Vintage bellows care : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

What can I use to keep the original (red leather) bellows of my ancient Korona view camera from drying out and developing leaks? Also, should the camera be stored with the bellows compressed, extended, or somewhere in between?

Many thanks!

-- Mark Parsons (, July 13, 1999


Lexsol Brand leather conditioner is recommended by various folks. Search the archives under Camera Problems to read more on the LF Q&A board. Stay away from silicone based products and Neats Foot Oil as they can slowly dissolve the glue used in bellows making.

As far as storage goes, the bellows is designed to be stored closed. However, yours is old so until you got some lubricant on it I'd keep it partially open to reduce the stress. The glue and the leather can both dry out and oxidize with age. Don't forget to gently vacuum the inside.

Light leaks can be repaired with camera or gaffers tape or the tape made by 3M for enlarger bellows repair. For a more long term solution Bostick & Sullivan sells a product for bellows repair but it has received negative reviews from folks in warmer parts of the U.S. I have read articles about using Liquitex, a liquid latex product used by painters or artists, but have no experience with it myself.

There are various bellows makers today including Great Western Bellows in CA, Flexible Products in FL, and Univeral Bellows in NY

-- Sean yates (, July 13, 1999.

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