Part III – Clean them bones

And here we go . . .

Main camera rail wood parts cleaned & stripped

Main camera rail wood parts cleaned & stripped

Ok not the depth I wanted to go but sometimes it just pays to give it due diligence up front, otherwise, you get bit in the end!  . . . . The joints of the main rail were all loose so I needed to stabilize this part of the camera as it is the backbone to the whole rig.  After evaluating the parts I found there were some areas that needed some major attention in order to have a good functioning camera.   Here is a list so far of parts that need attention . . .

  • main rail – loose joints – repair
  • Main block – cracked rail guide strip – repair
  • overall cleaning of dirt and brass
  • cosmetic dings and such to be left
  • color mismatch of the rail, F/R standards and focus screen frame

So like I said “and here we go” . . .

The most glaring problem . . . . the main camera focusing rail.   Once I stripped the finish (the stripper finished loosening the hide glue of the joints and the remaining thing was to pull the track nails at which point the rail came apart.  After all has dried overnight I will be reassembling (with modern Titebond hide glue) which is what they used back then.  I will turn my attention to the main block tomorrow.  once everything is dry the parts will get a stain which I believe will match the front and rear standards (I have high hopes as I do not wish to fully strip, stain and finish the entire camera.  I am just doing some preventative maintenance to ensure trouble free operation as much as possible.  Remember this is a working camera.  I will polish the brass as long as it’s off the parts, most other brass will get a good buffing.

The following are detail shots of the rail and various parts.  I will shoot the assembly staining and finishing in another post.


rail lock mechanism



Lock Mechanism



Joint detail, these suckers were tight



track pinned with nail



Detail showing the pin (tiny finishing nail) and you can see it was into the next finger of the cross member.

There are marks and dents in the wood, to me it is the character of the rail, I will be bringing those scars from its long life with each piece . . . to me it adds to the cameras final beauty.  Well I need to make a run by the hardware store . . . and the grocery store (cooking for my special lady tomorrow it’s Valentines Day) . . . WHAT! you don’t think this comes before her do you?  No way . . . .  more cleaning and repairs in a later post.

So, what you waiting for? get off yer Butt and go make a picture!



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