Repairing bellows pinholes with liquid neopren : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have found in an older thread, information on "liquid Neopren" for diving wet suit repairs used to mend bellows pinholes. Has someone had experience with that stuff? Would applying a layer of this stuff in the inner corners of the bellows be a good idea? Or would it stick the pleats together with the pressure and time?

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 09, 2001


Hi Paul, how many pin holes do you have? Is it one or two, or is it a whole string of them. In general, what condition are the corners in? David

-- david clark (, June 09, 2001.

David, although the bellows looks fine from the outside, I found 19 pinholes in the corners. And certainly more to come. That's why I have two alternatives: apply a coat of rubberized neoprene to fill and prevent new pinholes from forming... or contact Camera Bellows Inc. Thanks!

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 09, 2001.

With that many pinholes I would opt for a new bellows. Then you won't have to worry for years or lose a good neg. Pat

-- pat krentz (, June 09, 2001.


Take a quick look at the following post:

You may have a third alternative besides patching or buying a new bellows. This involves recovering the old bellows using the liner and support ribs as a base.

As an aside, have you ordered from Camera Bellows Inc. or any other bellows makers? Any comments on price, service, etc.? I've heard of a number of companies (Flexible, Western, Universal, etc.) and I've purchased several bellows from Turner Bellows. Any preferences?


-- Dave Willison (, June 09, 2001.

I ordered a new bellows for my Gandolfi 8x10 by Camera Bellows about 6 months ago. They were very courteous and serviceable, made it in about ten days and immediately shipped. The bellows is of excellent quality and beautiful to touch and to look at. If I remember well, it cost 150. I do not know other bellows manufacturers but I think that if I need another bellows I will return to CB. Please note that I have no interest in CB and my only motivation to post this praise is that I was very pleased with CB's service.

-- Emil Salek (, June 09, 2001.

I started repairing pinholes a year or so back. I could never get ahead. If the pinholes are in the corners where the pleats fold you are most likely going to keep getting more. After my loosing battle finally cost me a shot I started building my own version of a long bag bellows. It has worked fine although I would do things differently the next time.

-- Dave Schneider (, June 09, 2001.

Dave, thanks for the tip you posted in this other thread. I am usually not too bad a handy man, but this seems beyond my limits however! I'll buy some of that neoprene stuff next week from a diving shop. If fixing it with a brush and a layer of supple lack won't work, I will invest in a replacement bellows. The bellows, (maybe another poor Ebay deal), looks good from the outside however. No wear off. I hope the neoprene will mend it.

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 09, 2001.

Paul, I tried Neopren an it did not work out so well for me. It did close the pin hole but remained sticky for weeks. The best repairs that I have done have been with Black plastic tool dip. It is just as flexible as the Neopren and is much easier to handle. You may want to apply it to all the corners that you suspect is about to leak if you are going to stay ahead of the pin holes. Sooner or later however, you are going to have to get a new bellows.

-- Pat Raymore (, June 09, 2001.

Thanks Pat, the "stay sticky" issue was my concern. Where do you get the plastic tool dip? D.I.Y store? What is it made for?

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 10, 2001.

The tool dip can be gotten at most good hardware stores. It comes in black, red and green. I do caution you though, well ventilation is a must!!! Leave the bellows open for a few days to air it out and have the stuff set well. The fumes are pretty heavy.

-- Scott Walton (, June 10, 2001.

Home Depo will carry it. Remember to stir it well before use. Unfortunately it comes only in relatively large containers (~one quart). More than enough to last a life time plus some.

-- Pat Raymore (, June 11, 2001.

There is also a product called "liquid electrical tape", made by Star Brite. I found a small can (a few ounces) in a boating store. I've never noticed how flexible it is after it dries, but it does dry quickly.

-- Dave Mueller (, June 11, 2001.

Thanks for all the inputs. Sometimes the cheaper solution becomes the most expensive, and remembering all the hassle I went through, and lost pictures, some years ago when trying to fix my worn out Linhof bellows, and the considerable relief of, yes, my bank account, but worries as well after I installed a new one, I went for the radical solution. Camera Bellows offred a 600 mm bellows replacement for 90. But the frames of the used bellows I got being not compatible without modifying with my newer Toyo, I preferred buying a new one for 165 from RW. If I did not have the need for new frames, Camera Bellows ( would have been an economical alternative. And I know from a collegue that they do a nice job. Someone interested in a "like new"Toyo bellows from ebay with only 19 pinholes?

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 15, 2001.


Consider still repairing the old bellows and keeping it as a spare (because crap happens). In addition the skill may come in handy some time. Also, check the new bellow for leaks near its attachment seans. Just because it new doesn't mean it doesn't leak. (once bitten twice shy)

-- Pat Raymore (, June 16, 2001.

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