Suggestions on how to tape bellows corners

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by paul_ong|1, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I have a Toyo bellows with pinholes in the corner. I saw someone else's bellows that had been tapped the entire length of the bellows with a continuous tape. The tape was well folded into the creases. I would like to do the same. I hope someone here can give me some advice on how to do this.
  2. Paul, not exactly the answer you are looking for, but I bought some black masking tape at an art supply store to use on a 5x7 camera with bellows corner problems I used it in small pieces to fit each corner rather than trying to wrap the whole thing and it worked VERY well. Went from leaks at almost every corner, to no leaks at all.
  3. Another approach is fully extend the bellows, paint the pin holes with artist brush using "Liquetex" in black mixed 50/50 in hot water. Let bellows dry overnight before collapsing them.
  4. Liquid Brush-On Electrical tape works like magic. Paint it on, let it dry good and it is still pliable enough to open an close the bellows without cracking. It may take a couple of coats with 24 hours to cure in between but I have had very good luck with it.
  5. Or you can just put a dark cloth over the bellows.
  6. You would do well to see if you can fix the light leaks with the liquid brush on rubber compound. A replacement bellows will probably cost upwarda of $200.
  7. Washable black fabric paint works well applied to the inside of the bellows. For larger holes darkroom blackout cloth (the stuff changing bags are made from) glued to the inside with latex contact cement is a very durable fix that does not add excessive bulk to the bellows. Glue the shinny fabric side leaving the dull rubberized side facing out.
    Regardless on the type of tape used it will dry out and may leave a sticky residue that will be hard to remove. Tape will add significant bulk to the bellows preventing them from folding as flat as they once did. This is important if using wide angle lens or closing the camera up for transport.
  8. Hi,
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I do have a dark cloth that I put around the bellows, but am looking for something to repair the bellows.
    I have not tried some of the products you have mentioned, although I have tried some plastic vinyl paint on another project that claims it is flexible. After a short time, the paint became hard and cracked. I have also tried fabric paint, and has similar difficulties. But that project involved trying to save a bag bellows, and the bag was much more demanding in terms of flexibility.
    I think I will look for "Liquetex" or "Liquid Brush-On Electrical Tape." I am off to the hardware store.
    I am still intrigued by how the person was able to neatly follow the folds when taping the whole length of the corners. Sill looking for advice on how to make those folds if anyone has ideas.
  9. The bellows is really just a four-sided tapered box when fully extended. Run the tape down the edges.
    The traditional tape for taping the corners would be black Gaffer's Tape. Used by movie electricians. Available at Calumet, among other places.
  10. One more suggestion. A company called Bostick & Sullivan sells a bellows patch kit specifically for cameras for $15:
    I've used this with great success. The liquid patch material cures in a week and stays flexible.
  11. John, thanks for the information. I know a few people who do stage production, so I will ask to see if I can get some Gaffer's tape.
    Fred, thanks. I think my problem in the past was not giving the coating enough time to cure.
  12. go a tip:
    Western Bellows
  13. If a bellows is leaking light the only real cure is to replace the bellows as once it develops leaves it will continue to
    develop new ones, risking ruining future shots.

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