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Want to make a new shutter for my Graflex RB 3.25 x 4.25

 
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PeterH



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,
being a Graflex and board newbie (despite not being a newbie in large format photography), I got this Graflex RB 3.25 x 4.25" in a beautiful outward appearance off of ebay. It looks really yummy, has great leather, lens and mechanics.

But the focal plane shutterīs curtain has been dried out totally, it is in two pieces around the drums and those pieces appear like 1000 years old paper, which means that they chip when I try to unroll them.

So - I think I will have a hard time to remove the old curtain from the camera and to take its measurements. A source for shutter material is already detected; I called Micro-Tools Germany and they confirmed that they have shutter cloth in the needed length available, which is - I guess around 70 cm - they will be able cut the needed length from a roll, as long as I want to have it

Now my question is if anyone has a kind of "plot", a "drawing" of the shutter curtain, for the case I cannot remove the old one properly. I am afraid, that all I will be able to tear from the drums is a hand full of fabric chips, so any help is most welcome

It is a wonderful camera and I want to bring it back into service!

-Peter

[ This Message was edited by: PeterH on 2003-12-15 04:41 ]

[ This Message was edited by: PeterH on 2003-12-15 04:42 ]
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought Micro Tools was just up the road in Vacaville, Ca. His shutter curtain material, water, and Tide detergent = a tangled mess that will never be light tight if seperated.
read any of the previous post in this fourm and find Bret Saundres email(its everywhere) and ask him for the RB information. Its all you will need to know!
Charles

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[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2003-12-15 18:33 ]
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semihemi



Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 85
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, anything that Bert Saunders contibutes should by definition supersede this post, but until Bert chimes in I will offer my limited perspective.

My first guess is that 70 cm is way too short for the application at hand. I figure that 70 cm is around 36 inches or so. The 4 x 5 RB Series B shutter that I just rebuilt required around 72 inches of curtain! Your curtain will be a bit shorter I would guess, but I doubt it will be only half as long.

Regarding the Micro-Tools material, there were a few posts not so long ago that really dissed the stuff. Claims of pinholes and self-adhesive behavior were made. The posts scared me into looking for an alternative. I found material in Japan after a brutally lengthy internet search. The Japanese material was quite pricey also - possibly 1.5X to 2X the cost of the Micro-Tools. Thickness was advertised as the same at .008 inches. In any case I bought the Japanese cloth. Interestingly, it was 1.5 times heavier per unit area than the Micro-Tools cloth! Not sure if this is significant in terms of shutter timing, etc.

Before all of this, Bert was kind enough to send to me a scrap of the Micro-Tools material, so I have held it and the Japanese cloth in hand at the same time. I am not experienced enough to offer an opinion on the relative merits of shutter cloth, but I suspect that Bert is. Any comments, Bert?

Finally, I would be curious to know how many of the list members have actually stripped and rebuilt the shutter on one of these beasties. I ask because I have four of them and all of the shutters were hopelessly pinholey upon adoption. If everyone is not rebuilding them, are people finding cameras out there with light-tight, fully functional shutters? Or are people making do with old crispy leakers? Or is nobody actually deranged enough to actually use an ancient large format SLR?

All input welcome!

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PeterH



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, dentist worked on my thoothies just an hour before. I like good craftsmanship ^_^

Thank you for the replies and the hint to ask Bert Saunders, I will mail him.

As for the estimated curtain length of around 70 inch... well, thatīs a lot . I think, that gives the thickness of the cloth some importance, too. Otherwise, all the fabric would not fit into the camera.

As for the light tightness of the stuff Micro-Tools Europe sells: I will give it a try. I paid only 10 Pounds Sterling for this camera (eBay UK) and if the fabric is really not durable, I can still swap it again. Then again, some people say it is good material, so why not...

Pinholes: Some time ago, I repaired/refurbished the shutter of one of my "Reflex Korelle" 6x6cm SLRs using black Acrylic Paint of the brand "Lascaux Studio". This water based paint becomes water-resistant and stays flexible... I do have a film-like piece here that I stripped around 10 years ago form a porcelain palette and it is still flexible and soft. I use this paint for repairing bellows also.
Removing the shutter from a "Reflex Korelle" is something you donīt really want to do, it is not like working on a Graflex, where - I suppose - you can put both hands into the camera - the Korelle is a much smaller camera.

In un-cocked state, the shutter curtain looked fine, but the other curtain was wrinkled and of course the shutter did not move properly, it made half its way and stopped due to friction.
I fixed the shutter using this method: I removed the film gate and applied silicone lube to the curtain. I used a polished metal stick and gently moved it under the shutter curtain, with some help from my finger from the other side, so so it became soft again. After doing so, a lot of the dried rubber had become off the curtain and they were much more pinholes then before. I wiped the curtains with tissue paper, to remove obsolete silicone and let it dry.

Next, I applied the Acrylic paint. Of course, the paint/water ratio is important. You might say that no water based paint will stick to a silicone prepared cloth, but actually it does. I used a very good sable brush and - of course - "thou shall not fire the shutter before the paint has been totally dried"
The fabric lost some of its flexibility due to the paint and I had to repeat the treatment with the polished metal stick - but not that intense like the time before.

I tested light tightness using a 500 W fresnell spotlight and this curtain is definitely tight - and works great on all speeds.

I will made pictures of both the Korelleīs shutter and the paint and link to them, so you can ask at your artist shop.

If the silicone method works, depends of the situation, in which the shutter is. If it is in relative good state and only a bit wrinkled, it might work and will make swapping the shutter obsolete. The Reflex Korelle, btw, suffers from a mistake that was made in construction. The film gate is located too close to the shutter curtain, and when the cloth dries out and wrinkles, the curtain will touch the film gate and cause the shutter to stop.

But I definitely recommend "Lascaux" paint for fixing pinholes and for repair jobs on bellows. If your curtain still moves, you donīt need to use the Silicone, remember this, and if only a few pinholes are resident, you donīt need to give the whole curtain a coat, but only use the paint on spots.

[ This Message was edited by: PeterH on 2003-12-17 02:29 ]
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1439
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know a darn thing about these cameras, so I am eminently qualified to offer my 2 pfg worth. Back in the dim past on this board there was a suggestion to try using changing bag material for shutter rebuilds. Then somebody wrote in with "What's a changing bag?" It's a funny looking black shirt with no neck hole and a zipper where your butt should be, and elastic sleeve holes. The ones I have are made from some kind of rubberized fabric which is, of course, light-tight. I'm wondering if anybody out there has successfully used changing bag materials for this purpose, because a sacrificial bag is sure a lot cheaper than the stuff discussed above.

Henry
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My '09 RB Auto's shutter curtain is just fine and a little lube on the rollers got it going. The Ziess Plasmat aperture died so I've only shot a few frames with it to verify the shutter is fine. I modified the back to accept an 1168 grafmatic but no longer can attach the ground glass back. I can convert it back to origional but the brass screws aare getting a little weak.

PeterH,
If Bret doesn't step in soon, leave me your Email address in a private message and I'll foward a copy(s) of the technical information he provides.
Charles


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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The change bag idea is from one of the Tomosy repair books; the publication data is in an earlier post. He shows it being used to fix a Speed, but the technique would work for any FP Graphic shutter and many others. Regarding using the old, shot shutter to get the dimensions, you should be able to get it out and flatten it to get what you need. It does not matter if it crumbles when you handle it since all you want is to know the spacing of the pieces, and the distance between them. It may need to be soaked to get it to lie flat for accurate measurement, but watch out for it coming completely apart if it gets wet; I do not know what kind of glue holds the ribbons on. I am lucky; while the shutters in my older cameras are dried out ('26 RB Auto, top handle Speed) the shutter in my RB-D 45 ('37) is perfect. It may have been replaced in an earlier life. The post war cameras seem to never have problems with this, and appear to use a superior material. The changeover may have taken place prior to the war, which would explain my RB-D.
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clnfrd



Joined: 26 Mar 2002
Posts: 616
Location: Western Kentucky Lakes Area

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting Bert Saunders' web-site address. This man has been so helpful to me...and I know so many others... everyone should visit this address. If I'm wrong to do this, then feel free to bleep my post. Fred. http://www.bertsgiftideas.com/Store/catalog.aspx?catId=209087
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semihemi



Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 85
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Charles - Am I safe in assuming that the shutter on your 1909 camera is original? If so, I would be interested to learn if it passes the "look through it at a bright light source" test without showing any pinholes or fissures. If it does pass the test then I may become more selective by waiting for cameras with perfect shutters. If it actually does show some leakage, yet still takes photos with no problem, then I am going fire up some cameras that I assumed were unuseable!

Many thanks for the post.

JC
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PeterH



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-12-17 15:50, disemjg wrote:
Regarding using the old, shot shutter to get the dimensions, you should be able to get it out and flatten it to get what you need. It does not matter if it crumbles when you handle it since all you want is to know the spacing of the pieces, and the distance between them.

Well, sadly the old fabric comes appart regardless of how carefully I practice when I bend it, it is that dry. I think, it is as flexible as glass :/
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to assume the shutter is Origional as I cannot get the tension assembly off. One screw on the tensioner is stuck and I'm not going to tackle it until I have to. It rolls slightly unevenly and gets stuck occasionally at the 1/8 slot. It might get bright enough out by mid summer to need it. It is also lazy on tension 1 and slit O, just closes. T on tension 1 works fine. If the curtain was changed it was done a long time ago at the factory or factory repair.
I did a bright light test on mine and it passes, the only time I see light is when a slit passes the film opening.
I also picked up a Kodak 10in. anastigmat that needed a lot of element cleaning and fungus killing but had a smooth aperture and I hoped I could use it to fix the dead Plasmat's broken blades. After killing the fungus and cleaning the glass I found I have a very good lens so I checked and it fits the metal machined lens board that the plasmat was on perfectly. I took the camera out this afternoon and shot some Tmax 100 at 400 and still could not get above the 3/4 slot and #2 tension. The negs are drying now and it looks like I have a nice camera/lens combo. Now to find an old flash synchronizer for it.
Have you checked the Reflex manual under the Technical Information heading on the main page? If not, do it now!
Most if not all Reflex Graflex used the same shutter! You state that yours is a RB and RB stands for Revolving Back, so which model do you have; RB Auto(double extension bellows/drop bed); Series B, C, D, Super D, telescopic(tele)RB????
The slot wind key will tell you if it has the same number and size slots as your other Graflexes. If they are the same then you could remove one of the HOLY ones, use it as a template to make new curtains for both cameras. The only important part of the old one may be the metal frames around the slots, I think one would have to reuse them. From what I've read the difference between formats is the width of the curtain.
Chalres

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While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a quality photograph is worth a million.

[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2003-12-18 21:03 ]
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PeterH



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles, I think itīs a "Graflex RB Model B" like on this picture, expect that mine is for "3 and 1/4 x 4 and 1/4 inch" (the pic shows a 2x3 model, I think).

http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/graflex23.jpg
I hope, posting the link is ok...

The serial number under the waist level finderīs cover is: 144452. It is the only Graflex hardware I do have, the other cameras I wrote about (Reflex Korelle) are not Graflex models, it was just about how to fix pinholes

In the meantime, Bert Saunders wrote me and sent a sketch. He also offered to provide me with pictures (thank you and maybe a drawing of the curtain (in the case that mine does not come out of the camera in larger pieces). I think, thatīs a very good starting point :)

[ This Message was edited by: PeterH on 2003-12-19 03:10 ]
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3210
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a Series B.
Remove the back if you have not already done so, so that you can see the rollers. Cut a long strip of heavyweight paper the width of the camera body opening(same as curtain width). Attach the paper to the TOP curtain roller (around it one time) at the start position.
START POSITION: Set wind key to the "O" position, release shutter and turn top roller toward you as you look in from the back until wind window shows blank and roller locks; first turn of key puts "O" in window.
Pull the papet taunt across the back and make a mark below the bottom opening of the film area 1/4 to 3/8 inch.
Wind curtain to "O" position. Pull paper taunt and mark at the bottom as in the previous step. Place an X across the area currently over the film area.
Wind with paper curtain attached to the "T" position. Mark the bottom.
From the bottom mark made at the "T" position measure 1 1/2 inches and make a mark. X the area between the lines.
Wind to the next setting, 1 1/2 in window. Bottom of mark made in last step should be 1/4 inch above top of film area opening. If so mark the bottom as in the first steps.
Measure 3/4 inch from that mark and make another, X the 3/4 inch area.
wind the key to the 3/4 setting. Bottom line of the 3/4 should now be 1/4 inch above the film opening.
Mark the bottom again, then measure and mark a 3/8 as before then wind key to 3/8 and check bottom of mark.
Mark the bottom and then measure and mark at 1/8. Wind key to 1/8.
Pull paper taunt and make 1 turn around the bottom roller. Mark the end.
Using the shutter release unwind the pattern from the top roller.
Measure the sides of the camera between the outer curtain edge travel area and the film opening.
Lay pattern out on a flat surface and carefully mark the edge with the full length.
Cut out the Xed areas.
Reattach to both rollers and test on lowest tension (1) setting. Top of a slit should be 1/4 inch below bottom of film opening when triped and 1/4 above the top of the film opening when cocked.
Passes test=use to make a perfect curtain form good material.
Charles

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bertsaunders



Joined: 20 May 2001
Posts: 577
Location: Bakersfield California

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>I am currently helping Peter with his 3x4 curtain!<< I have fabricated several curtains that I used the Micro-tools material on, have found no problems with the >SCM 2< material! Also recieved a sample of the Japanese cotton material, looks good, but a bit more costly, from JC! Micro Tools has a heavier material also, but I have never inquired about it.....it's called off as Shutter material >#SCM< on their website....but dont know if their stock is long enough for our curtains! They did stock >red bellows< material, but have cut all their existing stock into 10" squares, and dont plan on stocking any more?????????
Need more info, contact me at.......
bsaunders1@bak.rr.com
............Bert

[ This Message was edited by: bertsaunders on 2003-12-19 21:40 ]
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