Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

When medium format isn't big enough: 4x5, 5x7, 9x12, 8x10 and even larger.
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Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by scott » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:15 am

Hi All -

Haven't posted in - wow - quite some time. Kids are (largely) out of the house now, so I really have no excuses other than spending time with my wife. I'm between jobs now (for another week or so) and got a wild hair to organize the garage. Over the last couple years I finished a winemaking certificate program at Penn State, and the garage, in desperate need to cleaning, was destined to become winemaking space. So:

ImageGarage redux... by Scott, on Flickr

ImageMore garage redux... by Scott, on Flickr

Part of the cleaning required clearing the benches, one of which was occupied with the Seneca Improved View V.4 8x10 I picked up - geez - two years ago? Can't be that long. There were a lot of pieces in Chinese food containers. Rather than scatter all those tiny bits and never be able to complete the camera, I reassembled what I had:

ImageSeneca Improved View V.4 8x10 by Scott, on Flickr

ImageSeneca Improved View V.4 8x10 by Scott, on Flickr

The bellows are mostly taped - I have two folds left to cover. They're hideous, but so is the camera. It's a hodge-podge of mismatched hardware, a back that was cobbled together, and is still missing the lensboard retainers. But it's solid, and everything works. I even found the missing lapidary grit needed to grind the glass I bought in 2018, so that will happen this week. It's still a longer term project - I have no film, and only one or two lenses that cover at this point - but we were in Florida recently and seeing the Clyde Butcher stuff there was inspiring as far as large format goes. And working on these cameras has always been fun.

Thanks for looking,
Scott

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by Julio1fer » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:58 pm

That is some impressive work in the garage, Scott. Now I understand why you were not posting much lately!

Hope that you can finish that Seneca soon, and that there is still room for LF development along winemaking.

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by Brazile » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:34 am

Saw these on Flickr, Scott, and wondered how the winemaking and regular shop work will coexist; I hope they will...?

I went the lapidary route on the ground glass for my cardboard-and-wood 11x14 and it went faster than I expected, so let that be an encouragement to you to plow ahead. As for film: why not try x-ray to get going? If you want something pretty close to the normal film experience (anti-halation single-sided coating) the Carestream B/RA stuff from zzmedical is a nice intermediate step between cheapest (double-sided x-ray, easy to scratch) and best (normal 8x10 film).

Or, of course, you can add another hobby and pour your own 8x10 plates. Let me know if you lose your mind and want to travel that path, I can help with that. :-)

Robert

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by scott » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:18 am

Thanks guys. I'm excited to get this done.

Robert, the bulk of my woodworking moving forward is going to be small project, largely handtool stuff. One of the benches will be dedicated to storing active fermentations and bulk aging (at least in winter) and the other will be bottling. It will also be where the hand tool stuff goes on. Truth be told, I'd get rid of most of it now if not for the possibility of the occasional project with my daughter,

Ground glass: I agree - faster than one would expect. I've lost count how many I've made now. Always enjoy the process and almost always end up with something nicer than I've ever seen commercially, including Satin Snows. And for the mammography film, last time I went through the 8x10 cycle I was shooting exclusively B/RA. I think I was developing in Adonal, which gave horrible reciprocity failure, but hitting the exposure normally wasn't bad. Not sure if I'll do that again or just bite the bullet for Arista (which also has gross reciprocity). I have a ton of HC-110, maybe that'll make a difference...

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by Brazile » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:16 pm

I think it's just hard to get out of B/RA's toe. I've only ever used D-76 with it, and saw the same behavior. But try the HC-110...you never know!

Don't give up on the woodworking. I've seen too many folks unload everything and then a few years down the line have to reacquire it at higher cost. Just get efficient in how it's stored... :-)

Robert

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by scott » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:55 pm

I think you're right about the B/RA, Robert. I had some good results with it, but tried shooting my bench once. About a dozen sheets of B/RA later and still couldn't pull any detail out of the shadows. One of the reasons I started shooting more digital. Still, it's cheaper and really good in the right situations.

I cleaned the body today with several wipings of mineral spirits and finished taping and installed the bellows:
ImageSeneca progress by Scott, on Flickr

ImageSeneca progress by Scott, on Flickr

That's about full draw with this bellows. I hated the look when I got the camera, but it's starting to grow on me. There's no polishing the hardware, so this is about as good as it's ever going to look. It's a late Improved View, not nearly as detailed and graceful as the early ones. Still, robust as hell and should be serviceable.

I found an old three piece lensboard in the basement that, trimmed, would fit this. Took it to the table saw, flicked the switch, the blade twitched about a quarter inch, then nada. I pulled the switch and the "sealed" box was completely packed with sawdust. It's a DPST switch, I only have a SPST one spare. So I'm out a table saw for the time being. Hopefully it's only the switch, or my hand sawing skills are going to need to improve. Took the board to the bandsaw and it blew apart. Ah, well - looks like plywood it is for now...

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by Brazile » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:28 am

Yeah, all mine are plywood; I haven't even bothered with the breadboard style. Figured I'd do so sometime, but when the plywood works perfectly adequately, well, I've just got on with it.

Hand sawing skills are not only useful, they're pretty easy to come by...just do it more! I don't own a tablesaw, and don't expect I ever will. In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a small circular saw that I use for breaking down large sheets of plywood, and not much else. But for something the size of a lens board, a hand saw is quicker, quieter, safer, and just as accurate with a bit of care. And marking the line first with a knife and following the cut with a couple swipes with a plane gets the edge as nice as I need. Highly recommended!

But I digress: that camera looks like it means business, is all. Looks a lot like the 5x7 version I picked up off of the LFPF a few years ago, which has probably been my most-used camera in the past couple years. The light is coming back, and you're an (almost, sorta) empty-nester. Do some shooting with it!

Robert

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by scott » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:27 pm

I used to be more demanding on these sorts of things. And had more time. I made a stack of three piece boards for my first Improved. Was fun, but not nearly worth the hassle now.

I only have a few dovetail saws. Looks like I need to start trolling eBay!

In the end, I decided against the stock fixed retainer arrangement on the Improved, opting for the much more forgiving (as far as making lensboards goes) strip and rotating tabs:

ImageThere. by Scott, on Flickr

I might file some curves on the brass at some point, but for now utilitarian works. All that's left is drill the board and grind the glass. I forgot how much fun this stuff is.

Think that's it for today - I've got stuff to do.

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by scott » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:31 pm

Okay, can't put things down apparently:

ImageWray Lustrar mounted! by Scott, on Flickr

I actually still had the drilling jig in the same place, but setting the circle cutter just right was a bear. The threads on the Wray Lustrar are fine and not very pitched. Not a lot of meat to cut with. Took about a dozen setups in plywood to get it right, but it's solid.

The Lustrar is a process lens, I think it's about 18" if I recall. Has a nice chunk out of the front element that seems to have no effect on images. It's a honkin' lens, that was gifted me years ago by a certain retired pirate. It will be the standard lens on this camera, as the only other lens I have that remotely covers is a 210 Sironar-N that's WAY wide on 8x10.

Ground glass tomorrow, need to wax the holders (I think I have 7 of them somehow), then decide on B/RA or Arista. Woot!

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Re: Garage rehab and the 8x10 project cam, back to life...

Post by Brazile » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:56 pm

Now yer talking! I hate circle cutters, but (obviously) they can be made to work, and I have always been able to. But it's never any fun. Sometimes I just drill a hole somewhere inside the circle, go around with a coping saw, and half-round file it to where it works. It's not much more fun, though.

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