Anyone Had any Dealings With AWB Enterprises? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm planning to have the metal parts on my Deardorff 8x10 camera replated by AWB Enterprises, operated by an individual named Alan W. Brubaker located in Wildomar, CA. Has anyone had any dealings with this organization/person and anything to report, good or bad? Thanks

-- Brian Ellis (, January 03, 2002


Alan does great work. Highly recommended.

-- Jeff (, January 03, 2002.

Alan is best known for his beautiful filmholders ( I have a set of three he made me for 12X20, and they are beautiful and HIGHLY serviceable. He has also made me carrier bags for 12X20 and 11X14 holders. Although his work is meticulous, a few points are worth making:

1. He ain't cheap ($500 a piece for the holders gives you an idea) 2. He DEFINITELY ain't fast (took him 4-5 months for the three holders) 3. I told him that the camera I was buying the holders for was a Wisner, but he forgot this and made them to suit a Canham. To his credit, he was completely willing to fix them for free.

I would summarize my dealings with him by saying that he craftsmanship is of the highest order, but he is no businessman. Be clear on what you want to pay, when you expect to have the work done and EXACTLY how you want it done, and then check in with him on occasion to make sure things are progressing as expected.

I would definitely purchase holders from him again. He is the best.


-- Nathan Congdon (, January 03, 2002.

just a thought... i had a room mate who rebuilt an old indian motorbike and found companies listed in the back of Easy Rider magazine that specialize in chrome plate. some even did gold plate. also, dental tool companies / medical tool companies may do this kind of work. the smoother the piece is, (polished), the better the plate job will look. gold plate would look great, and will not tarnish. Ok, it was a few thoughts. dee

-- dee seegers (, January 03, 2002.

I agree with Nathan that he is no businessman, but I am not so sure that he is always the best for craftsmanship.

I had a similar problem ordering filmholders from him, but in my case, he completely forgot the order, so after waiting about 6 months for the filmholders, I called, and his response was "What size holders did you order?" and "how many", etc. Finally, he told me that he was about to institute a price increase on the holders, and that I would have to pay the new higher price for the holders!

At that point I cancelled the order, thinking that I wasn't getting a warm fuzzy feeling out of the situation.

It was just a month or so before that phone conversation that I finally tracked down the light leak problem I was having with my relatively new Canham 7x17 camera, which came with two new AWB filmholders. It turns out that the light traps on the holders were not making contact with the opposite of the darkslide slot, so light was passing DIRECTLY through to the film. When I took apart the holders, I discovered that not only were the light trap springs not sufficient, but the inside of the light traps were not blackened to reduce the possibility if REFLECTED light getting through to the film.

In the case of my filmholders, I could see a direct line of sight avenue for light to penetrate into the film. However, on any holder, even without a direct line of sight passage, light can interreflect around the trap and fog the film. Blackening the surfaces reduces reflection, and ultimately will reduce fogging.

I took a permanent black marker to the wood, and blackened all the interior light trap surfaces. I also adjusted the springs to keep the light traps closed.

For the price of these filmholders, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect that they are at least light tight, and the attention to detail needed to blacken the light traps is a minimum criteria in my opinion.

Through my phone conversations, Alan seems to be a nice person, so I have nothing but positive things to say about him personally, but then I also feel the same way about Ron Wisner. Whether I would become a client of either one is another issue entirely.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, January 04, 2002.

Thanks very much for the responses. It turns out that when Mr. Brubaker said he could replate the camera in three weeks, he forgot to mention that he had a backlog of film holders to do and he actually couldn't get to the replating for at least three months. So I decided to forget it and pursue some local replaters.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 06, 2002.

You might ask a brass instrument repair technician. I think most of them send instruments to one place, called something obvious like "National Plating Co." for replating (usually silver, sometimes gold, occasionally gold on silver, but I looked up this company once, and they do all kinds of replating, including chrome, for things other than musical instruments). For aluminum, I know Steve Grimes sends parts out for anodizing. Maybe he'll tell you where he sends things.

-- David Goldfarb (, January 06, 2002.

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