Making a Bellows : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm looking for info on making a bellows. I've seen Doug's page (from Ontario, his last name escapes me) which is very helpful but I'm looking for more insight before I jump into this project. Any help, links, articles would be great.


Jeff Rivera Blue Jay, CA

-- Jeff Rivera (, January 26, 1998


Not long ago, View Camera magazine had an illustrated article on the subject. Sorry, I don't remember the month offhand.

-- Rob Rothman (, January 27, 1998.

Jeff, Rob Rothman was correct, View Camera Magazine did print a how-to article on bellows making. It was in the July/Aug 1996 issue. If you cant find a copy at your local library, you can down load the article from the magazine for a fee. I used this article to make my first bellows to replace the worn bellows on my 8x10. The article is fairly easy to understand, but you might have to interpolate a little, as I did. It is worth looking at. My first bellows took me about a week of evenings to finish, it was well worth it! Let me know if you need help, or get stuck


-- britt leckman (, January 27, 1998.

There is a guy in Marin County, just across the bridge north of San Fransisco who sells shutter and bellows material. I cannot think of his name, but I think I originally saw it in Shutterbug. He also sold a book on bellows making. As I remember it is rather expensive, like $30 or so. Maybe someone else will read this and remember his name.

-- Mick Ridout (, February 02, 1998.

I've read and studied Doug's page (from northern ontario) and it was very helpful. In fact, I made a bellows last week for a 4x5 I'm constructing. the finished product, although not in use yet, looks quite good and I'm betting it will last a long time. I used Doug's basic process (with great thanks to him :) ), with paper and bristol board, but added a cloth liner inside and 3 coats of rubberized black paint to the outside. The material ends up a little heavier than commercially constructed bellows, but is just as good. I would suggest you start with a rubberized cloth as your skin (with bristol board for ribbing) and a matt black liner. The rubberized paint for the outside will ensure lightproofing and increase durability. Hope that helps, if you want any more info, please contact me.


-- Stewart Churchill (, April 30, 1998.

I made bellows for a 4x5 camera using the light-tight paper wrapping used to protect Kodak enlarging paper. The 'paper' is a sandwich of thin metallic plastic between black and white paper. (The bellows, in fact are shown in the article on Cibachrome photography, Petersen's PhotoGraphic, February, 1980, and as of today, 18 years after making them, they are still working fine!) I put the white side out (to reduce absorbing heat from sunlight) and the black side in. The only question is: does Kodak still make that great wrapping paper? If not, plastic wrapping might be okay if it has a matte finish. (I have made hexagonal lens shade bellows of plastic paper, which is great stuff since it is so thin.) Good luck.

-- Rod Lamkey (, July 12, 1998.

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