Seneca View 8×10 – Refinishing the ground glass frame

I tend to start at the back and move forward when working on these old wooden cameras.  Since the glass is ground, it’s time to turn to the back, starting with the ground glass frame.

This frame was ugly, but solid.  Like the rest of the camera, the brass needed cleaning, the finish was damaged in places and crazing in others.

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Stripped of hardware and removed from the back, the frame was ready for work.
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Now, I’m a big fan of lacquer. It’s easy to strip, easy to level, easy to spray, and is a good, sturdy finish. The damage to the finish on the frame was easy enough to fix: Scrub with 0000 steel wool soaked in lacquer thinner. Once the steel wool is saturated with the old lacquer, use new wool. Repeat a few times as necessary. This doesn’t remove all the old finish, nor does it need to. New applications of lacquer melt into the old ones, creating a single layer of finish. So, after wiping down the frame a few more times with paper toweling soaked in lacquer thinner, the frame’s ready for four sprayed coats of gloss lacquer.

The brass gets the usual treatment: An application of Flitz and buffing with a slow wheel on the Dremel. Once the old finish and tarnish have been removed, the brass is buffed with a soft cloth and sprayed with three coats of lacquer to retard future tarnishing.

The final result:
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Time to move the the back itself.

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