Asanuma project camera – bellows installed, FINISHED!

After what seemed like forever, the tracking info updated on the bellows coming from Wales this morning. I rushed the kids to school and rushed home, knowing that they’d require a signature for delivery. I met the mail lady as she reached our driveway. And, she dropped off the new bellows.

They came out of the package in perfect shape. I let them warm up to room temperature before stretching them out and trying them for a dry fit. The back fit the standard perfectly; the front needed a little trimming to fit the standard. Easily done with a sharp pair of scissors. I applied a coat of Pliobond contact cement to the wood in the front and rear standards, and the mating fabric in the bellows. This first coat is allowed to dry. Then, a second coat goes on the wood, and the bellows are pressed into place. Some alignment is possible before the glue tacks up; I hold everything together with spring clamps. The bottle states that the glue sets completely after 15 minutes; I leave things clamped for about an hour, but won’t stress the glue joints for 24 hours.

That doesn’t mean I can’t gaze approvingly at it, though:
Asanuma, bellows installed.

Asanuma, finished.

I really think it’s beautiful. Sandeha did a superlative job on the bellows, again. They’re the perfect shine to finish this project off.

Now, I will shoot a couple sheets with this today. I have the Sironar-N 210/5.6 mounted, and will shoot the kids wide open in order to gauge the accuracy of the positioning of the ground glass relative to the plane of the film. I’ll play with it more tomorrow, too. But for now, all the work is finished!


Seneca View 8×10 – sourcing a gear rack *UPDATE*

A special box arrived on the doorstep today. Containing the parts from an old Seneca Improved 5×7, it had two gear racks included which, on inspection and testing, proved compatible with the ones on the Seneca View 8×10! We’re in business! The generous seller included what amounts to about 90% of a complete camera – plenty of parts to keep me in projects for a while. To wit: The Competitor 5×7 is giving up the ghost. While there’s no compatible part to repair what ails it, there is the complete woodwork for a new 5×7 back. I’ll likely use the ground glass frame, the most demanding part to make, and assemble a new 5×7 back for the Seneca View. You know – in all my spare time.

I’ve already trolled the woodpile and found what looks like a suitable 8/4 board of seasoned cherry to make the new rail from. Will look wonderful and be plenty strong. There’s quite a bit of engineering to do on the new rail, and some hardware to be sourced at Ace (or Lee Valley), but the hardest part of this project – the gear rack – is tucked safely away in the spare bedroom, just waiting its turn…

Asanuma project camera – bellows update *With Photos!*

I received some photos from Sandeha today, and I’m excited to post them now:



In that second photo, you can see one of Sandeha’s 6×6 bellows for comparison. They look spectacular, and are going to shine on the Asanuma! He’s hoping to post them Monday; with any good grace I may have them by the end of the week. I’ll be heading out for Pliobond forthwith.

As an outlet for my anticipatory glee today, I milled a lensboard for my 210/5.6 Sironar-N MC. Made from some very aged cherry, it turns out the small little boards are fairly straight-forward to make. If thicknessed appropriately (right around 3/16″ thick), there’s no light trap rebate necessary. Drilled a countersink on the back, lacquered it, and mounted the lens. I’ll add photos soon…

Here’s the camera with newly-minted cherry lensboard and Sironar-N MC attached:

Picture it with the above bellows. Sweeeeet

Asanuma project camera – “The hardest part…”

Tom Petty bemoaned the waiting. I’m right there.


So sits the nekkid Asanuma, with the 4×5 insert in place. Sandeha is working on the bellows, and sounds like they’re moving forward swimmingly. I can’t wait to see the bright red fabric against this old beauty. And finally get to take it out in the field – I’m going straight to the lil’ waterfall down the road when it’s done. But the waiting is killing me!

Honestly, the turn around on this is beyond reasonable, bordering on downright speedy. But my motto’s always been that instant gratification isn’t fast enough. So I sit, staring at the nekkid camera, imagining the bellows in place. Sandhea is sending progress pictures when he’s into assembly mode; I can’t wait!