HOW TO CLEAN LF CAMERA METAL PARTS : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi. I need to clean up the hardware on a Deardorf. The movements all work, etc., but the nickle-plated-brass metal parts are variously dirty, with a few small areas of minor corrosion, and the inside of the big "U" frame that holds the front standard has a thin layer of rust. I can put a buffing wheel or something similar on my hand drill and buff, but what else? Are there any solvents, for example, that would be good? I don't want to get into any grinding (anything coarser than a buffing wheel), because the parts do work and I don't want to change their shapes. Any suggestions? I know this is just Elementary Shop Class. Humor me, as I don't mean any harm. Thanks. -jeff buckels (albuquerque)

-- Jeff Buckels (, June 04, 2001


I'd talk with Ken Hough and see what he suggests. He also has information on a web site about maintenance of Deardorff cameras. Unfortunately I don't have his phone number or the web site URL at hand. Possibly someone else can furnish them. If not, send me an e mail and I'll dig out the phone number. I spoke with him numerous times when I first bought my Deardorff and he was very nice and very helpful.

-- Brian Ellis (, June 04, 2001.

Here is the adress:


-- Martin Kapostas (, June 05, 2001.

Jeff: I have had good results using #0000 steel wool and a little soapy water. Rub gently and take your time. The steel wool is so fine it won't scratch metal unless you really bear down on it. A soft rag or Q-Tip moistened with alcohol or soapy water will work to remove grime.


-- Doug Paramore (, June 05, 2001.

I agree with Doug, alcohol works really well and if you have some film cleaner, even better because it puts down a light lube. I use it to clean my shutters also and it works great.

-- Scott Walton (, June 05, 2001.

For light corrosion, the product Nevr-Dull works well and is less likely to cause damage than more aggresive means like powered buffing or steel wool. I suggest using it first, than switching to a more aggresive approach only if needed. You can find it at good hardware stores and automotive stores. See

-- Michael Briggs (, June 05, 2001.

I'd test this first, but I've had good luck with a mildly abrasive metal polish called "Flitz" on other applications. I got it from a woodworking supplier (Bridge City Toolworks) a few years ago to polish brass on tools.

-- Keith Pitman (, June 05, 2001.

I followed Mr. Ellis' suggestion and spoke to Ken Hough about this. His advice was to use a worn-out scotch-brite pad and mineral oil. He said that almost any kind of metal cleaning product could harm the wood, whereas mineral oil would not and would actually strengthen the wood a bit. -jb

-- Jeff Buckels (, June 05, 2001.

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