Where can I purchase a Hewes spiral film loader?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by spanky, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Yes, I know Hewes reels are supposed to be the easiest to spool (I find this is true with the 120 size) but for
    whatever reason I just cannot seem to properly spool the 35mm size. Once in awhile a roll will go easy like this
    morning, but the majority get so kinked up that it seems like it will never spool properly and I just end up chucking
    out the whole roll.

    I see on Hewes website they have some nifty looking loading apparatuses that look like they'll make my life a whole
    lot easier. However, I cannot find any being sold at the usual big name places. I emailed Hewes yesterday but have
    yet to hear back from them. In the meantime does anyone have a clue as to where I can pick one up (preferably in
    LA)? Has anyone used these before and if so did they work?

    Thanks for replies.

    PS - I know someone will probably suggest cracking open a new cassette and using that roll to practice on. I've been
    doing this with some success for a couple weeks now but once my soon-to-be sweaty hands are in the dark bag
    trying to spool a roll, it all goes to Hell.
  2. "In the meantime does anyone have a clue as to where I can pick one up (preferably in LA)?"

    Try Freestyle. Their retail store is in Hollywood somewhere. They've also got a small retail front in their Santa Fe Springs warehouse I think.

    I use Hewes for both 120 and 135. They both work very nicely. 135 is a bit more inconvenient to spool on, but that's really just because the film strip is much longer.
  3. Normandy & Sunset corner is where one can find FreeStyle...
  4. Thanks for the replies gents, but Freestyle doesn't carry them...I inquired the other day when I was in there. Odd since they have just about everything else one can imagine. The employee I was talking to suggested a plastic reel but I've been led to believe these tend to become contaminated with chemical residue even with vigorous cleaning. If I cannot find a loader anyplace, I'll have to try the cheaper reels with the spring clip. It would seem that this would be easier to spool since this is how the Hewes 120 reels work. I just spent almost an hour reeling a roll. After so many times of having to spool and un-spool this the rebate edges got folded under and the film kinked in about a million places. I hope I get at least a couple printable images. Oh well, at least I didn't have to give up and throw it away like the other two this week.
  5. Marc
    Does the reel have a clip or prongs?
    I find the prongs really easy to use, but then I start the film in the light, then wind the rest in the dark bag. Obviously this means leaving the film in the cannister and pulling the film out...... I've not had any problems with scratches doing this. Get the film just started and one turn, into the dark bag, then pinch the film slightly as you wind the reel. When you get to the end of the film, either cut the film from the cannister, or tear it if you've forgotten the scissors ;-)
    Another possibility is to look on eBay. You may also find one of the Gepe (and other different branded, but same design) reels. These are plastic, but centre load, and come with a loader. I've got the 120 version, and it is dead easy to load, even when damp.
    Or if you want really easy to load, look for an old Rondinax or Rondix tank. These are daylight loading and processing.
  6. Seems odd you don't have trouble with a 120 reel and the 35mm reel is giving you fits.

    FWIW, I can only imagine having problems loading a 35mm reel if the reel orientation was backwards to start with. I use Nikkor reels without clips. It's just put the end of the leader in the slot, and spool it on.
  7. Adorama from New York City sells them. I bought mine there some years ago.

    If you walk into a camera retailer, and they don't even have a spiral reel; I usually walk out and go somewhere else. No joke.

    There is a clip on the 120 reel. My 35mm reel has two prongs that catch the film advance tracks on the negative. The
    120 is very easy to load. For the 135, it helps to get it caught and give it one wrap around before you check the tension
    in the reel with a gentle push-back. I run the whole thing in a dark bag until the tank is closed. Keep that busted roll for
    loading practice.

    If it all goes to hell, and you are getting frustrated, unspool the film from the reel, put the film in the canister, set aside
    the reel, and take a break from the changing bag. If you are not getting it in a few moments, you need daylight practice.

    Initial film alignment is key with the stainless reels; once the film is set, make sure it's perpendicular to the axis you are
    winding against; if it get skewed, leaning up into or away from one of the reel spools, the whole thing will get off track or
    crimp. Once this happens once, the problem will progress and get worse as you load up the rest of the film.

    Tap a push-back in with the emulsion to check; that is, get it hooked, check your alignment, spool a winding once
    around the reel; then, holding the reel still, wiggle the film back toward the reel and away. You should feel some play.
    That wiggle room should be the feel of the space between the reels containing some of the slack and you push back.

    As you wind, tap a push-back in the film every so many turns. If all of a sudden you have no play at all, chances are
    there's a bind or problem in your load.

    If your film is kinking and crimping as you load, I would check the initial alignment by feel. As the film is hooked in,
    whether set by prong or clip, I run a finger tip jammed in there, near where the axis of the reel meets the track spools, to
    see if the length of film that protrudes beyond the axis is relatively even. Also, I check by feel to ensure that this little
    flap of extending film beyond the axis, usually only less than a quarter of an inch in length, is evenly set on two lower
    bends in the track wire that turn upward to catch the film on the clipped model of the reel.

    Stainless spiral reels are the easiest reels to load, and the most reliable and durable design you can use, Don't give up.
  8. BTW, to make loading easier in the dark, especially with the prongs, I feel out the orientation of the reel. For example,
    you should be able to hold the reel in your hand, empty, with your eyes closed, and run your fingers down along the axis
    of the reel to help you to determine, by feel, the orientation of the clip or prong.

    Is your reel pointed in the correct direction? This is the question that touch-test will answer. For example, I am right-
    handed. I will spend most of the time holding the reel in my left hand and the film in my right. Before I hook in the film,
    with the reel held in the thumb and ring fingers of my left hand, my index and middle fingers slip into the reel, brush
    against the axis, and check to make sure the prongs are pointed off to my left. I then hook in the film from the right and
    being winding.

    With the 120mm clip-reel, hold the reel in your hand, and drop your thumb or finger down into the axis of the reel. Feel
    for the clip. It's just a spring clip; I usually feel for it so that, when seen from above, with the reel axis horizontal, the
    loose end of the spring clip is again off to my left. I then load from the right.

    Good luck. J.
  9. A couple tips that I've found useful in loading 35mm in the dark. First of all, if you can get out of the changing bag and
    into a darkened bathroom, the whole process is loads easier. Just throw a towel under the door and seal the edges of
    the door with weather stripping.

    I use a film picker. Pull out the first inch and trim the film straight across in the light. Seems to help a lot for me. If you
    don't mind loading directly from the canister, then flip out the lights and load it. This is really easy and fast. If you want
    to avoid the possibility of extra scratches, turn off the lights here and pop open the canister - and you've already got a
    perfectly trimmed film.

    Pull out the first 2 inches and slot them onto the prongs. Make sure its even across. As you load the reel, I've found it
    helps to keep my right index finger and thumb on the edges of the reel (which is in my left hand) *and* the film. If you
    *slightly* pinch the film so it has a slight bow, it loads right into the reel and pops into the spiral. If you let your right
    hand get too far away from the reel, like a 3 inches or so, the film can twist and stop loading correctly.

    It also helps to set the reel on the counter in the proper direction in the light so you can just pick it up and go. It
    certainly is worth familiarizing yourself with its orientation by touch though so you can confirm in the dark.
  10. Thanks for all the great advice. I tried ebay, none there and Adorama and B&H didn't list any either but maybe they are aren't sold through the websites for some reason.

    Anyway, I'll try the suggestions above especially trying to lightproof the bathroom. One problem I may have is that I'm trying to rush the job since it gets so hot in the changing bag.

    One thing I was doing wrong was I used to just slip the edge of the roll onto the two prongs. A darkroom guru showed my that one is supposed to slip the edge in between the posts and pull it through a little and then when you turn the reel the prongs slip into the notches as it comes around. Well, this method isn't working to well either. It's not so much getting the notches onto the prongs, it's just that somehow the film just always wants to skip tracks and buckle up.
  11. Marc, it's skipping because you don't have it lined up correctly at the start. I've found the Hewe's reels to be the easiest of all the steel 35mm reels to load. I've never once given thought to buying one of the automatic loaders. You're sweating because you're getting yourself all worked up about this when there's really nothing to it. Just take a look at the darned thing. Practice getting the film lined up perfectly perpendicular to the outer edges of the reel and parallel to the center core. Then just cup the film a little bit and wind it on. If all that is right, it will go on smooth as silk. If not, then make sure the reel is not out of alignment.
  12. "I tried ebay, none there and Adorama and B&H didn't list any either but maybe they are aren't sold through the
    websites for some reason. ..."

    First, the Hewes reels are carried by Freestyle:
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/140135-Hewes-Pro-Stainless-Steel-Reel-35mm. That's where I bought my last pair a
    few months ago. Maybe you just had the unfortunate timing to run into a jello-head sales droid when you where
    there last.

    Second, the Hewes reels get rebadged into other brands. I think when I bought my initial set from B&H, it was
    called Tundra Pro, or Tundra Deluxe, or something like that. The box said Tundra; the reels were stamped Hewes.

    Anyways, look for reels that are about $20. It'll probably be a Hewes.

    Oh, by the way, when you try loading the 135 reel you are clipping off the initial leader right? I do this with
    a small scissor in the changing bag itself - bottle opener first to crack the cassette, push the film out by the
    spool, snip the leader, wind onto the reel, then finally snip off the taped end to the spool. Have heart, the
    whole operation takes a bit more than 1 minute per cassette.
  13. At the Adorama website; the search I conducted found some of those reels. Go to "Film and Darkroom" look under the
    subcategory of "Film Processing" then "Roll film processing." The reels were there. Also saw some advertised at Calumet
    photo. They're everywhere. J.
  14. Thanks for the additional replies. I do in fact have the reels, several with an additional one I picked up the other day. None of them look the least bit bent so I know it cannot be them. Here is a link to what kind of apparatus I'm describing. www.hewes.co.uk. Click on products and then click on spiral film loader. They seem pricey especially given the exchange rate hence why I'm looking for one stateside. Not have too much luck either; almost everyplace I've talked to never heard of them.

    Anyway, yes, I'm cutting the leader. I know this isn't rocket science and everyone says how easy hewes are to load. I'll try a few more rolls, but if I still have problems (and can't find a loader) I'll take the salesguys advice and start using a plastic reel. He demonstrated one to me; looks like something even I can accomplish lol!
  15. I had a reel loader, a throw-in on a deal. Mine was straight with the pad that aligns the film and on the end of the apparatus were the two discs that fit in the center of the reel. I tossed it out. Seems too complicated to align the film in the apparatus, then the apparatus around the reel, then spool it, all in the dark. Maybe if I had some night vision goggles.....

    Although I prefer stainless on 35mm, I do have plastic reels that I've run at least 100 rolls of 35mm through and they still work fine. On the plus note, I prefer plastic reels over stainless when doing 220 film because the plastic hold the thin-based 220 film better than my Hewes and Kinderman 220 stainless reels.
  16. Re Seems odd you don't have trouble with a 120 reel and the 35mm reel is giving you fits. Typically this is true; UNLESS one has a bent 35mm reel. Here I use Nikkors and have loaded them with ease for over 50 years. I was taught to LISTEN to how the film loads on a steel reel; and also thru some feeling on how it first starts. In teaching how to load films in schools bent reels are an issue; plus having a radio on; talking; or just horsing around too. In press work in the 1960's I was taught how to load TWO 35mm films on one 35mm reel; one has the "backs" back to back, And the emulsions out. Its not that hard to do once one has a few rolls and some practice. I never heard of Hewes reels until Photo.net; at first I thoyught it was a chinese clone of a Nikor. The Nikor reel goes back to the mid 1930's. A BAD BENT reel is what some stores sell; ie it may have been dropped and a duffus placed it back in the box. Bent reels are common in school and rental darkrooms; where folks didn't pay for the tols annd they get abused. Bent reels are also on Ebay too. Hewes reels are not in my 1950's, 1960s, 1970's pro buying guides but about 1 dozen other brands are that make steel reels. Here have had really NO issues even with off brand non Nikor reels; even cheapie 1.50 dollar Spiratone ones. The MAIN issue has been bent reels; which makes them way harder to load. Nikor made a film loader for 35mm reels about 40 years ago; typically schools and begineers bought them; rarely did manistream users. TRY loading the film in a quiet darkroom; film when its rolled on will have a nice sound; if its messed up horrible.
  17. Marc; loading film on a reel is abit like riding a bike. With both the bike and reel one has feedback to not cause a tumble. The beginning start of starting the film is important. Here I feel which way the roll should be held in the left hand; and I hold the film in the right hand. Some reel have clips; some do not. The good bad about a clip is it holds the film; but doent allow it to be centered in the reel like having no clip. Clips are a newer thing for reels; they were not on ancient reels. Here I prefer to load film in a darkroom; not a film bag; I want the audio feedback of how the film loads. Its worked well for me for many thousands of rolls of film. When a rare rolls starts to jump track and as you say " get so kinked up that it seems like it will never spool properly" I back up and restart; or rewind abit and get it to track true. For me it when film loads on properly; it has a certain sound; when its buggered up it has a crinkle horrible sound!

    ALL of us started to ride our bikes with some tumbles; or load our first reels with some goofs.
  18. I hate to say this but Plastic is FANTASTIC. My Patterson's have never failed me I do use SS reels and tanks also. So I am no dummy to the different reels. Is it possible your reel is bent?

  19. Try here:

  20. OK a new development (no pun intended). After talking to one of the teachers at school, it appears that in the several years since I did a lot of 35mm developing I forgot that the reel has to face a certain way. I knew where I wanted the prongs to be for the easiest way to slip the notches over but forgot that the the reel has to face me with the spiral going clockwise. This is what John O'Keefe referred to but I just couldn't visualize it until the teacher showed me. I'll spend the next few days practicing with my test roll. Seemed to work fine in the lab today after he gave me the refresher crash course. This explains why my rolls never spooled to the outer edge of the reel (presuming they didn't buckle up somewhere along the way in the first place). Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions. This has been my "duh" moment of the month.
  21. A popular 1960's reel/tank system is the old Yankee/GAF tank that had a ratcheting plastic reel; one that pushed the film thru. One popular variant had the reel adjustable for 16mm; 35mm/828 Bantum/126 Instamatic; 127mm and 120/620 rolls too. The tank was black plastic; the stir paddle "deal" a clear/white thermometer too. Failure modes were light leaks with dropped tanks; or a not fully dry plastic reel. I say one in thrift store a few years back for 1.50; and it was gone/bought by another a few minutes later. My old one was mostly used later for oddball 127mm and 16mm stuff; and had alot of JB weld to stop light leaks!
  22. Talk about nostagia. I have a couple of those old GAF tanks lying around here. Just for fun, I tried loading one with a strip of 35mm film that I use for fix time clearing tests. It performed as I'd expected. It jammed. I could not, in good conscience, pass these along to anyone because they are such crap. They would only frustrate the hell out of the new owner, so I just keep them on the shelf as a little bit of history. This never happens with the Paterson and similar nylon reels, and I've put far more than 100 rolls each through the dozen or so that I have.
  23. OK tonight was my first try doing it the correct way. Still had a little trouble and had to unwind and re-spool the roll several times but it finally spiraled fairly nicely after about 10 minutes. No stuck together parts and no scratched up kinked up negs as far as I could tell as I hung it up to dry. I'm sure with a little more practice it'll be as easy as the 120 rolls.
  24. Frank;thats interesting. here in the early 1960's we had three Yankee tanks what loaded "reel;)" easy; and I never had any issues with them in several 200's of rolls of films. We deburred the spiral grooves on one of the later ones; maybe the molds wore out! on later production. We use to cut the corners a tad with sissors
  25. The first Yankee self feeding reel I saw was the one my brother got at the photo dept at Marshall Fields in Chigao about 1959; it might have been just a Yankee reel trhen; not a Yankee gaf unit
  26. I think at some point the Hewes reels were marketed under the name King Concepts, but last time I bought one it was probably in 2003 so things may have changed since then.
  27. "In the meantime does anyone have a clue as to where I can pick one up (preferably in LA)?"
    I have one if you are interested in.

Share This Page