Bellows material? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am trying to make a bellows for my 5x7, and am looking for recommendations on covering materials/liners from those who have actually built bellows before. I have made a first attempt using some light vinyl material obtained from a local fabric house, and lined it with a thin, black cotton. Aside from the fact that the folds are not precisely uniform, it does not look too bad. But the corner folds are not as crisp as I think they should be. I think that this is due to the thickness of the fabric.

Does anyone know of a source for the "bellows cloth" that Romney refers to in his texts? He claims that the liner material is black on one side, and white on the other. Also that the white side is coated with a sticky adhesive to facilitate the application of support ribs.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

-- Matt O. (, November 17, 2000


When I built my Tachihara copy 4x5 field camera, I was going to use vinyl, but an aquaintance was an apolsterer, and had just got conections to get Kangaroo leather. I bought a hyde, and it worked well. A soft, floppy,rather thin leather, once I have beaten all the folds in carefully with a wooden mallet, it has held it's shape very well. Actually, it has gotten better being press into bellows shape in the closed camera. You will need a rather large hyde for 5x7 bellows.

-- Mark Wrathall (, November 17, 2000.

Matt, The material I used is 3 ply reinforced Neoprene. I think it is normally intended for gaskets but makes for a virtually indestructible bellows. I got it from a company called: Reeves International in Spartanburg, SC. The gentleman I dealt with was: (6 years ago) Steve Brockman and his phone number, at that time, was 803-595-2221.

If you are interested, you can view the finished product on my modest website:

The neat thing about bellows is that they don't have to look pretty to be totally effective.

Hope this helps, bw

-- Bruce Wehman (, November 17, 2000.

Hi Matt, I used a nylon backed with PVC. I found it in a fabric shop. It's whatever color the nylon is on one side, and the other side is a gray rubber. I think it came in black, green, and red. It is a pretty thin material. The finished product was light weight and light tight. Best, David

-- david clark (, November 17, 2000.

Try a Book bindery or book binding suppliers. The covering materials for hand-bound books have the ideal charateristics. You might even find the right grade of genuine leather. Red is nice!

-- Pete Andrews (, November 20, 2000.

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