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RB Series C help?

 
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rusbar-revival



Joined: 06 Feb 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:15 am    Post subject: RB Series C help? Reply with quote

Hey there, I'm new to this whole thing so a little backstory. My grandfather died a few years ago, and my grandmother is finally moving out of the house. I went through some closets and found his old camera. I did a lot of research earlier today assuming is was a Series B, since they were so common, only to finally get the focusing hood open this evening and discover it's a RB Series C. Pretty much all I've been able to learn is that it's rare. And that I think the serial number is 149797 (found on the inside of the lid).

I'm trying to see if it's restorable or if it will just be a display piece. Some things are jammed, but I was able to get the lens off. The aperture seems stuck on 5-6 and the scrolling F thing is stuck on 3/8. Also the focus hood is cracked and brittle, and I noticed that the tension thing was on 6, which I have read is very bad for long term storage. (Sorry for my uneducated vocabulary. Like I said, I'm brand new to this kind of thing.)

Honestly, if I can still use it in spite of those things being stuck, I would be ok with that. I just think it would be so interesting to take photos with it again, as I think it's been sitting on a shelf for the past 30+ years. It's also the camera I believe he used as a photographer in WW2 while stationed in Italy, so working or not, I love the family history of it all.

Any and all info would be helpful. I've done all the basic searches I can think of to learn more about it and have come up empty.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3639
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard, it may be a bumpy ride but we'll try to keep it smooth.
149797 is 3 from the end of an order for 300 units listed for manufacture in 1926 with the next order in late 1927. It may have rolled off the assembly line in the 3rd quarter of 1927, no way to know for sure.
According to https://graflex.org/graflex-products-list.html the Series C was made from 1926 through 1935.
The lens barrel is magnesium and cracks easily. Its been 10+ years since I handled one. I do not know what is safe to use to free up the aperture on the lens.
The camera was made in 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 format only. Its commonly called 3x4 and film in that format is hard to come by although Freestyle lists some
https://www.freestylephoto.biz/category/2-Film/Black-and-White-Film?attr%5B%5D=1-51
The camera is a standard Graflex SLR design and operates the same as the Series B and Series D. The header for this section has a link to the Graflex SLR operating instructions.

Now with the tension setting stuck on 6 suggest there is a problem with the tension spring inside the lower shutter curtain roller. 1 of 2 possibilities come to mind, the spring broke or the curtain broke.

When you remove the film holder do you see the shutter curtain or the back of the reflex mirror?
Download the pdf titled Graflex Shutter Repair from my google drive https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1sPJkp-Mdghc0JIYjdQZy05M2M?usp=sharing
then read through the instructions to see if its something you want to tackle. They should help you investigate the problem with your camera.

The body is covered with XXX Moroccan leather. The view hood is leather also. I bond new cloth to the inside of the view hood along the fold seams to reinforce the hood to keep it usable. I wash the body with a paper towel saturated with 90% isopropyl alcohol then treat with neatsfoot oil sparingly. Do not use blended neatsfoot oil, only the pure stuff.
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rusbar-revival



Joined: 06 Feb 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all your knowledge! I've already bookmarked a few of your posts regarding repairing the shutter material. Also, the tension wasn't stuck on 6, I figured out how to adjust it, but is has been stored on 6 for the last 30+ years which I assume can't be good in general.

I assume if I get all the other settings working, having the aperture stuck won't be a horrible problem. Obviously I won't have the camera's full range, but that's not my goal anyway.

Good to know it is similar to the Series B and D. I was worried since the manual for those models said something like "Series C has it's own special manual".

When I remove the film holder I see the shutter curtain covering the entire opening. I do think I'm going to try to repair or replace the curtain. It is very dry and crispy, and the shutter winding key doesn't spin. The key isn't stuck, it still jiggles, but it seems the curtain is just too stuck/stiff to rotate around the rods. I'm approaching this more as a fun side project, and if I "brick it" (to use a more modern term) then I still have a pretty fascinating display piece for my shelf.

Pretty much every interior fold of the hood has split despite my best efforts to soothe it open. I was going to tape or bond something to the inside to patch and reinforce it. Thinking maybe gaffers tape unless someone says that is a horrible idea.

Oh and P.S. I have been told that is was not the camera he used in WW2, but the one he used in his Post-WW2 career. Still pretty neat if you ask me.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3639
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Good to know it is similar to the Series B and D. I was worried since the manual for those models said something like "Series C has it's own special manual".

I missed that, likely has to do with the lens, a Cooke triplet. Shutter operation is the same across the board except for the Super D which is similar.
Quote:
When I remove the film holder I see the shutter curtain covering the entire opening. I do think I'm going to try to repair or replace the curtain. It is very dry and crispy, and the shutter winding key doesn't spin. The key isn't stuck, it still jiggles, but it seems the curtain is just too stuck/stiff to rotate around the rods

If you remove the back you will be able to access the top roller which is connected to the wind key, and possibly the tension roller. The curtain may be stuck to itself and only dry and cracked on the section at the film plane.
New player piano bellows cloth .007 inch thick is around $100 a yard and it will take 1 1/2 to 2 yards to get a long enough piece to cut a new curtain.
If the shutter curtain cloth is not dry rotted then stripping it and recoating with artist paint is the route to go. (you've likely read/bookmarked that post)
Quote:
Pretty much every interior fold of the hood has split despite my best efforts to soothe it open. I was going to tape or bond something to the inside to patch and reinforce it. Thinking maybe gaffers tape unless someone says that is a horrible idea.

Do Not use tape. Go to the fabric store and get some black rip stop nylon and a bottle of Beacon Fabri-Tac premium fabric glue.
Cut some wood strips to hold the hood open (placed inside) then glue strips of fabric 3/4 to 1 inch wider than the seam to be repaired. Repair the top to bottom seams first then the interconnecting sides.
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rusbar-revival



Joined: 06 Feb 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are too helpful and fantastic! Thanks again for the advice and the warning!

This is going to be fun!

I'll update as I (slowly) make progress.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3639
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3M Super 77 spray adhesive might work but I've never had much luck with it.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a worthwhile project to me! The Series C is rare. The most recent one on eBay, looking pretty rough, sold for almost $700. It's all about that fast lens.
I have two Graflexes and find them fun to use. Uncoated lenses are nice for b&w portraits.
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Arthurwg



Joined: 18 Jun 2002
Posts: 20
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoot the C wide open and you will get that beautiful creamy "Cooke Look," perfect for soft focus portraits and pictorial landscapes.
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