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

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2002 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess what. I have in my grubby little hand a can of Tri Flow with Teflon. I found it at a place called Shop-A-Rama, a locally-owned hardware store In Draffenville, just outside of Benton, KY. I'm ready for the next lube job, by golly! Thanks. Fred.
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Joined: 15 May 2002
Posts: 14
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2002 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of what Thomasey's book says do NOT use graphite on any shutter. Graphite ws NEVER used by the manufacturer of any shutter. Also, never just squirt solvent or lubricant into the cable release socket or other opening.
Shutters can be degreased and cleaned with Naptha (lighter fluid. A second cleaning with very pure Isopropyl alcohol will remove whatever the naptha doesn't.
Do NOT use Acetone, Xylene, MEK, or other broad spectrum solvent on any shutter.
Blow out the shutter with canned air after soaking it in the solvent. Several soaks may be necessary if the shutter is really sticky. Make sure there is no residue on the shutter or diaphragm blades.
Its usually not necessary to disassemble a shutter completely to clean it. At most its necessary only to remove the slow speed escapement, even that is not always necessary.
The shutter should be allowed to dry out thoroughly before lubricating it.
Many shutters will run fine dry. However, most need a very sparing amount of a light, non gumming, oil on the trunions of the gears in the escapement and on the palet.
Nyoil works well as does a light oil sold under the name Lebell at hobby shops who sell model railroad supplies.
Use a toothpick to apply the oil.
Some shutters need a touch of silicon grease (Lubriplate) on speed rings and similar sliding surfaces.
Compur, Compound, Kodak Supermatic, most Wollensak, and most Ilex shutters can be brought back to life by careful cleaning.
A caution: large Ilex shutters, and some other older shutters, have blades made of hard rubber. These will melt if heated.
About the only thing which will kill a shutter is corrosion.
Most shutters are fairly easy to work on. It helps if you have drawings. Factory manuals are available as reprints from John S. Craig: and Petra Keller:
The military manuals for the Speed Graphic has instructions for repairing Kodak Supermatic and Wollensak Graphex/Rapax shutters.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA USA
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Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1554
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2002 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must respectfully disagree with several points in the above post by RKnoppow.

1) I have successfully used the fine-powdered-graphite-in-lighter-fluid technique, as described in Thomas Tomosy's "Camera Maintenance and Repair," to resuscitate all three of my Graphex shutters, which have subsequently given reliable service in the five years I have owned them.

2) Labelle (note spelling) lubricants, available in model railroad hobby shops, come in a number of viscosities for various applications. Some are plastic compatible, some are not, according to the labels. They work very well on small geared mechanisms, but were never specified by Graflex for use on its products.

3) Lubriplate, otherwise known as Alemite, is a white lithium, waterproof grease that is excellent for use on the bearings of steam locomotives and other heavy equipment, and has been so utilized by industry for many years. In small, judiciously applied quantities it was specified by Graflex for use, for example, on the helical gear teeth of the focusing pinion on the Century Graphic. Unfortunately, the 1967 Graflex publication volume 6711 AC, "Graphex Shutters," speaks only of LO (light oil) and GL (gear lubricant), without further identifying these products.

Conclusion: if it works, use it.

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