Leather Handle on 8x10 Deardorff

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The leather handle is missing on my 8x10 Deardorff. I understand the bellows has to be removed in order to attach a new one. Is there a secondary market for a handle that attaches using a buckle? Joel

-- Joel Brown (cambrow@earthlink.net), June 04, 2002


While I ended up making a handle out of cordura webbing, I was looking for something else at a music store one day and saw a replacement leather handle for a guitar case. It looked very well made and it probably would have worked perfectly. Only problem is I discovered it about two weeks after I put the nylon handle on my Dorff... If you have a large musical instrument store nearby, you might try looking for something there.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), June 04, 2002.


What you need to find is an old luggage repair place. I took my camera to one and the woman there wasn't even fazed. I don't know how she did it, but for about 30 bucks she installed a new handle in the old hardware, and I don't think she had to take the hardware out. If she did, I'm pretty sure she didn't remove the bellows.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), June 04, 2002.

I don't exactly understand what you're asking. Are you trying to avoid removing the bellows and are therefore looking for a strap that you can fit through the existing metal holders so that you don't have to remove the bellows? Many shoe stores should be able to make something like that for you. A shoe store made a new strap for my Deardorff a couple months ago. I had the camera apart so I was able to have the new strap duplicate the old but a buckle strap shouldn't be hard to do. Alternatively, if you don't care much about authenticity, The F Stops Here sells black leather type buckle straps (at least they sold one to me a couple years ago). It won't look anything like the Deardorff strap but it should do the job.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), June 04, 2002.

FWIW, restoration of your 'dorff's handle to original isn't very difficult. Just did the job myself. The bellows come off easy enough if they are screwed on from the outside of the body---three shiney wood screws on each of the four sides of the body. I understand that some of the older models were screwed on from the inside and that those screws were prone to corrosion and make matters more difficult. The split rivets that hold the metal straps on are an unusual size(at least where I live) You can get the handle, straps, and rivets from Ken Hough. Check out the Deardorff Historical Website in any case. I've noticed some bad vibes reported on this site, but Ken sent me the parts and e-mailed answers promptly to my questions regarding the installation(and it came out looking great!) If the metal straps are secure a buckel handle would probably be the quickest fix, since reriveting the straps is what requires bellows removal. My 'dorff had a loose rivet, so doing a "restoration" of the original style was the best option for me. Good luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), June 05, 2002.

check out this month's View Camera. The second part of a two part article about restoring old camera is in this issue (the first part was mostly the 'why should you restore'). There is a nice picture of a new 'dorff handle and how the author made it or where he got it.

-- lyle allan (lallan@att.net), June 05, 2002.

I found a leather chest strap with a buckle that only needed to be cut to length from a local tack shop. It worked out nicely on the 5x7. Steve

-- Steve Clark (agno3@eesc.com), June 05, 2002.

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