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How to replace view camera handle strap?

Nathan Smith , Feb 18, 2004; 02:17 p.m.

Any ideas on how to replace the leather strap handle on a view camera?
I'm restoring an Eastman View 2D 5x7 and the handle strap is broken. This is one of those leather straps with 'barbed' ends like arrows that fit through steel brackets (for lack of a better word). The ends are too wide to get through, obviously. The steel holders/brackets are riveted on. I guess I could remove them but it would be messy, and they wouldn't go back on very well.
I could replace it with a different type of handle but I'd like to make one like the original - unless someone has a better idea.
Thanks,
Nathan

Responses

Colin Carron , Feb 18, 2004; 03:34 p.m.

If you can't replace like the original several older cameras have a handle strap like a short belt. It goes through each bracket and buckles up so making a double thickness.

Bob Finley , Feb 18, 2004; 05:21 p.m.

I would replace with a belt but if you want a replacement (with "barbed" ends) they can be found at Woodworkers Supply. I would guess that you would have to drill out the old rivets and rerivet to replace.

Bob Fowler , Feb 18, 2004; 07:10 p.m.

My 5X7 is also missing the leather part of the handle. Your posting (on the camera-fix@yahoo group) got my curiosity going so I took a look at it - much easier now that the bellows are off while Western Bellow makes new ones.

If your camera is like mine, the metal straps that secure the ends of the leather are held down by split fasteners, not by "mushroomed" rivets - two on each end of each bracket. The split fasteners have about a quarter of an inch of material that is bent back and pretty much crunched into the wood. Considering the age of the metal and the wood (plus the fact that I don't have any of the *original* type split fasteners to replace them with should anything go wrong), I'm inclined to leave them alone for now.

There are aftermarket handles available that will work on the Eastman brackets. If you have a good music store in your area, they may have an instrument case handle that will buckle into position. I've replaced the handles on the cases for my 1929 Buescher True Tone alto sax and 1924 Harwood tenor sax with these. They work great and would be a good size for an Eastman 5X7.

Charles Monday , Feb 18, 2004; 08:51 p.m.

This good Ol boy ocassionally post on this fourm, and is active on graflex.org, which is down at the moment. On his web site he list replacement handles for Graflex reflex cmaeras along with used kitchen sinks and dolls. The Eastman 2D was made by graflex. I used his information to get my 1909 RB Auto Graflex going. He always says email me on any request for information and products listed on his web site. bsaunders1@bak.rr.com is the email addy. He has a method of replacing the old rivets by making new ones out of brass excursion pins. Charles

Brian Ellis , Feb 20, 2004; 11:16 a.m.

A friend of mine helped do this on my Deardorff. He removed the rivets (I'm not sure how, maybe by drilling them out) and replaced them with small screws. The camera loses a little authenticity but the screws look very similar to the rivets and they sure make things simpler if you ever again need to replace the handles. You should be able to find a shoe repair store that can make a duplicate or close to duplicate replacement leather handle for you if the existing handle is good enough to be used as a template. That's how I obtained my replacement handle.

Emile de Leon , Feb 20, 2004; 03:03 p.m.

If you like I can get you a beautiful new leather strap with brass hardware as I'm a Wisner dealer and am going to be at the factory in the next week. These are really nice and do the job well.

Joe VanCleave , Feb 20, 2004; 05:44 p.m.

For the worn strap on my Speed Graphic, I removed the metal hardware complete with strap (they unscrew from the camera body), and took the whole affair to my neighborhood shoe repair shop. They fixed me up with a nice leather, stitched replacement strap, with hardware attached. All I had to do was reattach the hardware.

It also helps your local economy to support your local small businesses, such as shoe shops.

Nathan Smith , Feb 23, 2004; 07:49 a.m.

Thanks to all for your responses. I think I'll use a belt-type handle like the Speed Graphic for the time being although I may go ahead and replace the rivets with small screws some time in the future in order to use the original strap style of handle.
Nathan

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