Houghton Half Plate Restoration and 4x5 mod progress... (+some questions)

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by nick mulder, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

    May 15, 2005
    8x10 Format
    Hello all,

    I have a half plate Hougton 'Triple Victo' in many pieces here at home.

    Here it is before the restoration began:


    The bellows is a write off and my new one is under way, had a good chat today with a book binder, picked up some hints - we'll see how my bellows turn out, main worry is the lack of thin thin leathers (sub 0.4mm thickness) in the size required - I have 0.7mm that maybe wont compress enough to get into the camera when it is closed, I'll just make it removable and make a bag bellows option for it also, which was the original plan anyway :wink:

    I have built a back that allows me to put on a Sinar P 4x5 GG and film holder but it was really bought to do what it was built for - Plate photography...

    Since it came so cheap I've got the idea in my head that the restoration should be as complete as can be so I can show it off and say 'and it only cost me this much' (time shmime) - its been completely disassembled and stripped so I can work at smoothing out the dings in the wood, clean up the moving bit, strengthen a couple of loose joints and fix some damage (that will only get worse otherwise).

    Some questions if you're interested in this kind of carry on:

    - French polishing the mahogany is this recommended for cameras ? I plan on it being used often enough - maybe I should stick with the varnish ? (the original finish)
    - The brass, after polishing... varnish again ?

    - the shafts/bushings, pinions/racks - little bit of oil ? which oil is best ?
    - the um, what do you call them ? rails ? extending slider frame thingies and assorted bits - basically wood on wood and wood on brass... maybe the finish will determine the lubrication ? wax ?

    Plate holder:
    It came with a Thornton Pickard plate holder that is about 7mm too wide, I'm thinking of routing off that amount from the bottom bit of wood seen on the back in the picture - a little bit of work around it but it'll do the trick... Two things, its obviously destructive and the GG holder that swings down wont fit so snug in there anymore - I'd prefer a holder that fits really.
    - how to go about finding a smaller holder ? (I gave the sizes in another thread, no bites though)
    - am I about to 'ruin' (?) a camera out of impatience ? or shall I just go ahead and route the back to fit ?

    No legs came with it (the brass panning mount thingies did however) - I will build the legs
    - does anyone have a picture or drawing of the original legs or similar era (1905) ?

    shucks - heaps of questions huh - main concern is the irreversible modification ...

    Any advice appreciated, :munch:

    Nick Mulder