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Thread: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

  1. #1
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    Finished a new batch of boards and tried a few finishes... here's what I learned:

    1. Birch plywood lensboards are strong and work well, but they are hard to matching the finish on my 8x10 Kodak 2-D and Century Universal Studio Cameras.

    2. Ebony (black) stain does not dye the birch plywood wood "black" evenly, see the photo below.

    3. Sealing plywood with a coat of finish, e.g., MinWax Polycrylic, help achieve a more even application of stain on plywood.

    4. Applying more and more pigmented stain to make the wood darker will eventually result in the wood looking like it was painted brown, see the photos of "mud brown" finished lensboards below.

    5. Painter's Touch Black Gloss is a latex paint that is produces a high-gloss finish, see the photos of the 9x9 black gloss lensboard below. And, it is relatively ease to achieve a good brushed finish.

    6. MinWax Polycrylic Clear Satin has a very nice surface finish. The surface finish of semi-gloss version of this product simply sucks IMHO.

    7. Foam brushes work well for application of MinWax Polycrylic.

    8. My favorite paint finish on lensboards is lacquer paint, see the photos of the two 6x6 lensboards below.

    9. Painting the backs of lensboards flat black is worth the effort.


    What works well for you?









  2. #2
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    Nothing ?

    I've been restoring plate cameras, TP shutters, etc and making new parts, inc lens boards.

    Usually I stain the wood then French polish, the new parts match the original, takes time but will last. I now make up my own French polish.

    There were no images when I answered

    Ian
    Last edited by IanG; 20-Nov-2010 at 09:31. Reason: add

  3. #3
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?








  4. #4
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    Usually I stain the wood then French polish, the new parts match the original, takes time but will last. I now make up my own French polish.
    Ian - what do you use for stain?

    How many coats of shellac do you pad on?

  5. #5

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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    For one piece lens boards - I have made a series of 9x9" for Century studio - I use resanded mahogany veneer recycled from small furniture. Ordinary spray alkyd clear gloss varnish - about 7 coats. I use the warm air oven in the kitchen to speed up the time between coats. When I get some 3 piece lens boards ordered (for the lenses I judge to be keepers), I will probably use the same system.

    My standards as far as "unseen" wood working are not as high as the OP!

  6. #6
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Decker View Post
    Ian - what do you use for stain?
    Depends, in the UK there's a product Colron (I think made by Ronseal) this is specialist wood dye and available in a range of colours.

    For my restoration of a Quarter plate camera, where the front standard was long lost, I made a stain for the new oak parts from Red Bush tea by boiling used tea-bags. I got a great match.

    Using French polish I lose most of the wood grain which matches the original parts again, I can also add dye to the polish (not Colron though). I guess I might use up to 15 coats of shellac, depends on the part, sometimes 5 or 6, but as they get rubbed down between coats the final finish isn;t that thick.

    I have three new boards almost identical to yours (unstained) that came with one of my Agfa Ansco 10x8's, made from marine ply. I'll try staining one tomorrow to match the camera. The 4th had been stained and a Cambo Dopal 1 board attached to it but it's a very poor match.

    Ian

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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    That brown "stain" is just pigment which builds up as you see. You need to use a dye if you want it dark and still transparent. There are aniline dyes available for woodworking which will suit you or you can use an iron stain:

    http://www.popularwoodworking.com/ar...bonizing_Wood/

    Plenty of options if you want it black.

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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    Iron-on wood veneer and a few coats of shellac.

  9. #9
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    When French polish is used sometimes a filler powder or pigment is added to the first coats to hide most or all the wood grain, this leads to the uniform finish seen on some older LF camears, Kodaks, Agfa Ansco (Antony & Scoville) etc.

    Ian

  10. #10

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    Re: How do you finish homemade wood lensboards?

    I finish my baltic birch plywood boards with exotic veneers. I bought a big sample pack of veneers and I finish off the veneers with three coats of a tung finishing oil. Here are some of my 10" square Century Studio camera lens boards. The veneer samples aren't quite big enough to cover the full 10", so I make a faux three piece finish with the veneers.







    Last edited by BarryS; 20-Nov-2010 at 16:38.

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