Recommendations on restoring Deardorff 8x10 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm about to start restoration of my recently acquired Deardorff 8x10. However, I'd like to hear from some of you who may have done this before. Any recommendations on removing/reapplying finish, reconditioning bellows, polishing metal, etc.? Also, are there any online resources for this type of thing? Finally, does anybody know where I can get a new leather handle to put atop the camera? Many thanks in advance.

-- Dave Munson (, July 30, 2000


you could try

-- jimryder (, July 31, 2000.

You might speak with Ken Hough, who restores these cameras, and who worked at the Deardorff factory before it closed. You could have him restore it; but, I've heard that turnaround time is high.

-- neil poulsen (, July 31, 2000.

I completely restored a 1959 Deardorff 8X10 about 9 months ago. It was well worth the work. I now have a very functional 8X10 and I am only in it about $350 (not including the price of the E+ dog I bought mail order from a prominent New Jersey Camera seller). I disassembled the camera completely and marked all the parts. I made notes where I thought There might be confusion in reassembly. I had the wood parts stripped down to the bare wood. (I stripped a camera myself once. It was very tedious and messy. If you can get it done affordably consider it.) I carefully but completely sanded all wood pieces. This was the hardest part. Deardorffs have a red dye under the clear lacquer that can be mostly sanded thru (except where hardware mounts and clearance is an issue). Cleaning all the hardware takes time but is not too difficult. I replaced some of the plated brass screws with stainless steel.

I decided to use tung oil instead of lacquer to finish the wood. I plan on using the camera, not displaying it. I replaced the badly leaking bellows with a synthetic item that looks just like the original, square corners. The bellows were made in England and cost around $250. It is pretty easy to install bellows. Now the camera easily extends to a full 30". In retrospect, it was a generally gratifying experience. I only wish I had more time to shoot.

Good luck!

-- Steve Barth (, July 31, 2000.

Dave I purchased an old 8 x 10 Feardorff about 2 years ago and subsequently spent about 100 hours restoring it. Here are a few tips. - When you dissamble take lots of photos and make notes and mark some of the parts in an inconspicuous place. i.e. left and right rails. - Seperate and save small screws in labeled film containers. - once you are down to wood parts, strip, sand and laquer with at least 2 coats. - Most metal parts are brass plated with nickel. I had all of may parts replated for abot $300. I nickle plated the small screws myself using an electroless nickle plating kit. (You boild the items in a special bath). Do not recommend this for the large parts as the nickel plate is not all that thick. - Prior to assembly I took round toothpicks - dipped the end in glue and inserted into each screw hole and broke the toothpick off flush and left to dry. This fills any loose holes and gives the screws a tight hold on reassembly. - As for the handle I simply cut out a pattern based on the photos from various websites and wnet to a shoe repair shop and had a handle made. - Reassemble carefully and you will end up with a greta camera. - I was able to get a few missing parts from Ken Hough. You can see my camera at my site It forms part of my collection. I have also inserted a cronology of the Deardorff in the resources section of the site. regards Dave

-- Dave Hoyt (, October 28, 2000.

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