I met a guy who was looking for someone who could repair an 100 years old camera inherited from his grandfather. It's an Ernemann Klapp Model I, dated between 1903 and 1911.
The ebony with which some parts were made had become so brittle that any little movement or pressure would break it.
It had the lens back carrier broken, so the lens could not stay in place. The lens sits on its lens plate which slides into the rest of the lens back carrier. The lens plate is kept in place with two locking knobs that tighten it up by pushing it down, so the lens plate can be removed by focusing the lens to infinite, undoing the knobs and sliding it down (or up) and remove it. The whole carrier plate got broken so the lens could not stay in place.
In addition, the lens back carrier guides were broken too.
He couldn't find anyone so I told him I'd give it a try.
First, I separated the pieces that made up the lens back carrier. They were glued up with hide glue so it could be reversed. Unfortunately, the brittle ebony didn't help to keep the pieces from breaking, but at least I could take precise measurements.
I then started copying all the pieces. I decided to use beech, which is a very hard wood with straight grain.
First, I worked on the lens back carrier. The hole and the rebates were cut by hand, with a variety of chisels, hammer, rebate plane, files.
The stock I used was too thick so I did saw it down to a rough thickness and then plane it down.
I then cut and replaced the broken guides.
I then tested the tight fit of the back carrier to the new guides.
All pieces done, ready to be stained.
I used aniline dyes to stain the pieces. They were incredibly similar to the actual and original pieces! The handels were sprayed with black matte varnish instead.
Here is the final result. I am very happy, and so was the owner!
It took me a total of two working days to complete it, except staining, cost of material was about €20, but it needed a lot of patience and time. But the result paid it off!