Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Thread: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

  1. #1
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Three years ago I took up woodworking also as part of some of my camera restoration projects. Shortly thereafter my wife 'found' a teak garden table that was left in our street by some neighbours as waste (it was missing one leg but had some nice wooden parts). I took it apart and kept the nice parts, burnt the rest in our garden heater but found that the parts were too small to build birds- and insect houses, which were my first little projects. Then one day I saw some home made sliding box camera's, not the ones made from plywood or hard board, but made like they did in the old days from fine woods (like the ones by Brian Purcell and Ivan Rose). Since the little camera's of the sliding box era seemed also very high prized, I took the challenge in trying to turn some of the wood from the garden table into a camera - not exactly knowing then what it all meant in terms of woodworking skills and need of (hand)tools.
    Its now almost 1,5 year since the project took off and the camera is starting to get finished, so it seemed adequate to share my little journey in this project....

    First I started collecting numerous photo's of sliding box camera's from the early days of photography in order to get familiar with the different models and their details. At first site most do look quite simple considering they are mainly boxes that slide into each other. However looking more close one can appreciate differences in details and the way they were built. For the inspirational photos look here > https://www.flickr.com/photos/193578...57719732420205

    I didn't find any specific blue prints from the old days and therefore designed my own in excel (since I don't have any specific software for that task). From the photo's I choose the ones that looked most simple i.e. without hinging or collapsible parts. Here's was what I sketched for a start:



    Further I made the design for the darkslide / filmholder or holder for the ground glass screen:



    But most importantly perhaps was to lay down the details of the filmholder - therefore I designed this intersection on scale:



    Since I had only little parts of wood, the camera build was restricted to sixth plate or 6x9 cm film.
    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 14-Aug-2021 at 08:26.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  2. #2
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Next problem was to find out which tools would be needed. Because I wanted to match a 1840-1860 era camera as close as possible I would have to make the bindings with through dovetails. I had never made them before, nor had I the right tools to make them. So first thing was to find and order some chisels and master this woodworking technic.
    I had a close look at the photos from the era camera's and also at some of my oldest camera's to find out that the dove tails for the bindings are really very small and that these could only be made with very fine chisels. Further the pins (the parts of the wood in between the tails) are very small too especially with the British made camera's. I studied the different approaches on youtube (mostly the ones with Dave Heller and with Paul Sellers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc3...q5QL0QhwUNQb7w) and bought a nice book on furniture woodworking.

    Since the dovetails are only a few mm wide and long (so called London style i.e. with in between pins that are quite skinny), you have to make them fully by hand; you can't use the jigs and machines made for the bigger dovetails. Therefore I bought a few chisels with 2, 3, 4 and 6 mm width from Narex and German MHG.
    The only machine tools I have is a circular saw which I used to saw smaller panels and a little hand drill. I don't have a band saw or big table saw, and most work for me therefore was resawing the panels for the main box and the sliding box, since I had to do that by hand with a restored old rip saw. Since it is hard to keep straight a lot of planing was involved too for which I bought and used an old Stanley nr. 4.
    Further I bought a little Japanese gents saw and a fret saw for very small woodwork, like the mini London style dovetails. Of course you also need some marking gages and a good marking knife, and lots of clamps.

    For sawing the bigger pieces of wood I made a jig for my circular saw:
    Here sawing some miters for the darkslide / film holder.



    Here are the first cuts for the darkslide / film holder:

    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 14-Aug-2021 at 05:13.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  3. #3
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Since you want your darkslide / filmholder / groundglass holder fit the camera nicely, it is practical to start making one before you go on with the rest of the camera.
    Here are some pictures of the framework for the holders:

    parts for a frame with only one miter cut:



    Frames for a film holder and for a ground glass:



    I used a jig for gluing the parts:



    For the ground glass screen I used 1mm glass from an old glass plate cut to size and grinded with F600 silicon caribe:



    For the ones who want to know more about grinding glass, I've put my workflow on flickr:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/zorki_...57660810886723
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  4. #4
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Because the glazing beads are really very small, they cannot hold the glass itself and are glued against the frame. Because of this you would not be able to replace the glass when it got broken. In order to be able to replace / change or clean the glass, I came up with the idea to make a slot in the above frame under the hood, so replacement would be easy:



    Further I shaped the 'hood' in a kind of guitar bridge since many of the vintage camera's seemed to have those on their film holders....





    The hood is fixed with two brass wood screws....
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  5. #5
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    To get some idea about the dimensions of the camera all sawn parts were placed together. Because there were no bindings yet and no glued parts, everything was held in place with elastic bands:



    Since I had limited parts of teak, I found in my shed some beechwood which I wanted to use for the sliding box as in this picture. However on closer inspection it turned out it was laminated beechwood, and therefore - in my view - not suited for this project. Luckily, looking closer at the wood I had at hand, I found some other parts of teak which I could use for the sliding box in the middle after I had resawn them.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  6. #6
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Now came the tricky part: would I manage to make the mini dovetails? This was a bit of - luckily - a steep learning curve. I first tried them out on some scrap wood - and later on the parts meant for the back panel (i.e. the panel in which the film holder and the ground glass holder will slide). Here is what came to be the first back panel (shown are a ground frame with the pins (above) and a side frame with the tails (under). I say first back panel, since lateron when I had made the main box and the sliding box, I wasn't satisfied with this backpanel anymore and made a second back panel....



    Here are both parts put together:

    For later sanding it is more practical to have the pins sticking out a little...



    The back panel put together - with the ground glass holder in between:

    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 12-Sep-2021 at 13:10.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,654

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Looking good. Keep up the good work!

  8. #8
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Thank you Jim, here's some follow up.

    Although I had already made the (first) back panel and the middle sliding box with bindings of through dovetails - I wasn't satisfied with both after having made the main box, which showed more sophistication and a different layout...

    Here is a picture with the first back panel and the first middle sliding box - looking both a bit rough; the main box still not bound:



    Here are the first dovetails cuts for the main box:



    ... part of the work bench....

    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 14-Aug-2021 at 05:17.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  9. #9
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    After gluing and sanding the main box I realised, I wasn't satisfied with the layout of the dovetails of the back panel and the middle sliding box, so I had to make them again.
    Btw making a main box and back panel can be done more practical and cosmetically nicer by making one big box sawn in two parts afterwards; however since my scrap wood panels were no broader than 9,5 cm, this was no option for me so I had to make both separate.

    (below photo: the first back panel, and beneath that the main box)...



    Photo below: the second back panel shown together with the first panel; note the difference in layout of the dovetails. Further I made the back panel a little longer (wider?) so the ground glass holder and dark slide would get a little more room.



    Also the middle sliding box had to be made again. Shown below are the panels with the somewhat cleaner cut pins and dovetails.



    Below photo shows the main box with the middle sliding box after gluing and sanding the middle box - both had to be sanded a bit more to get a nice fit:



    The top part of the middle box is made a bit narrower so it can fit into the back panel and work as a light trap.
    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 12-Sep-2021 at 13:13.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  10. #10
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    550

    Re: 'Journey' in trying to build a 1850 sliding box camera

    Some of the vintage sliding box camera's had nice rounded corners at the bread boards of their base.... so here we go....
    The corners were cut with the fretsaw and then sanded smooth....



    Main box and back panel glued and first time sanded - base with rounded bread boards not yet glued....

    oh and I've just a small working bench - works fine when making a little camera :-)



    Here are the main box, middle box and back panel put together. In the inner side of the back panel I made a little slot (on both sides) to secure the inserted ground glass holder.



    Making a kind of mortise in the base for the slider > you have to go down into the wood in several steps at the time. First layout with a knife and then carve out in small pieces with a very narrow chisel and repeating these steps over and over:

    Last edited by Ron (Netherlands); 12-Sep-2021 at 13:14.
    __________________
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

Similar Threads

  1. Build a studio camera from an Argyle 18 process camera
    By diversey in forum Cameras - ULF (Ultra Large Format) and Accessories
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 21-Jan-2020, 05:29
  2. Another 14 x 17 Camera Build
    By Jim Fitzgerald in forum LF DIY (Do It Yourself)
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 28-Feb-2016, 09:44
  3. Replies: 30
    Last Post: 23-Dec-2015, 11:46
  4. DIY 4x5 camera build
    By VPooler in forum LF DIY (Do It Yourself)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Jul-2013, 07:42

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •