Any tips on refurbishing a Deardorff 5x7 back?? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all,

I have just purchased an 8x10 to 5x7 Deardorff back and, although the wood is in nice shape, a few of the screw holes are stripped, and a few screws are missing. Is there any particular wood filler that will work best? Also, it looks as if the wood was coated with some kind of clear sealer at one time which is starting to peel off in a few spots... Would 4 ought steel wool be okay to use for this? (I'm a bit of a "tyro" when it comes to woodworking, as you can all tell.)

Last but not least, has anyone here ever heard of George Miller,INC?? This name was stamped into the wood on one side of this back, then it looks like it was partially sanded off and refinished.

Anyway, and tips and advice will be most appreciated!


-- Mark Minard (, February 27, 2001


Hi Mark -

Instead of wood filler, try gluing small slivers of wood into the stripped holes. That works better, in my experience.

Good luck - Kevin

-- Kevin Bourque (, February 27, 2001.

How you treat the wood depends on whether you are looking at restoration or refinishing. They are not the same. Take a look at a product called Quik Wood, which is available in a 2 ounce tube for about $7-9 or so. It is tan in color and once dry can be sanded, drilled or machined as well as stained or painted. It has a working time of about 10 minutes & then hardens in about an hour. It is best to leave it in a normal warm room overnight before working with it so it will cure well. It fills nail & screw holes well and should hold the screws well once you get to reworking them. Get brass screws if you can to match what was in there before. The clear sealer is most likely a lacquer or varnish used by the factory. You can sand it or use a chemical remover. If your woodworking skills aren't the best, look at an overall chemical removal and then hand rubbed finishing to get it smooth & clean. Then consider a tung oil finish, which is hand rubbed on as well. If you are trying RESTORATION, don't tung oil it but contact Ken Hough for information on the lacquer originally used and try to get as close to it as possible. With todays finishing choices you can get the original look with modern materials that should outlast the original.

-- Dan Smith (, February 27, 2001.

Thanks Kevin - that article you wrote on your experience refinishing the B&J is a classic!!

I'm not really interested in restoration, I just want to get the back in good working order... I'll try the Quik Wood - thanks Dan.

Now for the ground glass... I'll probably go with the Boss.


-- Mark Minard (, February 28, 2001.

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