Bender makes assembling an 8- by 10-inch wooden field camera easy for new enthusiasts who enjoy using this medium, with all parts and pieces included in Bender camera kits. But the real key to accurate assembly is patience. Building your own field camera requires painstaking time and effort. The absence of one or both could prove disastrous to your final product. For this reason, it pays to have some experience in woodworking to come up with a usable camera.
Things you need
3 lensboard riders1 lensboard holderWood gluePair of small, right-angled clampsSand paperWood glue2 vials for back holder4 parts for ground glass holder4 spacers for ground glassRetainer blocks for ground glassC clamps2 pieces (back)1 front standard1 rear standardJigsawL screws for rear standardWood finishPaint for light trapsMasking tapeBellows
1 Assemble all three lensboard riders and the lensboard, as instructed. Use wood glue and small, right-angled clamps in assembling the lensboard. Sand the sides and backs smooth and flush.
2 Assemble the back holder, making sure the pieces are carefully measured and fitted precisely. Use glue to secure the two vials in place.
3 Sand smooth and flush the four pieces of the ground-glass holder. Glue them with right-angled clamps. Glue the four glass spacers in place and cut to shape the ground-glass retainer blocks.
4 Use C clamps to attach the two pieces of the backside. Sand to smooth. Use the lensboard holder to attach the sanded front standard to its sides. Glue and secure with right-angled clamps.
5 Glue the rear standard and then use a jigsaw to notch the standard's back. Chip out the middle by making two parallel cuts. Next mount the L screws into the standard's pilot holes.
6 Use wood finish, such as Danish oil or wax. to help bind the parts, and paint for the light traps. Use masking tape to protect areas that need no paint. Then remove tape before the paint hardens.
7 Mount the bellows.
Tips and warnings
The positioning of the ground glass is the most critical detail in the design.
It takes 50 to 100 hours to build your own camera.
Wooden field cameras are usually made of cherry, mahogany, ash, walnut, teak or oak. But majority of commercial view cameras are made of cherry wood.
Wood should be well-seasoned to prevent warping.