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Thread: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

  1. #1
    Name: ______William Booth
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    Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    All right, after overhauling a stripped out Speed Graphic with hardwood dowels and one size larger screws, I'm looking for some opinions on an upcoming project. I just acquired a 5x7 Agfa/Ansco from the late 20s/early 30s. The wood seems very solid, but as I'm going to be replacing the bellows and cleaning everything up, I am going to want to remove a good number of wood screws to clean up the hardware. I have already noticed a handful of screws that seem to have stripped out their wooden holes. I am toying with the idea of drilling out the stripped (possibly all) of the screw holes, inserting machine screw inserts, and replacing the original screws with machine screws.

    Has anyone around here done this before, and if I should proceed, what caveats do I need to be aware of?

    Thanks,
    William

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Unlike woodscrews, the machine screws in metal inserts may loosen without lockwashers or thread locker. The screws probably won't loosen during use, but if the camera rides around in the back of a vehicle or plane, it could be an issue. The metal inserts could also pull out. I'd stick with drilling out the holes and putting wooden dowels in the holes.

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    You can fill the hole with a type of paste epoxy specifically intended as a wood sustitute.
    Drill a pilot hole as needed, and put the original screw back in.

  4. #4
    Name: ______William Booth
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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    I suppose it's not as critical here as it was with the Speeder (focal plane shutter panels that I needed to be able to remove occasionally to make adjustments) to be able to remove and replace them from time to time. I think I may go with the machine screws and thread locker, but the paste epoxy sounds like a good alternative for the screws that I will not need to remove more than every 20 years or so. For instance, the screws that hold the back on are something I'd like to be able to remove regularly without any additional wear on the wood.

    Thanks guys.

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    I usually apply epoxy to the hole in the wood and to the external threads of machine screw inserts before theading them into wood. Don't apply too much.

  6. #6

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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    I usually apply epoxy to the hole in the wood and to the external threads of machine screw inserts before theading them into wood. Don't apply too much.
    As in "glue in the screw"? Don't do that unless your intent is to make any further repair impossible.

    The wood filler (use dedicated wood filler, not some generic glue) should have completely hardened before you drill a new hole and insert a new (or the old) screw.

  7. #7

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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by fecaleagle View Post
    All right, after overhauling a stripped out Speed Graphic with hardwood dowels and one size larger screws, I'm looking for some opinions on an upcoming project. I just acquired a 5x7 Agfa/Ansco from the late 20s/early 30s. The wood seems very solid, but as I'm going to be replacing the bellows and cleaning everything up, I am going to want to remove a good number of wood screws to clean up the hardware. I have already noticed a handful of screws that seem to have stripped out their wooden holes. I am toying with the idea of drilling out the stripped (possibly all) of the screw holes, inserting machine screw inserts, and replacing the original screws with machine screws.

    Has anyone around here done this before, and if I should proceed, what caveats do I need to be aware of?

    Thanks,
    William
    I'd eschew the machine screws. Drill out the stripped holes, epoxy some hardwood pegs in, sand flush, and re-use the original screws.About the same amount of work, and a more proper result.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  8. #8
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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevo View Post
    As in "glue in the screw"? Don't do that unless your intent is to make any further repair impossible.

    The wood filler (use dedicated wood filler, not some generic glue) should have completely hardened before you drill a new hole and insert a new (or the old) screw.
    No, he was talking about gluing in the insert, which is a very good idea. The idea is that you are making a permanent repair.

    Another option for screws in flat panels where you have access to the backside is a t-nut. McMaster sells them in stainless steel down to 10-24, and in plated steel down to 4-40. The screw locks these in place and they will not loosen over time.

    It seems to me that doweling or filling wood will be less strong than the original screws, which, at least over the long run, were obviously not strong enough. If you drill and screw into an epoxy plug, be sure to use exactly the correct pilot drill--epoxy has little tensile strength and can split. Gluing in a dowel and retapping is good preservationist practice, but do you want to use the camera or preserve it?

    Rick "who has repaired a lot of worn screw holes, just not in wood cameras" Denney

  9. #9

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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by rdenney View Post
    No, he was talking about gluing in the insert, which is a very good idea. The idea is that you are making a permanent repair.

    Another option for screws in flat panels where you have access to the backside is a t-nut. McMaster sells them in stainless steel down to 10-24, and in plated steel down to 4-40. The screw locks these in place and they will not loosen over time.

    It seems to me that doweling or filling wood will be less strong than the original screws, which, at least over the long run, were obviously not strong enough. If you drill and screw into an epoxy plug, be sure to use exactly the correct pilot drill--epoxy has little tensile strength and can split. Gluing in a dowel and retapping is good preservationist practice, but do you want to use the camera or preserve it?

    Rick "who has repaired a lot of worn screw holes, just not in wood cameras" Denney
    Plugging the holes in the wood with hardwood will be as strong or stronger than the original. The stripped screws are most likely the result of removing, replacing, and overtightening the original screws - perhaps in an effort to make the slots line up.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  10. #10

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    Re: Replacing brass wood screws with machine screws on an antique camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    Plugging the holes in the wood with hardwood will be as strong or stronger than the original. The stripped screws are most likely the result of removing, replacing, and overtightening the original screws - perhaps in an effort to make the slots line up.
    Stronger. Ask any woodworker or antique repairer or pipe organ builder/restorer. This is the proper way. It puts the thread into end-grain rather than side-grain. It is so proper that when pressure and vacuum tight wood connections are used, that is the repair technique. Shoving toothpicks in the hold is not.

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