Plans to build a wooden tripod for 4x5? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I was wondering if anyone had plans on how to build a wooden tripod? I would like to use one but cannot afford to buy a new one. I have found one web-site that I can buy plans from but, I would like to know if anyone else had some ideas for hand building one. Any help will be great.

Thanks, Tyler Wainright

-- Tyler Wainright (, August 16, 2001


I think your best bet would be to find someone in your area who had one that you like, and copy it.


-- Kevin Kolosky (, August 17, 2001.

Tyler: Check out Sears Industrial and Commercial tools catalog for surveyors tripods. They are very reasonable. The tripods are about the same or identical to some of the photography tripods and cost a lot less. The monster Zone VI "best damn tripod in the world" was nothing but a surveyor's tripod. Sears did carry a lighter version also. You might check with any industrial supply shop. At the prices for really good wood where I live, you wouldn't save much if any by building your own. Finding a head for the legs will be difficult and building one even more difficult.


-- Doug Paramore (, August 17, 2001.


I gort a used surveyor's tripod for $25 did 5 minutes work on it to fit a 1/4 in thread screw and presto- a Heavy Duty tripod for an 8x10 camera for 25.10 cents.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, August 17, 2001.

The following site sells tripod plans. It may be the site you noted in your post but Iíll pass it along anyway:

You should also look at SK Grimesí site which shows the handmade tripod made by Dick Streff. There are pictures of the tripod along with an e-mail address where you can contact Mr. Streff regarding his design:

I also second the comments above suggesting a wooden survey tripod. I purchased a heavy duty Chigago Steel Tape (CST) wooden tripod from the following site for about $128:

You will need to convert the tripod from 5/8-11 to 1/4-20 or 3/8 depending upon the head or quick relaese plate you want to mount.

I hope this helps.


-- Dave Willison (, August 17, 2001.

Good answers. The only point I would add is to simplify by firmly attaching the view camera to one of these modified survey tripods, use the legs and camera movements to do most of the work in getting where you want to be. Don't rely on ball heads or other flimsy intermediaries. There is a reason why we see view cameras more staticly attached in old photos and why there were much simpler "flip heads" with wide, stable bases. I don't have the address handy but there is a firm in New Jersey that sells new, solid, made in China, aluminum survey tripods for about $95. Since surveyors seem to be going to aluminum, survey suppliers in your area may have some wooden tripods available at reasonable prices

-- David Stein (, August 17, 2001.


I can agree with most of the above. I have the original wooden tripod for my 8 x 10 deardorff. It works well.

Still, even with a complete woodworking shop [which I have], I would only try to reproduce it for the challenge; not for use.


-- Art (AKarr90975, August 17, 2001.

Tyler, price is a major consideration of yours, if I understood you correctly. Well, as already mentioned, unless you have, or have access to a very well stocked wood working shop, and hand tools, you will probably kill your budget. Remember, cheap, inexpensive wood will not work for this type of application. In fact, when you factor in the cost of the wood -- species, grade, condition, and size -- that alone may put you in the red.

If you want ready made, look into an old Graflex, or Folmer/Graflex wood tripod, often seen on ebay. Infact, I have seen a few offered with an original tripod case.

Otherwise, the suggestions about surveyors tripods is spot on -- Structurally stable, dimensionally stable, rugged, new equipment, available manufacturers warrantee/guarantee, wide selection=manageable price range, relatively uncomplicated conversion to photographic use -- tou

-- Hailu Shack (, August 18, 2001.

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