dry bellows maintenance

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I recently purchased a Zone VI 4x5. Probably about a 1985 vintage or so. I live where the humidity is low and it appears that the bellows could use something that might restore it to its original flexibility. Naturally, I fear a crack or tear. Any suggestions on what to use? Lemon oil or boot oil seems like the natural way to go but I sure would like to be sure. Any suggestions?

-- Kenneth D. Pirtle (kdpirtle@actx.edu), December 15, 1998


I use Armor-All or Armour-All, which ever. I assume your bellows is nylon. It works well but can make them feel a little slimy so wipe it well and don't use a whole lot.

A similar dressing would do for a leather bellows but avoid Neats Foot oil as it can dissolve the glue holding the bellows together.

Don't forget to vacuum the interior gently to get the accumulated dust.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), December 15, 1998.

Ken, I studied under you at AC in 1985, Are Joe and Bob still there? I visited AC's web site last semester. It's alright, photoshop stuff seems a little overwrought. Are you teaching P-shop? Tell the kids to go easy. I remember you telling us if we shot and turned in a windmill we'd get an automatic f. He he he, does that policy still stand? or have you expanded the criteria to include S. Marsh's signposts. Glad to see your name here and what's wrong with those old bi-rail monsters you guys called a 4x5, are you gettin to old to lug one down into the Palo Duro? I'm an editor for the Daily Oklahoman now and still shoot free-lance regularly. I have a 4x5 darkroom up to 20x24 prints in my home, Looking for a 8x10 Kodak Masterview and case, and plan to make my old C-1 it into a convertible 8x10 enlarger (graflarger) for the garage( I'm tired of contacts). I'm trying to find a way to start a ilfochrome lab but that's a ways off. Good luck to you and thanks for all you've taught me. I never appreciated your excellent tutelage and facilities until I was without them. Indebted, Blake P.s. I'm helping a couple of Photo-arts majors with large format class at Univ of Central Ok. They have found your methods on converting the zone system for center weighted 35mm a valuable tool. I had them shoot car hoods (your assignment) and I could actually see the lightbulbs flicking on over their heads. They don't have light meters they can use off campus so are forced to use their slr's meters for LF in the field. Say hello and thanks to the staff.

-- Blake Barker (newsroom@oklahoman.net), December 18, 1998.

LExol is the answer. It is sold at most booteries and is water based, so it does nothing to the glues that hold most bellows together. Once it is put on and wiped off, the bellows can be further protected with a coating of renaessance wax available through light impressions. Cheers, Ed

-- Ed Stander (glassact@compuserve.com), December 25, 1998.

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