How to replace a light seal made of fur or velvet

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by frank_gosebruch, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. On some wooden cameras, I have a fur seal on the rear frame for the cassettes.
    Mostly in bordeaux red. Some older ones are also in a strange green, almost turquoise.

    Some providers on the Internet supply these light seals made of fur made-to-measure, but only in black and either with 4mm or 1mm pile length:

    4 mm Flor Samt Fell Plüsch Velours Lichtdichtung Kamera Velvet Light Seal | eBay
    1 mm Flor Samt Fell Plüsch Velours Lichtdichtung Kamera Velvet Light Seal | eBay

    Is it better to resort to one of these modern foam gaskets today when it comes to repairs?
    What material do you use to repair these sealing areas?
  2. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    You may consider my solution a bit cheap. I bought velvet ribbon from a hobby store (Hobbycraft) to renew the light seal at the back of my Ensign Reflex. They had it in two widths, and red or black; just one thickness, as far as I know. I chose red. Really cheap.

    Here's the back of the camera without a plate-holder:


    The old black ribbon wasn't leaking, but looked quite bald in some places, and I thought it might leak soon; and anyhow, I wanted it to look smarter. You can see the velvet is three different widths; I can't remember now if I cut the pieces with scissors or a scalpel, but it wasn't hard.
  3. Modern synthetic velvet materials are more hard wearing than old cotton velvets. They deform less too; making for a better light seal.

    Other colours may look more pleasing, but black is still the king of light seals.

    When I replaced the goo that was formerly black foam on my Mamiya 645s, I used neoprene foam. Except for the wide bottom door seal. I replaced that with black nylon velvet. It works as well as, or better than the original foam and has no chance of turning to sticky goo.

    The one proviso with using velvet is to thoroughly brush any loose threads or hairs from it before use. The cut edges can shed threads and fibres quite badly.

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