barrel lenses, flanges, DIY lense board : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have a Speed Graphic that came with a barrel-mounted Wollensack Apochromatic Raptar (10.25"). I knew nothing about LF cameras at the time (and still know only a little) but have figured out that the lens was not mounted properly on the board, and that the flange should be screwed to the (outside?) of the board, and the lens threaded on to the flange, rather than just loosedly screwed together with the board between them.

Just to make this question more complicated, I also have access to a Calumet 400 monorail with no lensboard that I would like to try with this lens. I would like to know:

1) should I drill holes into the Speed Graphic board (I'd rather not) to mount this lense, or is there a better way?

2) does the flange really get screwed to the front/outside of the lens board?

3) does anyone have any advice about making my own lensboards for the Calumet that I can mount this lens on?

My budget is low, my interest is high. Any help people can give would be greatly appreciated.


-- Stephen Gregory (, July 21, 2000


The graphic board has a light baffle lip in it. I don't know about the other but it might be a simple sheet. If the other is a simple bord then a piece of aluminum will work fine. You can buy a used graflex board cheep -- try Equinox or one of the other places. Also, a 2x3,3x4 and 4x5 graphics boards are diffent sizes so ask for mesurments becuase I'm sure they change with vintage too.

Also, if the present lens is monted light tight, and paralell, why bother changing it? You can adjust the stops on the rail if it is out for the range finder. I wouldn't mess with it if it works -- is it just an aesthetic thing that bugs you, or does it really matter? Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (, July 21, 2000.

Steven: I agree with Dean. If it works o.k., I would leave it as it is. The lens you have is a process lens, and was intended to mount with the flange in front of the lens. The flange was attached to the lensboard with screws. As you stated, that pretty much screws up the lensboard for other uses. I have built lensboards out aluminum, fiberboard, and the thin plywood you can get at model airplane shops. The thin plywood works great. It is about five layers, appears to be maple, and is very strong. If you need an inner lip to block light, cut another board that will fit inside the opening and glue the two pieces together. Hope this helps.

-- Doug Paramore (, July 21, 2000.

Lensboards for the Calumet are still available from Calumet, blank or predrilled. The Calumet board is just a square piece of aluminum.

-- John Hicks (, July 21, 2000.

Hmm. The big problem is that the current arrangement is not light tight. I thought of putting some kind of a shim but maybe will try making a lensboard for the Calumet instead. I've looked around for 1/ 16" plywood and aluminum with little success so far, and contemplated using framing mat board. It seems a bit flimsy, but the lense is not that heavy...

Thanks for all your help.

-- Stephen Gregory (, July 22, 2000.

1/16" thick plywood is way too thin. The lensboard will be too loose and will flop around and probably leak light. I have a Calumet 400 and make my lensboards out of 1/8 or 5/32 thick model aircraft grade plywood. I purchase mine at a local hardware store for about $2.00 for a 6" x 12" sheet. That's enough to make 2 boards.

-- John Randall (, July 22, 2000.

How about some tempered masonite. It's available at almost any lumber yard. I'm willing to bet they will sell you a scrap for a buck or less.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, July 22, 2000.

I once made a "step edged" lens board by pasting two pieces of black matt board together. I us it rarely, but 25 yrs latter it is still serviceable. It's small (for a 2 1/4 x 3 1/4) Graphic, so bending has not been a problem. Card board is real easy to work, and super cheap - but don't get it wet!


-- Stan Goldstein (, July 23, 2000.

I've made boards from flat alum stock, about 1/16 thick. Glue strips of black felt along the edges to make up for the thickness and provide a light seal.

-- Bill Moore (, July 24, 2000.

About two years ago, on this website, I was given the following name to get lensboards for an old Calumet Woodfield camera. The persons name is Albert Bowker. He makes lensboards for ANY camera out of ABS plastic, which is indestructable and will not warp, as long as he has a sample lensboard and the retaining ring or is told the shutter your lens is using, as long as it is common (i.e. Copal #1, #2 or #3). The way to contact Al is either by phone at 303.650.1984 or write him at: Albert Bowker 4260 Shaw Blvd. Westminster, CO 80030

I would call him before I send anything. He does great work. The catch is he only charge $15 per lensboard with mounting hole. He does not have a fax or a website. I hope this helps. I would like to give him all the work he can handle. He did me a great favor for me. He also makes lensboards for enlargers.


-- Louis Hirsch (, August 22, 2000.

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