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My Old (really old) Camera

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I have a AGFA Isolette 1, which I still use from time to time.

It has a leather (I think) bellows which is becoming very dry, hence stiff.

Is there any DIY method of softening up the bellows?

 

Sung

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One of the proprietary leather conditioners- not just polish but the liquid ones that soak in a bit. I can't recommentd one though.

If it pegs out there are plenty of replacement bellows about, if pricey.

Or here's a DIY. Looks like fun.

http://www.rolandandcaroline.co.uk/html/isolette_bellows.html

Edited by spacecadet

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Blimey! Never see that coming.

Certainly look like a fun.

Thank you for the info, Spacecadet.

 

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If it is leather you could use saddle soap.

 

Allan

 

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Thanks Allan, I will have to google to see where I can get it, though.

Sung

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I wouldn't recommend trying any of these without further research, but they may give you some ideas.


Liquid Nikwax is used for waterproofing walking boots, but used to be marketed as a leather conditioner for equestrian equipment also. The latest blurb says that it is designed to avoid over-softening, so it may not be as easy to absorb as before.


PEG (polyethylene glycol) has many forms and uses, but one is to preserve archaeological finds. It penetrates and replaces water content with a form of wax. This may not be appropriate in this case, treatment may be difficult, or it may only be suitable for static items. Possibly a complete red herring, but someone else may know more.


The last suggestion is a bit out there, but I'll mention it anyway. I used to work for a company that made industrial process control equipment, including draught gauges for chimneys. They used soft leather diaphragms that were brushed with synthetic whale oil to keep them supple and impermeable. There are several problems with this stuff: apply too much and it will be very messy; it may make the leather too soft and floppy; oil may ooze out when the bellows are compressed; and it may be hard to source in small quantities (although some American gunsmiths seem to use it). But probably best avoided.

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15 hours ago, SFL said:

Thanks Allan, I will have to google to see where I can get it, though.

Sung

 

You will not need a lot. How about the local riding school or someone who does horse tack/saddlers.

 

Allan

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17 hours ago, DJ Myford said:

I wouldn't recommend trying any of these without further research, but they may give you some ideas.


Liquid Nikwax is used for waterproofing walking boots, but used to be marketed as a leather conditioner for equestrian equipment also. The latest blurb says that it is designed to avoid over-softening, so it may not be as easy to absorb as before.


PEG (polyethylene glycol) has many forms and uses, but one is to preserve archaeological finds. It penetrates and replaces water content with a form of wax. This may not be appropriate in this case, treatment may be difficult, or it may only be suitable for static items. Possibly a complete red herring, but someone else may know more.


The last suggestion is a bit out there, but I'll mention it anyway. I used to work for a company that made industrial process control equipment, including draught gauges for chimneys. They used soft leather diaphragms that were brushed with synthetic whale oil to keep them supple and impermeable. There are several problems with this stuff: apply too much and it will be very messy; it may make the leather too soft and floppy; oil may ooze out when the bellows are compressed; and it may be hard to source in small quantities (although some American gunsmiths seem to use it). But probably best avoided.

 

Very interesting input it was.  Thank you very much DJ Myford.

 

 

2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

You will not need a lot. How about the local riding school or someone who does horse tack/saddlers.

 

Allan

 

As always, sensible suggestion.  Thank you, Allan.

-------------------------------

 

When I started this thread, I naively thought someone will give me a simple and clear way to deal with the problem.  

Unfortunately life is a bit more complicated than I really would like.  That's for sure.

 

Thank you everyone.

 

Sung

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Bog standard shoe polish (black) it restores colour and feeds leather and makes it supple it also works

very well on old leather camera cases, straps and vinyl.

 

Rub in then buff with a soft cloth

 

Simplest method I know :)

Edited by David Pimborough
  • Upvote 1

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On 19/11/2019 at 12:27, Nigel Kirby said:

Sung

Have you looked at this web page:

https://pheugo.com/cameras/uploads/14153931.pdf

 

Nigel

 

I thought about it, but I really don't see myself making it. (though I am pretty dextrous with making things.)

Thank you anyway.

 

On 19/11/2019 at 16:48, David Pimborough said:

Bog standard shoe polish (black) it restores colour and feeds leather and makes it supple it also works

very well on old leather camera cases, straps and vinyl.

 

Rub in then buff with a soft cloth

 

Simplest method I know :)

 

It looks like a simple and easy way to try.  Thank you for suggestion.

 

Sung

  • Thanks 1

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