[Alt-photo] Re: bellows

Robert K Newcomb newcombr at uga.edu
Fri Nov 8 20:09:06 UTC 2013

The bellows company in England is now called Custom Bellows.  They make really nice bellows.  One can find them by searching on the web.  I have used both them and Turner several times.  Turner is good for slightly larger cameras since the bellows cloth is not as thin.

On Nov 8, 2013, at 3:04 PM, Richard Knoppow wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert K Newcomb <newcombr at uga.edu<mailto:newcombr at uga.edu>>
Sent: Nov 8, 2013 11:53 AM
To: "<alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org<mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>>" <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org<mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>>
Subject: [Alt-photo] Re: bellows

The leather conditioner called Lexol should work.  Lexol is a brand name and neatsfoot oil is the type of oil in it.   It is a conditioner not something that makes leather just look shiny.  Let it soak in for a day and then wipe/buff.  Repeat as desired.  It will darken the material for a while but eventually lighten back up.
If the bellows need to be replaced, Turner Bellows in Rochester New York will do a good job for less money then some other places.

On Nov 8, 2013, at 2:32 PM, jusdado wrote:

Hello everyone
I am restoring a 1880 camera about and need to know how I can soften the bellows (almond oil, baby oil, paraffin). Today I start building my holder film wood and then start my tests collodion. Tomorrow I will put links to pictures of the restoration process.

    Lexol is a good brand of conditioner but be careful of how much is applied.  Its better to put on a little at a time and let it soak in for quite some time, a couple of days perhaps.  One problem is that the oil can soak through to the paper stiffeners and cause them to disintegrate.  Also beware that if the leather has begun to rot nothing will restore it.  The tendency is for old bellows to develop pin-holes as it is stressed.  I can almost guarantee that if the camera is to be useable it will need new bellows.  BTW, I am glad to hear that Turner is still in business.  Not so long ago I had a list of at least half a dozen bellows makers, most of them are gone now.  There was an outfit in England called I think English Bellows, which was the only company who would make bellows of genuine leather.  For practical purposes synthetics are better and will last forever, but they don't look the same.
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