Lubricating Camera Parts : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hey folks,

While on the topic of Tachihara, I was wondering if anyone had some advice on cleaning/lubricating the focusing rod/mechanism. I just got back from SW Utah, and I think the camera was exposed to an inordinate amount of dust. I believe this (aside from complicating film-management issues!) has contributed to increased friction and drag when turning the front focus knob. It used to be so nice and smooth. Is this a job for a pro, or is there a good quick fix? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!


-- Chris Jordan (, May 22, 2001


On my Wista DX I use a soft brush (worn tooth brush) to clean sand and dirt out of the teeth on the rack and around the focusing rod. I then rub some candle wax over these and run the focus mechanism until the wax is smoothed out.

-- Richard Ross (, May 22, 2001.


You also need to remove any dust that might have collected in the grooves the focusing bed slides along. I just rack the bed all the way out and use a Q-tip to clean out the grooves on both sides.

-- Ken Burns (, May 22, 2001.

i have alwasy used WD40 on a cloth to just wipe things down, and then wipe off any residue with a clean cotton cloth. however, a young lady posted on here a few months back on this same topic, and recommended using a dry silicon lubricant, which is non-oil based, and that seemed like a good idea. i'm just too old and set in my ways to change now :-)

-- jnorman (, May 23, 2001.

I use a silicone lubricant that is designed for bicycles. It's clear and doesn't leave a heavy residue. The only problem is that it's an aerosol, so I spray it in a teacup and then use a dropper to apply it to the rails, gears, etc.

From my experience with WD40, it works well, but tends to turn black after a while.

-- Rich Lingg (, May 24, 2001.

I am not sure if this applies... what would one use to lube film holders?

or is this a difference topic?

-- Pete Gregar (, May 24, 2001.

Chris: Linhof recommends not using oil but pure vaseline.

-- Julio Fernandez (, May 24, 2001.

And to prove that it is not critical, Andreas Feiniger in one of his books reported that he lubicated the tracks on his Deardorf with his wife's lipstick on an assignment in the Southwest :-)

-- John Lehman (, May 28, 2001.

Buck Knives makes a White Lightning Wax Lubricant for cleaning & maintenance of Buck folding knives and multi purpose tools. It works well for lubricating camera parts. It dries and forms "a dry, low friction film that seals out dirt, grit and moisture", and "makes opening and closing your knife smoother than ever". It works well on a view camera and lasts quite a long time also.

-- Dan Smith (, May 28, 2001.

Way back when we ol' fools used Speed Graphics for everything, every photographer I knew kept a tube of Chapstick in his camera case. It works good as a lubricant for rails. Make sure you use a lubricant that won't seep into the wood on the Tachihara. It will darken the wood if oil or grease seeps into it. I would use a wax or wax based product near the wood. I can't comment on how the silicone would affect the wood.


-- Doug Paramore (, May 29, 2001.

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