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Thread: Lens board material

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    389

    Lens board material

    I found info on Pho**.N** about lensboard material and happened to be in Albuquerque Friday so I went to two Home Depots and a Lowes. None of them had anything remotely resembling what I needed in the width I needed under 4x8 feet. I want to sandwich two 1/8 inch pieces of ply wood together so I can get the correct shape needed for the board. I figured sandwiching, crossing the grain would add stability too. Since neither store had 1/8 ply wood in anything less than 4x8 I am at a loss as to what to use. Is there another type of board I can use. I do not want to use any other material than wood because I do not have the tools nor the access to the tools to work with metal, or plastic. The camera I am mounting this on is a 5x7 2d.

    I'm at a loss, any advice will be welcome

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Lens board material

    Mark,

    I've used baltic birch plywood with good results, if you have a fine wood shop that sells wood to furniture makers and hobbyists in your area, they might have some scraps that someone can cut to your specs(even a half or quarter sheet "project board" can get pricey---but hey, its good stuff!) Either that or cultivate a friendship with a local high school woodshop teacher! OTOH, Kodak D2 lensboards shouldn't be all that expensive---try www.equinoxphotographic.com or midwest photo.---Cheers!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    154

    Lens board material

    Mark,

    If you have a good hobby store nearby they will have a stock of high quality plywood for model building in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. Or you could order it from a place like Tower Hobbies over the internet.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
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    3,704

    Lens board material

    I use the same board to which Gary refers, in 1/8th inch 6"x12" sheets. It works great for lensboards. I glue two together, one smaller than the other, to get the stair stepping on the edge with acts as a better light-tight board.

    Also consider getting some Minwax stain to match the color of the camera's wood. The grain of the wood isn't very appealing, so I give it a good heavy coat, let it dry thoroughly, and then apply a Deft spray on clear lacquer.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    638

    Lens board material

    Well, one thing you don't need to worry about with plywood is crossing the grain for stability. Plywood is made up of multiple layers with the grain already crossed and is highly stable in all available thicknesses.

    Home Depot here sells plywood in much smaller sizes, but it isn't in the aisle with the other plywood; it is typically in the aisle with hardwoods and hobby woods. Usually 4x4 and maybe 2x4 sizes are available. Did you ask a worker?

    If that fails, if you have a friend with a router and a router table, it is trivial to route a small step in the lensboard in 1/4" ply.

  6. #6

    Lens board material

    Mark, I found a local lumber yard that cut 6x6 lens boards for me out of scrap plywood. cost $20.00 for 6

  7. #7
    Tim Curry's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Tucson
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    144

    Lens board material

    If there isn't a hobby shop in your neighborhood, try a cabinet maker's shop. Any local woodworker may have a few scraps of baltic birch in 3mm (1/8") or 6mm (1/4"). It is used for drawer bottoms in some shops. I would stay away from 1/8" door skin materials, they are usually too soft to stand up to much lens mounting and unmounting in a camera.

    If nothing else, a cabinet shop can cut a piece of 1/4" to size and route the edge as has been suggested. If you decide to have this done, make sure to have the camera with you so they can check the fit once the part is made. This setup can be done on a router of small table saw.

    A cheap alternative can be 1/4" masonite or two layers of 1/8" masonite glued together then bored for the lens. A copal "0" lens will fit into a hole bored with the cutter that is used for the recess in the back of a door for the "european" style of hinge (Blum, Grass, etc.)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    1,791

    Lens board material

    I've used everything from wooden crates to beech. The pine crates seemed like a great thing. Cheap [they were going into the trash] almost the exact width I needed. thin enough to not need any major work. Just cut to size, rabbet and drill the hole. Put everything together and everything seemed perfect. Until I pointed the lens outdoors on a bright sunny day. When I climbed under the dark cloth I noticed a glow. The wood wasn't really light proof. The magical invention duct tape came to the rescue and blocked the light off. Those boards actually work fine now. I won't call them pretty.

    I then decided to pull a board out from the wood pile. The beach was pretty close in width. Too thick for lenses with shutters but fine for barrel lenses. A bit of quick and dirty work with the bandsaw and the board was ready for drilling. This tree must have grown on soil laced with heavy metals. The hardest bit of drilling I've ever seen. This with a fair sized drill press. Well when the board was finally finished it worked great.

    Lensboards aren't exactly large users of wood. If you know anybody that does wood work they likely have a scrap that will be big enough. Next choice would be a real lumber yard. It'll be rough so you need to be able to handle the surfacing. You likely could get a board long enough to make a lifetimes of lensboards for not much money. The last choice would be place like HD. They sell surfaced boards for fairly hefty amounts of money. Might be cheaper to buy a premade board.

    BTW Aren't most plastic worked with wood working tools?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    537

    Lens board material

    If you want to order it by mail, (my favorite haunt) Lee Valley has it:

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=2&page=32736&category=1,250,43217

  10. #10

    Lens board material

    I've had good luck building them from 1/8" tempered masonite. The masonite won't chip off as easy as plywood but it can get frayed and leave a little dust.

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