Bellows care : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Is any product that can be applied to bellows that will extend their useful life, keep them pliable and resist cracking?

-- Jack Leonard (, March 11, 2000


There are several threads on this topic at this site. Based on one of them, quoting Mr. Hough's (the Deardorff restorer)advice, I tried applying some Lemon Pledge (yes it's true!) to my leather bellows. Certainly got the dust off, the camera now has a pleasingly fresh lemony scent, and, yes, the bellows do seem to me subjectively more supple and less dry. Also, Leksol (try Tom Coulton at (440) 248 7895 Amity International Inc.)has been recommended. The main thing seems to be to avoid products containing silicone, as you will gradually melt your bellows!

Anybody else any more long-term experience with Lemon Pledge or other agents for bellows maintenance? For my definitive answer, ask me again in ten years!


-- Nathan Congdon (, March 11, 2000.

You first need to determine whether your bellows is leather or not. If it is leather then a leather care product such as Lexol will work fine. If it's vinyl or some form of "leatherette" then you might try Armorall. I've used that about once a year or so, and in small doses, on my bellows and it seems to have helped. At least the bellows looks nicer if nothing else. Some bellows material looks and feels almost like cloth or paper. I don't know of anything you can apply to that type of bellows.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 15, 2000.

I use NIQWAX liquid wax on all of my bellows. It uses a patented ultra durable polymer to waterproof the leather and prevent oxyidation. It is by far the best product for treating bellows. It will keep the leather supple without weakening it. Get it at a store that sells top of the line hiking boots.

-- John Dorio (, June 13, 2000.

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