Replicating a tattered focussing hood of a RB Graflex B 4x5

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    Replicating a tattered focussing hood for a R.B. Graflex B 4x5 camera.

    As can be seen, the original hood was cracked beyond repair. The above image shows the surviving leather stiffening boards put back into the location where they belong. The pattern of the folds and stiffeners is plain to see. Note that for visual effect the brown inside of the boards is shown (the back has a thin canvas covering that held them in place); this means that the boards on the sides (the complex pattern of six parallelogram and triangle shapes) has been swapped over.

    © Dirk HR Spennemann 2010, All Rights Reserved

    mhcfires, flckthis, and HHare2010 added this photo to their favorites.

    1. heritagefutures 54 months ago | reply

      The focussing hood of the RB Graflex B was totally torn at almost every single fold. Initial hopes of stabilising the original hood were quickly dashed.

      The hood partially unfolded:

      The outer part of the bottom frame removed

      Bottom frame completely removed

      Metal bar to hitch the hood to the lid

      Detail of stitching of the rim of the face piece

      Hood leather tally unfolded

      Hood leather unfolded with surviving stiffening boards put back in place:

      Measuring and tracing the pattern

    2. heritagefutures 54 months ago | reply

      The completed pattern:

      the same with measurements:

      and print-ready templates for the stiffeners:
      RB Graflex B Hood Pattern - Template 1 RB Graflex B Hood Pattern - Template 2 RB Graflex B Hood Pattern - Template 3

    3. fulvue 54 months ago | reply

      Nice project, Dirk.

    4. heritagefutures 54 months ago | reply


      The materials:

      Caliper measurements of thickness of materials:
      original: leather 0.6mm
      replacement: cardboard 1mm
      original: leather 0.4mm
      replacement: roofing vinyl 0.51mm

      Cutting out the cardboard stiffeners:

      For the rounded sections, look for crockery with the same diameter:

      comparison of the original pieces with the replacements

      I am reluctant to use the original pieces because a) something can go wrong with my replica hood, thus wasting the originals, and b) as the hood was so decayed that proper restoration was not possible, the normal conservation ethics of minimal intervention and respect for the historic fabric do not apply. This is totally new hood, but I am saving all pieces of the original hood.

      Checking the size of the pieces against the template:

      Tracing the pattern onto the fabric using old-fashioned carbon paper

      The completed trace:

    5. heritagefutures 54 months ago | reply

      Part 3 : ASSEMBLY

      Pre-piecing holes into the rear stiffener (for the metal bar that fastens the hood to the lid of the camera):

      While this may not be necessary, I felt it would make matters easier when completed.

      Positioning the stiffeners on the fabric:

      Glueing down the stiffeners:


      The inner lining of the hood is a very thin black fabric that is translucent when held against the light:

    6. Contrabass 54 months ago | reply

      This is fantastic. Fortunately, my 3x4 RB Super D's focussing hood is in excellent condition; otherwise I'd be following your lead. Great project!

    7. heritagefutures 54 months ago | reply

      Thanks for that.
      Will be adding the remaining steps soon...

    8. RaúlM. 53 months ago | reply

      Very nice work Dirk.
      That reminds me of something, what about the curtains for the Gallus?

    9. heritagefutures 53 months ago | reply

      The Gallus is next!

    10. RaúlM. 53 months ago | reply

      I'll be waiting for another of your amazing tutorials.

    11. mhcfires 53 months ago | reply

      Great Job! Thanks for sharing!

    12. RA Friedman [deleted] 52 months ago | reply

      This is fantastic. Is there a photo of the final hood. DId you tool the Graflex name on it?

    13. heritagefutures 52 months ago | reply

      No, not yet... the card may have been a tad too thick..was flat out , will get it finished this weekend.. and no, did not tool the name and don't plan on doing it either....

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