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RB Series B questions

 
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grat



Joined: 17 Feb 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Gainesville, FL

PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:09 am    Post subject: RB Series B questions Reply with quote

I really need to stop buying old, interesting cameras.

For various reasons, I decided to purchase a RB Series B 3x4. It's in.... "fair" condition. Which means it needs some work before it'll start taking pictures.

So it's a 1932 (? SN # 178620) Graflex RB Series B 3.25x4.25, with the black 6 3/8 No. 32 lens, and a Suydam 120 film holder. Yes, I'm aware of the joys of a 3x4 Graflex back.

The camera was neglected, but not abused-- it's dirty, the lens was like looking through a fog bank, the focusing rack is stiff, the ground glass was a hazy shade of brown, the tension knob didn't like me, and the shutter curtain... well, apparently it hadn't been unrolled in the past 30 years. The leather is, by and large, complete and in good condition. There are a couple small tears that might need repairing, and the piece over the lens door is coming loose (it's pulled out from one of the rivets).

The lens cleaned up nicely, I got most of the gunk off the ground glass, and by carefully rocking it back and forth, and applying firm, but gentle pressure, I loosened up the curtain one slit at a time. It seems fully intact, although it's got some creases from where the apertures were rolled against the fabric-- but it does seem to work freely now, in all positions.

The tension setting was more persnickety-- whatever passed for lubrication has passed on, and is now more sediment than lubricant. It works, it releases, and it seems to increase tension, but it is stinkingly stiff, even with the curtain set to O.

Mirror operates smoothly, and isn't too nasty. I'll try cleaning it with a low-pressure blower I use for such things.

The questions...

1) Is the mirror front-silvered? How tricky is it to clean?
2) The ground glass appears to be held in by two clamps, each with 4 screws. If I just remove the screws from one bracket, can I remove the ground glass? Do I have to worry about getting it back in the exact right place, or will the screw holes serve as my guide?
3) The bellows is shot. I could make it light-tight, but it's in bad shape-- most corners are deteriorated and many edges are failing. Making it light tight would essentially be rebuilding the outside out of bookbinder's tape. Is there someone who makes bellows for the graflex specifically?
4) I've seen videos on dismantling the shutter mechanisms-- I don't want to pull the shutter if I don't have to, but I think I need to pull the tension mechanism at least, and clean / lube. Any tips?
5) Finally, the only thing that Does Not Work is the shutter release-- It trips the mirror with no problem, but nothing happens to the shutter. --- Never mind. "T" setting. *sigh*

I'll probably have other questions, but surely, that's enough irritation for now.

Thanks!
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William Hallett



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Graflexes have front surface mirrors, but not all. I have a 4x5 B Graflex of mid-1920's vintage, and it has a back surface mirror. You should be able to tell by looking at it once you get the ground glass out.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 4004
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. both front and rear surface mirrors were used over time. Saturate the mirror with windex and wipe gently with cotton balls.
2. Remove the view hood then remove the rear spring clamp. There is a single hole and a slot on each side with their own screws. Installation is slip the front of the gg into the spring clamp at the front then the rear aligning the rear with the original position.
3.paint the inside of the bellows with Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Artist paint #1040 Carbon Black diluted no more than 1:1 (with water) using a fine bristle artist brush (economy works fine) in several thin coats as necessary to achieve light tightness.
DO NOT use any type of tape on the exterior.
Bond rip stop nylon (black) to the interior of the bellows before painting to reinforce them using Pliobond 25 contact cement.
4.F the videos. Download https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1sPJkp-MdghRkRId1EwT0dpNkk/view?usp=sharing&resourcekey=0-JlLEG0Yi_nEVpc73579Mpw
Saturate the curtain rubberized side with Pledge in the yellow can, let sit 15 to 30 minutes, wipe off the excess while rubbing it into the curtain.

178620 - listed as a #6 circuit camera. Check the serial number.
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grat



Joined: 17 Feb 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Gainesville, FL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoopsie! 178020-- So I'm guessing that pushes it back a year to 1931, but that's an approximation.

Rest of the information is much appreciated.

Regarding the bellows, it's the outside that's in crummy condition-- it appears to be (mostly) light tight, but at least one edge is completely separated, and a couple of corners are badly deteriorated. While I'm certain it could be repaired, I've also spoken to Keith @ custombellows, and he believes he can make a replacement at... well, not a reasonable price, because I paid about the same for the camera as a new bellows would run, but a price I'm willing to pay to restore the camera to it's full function.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 4004
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

178020 - #12 in a 200 3 1/4x4 1/4 RB Series B camera listing entered on 7-1-1931.
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