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Thread: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

  1. #1

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    Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    I have too many heavy mahogany/cherry/teak/walnut cameras studio dinosaurs that came with an exciting lens mounted.
    These are of the type “collection only” cameras - not so much of their weight - but more because there are always two sections that completely bounded to each other at 90 degrees making a huge volume parcel which is very susceptible to ugly fractures. It is possible to send these through the usual postal channels. I once received a Century lookalike from France without serious damage!

    So this project is to adapt an existing studio camera into a “flat pack”. In other words “disassembled” into sections suitable for posting in a box and which is capable of being assembled by anyone who has managed to follow IKEA instructions at least once

    So perhaps I can reduce the number of cameras I have opposite my bedroom door.


    I will not be spoiling a photographica treasure of the late 1800’s by doing this. The camera which is most suitable has a certain rugged beauty, but shows the signs of adaption to the photographer’s changing demands. The lens board needs replacement and the sliding back is a replacement itself. Wet/Dry plate holders need to be found and modified to fit. There were no bellows and these have to be ordered from custombellows and fitting frames need to be made which can be easily mounted.

    You must excuse me if I take my time over this - lead time for the bellows alone is 3 to 4 weeks.
    As you can see from the photos, the basic deconstruction has taken place. Total weight is just over 10kg which is probably a lot less than might guess The square GG hole suggest that the last use was for full plate size.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 691DE597-908B-43B1-A832-4B5F90F18E70.jpg   D19ED2D1-508B-4698-803F-9250EBDA85D3.jpg   F1E7D0D1-F18F-480D-A960-9D33ABF1AE42.jpg   CBCC9218-E9CA-4614-92FB-EAEF19088C94.jpg  

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    Are you ordering tapered bellow or not

    custombellows tapered bellow fold down to very low collapsed height

    Making your goal easier
    2022

  3. #3

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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    I explained to custombellows that the collapsed width of the bellows is pretty unimportant, as the shortest focal length I can image is around 12”. OK, I suppose it could be used for CdeVs around 6”, but I have other cameras for that. The original bellows were square. I am not worried about bellows droop (80cm extension) as I think I will be adding the continental hinged slat support system underneath.

  4. #4
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    I have shipped a studio camera before, there were a total of 3 screws that held parts perpendicular that had to be removed (IIRC) and it was self-evident where they went to re-assemble. I found there wasn't a huge savings in parcel volume, by the time I stacked everything with protective layers I was back to nearly the same size as the original camera, though much less susceptible to breaking from rough handling. Took about 1.5 hours to get everything wrapped in pallet wrap, I think.

  5. #5
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    Like Jody says; shouldn't your parts be in protected material before to put them in the box - and once they are the box in the picture might be too small already...

    Once I bought a half plate camera from the US and it came in a very big box: when opened it revealed that the seller hadn't figured out how to fold the camera together - it sat with fully extended bellows in the big box - luckily nothing was broken.
    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 11-Feb-2021 at 13:30.
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  6. #6
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    If the parts themselves are not fragile, I found it was sufficient to wrap each individual part in pallet wrap, much like kitchen cling wrap except heavier. That way when you stack the parts they do not touch and cannot rub against one another in transport, so the finish is protected. Then I used the pallet wrap to hold larger and larger bundles of parts together, before finally wrapping the whole parcel in the wrap to make sure the box didn't come apart in transport.

  7. #7

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    Re: Attempt to turn a 1880’s Studio Camera into a “Flat Pack” version

    I have been delayed by the problems of getting hold of a selection of fasteners so I can decide which system is the easiest for amateur assembly and disassembly - and a style which is not incongruous with camera type. Having looked at the camera many times during our inclement weather, I think I can see that it is an import into the UK as it has front focusing.
    It does have a tiny ivory/ivorine button which is almost legible. It is perhaps recognisible by someone?

    There are a number of unsatisfactory later modifications which need to be replaced and I can also continue with making a couple of wet/dry plate holders which match the sliding back, during the wait for the new bellows.

    The lens board is the worst piece of “joinery” I have ever see! Made from a nice single piece of Walnut with the edge cut outs made by repeated saw cuts. There are some small cracks in the board (timber is perhaps more appropriate!) but the enormous flange - which must have held a Dallmeyer 4B or Ross 3a - has held it together well.
    The lens board slides to provide lateral movement, but the current locking system is not a thing of beauty and was obviously the same as the up /down fitment. Brass fitments are really fun to reproduce.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails E1BE6646-A1C9-4C92-96C3-812E8AF2B5D1.jpg   3D43E0B8-C73A-4A1E-8A43-61A2D3094B27.jpg   90195EEF-0E23-4145-827B-57571CB0D9B2.jpg   220E0969-6C66-475C-ADF9-62F5BC7E178B.jpg  

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