repair and maintenance of old camera bellows

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by spoolman, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. spoolman

    spoolman Subscriber
    Ads Enabled

    Sep 7, 2007
    Toronto Onta
    Med. Format Pan
    Hello:I know this topic has been dealt with before,I just finished searching the Archive for info on this topic but it all seems to deal with view camera bellows and little info on folding rollfim cameras was present.I currently own about a dozen rollfilm folders(mostly Kodak) and some of the bellows are starting to dry out and can anyone suggest to me 1). what is the best method and material(ie: cleaner and/or restorative to use and 2). What is the exact composition of these bellows?.

    I've noticed that,for the most part,they are a sandwich of,from the inside out,black cloth,paper or other material (stiffeners) and an outer layer of black paper.I'm not sure on how to proceed or what to use.

    If anyone has any thoughts/expertise on this topic,any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance,

  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Dec 31, 2006
    Medium Format
    There is a liquid treatment for leather I have heard of using; A little of it goes a long way. I think it is called Lexol.

    To repair small cracks and pinholes, you can use a coupla dots of black fabric paint. It dries supple and flexible.

    Also, bellows repair kits are available from Bostick and Sullivan.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2009
  3. pes1

    pes1 Member

    Feb 5, 2009

    I have used Lexol extensively in the restoration of old cars. It works beautifully on old, dry leather... but it will NOT repair cracks. It will, gradually restore the suppleness to the leather.

    I suggest you use Lexol Leather Conditioner, and apply a very thin coating with a small cloth. Let it soak in overnight, then apply another thin coating. You may need to do this for a week or so, but from my experience, especially with a 1972 Rolls Royce that had bone dry seats... it does work very well!
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