I just spent way too much time trying to build a new bellows for a Vest Pocket Kodak Model B. With the exception of a little light leak in a front corner and a tight squeeze to get it to completely fold, I was kinda successful. I was given a VPK Mod B to look over and after collapsing it a few times, the original bellows completely disintegrated. I felt very bad about this and I tried to patch it for the owner and came up with something that looked ok but would never fold again. This was ok with them since they were only going to display it on a shelf but it didn’t sit well with me, so then I wanted one to repair. I found one advertized as “the best example of a Model B that you’ll likely to find” for a reasonable $30.00. It had an original box, the original instruction booklet and with the exception of the missing tripod screw insert (did they even come with a tripod hole screw insert?) it was in like new condition with the exception of a completely disintegrating bellows liner. Well, considering these cameras are from the 1920’s and are almost 100 yrs old and the bellows is made of some kind of treated fabric, cardboard stiffeners and a black paper liner – none of which is archival, acid free material and unless one was kept in a nitrogen cabinet under controlled temperature and humidity - which is an unreasonable step to preserve what was at the time a $6 camera - I don’t think very many of them have bellows that aren’t disintegrating by now. So, I decided to try to make a bellows for it. This was my second attempt at constructing a bellows for a camera. My first attempt was for an Agfa Solinette 35 mm folder which was too ambitious for a first try because of the small size of the bellows. Essentially, the smaller the camera bellows, the more exact and finer the materials need to be since there is tighter tolerance for fit. My Solinette attempt was ok, but leaked under strong light and wasn’t the best at folding. So I took my learning from this experience and tackled the somewhat larger bellows of the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B. I choose to use a leatherette material that was designed for camera body covering as the outer material. It has a backing material on it, is fairly tough, easy to work with and light tight. I made an inner stiffening layer from card-stock (which I found to be too stiff and I should have “cheese-holed” to reduce it a bit), and I used a thin nylon material for the liner which isn’t light tight by itself but serves as a “binding layer” to keep all three layers together. I borrowed the construction procedure from a website that has instruction on how to make a bellows for an Agfa Isolette. The actual construction is not very difficult and I had a somewhat intact bellows from the VPK that I could use for a pattern (I didn’t have such a luxury with my Solinette experiment). I had originally coated the bellows for the VPK with a liquid vinyl substance at an attempt for an “on the frame restoration” procedure, which didn’t work, but may have preserved the outer material enough to keep it intact when I removed the bellows. The bellows on the VPK is riveted to the front frame “lens board”, which I drilled out and didn’t replace the rivets because the lens ring is enough to hold the lens to the “lens board” similar to a view camera. There is a thin metal stiffener for the front of the bellows and one in the rear. The rear of the bellows is clipped to the frame using bent metal tabs so I had to cut the bellows away to get at the tabs to bend them out. These tabs won’t take much bending and unbending. Remember, these cameras were not designed to be repaired (although in 1925 the cost of the camera at $6 was about a day’s wages!). After I fabricated my attempt at a bellows, crushed it onto the camera frame, checked, tightened and rechecked the camera for light leaks, I loaded some fresh Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm onto some 127 backing paper and took her out for a test spin. The bellows is a bit “fat” and doesn’t easily 100% fold and clasp shut but it can fold up at least 95%. I’m hoping that the bellows needs to just be “broken-in” a bit to be more compliant. I found I still have some light leak in the front of the bellows which may need some gasket goop to seal it, I hope. I’ll have to admit, one must really need to have a strong desire to have a working Model B to go through all this. The camera is fun to use but the small waist level view finder makes it difficult to operate and it is limited to outdoor snap shots with slower film (ISO 100) with its fixed shutter speed (maybe 1/50?) and small aperture choices (f11, f16, f22, f32). There is no connection for a flash. And of course one would need to cut some 120 film down to 127 size and mount it on 127 backing paper or buy some not-so-cheap pre-made version of this. Or just shoot 35mm on 127 paper and enjoy the sprocket holes. So here are some pics of my restoration and some of the test shots. The negative size is a “large” 127 and one would get 8 shots from a roll. My advice about building a bellows is that material selection is critical. I would advise to attempt one on a camera bigger than a 127 folder but the camera leather covering material I found was only available in 8 ½ x 11 inch sheets so a bigger bellows may not fit on a sheet of it. I haven’t really found any other material which is suitable. I wouldn’t want to make an all paper bellows because it would be too fragile and I haven’t found any suitable paper except roll separator paper which is too small for a large bellows. The only possibility I can think is to use thin black nylon or polyester fabric, which is available in large sheets from fabric supply stores, and somehow rubberize or black-coat at least the outer layer. I hope this article is helpful to anyone looking to restore a VPK Model B or any other bellows camera.