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Removing Body Covering on Late Super D

 
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:26 am    Post subject: Removing Body Covering on Late Super D Reply with quote

I usually try to lay in a project camera for the winter - this year it's a 3x4 Super D that came to me in horrid shape. Half the covering came off in one large flap but the bottom and r/h side seem to have become part of the wood.

Why remove it all? Most of the glue has vanished from the wood joints, leaving some floppy, shifting panels of wood, held together only by the cover. Besides, I think this one will be rebuilt "naked", minus covering but with a French Varnish finish. My question is - does anyone have a "magic bullet" to remove (or at least help remove) the late model's leatherette? I want to avoid either scarring the wood scraping or staining it too badly with a chemical stripper. But, one does what one must. Any ideas?

So far, the project's initial prep work and disassembly have been a breeze once the spiders, dust bunnies and fluff balls were chased out of the nooks and crannies under the mirror. The shutter is pristine, timing nicely at all speeds before I took out the curtain and controls. I was a bit amazed to see the lack of glue in a lot of the tongue and groove joints; that reminded me of last year's project, a Gilles Faller Chambre Voyage tailboard half plate camera held together by gravity alone without a speck of glue remaining.

I share the house with a few other Graflex products, mainly my 20" Bertha who resides on a huge tripod in the living room when she's not at work. Can one have too many Graflex products? Nope! No way!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1885
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To change the subject a lot, have you used your Bertha? If so, does using it require a different procedure than using an ordinary Graflex with a shorter lens?

I ask because I'm building a 2x3 baby Bertha, am waiting for the custom bits to come from the machinist, and have been thinking about how I'll use it. Mine's a bit different from classic Berthas, it can use a fair range of focal lengths and will have a front shutter too.

Cheers,

Dan
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Body Covering on Late Super D Reply with quote

evegir wrote:
My question is - does anyone have a "magic bullet" to remove (or at least help remove) the late model's leatherette? I want to avoid either scarring the wood scraping or staining it too badly with a chemical stripper. But, one does what one must. Any ideas?


What kind of glue did Graflex use, I wonder? Knowing nothing about it, the first thing I would try would be plain old water, or better yet distilled water, carefully applied a drop at a time with an eye dropper under a loose flap, allowed to penetrate for a minute, and see whether the leather lifts off cleanly. Next would be alcohol, 90% isopropyl from the drugstore, and then Ronsonol (naphtha), these applied sparingly like the water. These failing, I would then try Formby's Furniture Refinisher (the Ace Hardware generic version of which is MUCH cheaper but as far as I can tell is exactly the same stuff). Last I would try gin and dry vermouth mixed 8:1 straight up with olive, shaken not stirred, while I cogitated my next move.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3216
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mostenbocker's Lift Off#2 would be my first choice. I used it to loosen the glue holding the bellows to the rear standard of a Burke and James wood field camera, crinkled stickers on a vulcanoid Graflex camera case (no discoloration), and the leatherette on a few Super graphics and was able to reuse the leatherette (no discoloration). Deviate from the label directions and allow it to soak until the leatherette will lift off, 5 to 15 minutes or longer with recoating if necessary (labels and tape will come off in the 60 second label time direction). Will not damage the wood or leave residue. Will work on glue residue left by the falling off pieces if any exists. Once all the glue and leatherette are gone I would wipe the wood down with a clean cotton rag soaked in lacquer thinner then proceed with the refinishing steps.
There is a similar product called KrudKutter but it does not work as well and Goo Gone leaves an oily residue.
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for such quick and positive answers! Henry, I think your ultimate solution (gin and vermouth) is good for most camera repairs (gotta love it), but I think I'm out of olives! Must remedy! I'll try the water/alcohol gentle approach first before I bring up the big guns as suggested by 45PSS. Once I gave it some thought after reading your kind and generous replies, I think it only makes sense to try this sequential approach. I will keep you posted.

At the risk of a Mod slap-down, I'll answer Dan's Bertha question in this thread. I do have to remind all my Bertha is a Medium Bertha, as opposed to a 40" affair. It's still Home Portrait based with the conversion done by Frezzolini. The aluminum under chassis is 22" long and follows the generic Bertha look with focus gear shift, tape-wrapped carrying handle and a cone on the front standard (much like an Omega D2 enlarger) for focal length changes. The weight is between 35 and 40 pounds. I use a bag mag on mine which adds a taste to the weight and length . Supporting the whole affair was a challenge but in the end, I mounted it directly atop the large version of the Zone VI tripod, a modified surveyor's unit. Using the logic of the original way of shooting these, I find the shooting site requires a bit of pre-planning to take advantage of the gear shifted focus points. Using the 50 cm Tessar wide open (it's an f4.5) gives great subject isolation from point to point. That said, I've been using Bertha mostly for portrait work in the back yard. (I live in Washington State, meaning the back yard is a green paradise). Once the huge spikes on the tripod are bedded into the ground, nothing could be more stable a platform. The lens is uncoated but has a shade akin to a coffee can in length and diameter. I have a wee bit of pivot latitude on the mount screw but usually move the subject rather than the camera. As I said, it requires a bit of planning, but all works out well. Besides, it's great to be using such a grand link to our photographic roots.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3216
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Water will cause grain in wood to raise.
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now. That didn't take too long, did it? After a run to the store for olives (thanks again, Henry), I ran the sander over the remaining leatherette-covered portion of the body to thin the covering in order to allow penetration of - water. After a little experimentation, I'm now using a chunk of terry-toweling soaked in hot water applied directly to the thinned leatherette for about 20 minutes. The stuff peels right off in slimy strips. Bravo!

Sometimes we get so caught up in the "modern" we tend to forget all the good stuff that got us here. Water - who'd a thunk it? Crap, at this rate I'll have to find another winter project camera!
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eerie, posting my water comment then finding the post from 45PSS. In this case, I'm not going to sweat it. Apparently, a lot of the body has seen water at one point in time. And speaking of time, that's one thing I have a lot of.
Smart-assed comments aside, I am drying it right back down and keeping the surface exposure to water at a minimum. There is a lot of glue residue left on the surface of the wood which is going to take careful cleaning and sanding. Again I'll keep y'all posted as I go.
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh-oh, looks as if I'd better find another "winter" project cuz this one is moving right along. To follow up on my leatherette removal extravaganza, all went swimmingly (hey, I was using water, ya know) well. One of the happier qualities of mahogany is its ability to deal well with water. I followed the hot wet toweling applications right up to the end of the leatherette. It peeled off beautifully. Out of curiosity (purists, cover your eyes) I scrubbed the surface residue with a wet Scotch Brite pad, flushing the surface with water occasionally as I went along. The results were simply gorgeous. I dried the wood with many chunks of terry cloth and let it air dry - not a sign of any distress or grain issues - just tidy, bare wood. A wipe-down with mineral spirits today was quite satisfying. That was the ugly phase of the project - all that remains is lots of glue (a wobbly Graflex - imagine), repaint of the interior and careful reassembly somewhere along the line. I'll probably do the exterior finish before I reassemble. Again, that's going to be a French Varnish - can't afford a real tropical camera, so why not make one?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3216
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The grain did not raise because you did not leave it wet enough long enough, good going.
A scotch bright pad will work like extremely fine sand paper so I hope you went with the grain, not across it. If you went across the grain then fine scratches may show up once the varnish drys.

To success!
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always used water to remove the old leather. One word of advice, After you reglue the joints it would be a very good idea to check for light leaks wherever the joints are over an area where leaks will fog the film. I've done some naked ones and found some joints that aren't fit well enough to prevent leaks. That's where the covering comes in. My solution was to squirt glue into and along the inside of the joint and when dry, paint it flat black. The mahogany in these is truly beautiful wood.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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Bosaiya



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been having good luck using acetone. Doesn't appear to have any ill effects and the wood is looking quite nice.
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evegir



Joined: 13 Jun 2001
Posts: 12
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All glued up, ready for the finish applications. Very good point, 45PSS, about grain and the need to pay attention. I think when I was born, my Dad whispered in my little ear "always with the Grain, Eve, always with the grain." Been hearing that voice for nigh on to 60 years now! Glenn, your point is well taken about light-tightness and these guys. I've had to cobble together a couple of the fingers for the box joints as there was nothing there but air. I've sealed all the internal seams and joints and the interior now sports a nice flat black finish. I began the exterior finish work today using BullsEye Amber Shellac. After a couple of coats thus far applied, the difference is day and night. I'll be the next few days doing endless repetitions and sandings until I get the sheen I want. Fortunately, the metal covers all have their crinkle coat paint in good shape so I'll go with that, kinda a la Tropen Adoro. I found a decent hood for it through my nefarious ways - that should be here by the time the finish is complete. The only thing missing now is the front door and I have a lead on that. Looks like I'll be catching the end of Fall foliage in a couple of weeks - so much for a winter project. Guess it's time to track down an English half plate woodie!
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear it's going well. One of my favorite cameras is a Mini Speed Graphic that I transformed from a stinky pile of mold to a pretty natural mahogany and brass beauty. Good luck with your project and do keep us informed.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
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Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow I knew the olives would help! Good luck, and when you're done maybe you can post some pictures?! (of the camera, not the olives!)
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