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03-14-2017, 03:03 PM   #1
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bellows repair ...

My Pentax Auto Bellows K developed a tear in the paper bellows right at the end where the camera attaches. I was going to try a repair using electrical tape, but thought I'd check in with the PF members in case something else may be preferable. I don't use the bellows too often, mainly for snowflake pics, which I did today courtesy of winter storm "Stella" that's hitting the East coast of U.S. Lastly, can bellows be replaced ? are they still available ? Is it something a novice can do ? Just some thoughts for the future.

Thank you for your help.

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03-14-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Very little or no direct light will make it to the film/sensor from that opening - likely any light protection of that area would be adequate. Try it.

There are strong fabric tapes that would be much better than electrical tape which wouldn't work well there. Check with a seamstress or sewing materials shop.

An alternative would be to try contact glue properly applied to all surfaces of the affected "folds" and sacrifice one or two folds. You wouldn't notice the small reduction in length.

Bellows replacements are available for larger view cameras but probably not practicable for the 35mm units -- search on 'bellows replacement'.

Looks like thgat bellows may be very dry. You might try 'humidifying' it a bit in a container with a damp rag.

Last edited by pacerr; 03-14-2017 at 04:18 PM.
03-14-2017, 04:22 PM   #3
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A good "white" glue like Weldbond dries clear and will work. You have to give it a day to dry, without movement.
03-14-2017, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Use acid free adhesives. Book binding tape is a good alternative to adhesives as it will be acid free. Black RTV silicone sealant for holes in the corners.

03-14-2017, 10:32 PM   #5
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a quick short search, "How to repair a camera bellows", gave me this.

My bellows repair recipe and technique. | APUG.ORG


Camera Collecting and Restoration

Just three of a long list. Did not count them.
I suggest you do the same search.

Hope this helps.

03-15-2017, 04:00 AM   #6
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You have several options.

1>This can be patched with any black fabric material, glued with flexible adhesive, I personally would stay with natural fibres since synthetics may have a little shine to them, but you need to also paint the exterior with fabric paint, which is flexible and will seal all the little pin holes. This approach if you wish to do it well, may require undoing the screws that hold the thin metal plate that anchors the bellows to the cast aluminum frame, because your tear is in the first fold of the bellows

2> you can glue the last fold closed, (this is case specific to your case, due to the location, this can be done in place but limits the range of extension of the bellows,

3> if you have an infinite amount of patience get black construction paper and fold a new one. I made a replacement bellows for an enlarger, it is an excersize in planning and folding. I drew out the folding lines with a sharp 2H lead pencil to help crease the paper.
03-15-2017, 04:24 AM   #7
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Original Poster
Thank you all your the great suggestions. I'm glad I didn't just go ahead with the electricians tape. My plan is to get some fabric or book binding tape and then contact glue a fold or two for extra strength to the repaired area. PF members are the best - always great advice.

04-06-2017, 06:01 PM   #8
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zman, The company Turner Bellows will custom manufacture a new bellows for a price. Depending on the size they charge from $95 to $375. Shipping included. :^)
04-10-2017, 04:37 AM   #9
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speaking of book binding tape... I worked my way through university repairing books for the campus library. When you have a torn page, which is similar to the shown tear, the tool of choice is rubber cement. You lightly coat both edges. Keep them separated until the glue is nearly dry. Place a bit of waxed paper between the edges so you can carefully align everything. Don't press the edges to the paper - it is just to prevent the glued edges from touching prematurely. Once aligned, slide the paper out and let the edges touch - they will firmly bond. Use your finger to lightly rub both sides of the new joint and remove any extra cement.

I suggest taking a sheet of paper, making tears and use them for technique practice before tackling your bellows. You'll also get a feel for and confidence in the strength for this kind of repair.

And, being a belt and suspenders kind of guy, I might put a bit of the book binding tape on the exterior of the repair for added reinforcement.
04-10-2017, 05:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
the tool of choice is rubber cement
I recall a suggestion, from many years ago, in the UK publication Amateur Photographer, of using the rubber solution from a bicycle puncture repair outfit, mixed with a little lamp black, to cover pinholes in bellows.

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