Deardorff Restoration

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georgeg

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Does anyone know of any Deardorff camera restoration in the midwest. A few years back I was told of a guy in Rockford ILL. Can't seem to locate him.
georgeg
 

mikepry

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George,
Whatever you do DO NOT use the fellow in Indiana! You wouldn't have time to hear all the horror stories. wareaglemtn could pipe in here as well. Richard Ritter who use to be with Fred Pickers Zone VI studios is a really talented guy and could fix you up just fine. He delivers and delivers on time. And as a bonus you won't need a lawyer to get your money or camera back!

Richard Ritter
 
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veriwide

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Why not go to the source?

I know that Jack Deardorff is still working with these cameras. Here is his number in Valporiso, IL. #219 464 9748.
 

WarEaglemtn

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Deardorff restoration depends a lot on how much work has to be done. A refinish or a restoration??? is the basic question. I have been refinishing many lately & have been charging $300 to do so. It takes approximately 30-40 days. Most of the time is in waiting for finishes to cure properly for the next coat & having the time to re-do some when the finish isn't quite right. NO refinishing of one of these classics should take more than 3 months at the longest by anyone unless they are a total Klutz.
Woodworking/refinishing isn't rocket science but does take a 'touch' to get good & consistent results & you have to be willing to re-do some pieces that just don't look right. It comes with the territory.
When I re-do one of the cameras I pull the hardware off & re-fill & strengthen every screw hole. Not doing so is asking for problems later. I prefer to alter the ground glass back to take square boards but can certainly do one without this. It makes it easier to replace ground glass in the future as you only need to get a full ground glass & no longer worry about the cut corners or rounded corners(when you want to see the full image so you don't get those protruding surprises on developing the negs).

I got into this by doing my own & after seeing firsthand some horror stories of "this guy has my camera & I can't get it back" & then, years after it was supposedly finished(& paid for those years ago) the guy gets it back after contacting the State Attorney General...and surprise, the finish is still wet... on the camera that was 'done years ago'.
Refinishing a wood view camera is within the ability of almost anyone who wants to try it. It isn't hard but it does take time & attention to detail. If you aren't a careful worker you can screw it up. Not enough so it can't be repaired by a good worker. It it requires much metal work/machining I have Gary Hurst(who re-does a lot of Wisners to make them work as they should from the factory) machine the metal for me.
If someone is interested, feel free to email or contact me. I can give some pointers, as can most custom woodworkers or machinists. That I have been doing these & photograph with my LF gear is a help... at least to me. I know what they are supposed to do & how they work, from the ground up to the final image. There is a good feeling using equipment that works well, looks good & just feels right... Deardorffs are all that & more.
 

Brian Bullen

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WarEaglemtn said:
When I re-do one of the cameras I pull the hardware off & re-fill & strengthen every screw hole. Not doing so is asking for problems later

WarEaglemtn, what are you using to fill the screw holes? I'm refinishing a b&j grover 8x10 and an 11x14 seneca camera city view and have been a little worried that the screws might not be as sturdy as when I took them out.
 

Deniz

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hey PhotoBulley, i had a stripped hole on my guitar for the strap latch and all i did was put a couple of matches in the hole and a drop or 2 of superglue then drive the screw in.. it has been holding up great for the last 5 years and i play alot of shows!!

I also use this method on my old camera and has worked great.
 

WarEaglemtn

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For filling holes there are a number of methods, some better than others. First, clean the hold using a pipe cleaner. If it is shredded or has pieces of loose wood, get them out. Then treat it with a wood hardner. You drop a few drops into the cleaned out hole & let it dry for a day. Then, get a piece of wood of the type you are repairing. Sand a bit with 220 or finer grit sandpaper & get a small pile of wood sanding to mix to fill the hole. Mix it with a bit of either Elmer's ProBond interior/exterior wood glue or Titebond III wood glue. Both of these tested extremely high in sheer strength in independent testing. Better even than Gorilla Glue. (andGorilla Glue expands as it sets & makes for problems later in cleanup)
Split off a small splinter (about the size of a toothpick tip) & coat with the glue/sawdust mix & push into the hole. Fill the hole the rest of the way with the glue/sawdust mixture. Let dry for a day. Then, sand if needed with 220 or finer sandpaper to smooth to match the rest of the surface. Now you are ready to put in the screws. Putting in a wood splinter that is the same as what you are working with assures the pressure of the screw will stay the same (or very close) to what the camera originally had. The wood splinter will compress approximately the same. If you are worried about the pressure or the wood splitting for any reason, use a Dremel tool to drill a pilot hole using the very small drill bits available for them. (don't have them in front of me but I think a 1/16 inch is OK) Just drill a small pilot hole in the repaired & strengthened screw site. Don't go the full depth of the screw. If you need a reminder of its depth measure the drill bit against the screw & put a piece of masking tape at the depth you want. Don't go deeper.

Then, put in the screw taking care to use a screwdriver that fits the screw head properly. If you use a bad fit you will slip & mess up the head... it is easy to do & when you slip you usually scar & scratch the wood as well... then you have to do a finish repair once again.

This is easier to do than to describe.

Yes, you can use a toothpick or wooden match & super glue but they don't match too well & if you use them to fill a hole that won't be covered they don't take stain, dye, tung or teak or similar oil or varnish, lacquer or shellac as well & will leave a mis-matched section of wood as a result.

If you want to strip the wood... use one product & one only. 3M Safest Stripper. It doesn't stink, doesn't eat your hands & works well. 3M has the patent & is the only company that makes this stuff. It works better than anything on the market & for many of us can be used without gloves... it is really that easy. Just follow the directions, slather it on & let it sit & then wipe it off. A few good sponges with the scrubbing sides work well for this & you quickly get down to raw wood & can see the beauty that was hidden beneath the scarred & battered surface.

Good luck & enjoy the process.

And... while you take screws or parts off, do one thing to make it VERY easy to replace as they were. Take a polaroid or pixelograph of how they were on the camera & as you take them off put in order on a length of masking tape. Then, fold the tape over to assure they don't move, label it on the side & put into its own ziplock baggie. This assures they all sit in order & can be put back in order & you don't lose them in the carpet when you bump them off the table.
 

rosshj

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I know this is an old post, but this is great advice. Thank you! I think I might try to restore the Deardorff I just purchased. This will come in handy.
 
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mshchem

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I would try to preserve the original finish. I just cleaned mine with a little water and cotton swabs. Catlabs has original hardware and parts.
 

jimjm

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A product called Howard's Restor-a-Finish worked great on an Eastman View 2D that I recently refurbished. I didn't want to strip or refinish the wood, just clean it and restore the color. Also helps to minimize small scratches and scuffs.
Just pick the color that closely matches the wood finish, but it's not really a wood stain. I wanted to retain the aged look of the camera, but clean and restore the wood. Really easy to use and a small can is more than enough for several cameras/applications.

DSC_0768_sm.jpg
 

MattiS

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The smells of freshly shaped wood, stains, oils and glues from the music instrument workshop where I helped about 30 years ago are back in my mind. Restoring such a camera is definetely on my list now. Thanks!
 
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