Leica Standard revival (picture heavy)

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Rick_van_Nooij, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. So I bought this Leica I (model E) from 1938 from a Dutch expat living in Sweden last month.
    He bought it a decade ago and never got around to using it.


    The camera looked alright with some 3rd-party real leather covering on it. The top appears to have been repainted as the engravings had been painted over. The shutter curtains were okay though, being my main concern.
    It was missing the shutter button collar, like they often do. At least I had a couple of replacements from Nobby Sparrow on hand. Just not the exact type with chrome plating.

    But once in my hands the camera felt ...crunchy. Winding wasn't smooth and shutter sounded a little sluggish. Even with the tight Zorki take-up spool removed.

    Nothing for it but to tear it down! The first step was tearing off the leather skin as it was covering the screws that attach the shutter crate to the shell. And some of those screws around the top were rusted/oxidized in place and required the application of a dremel tool to remove or at least cut down. Generally not a good sign.
    The serial number on the shutter crate matched the one on the top, so that at least hadn't been obviously messed with.


    Some more interesting problems emerged. Apart from a bit of surface rust on some parts of the shutter crate. Underneath the skin on the body shell was a load of filler. It was covering up some massive pitting on the body shell. massive pitting as in a hole straight through it!.... uh-oh....


    Other side of the shell, same story. Though the damage was not as extensive.


    Not sure what had happened to the camera. Possibly it spent some time in a really damp environment, like the bottom of a well. Maybe?
    It also took a ding on the side as you can see by the uneven edge after cleaning away most of the old skin and filler.


    But I've got this covered though! Literally. With some 'cold weld' epoxy. I taped off the edges and the inside of the hole and just modelled the gooey stuff into an approximation of the required shape.


    As I had to wait 24 hours for the epoxy to dry, I had some time to clean the shutter mechanism.
    I didn't want to mess around with it too much as it was working. So I did not disassemble the shutter crate completely to get at the rollers and the drum, and possibly messing up the spring tension and curtains. I carefully wiped some 80 years of grime out of the gears and applying a minimal amount of lubricant to the bearings.


    After this first round of cleaning the shutter felt much smoother already:
    youtube movie of the shutter firing at 1/100th

    Only 1/500th still appeared to be partially capping at this point, but another once-over seems to have cleared that up too. Nice!

    A day later, the epoxy on the body shell was ready for some sanding. The dent hadn't been fully filled in yet, but another small dot of epoxy and more sanding would sort that out later.


    The optics of the viewfinder were cleaned and re-attached and everything was test-fitted.


    Next, the Zorki take-up spool that came with it just wouldn't do. These are too tall and tend to scrape the bottom of the film chamber in a Leica. They're also rather tight on the spindle inside the camera. Requiring strong fingernails or pliers to remove it.
    Unfortunately I did not have a spare Leica spool that originally came with these cameras (The Leica SPULM, if you must know). I did however, while digging through the bits-box, find half a Leica SVOOP take-up spool from 1950s that was missing a flange. And I dug up half a FED take-up spool that was also missing a flange.
    A bit of violence with a hammer, a vice, another glob of epoxy later I had a complete spool. Huzzah!
    After cleaning it up a bit it proved a perfect fit for the camera as well.


    After tapping out the remains of a broken screw and replacing it (with spares from Nobby Sparrow) all that was left to do was wait for the replacement covering to arrive (from Hugo Studio).


    That only took 10 long days of waiting to arrive!


    Loaded up with Double-X and ready to rock. I think this one's ready for another couple of decades of happy snapping.

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
    Ranssu1, bobbudding, m42dave and 16 others like this.
  2. Congratulations, very impressive how you’ve been able to restore an oldie!
    Kent T likes this.
  3. Thanks,

    Forgot to mention that the rewind switch wasn't behaving properly either. The cam underneath was slightly out of position so wouldn't move far enough to 'lock' in place when the lever was turned. Loosened the screw on top, aligned the parts, tightened screw and Hey Presto!
  4. Very nice, perhaps more 'classic car' than classic camera, but that should be good for another half century of use!

    I love a good 'user' camera, one that's lived it's life with dings and scrapes, not sat in a display cabinet.

    Tools are made to be used :)
    Kent T likes this.
  5. I admire your ability, skill, and perseverance. Nice work.
    Kent T likes this.
  6. The metal epoxy should certainly fool the ol' magnet check on this old chassis. :D
    Where do I sign up for Car S.O.S?

    Thanks James,
    It was a relatively straight forward fix and clean-up job, without having to go into the actually shutter mechanism or having to replace the curtains. Except for those busted screws of course.
  7. Fantastic! Well done.
  8. I LOVE IT, "like" would be too mild a response.:)

    There is a film about a hunt by Bushmen, made by Marshall and Gardner in 1957 (The Hunters (1957 film) - Wikipedia) and after the hunt is over the hunters tell and retell the "story of the hunt". That is what this is, the "story" of the hunt, gathering, and preparation*.

    *(BTW according to Wiki, in At The Edge of History, William Irwin Thompson uses the structure of The Hunters to model the universal form of conflict in values in human institutions)
  9. I approve!!

    As if anyone care, but now it is said.
  10. Great job, Rick, and thanks for documenting it all so well.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  11. As someone who has just caught the Leica Screw Mount bug, I loved this thread. Bought a IIIF recently and will use it with the 50mm F2 Summar that I use with my M6 when I want (very) funky.
  12. Nice work Rick. I’ve managed to revive a few leaf shutters and a lens here and there, but never attempted anything as involved as what you’ve accomplished here. In your shoes, I quite possibly would have ended up with nothing more than a box of spare parts. Glad you got it up and running again.
  13. Rick: WOW !!
  14. Thanks all,

    I've been on a camera-revival spree for that last 10 days. Cleaning and fixing several camera's.

    A friend sent me a Zeiss Super Ikonta II BX and a Balda Super-Baldax that both needed cleaning, and the Compur shutter on the Baldax was running slow. And the never-ready case needed some new stitches

    As 'payment' for the service he gave me a dirty Kiev-88 with Volna-3 lens with a sticky aperture.
    And he also gave me this Franka Rolfix with a stuck shutter (shutter blades were warped).
    Back together

    I also took another look at one of my Berning Robot II cameras that needed some extra attention
    When I got it several years ago it was missing the ratchet gear and had a broken spring that pushes the ratchet pall against the gear.
    Back then I did a literal 1-cent fix. But the paperclip spring wouldn't stay put with the cover on it. So I made it a permanent fixture now.
    The frame-counter wasn't engaging properly either. Had to cut a custom shim to make it work.
    It still needs a spring under the small winding knob to keep it pushed into the take-up spool.
  15. Outstanding restoration, Rick. Thanks for sharing details and photos. I look forward to seeing some images from the camera.
    Rick_van_Nooij likes this.
  16. Incredibly impressive.
    Nothing inspires appreciation like quality restoration especially in this disposable age.
    Thanks for posting the details.
    You add huge value to this place.
  17. What so many have said.. great work. Impressed with you skill, tenacity and fine results. Over the years I have grown in awe of your excellent work!
    luis triguez likes this.
  18. Very nice looking job. I am especially glad to have the link for new coverings. The leather on my otherwise lovely Leica IIIb has cracked. Unfortunately, Hugo doesn't list that model, but the price is pretty good so I'll probably have to ask if IIIa with lugs, or IIIc, will work.

    I do have one question: is the shutter speed dial correct? I once had a Leica II but don't recall whether it used the "20-1" reading even though it lacked speeds below 20.

    Anyway, lovely old cameras.
  19. For the IIIb you'll need the IIIa with lugs covering.
    On the IIIc they changed the size of the shell to fit the new shutter crate design and these bodies are thus 5mm longer than the previous models.

    The 20-1 style dial was originally only used on the III/IIIa models, but due to parts standardisation this dial became standard for all of the models....after they ran out of older style dial of course.
  20. Wow, that was a big job, impressive work!

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