. We all need to know.

    I have posted about 'Funny Face' before here, I love that movie.


    Quote Originally Posted by Will Frostmill View Post
    Thank you everyone,

    I've researched Renaissance Wax before, and came across a conservation case study that lets me know it's not for me.

    I've now filed Lexol and Neat's Foot Oil away for further research.

    Drew, thank you for the explanation regarding why silicone causes problems! It's those details that help me better understand the consequences of my choices.

    The camera itself is probably a Conley No. 1 View Camera, manufactured on contract for Sears, probably between 1913-1915. It's a humble, non-collectible camera, and I'd like to treat it with the same dignity as any of my regular working tools. Clean, functional, and kept in good health, not a super-shiny "minty" show piece. I don't mind wear marks, scratches, and patina, but I do mind corrosion, warping, cracking, and blistering.

    I'm willing to test the finish destructively on the underside of the tripod block - I have 95% rubbing alcohol at hand, if a dot or two of that would tell us something about what it's coated in.

    p.s. Randy, when you write:

    I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957), with Michel Auclair as the terribly hip Professor Emile Flostre. Now I have to locate a copy - it's been at least 35 years since I've seen that, and anything that has a Gershwin song and dance number in a darkroom is probably required reading around here.
    sin eater

  4. #14
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Frostmill View Post
    I start thinking about a scene I vaguely recall from "Funny Face" (1957)
    Is this it?

  5. #15
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    It's worth remembering that unless there's been some stripping and sanding going on, you're polishing the lacquer, not the wood.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #16

    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Why not ask Richard Ritter or Ken Hough or an experienced service center?
    Best thing is to keep the camera clean. Soft cloth and distilled water.

    Depending on the product you use you could do more harm then good.

    The main thing to think about is how you store the camera when not in use. This is where damage and ageing happens to the camera. Never store the camera in the darkroom.
    Richard T Ritter
    www.lg4mat.net

  7. #17

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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Lexol conditioner for leather. There are a few others you can use for fine leather, research saddlery. NOT Neatsfoot Oil unless you want a floppy, oily mess.

    For wood, there really isn't much you can do to "feed and moisturize" it from a goop. Humidity control helps wood, not anything you can put on it (though suppliers try to convince you to). But a polish won't hurt it either, keeps water spots off, and makes wood shine. I like Johnson's paste wax. It is made from Carnuba wax, "Microcrystalline wax, and parrafin with some solvent. Works well on metal and wood, I wouldn't put any on leather.

  8. #18
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Some belows like 50's Linhof LF are very good even now without treatment, ever. NOS

    The Russian Red leather bellows on some Primo cameras are also well preserved with nothing.

    Self Casing cameras if stored in dry low temps and closed seem to last longest, per my Prewar Linhof Standard and three Primos. Like new still.

    I think Horseman used leather that fell apart as I have several of those disasters. Or it's a plastic. Maybe I will burn test one someday.

    I used to use HUBERD'S SHOE GREASE from Mcminnville OR to waterproof my leather boots every day while walking in icy puddles. Used it for a decade. I worked outside in Chicago for a very long time.

    Now I use https://www.obenaufs.com/ which for me works best. I have a lot of leather. Recommended by Firemen. Made in Idaho.
    sin eater

  9. #19

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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    I have Conservator's Wax, can I presume it's the same, or very similar to Renaissance Wax ? It's also microcrystalline and has a slight scent.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Bellows Wax & Wood Polish? Suggestions?

    Well, Garrett, I was a supplier of high quality wood finishes and can unequivocally state that some of them can make a staggering difference in how wood holds up to the elements over time. But they might not be period authentic to how an old camera was originally finished, if that kind of restoration is in mind. But even true shellac, which has been used for centuries, has protective value if itself maintained. Certain modern marine coatings are rather remarkable; but I don't think many people would spend a hundred dollars a quart to touch up an old camera. I had access to free samples for testing purposes, so it's a little different story. I don't suppose there are a lot of teak yachts in the desert; but there quite a few around here. To anyone contemplating buying, berthing, and maintaining one, I offer the following financial advice: "Give up all hope, ye who enter herein." I think Dante first said that.

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