Bellows repair

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by greg_nixon|2, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. I have a pair of rather nice looking Kodak Art Deco folders. As to be expected the bellows are full of pin holes on the corners. What I was thinking for a repair was to sacrifice a dark bag for its light tight material, and glue a strip of the dark bag down each corner using a mixture of wood glue and matte black artists paint.
    I don't think the usual pinhole fix like liquid electrical and black paint will do the job.

    Ideas and advice welcome.
  2. There is a product called Shoe-Goo, comes in black and clear. Remains flexible. Readily available through a variety of sources and inexpensive. I haven't used it for bellows, so someone else might chime in.
  3. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    There is also a product called "Liquid Leather" for repairing small tears in leather and vinyl upholstery. . It comes in a kit in black, brown, and other colors and can be bought on eBay and elsewhere for about $6-$8. Apply with a small brush. It is flexible and dries quickly.
  4. Black silicone rubber (RTV) has worked well for me. Apply, leave bellows open for several days to let the silicone cure and leave the camera back open to air out fumes.
  5. There was also a "liquid electrician's tape" but either it was too thick or I just didn't use it properly when attempting to repair some pinholes on an old Ansco Viking. I ended up giving to someone who needed it as a prop. The liquid leather and RTV might work, though.
  6. Surprised the comment regarding the older (Art Deco).. MY Autograph has good bellows and I would suspect these early Kodaks too. The ruby windows seem to do more damage in my recent experience. I have a later, cheaper Kodak Jiffy, from the late 30s in the 616 format. These bellows are shot through pretty much everywhere. I tried with multiple applications of Liquid Electrical Tape, After patching say seven or so holes, three days later five more places were patched etc. Everytime I look I find one or two more.
    So I think your approach is good. Consider checking if you can close the bellows, before committing. There are plenty of options and approaches for bellows.

    Good luck and do post results.
  7. To reseal pin holes I just stick a pin (what else?) down through the hole, put a blob of RTV on the tip and then slowly pull the pin out. Let cure.
  8. The winner is: Selleys Shoe Repair. The reason is that I can source it locally in this small village. I willl give it a try when I get back from holidays.
    All the other ideas were noted. Thanks all for your suggestions.
  9. For minor bellow holes and cracks, I've gotten good results with black fabric paint that I bought at the craft store. It doesn't seem to add any bulk or sticky-ness, or make the bellows hard to fold and unfold. Even the cheaper Ansco/Agfa bellows have a fabric inner liner, and the fabric absorbs the paint. The paint I bought is water soluble, so I thinned it with a little water, thinking that would make it more likely to saturate the fabric, rather than just sit on top of it. I put on several coats with a bent paintbrush.
  10. I've got a tube of artists paint but I think the bellow are too far gone for any of the pinhole repair methods. I'll see if can get a photo up.
  11. Flash inside the camera.

  12. I used black nail polish on my Exakta shutter curtains and they have held up fine so far.
  13. If you plan to use your camera, shop around the for new-old-stock Kodak replacement bellows. I recently bought four still in their original packaging. I've brought three of my 120 folders into the twenty-first century with amazing results. Re-bellows on other sizes of "art deco" Kodaks just isn't worth the hassle.

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