Film Holder Hinge Tape

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I've just gotten into LF over the last year. Overall I am enjoying the experience immensely, and even the technical challenges are just that, challenges rather than deterents.

I have five old wooden 4x5 film holders. In general, they work well, but the hinge tape is loose on most of them, and light leaks along the bottom edge of my film is, I suspect, being caused by hinge tape that doesn't stick to the holder parts. Is there a specific hinge tape that I need to buy to replace the old tape? I asked several local camera stores and was told to use duct tape. Will it work just as well?

And while I have your attention , all of my reading says that wooden and plastic film holders are pretty much interchangeable, and that neither has a distinct advantage. I took my setup on a camping trip to the Smokies last summer, and it rained the entire time I was there. The wooden holders swelled and were difficult to open and close, but I'm guessing that plastic holders would not suffer from this problem. Are there any downsides to using plastic holders that I need to know about?

Thanks David

-- David Gardner (dgardner@msxi.com), January 10, 2001

Answers

I had the same problem with some old 5x7 holders a while back. The original tape looks like what a bookbinder would use on the spines of old books. Not being able to find any (I didnít look too hard), I resorted to duct tape and contact cement.

I cut the tape to size, placed contact cement on the holder, and the tape, let it dry, then CAREFULLY placed the tape on. Make sure to ONLY put the cement on surfaces where the tape touches, and to open and close the hinges a few times BEFORE the cement dries completely. After more than a year, these holders are still performing just fine.

-- sheldon hambrick (sheldon_hambrick@hotmail.com), January 10, 2001.


I don't know about wooden holders, but on my plastic ones I use black electrical tape. Load them with 4x5 print paper...lay then out in the sun awhile, then develope...if the paper is still white..no leaks!

-- Don Sparks (Harleyman7@aol.com), January 10, 2001.

I posed a similar question with regard to tape for 4X5 plastic holders a while back. I ended up using Gaffer's tape at about $8.00 a roll from Adorama. It worked well over the summer. I put the new tape on wax paper for cutting, and used the old tape as a template. There is another reference in the Archives that refers to an "official" tape from Fidelity that can be ordered from on the Calumet website. This may be even better. I would be careful using duct tape or electrical tape, as these may get gooey around the edges in hot weather and get gunk on other stuff.

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), January 10, 2001.

How about checking out upholsterers for the fabric tapes or remnants I am sure they have

-- David Stein (DFStein@aol.com), January 10, 2001.

If cost isn't an issue, then dump the wooden holders and get plastic ones, you won't regret it. Wooden holders rarely have an accurate or consistent film-plane distance.
I'm all for using older equipment when there's no advantage in the modern replacement, but IMHO wooden holders have had their day.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), January 11, 2001.


Various widths of book tape are available from Gaylord Archival in New York. They have a web page, too. It is listed under the Archival section. I use it for books, but have not needed it yet for film holders. I have used a metal foil tape, very flexible, on holders. It can be found in some art stores, but I got some from an aircraft supply house. They use it to seal holes in firewalls. I think it is actually a reflector tape. It is also thin enough to put over the original fabric tape and still not protrude.

-- E.L. (elperdido65@hotmail.com), January 12, 2001.

I use a one inch wide black tape manufactured by Permacel. Calumet sells it.

-- John Boeckeler (boeck@midcoast.com), January 18, 2001.

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