Rebuilding a Tachihara to eliminate play : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have an older Tachihara camera. It looks to be in good condition. It has a lot of movement when locked in place due to the mechanical parts that let you make your adjustment. Dose any one have ideas on how to rebuild these parts to tighten up the play. There is a lot of play in the rear section. When you put your negative in, the camera tilts back and forth about 1/8 inch due to slop in the brackets that alow rear swing. Again the front has a lot of slop and when you are focusing will tilt back and forth. Every thing seems to snap back in place when you are ready to take your picture and don't touch the camera. I would like to reduce the potential problem of a picture beeing out of focus by eliminateing the play, and make the movements smother. Any ideas on rebuilding would be great. I like the camera and to replace it with something better would most likley be a 1,000 dollars or more. I would also like to refinish the wood. Any thoughts on what product to use or where to buy replacement parts would be great.



-- tim kimbler (, June 28, 1998


The Tachihara I "improved" probably wasn't as wobbly as that you describe but I had a fair amount of success and when finished, it was quite solid. I had several problems but the most bothersome were movements of the front & back standards.

First, I recommend you take off the metal washers at all locations and replace with perfectly sized nylon. This allows you to tighten the camera down harder and then be able to loosen it when you're done. The nylon washers allow for the knobs to be loosened without breaking your fingers.

Next, if you note the read black "clamps" you'll see they are in a C shape. (I assume you've already simply tried to tighten the mechanisms with a drive nut or screwdriver). This is probably not for the faint of heart but I discovered that only two methods would probably work - a new clamping mechanism of a different type or, squeeze the clamps together, making the locking more secure. Care has to be exercised here. If you clamp too tight, your rear standard will not move forward anymore and you can't use anything much shorter than a 120mm lens.

I took a pair of channel locks (protecting the grips with closed cell foam so as not to scratch the black clamps) and squeezed by hand a little at a time. After a couple of squeezes, it was much tighter but not so much to prevent the back from moving forward. I saw no way to undo the squeezing so a little at a time is necessary.

The front was more difficult and, eventually, I gave up as I have limited mechanical skills. There's a chromed (or brass) rail that runs along the bed on both sides. If you move your front standard, you'll see these rails raise up. I tried glue (super and not-so-hot) to no avail. It was my theory that drilling a hole in the rail near the front standard (with a counter sunk hole - or you won't be able to slide the front mechanism) and putting a heavier screw in it would fix the problem. Fortunately, for me, simply adding the nylon washers on the front standard made it secure enough.

These are excellent cameras and, considering the price, a very good value. It can be made sturdier. I once spoke with a man on Compuserve who considered every wood camera he purchased as in need of major modifications. But, he was able to fashion metal parts and I can barely find a nut for my bolts. Just be careful if you elect to tighten the rear clamps.



-- Mike Long (, June 29, 1998.

By the way, new Tachihara's now use nylon washers.

-- Max Rahder (, July 06, 1998.

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