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Thread: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

  1. #1

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    Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Hi all, after restoring vintage cars in my young days and watches more recently, I decided to start a new project with an 8x10 Eastman Kodak Rochester Empire State camera in very poor condition.

    I bought it last week for $50 on Ebay and received it today.
    It is missing the back, a few knobs and the bellows are bad. There are a few broken wood pieces but luckily, all pieces came with the camera and I should have no problem to glue them back in place.

    I am planing to take photos with it in the future and will do my best to make it look nice but it will never be like it was 100 years ago. I will try to keep the restoration cost as low as possible and plan to do everything myself. I might buy an 8x10 back if I'm lucky to find one or make it myself but until then, I already have a lot of work ahead of me.

    Here are the photos of the camera taken by the seller:

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  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Wow, that's quite a project!
    Good on you for taking it on...
    Custom Bellows in the UK is a great resource for replacement bellows...you'll need to send the old ones and the frames.

    Beware...donor cameras can be less expensive than the parts, so you might end up with three of them!
    (Ask me how I know this...)

  3. #3

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Yes, if I can find another camera with a back, knobs and good bellows for $50, that would be great but I don't count much on that.
    I will try to make my own bellows. I have a 4x5 camera that needs bellows so I will train with it.

  4. #4

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Murphy's Law dictates that as soon as you have acquired the missing parts, a donor camera in better condition will show up for less money.
    (Ask me how I know this, as well...)

  5. #5

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Here is yesterday's work.

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    Everything was cleaned with water and soap and left to dry.

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    The brass parts of the front panel were removed...

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    ... and placed in a bath of salt, vinegar and water with aluminium foil to remove oxydation.

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    The front panel is done.
    The brass came out of the bath very black but everything got off easily with a cloth and steel whool. The wood was left as it was and just rubbed with olive oil.

  6. #6

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    A broken piece of wood was glued in place.
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    A screw hole was stripped so I filled it with wood glue and toothpicks were placed in the glue.
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    Et voila!
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  7. #7

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Nice!
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  8. #8

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    Thanks John!

    Another broken piece of wood was glued on the other side of the same board. I was able to place the assembly after lots of rubbing on the tripod and everything moves smoothly.

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  9. #9

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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    That's coming along beautifully!

  10. #10
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage 8x10 restauration project

    I am glad to see this old camera being brought back to life.

    When you are done with the restorstion, I hope that you can find an extyension rail to fit it.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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