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Thread: $12 bellows repair

  1. #1

    $12 bellows repair

    In the recent posts on bellows repair and maintenance, I haven't seen anyone men tion the liquid "Bellows Patch Sealer" sold by Bostick & Sullivan (perhaps becau se it's a relatively new product?). I just tried it with good success on an old er Arca-Swiss bellows. The compound is thick and gray-ish (though it dries blac k). I decided to touch-up all the areas where three folds intersect (all my lig ht leaks were in such intersections).

    I applied four coats, letting each dry a few hours, then I let the whole bellows dry another 24 hours to be safe. The results were pretty impressive -- the lig ht leaks disappeared, and the bellows remained flexible. I only did this last w eek, and so I can't speak about long-term wear. But it sure beats paying for a new bellows.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    $12 bellows repair

    There are two schools of thought on repairing bellows light leaks that are caused by aging (as opposed to some sort of accident). One school says it's cheap and easy so go for it. The other school says that whatever caused the light leaks you are repairing will continue to cause light leaks but you won't know about them until you've processed all the film from a particular session or trip, thus ruining what will no doubt in retrospect be the greatest photographs you ever made in your life. Personally I belong to the latter school and would rather buy a new bellows than take a chance on ruining a whole bunch of photographs before discovering the new leaks but that's obviously a personal thing. There was a long discussion between Richard Sullivant of Bostick and Sullivan (who advocates repair) and Patrick Alt (who advocates no repair) in the news group about a month ago. You might find it interesting if you can access that group.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3

    $12 bellows repair

    Here's the rest of the story: the $12 bellows repair didn't hold up too well on a hot day in Yosemite, recently. The corners which I had treated with the stuff got tacky, stuck to each other, and generally acted up. I now belong to the second school of thought regarding bellows repair (see Brian's post, above).

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    I had a link to a bellows repair person in Hawaii.
    Does anyone have that address?

    Kind Wishes to All,

    Ron Cole

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chillicothe Missouri USA

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    Black liquid acrylic artist's paint well scrubbed into fabric bellows liners has worked well for me without adding thickness to the material. It is slightly tacky. If that is a problem, it perhaps could be waxed. One could do a small test repair before a complete rejuvenation. It's much easier to do a good repair job initially than to repair the repair job!

  6. #6
    Sheldon N's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Portland, OR

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    I've used the black "puffy paint" that you use to draw on T-Shirts for repairing bellows light leaks before. You can find it at any craft store for a couple bucks, and it's quite durable.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Valley of the Sun, AZ

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    I've had good success with a brushable vinyl compound used for encapsulating electrical connections in wet environments. Liquid Lectric Tape is one brand name; most boating stores carry their own brand as well. Use a toothpick to dab the vinyl onto the bellows and let it dry. It comes in colors as well (to color-code your electrical connections), which allows you to match the patch to your brown KMV bellows etc.
    They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
    -Francis Bacon

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    FWIW I sprayed the offending corners inside and out with several coats of Plasti-Dip Spray. I haven't gotten anything really hot yet but otherwise it looks and works well for a bellows you would otherwise give up on.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Whittier, CA

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    Black silicon

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Tel Aviv

    Re: $12 bellows repair

    I've had good results w bookbinder's tape, along the edges. It's cloth tape, archival, doesn't gum up, and stays put. Sandy King had a thread about it on apug.

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