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03-27-2011, 10:15 PM   #1
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Stacking filters...stuck.

Hey guys,

So I went out and did some long exposures today, a 10stop ND + a polarizer of about 2 stops or so (not that that's really relevant I guess). And in the process of stacking....eventually, they got stuck together; the polarizer is currently screwed into the ND, and I can't for the life of me separate them. The part of the polarizer that spins prevents me from getting a good grip on it...

Any ideas? Thanks!

03-27-2011, 11:12 PM   #2
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Use some latex gloves and put the filters in the freezer. It should do the job!
03-27-2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Take a piece of cloth and put it on the heating, when it is warm-to-heat put is over and around the mount of the ND filter only, not the polarizer! Due to the warming up, the metal filter mount will expand a little so the polarizer will loosen a little easier. Yes, this will be not easy to do, but trial and error will help...
Always grip the filter on as much places as you can, for instance use all you fingers so the pressure on the (thin-) metal mount will be divided and it will not deform it. If the pressure is not equally divided over the filter mount, instead of being round it will pressed in to an oval and would not turn. An other way to do this is to put an old fashion lens cap over the filter mount, this divides the pressure too. If there is still not enough grip, put an elastic rubber band around the filter mount, I use a strip cut out of a bicycle inner tube...

In order to prevent filters to stick, one can put a tiny little bit of gun oil, like the very good Klever's Ballsitol, on the filter's mount, not on the lens. Wipe off any execs of that oil with a paper towel. This mineral oil is that fine it will go in to the surface structure of the metal screw thread and stay there, it will dry a little so dirt would not stick in it.
Never put oil on the sticking filters, it's to late anyway, and you will lose the grip on it...

Good luck!
03-27-2011, 11:50 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jaieger Quote
Hey guys,

And in the process of stacking....eventually, they got stuck together; the polarizer is currently screwed into the ND, and I can't for the life of me separate them. The part of the polarizer that spins prevents me from getting a good grip on it...
CPLs are fab aren't they but they can pose this unique problem.

1. Provided you have basic mechanical aptitude, filter wrenches can be a valuable accessory to keep around. (nb: I narrowed mine down by tapering the inner grip-ring to work better on slim CPLs)

7205 Adorama Filter Wrench. Set of 2. Fits 46-58mm Filters
7206 Adorama Filter Wrench for 67mm-77mm Filters, Package of 2

2. A quick and dirty alternative method is to use a piece of string or similar for an impromptu strap wrench. Just use the old principles of twist grip and leverage and remember that filters are right hand threads.

.R.


Last edited by Hypocorism; 03-27-2011 at 11:56 PM.
03-28-2011, 06:59 AM   #5
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Rubber bands work well as grip enhancers!
03-28-2011, 07:35 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I actually prefer to use graphite to lubricate my lens filter threads, Oil is prone to gathering dust and grit and and potentially make things worse. Graphite - possesses excellent anti-seize properties, just by getting a 2B~6B pencil the (softer the pencil is the greater the graphite content) and running it around filter threads leaves enough graphite to keep things running smoothly.

Last edited by Digitalis; 03-28-2011 at 07:43 AM.
03-28-2011, 09:02 AM   #7
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The rings that make up these filters are typically very flimsy, even if they don't feel that way. Sometimes, all that is required is a gentle touch. You Don't want to just grab and try to twist them off. The CPL does make this a little difficult though.

03-28-2011, 09:06 AM   #8
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+1 on graphite working well to prevent future episodes, same stuff can be used to lubricate locks, you definitely don't want oil over the long term it gums things up

03-28-2011, 12:19 PM   #9
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Thanks a ton for all your responses guys!

As it happens, the elastic band solution (which, funnily enough, was my mother's first reaction as well), worked first. Wrapping the band around the CPL did double duty; it not only gave me better grip, but it wrapped around the rotating part of the CPL so that it was essentially immobile, so I didn't have to be so picky about where I applied force.

Time to grab some old pencils, it looks like....
03-28-2011, 12:23 PM   #10
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you can get graphite powder at the hardware store as well, cheap and like i said can lubricate sticky locks
03-28-2011, 10:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I actually prefer to use graphite to lubricate my lens filter threads, Oil is prone to gathering dust and grit and and potentially make things worse. Graphite - possesses excellent anti-seize properties, just by getting a 2B~6B pencil the (softer the pencil is the greater the graphite content) and running it around filter threads leaves enough graphite to keep things running smoothly.
The right oil applied the right way (don't use a pencil!!!) is certainly no problem and it lasts for a long time (without black marks on your fingers).
I tried both and finally went for Ballistol for about 15 years now.
03-29-2011, 12:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by philippe Quote
The right oil applied the right way (don't use a pencil!!!) is certainly no problem and it lasts for a long time (without black marks on your fingers).
I stand by my use of graphite because I have used it for years (FYI I use a 6B pencil) only the harder grades of pencil contain large amounts of clay in them which can build up and become quite abrasive and should be avoided, but the softer grades 2B ~ 8B contain enough graphite that the clay content is a minor component. Graphite maintains it's lubricating and anti-seize properties at a wider range of temperatures than oils do, and graphite doesn't change viscosity with fluctuating temperatures the way oil is known to do.
03-29-2011, 02:09 AM   #13
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Some people advocate using wax (rubbing a candle against the thread). This stuff has worked well for me, I think it is a water emulsion of wax. Also works in other applications where grease usually does, but without the collecting dust and grit. The original purpose of the lubricant is preventing cases being stuck in reloading dies (metal-metal) so filter threads are kind of a logical application.

I suspect the problem is mostly with threads cut in aluminium which is a soft metal fast developing a surface of oxide. While this protects the metal from further oxidisation it is also hard (commonly used as abrasive) and the being coated with this on top of the softish metal is probably the cause of (aluminium) filter threads being prone to stick.
03-29-2011, 07:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I stand by my use of graphite because I have used it for years (FYI I use a 6B pencil) only the harder grades of pencil contain large amounts of clay in them which can build up and become quite abrasive and should be avoided, but the softer grades 2B ~ 8B contain enough graphite that the clay content is a minor component. Graphite maintains it's lubricating and anti-seize properties at a wider range of temperatures than oils do, and graphite doesn't change viscosity with fluctuating temperatures the way oil is known to do.
I was talking about applying oil with a pencil, not graphite that's a completely different material...
03-29-2011, 09:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by philippe Quote
I was talking about applying oil with a pencil
erm, who would be silly enough to do that? when I am oiling my musical instruments I use a Q-tip...
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