In this case, it’s photography leading to DIY. Honestly, I’m now nearly as excited about new power tools as I am about new cameras.
For a while now, my interest in pinhole photography has led me to pretty much seeing any light tight, hollow object as a potential camera (and to demonstrate what I mean, let me tell you that I’ve been eyeing up a top hat for just this purpose for a while now).
I’ve also been ogling various premade pinhole cameras, such as the Zero Image lovelies, and the gorgeous Noon Pinholes available on Ebay. But I can’t quite bring myself to spend £100 on a pinhole camera, no matter how beautiful, since pinhole to me is very much all about doing things yourself, from scratch – learning photography from the absolute ground up, as it were.
So, this weekend, I’ve been working. Now, my woodworking skills are minimal, at best, but I’m slowly learning. I’m lucky enough to have a well equipped workshed at my disposal, as my Grandad was always into woodworking before Parkinsons Disease sadly prevented him from continuing with it. I’ve managed to put together a 120 body, and the basis for a 5×4 camera. Neither are perfect, but for a first attempt, I’m really pleased with the 120, which is nearly finished.
Here’s the start of the 5×4. It’s the first time I’ve tried doing proper joints, using my new mini router, and as you can see, I need a lot of practice in that area! At the moment, it’s literally just an open topped box.
Now on to the 120.
It’s 6×6 format (or, probably, ever so slightly off, because the masking frame is a teentsy bit wonky).
I haven’t used routed joints for this, just glued the wood end to end, and put a few small nails in places.
This is yesterday, before I made any holes for the film winder, pinhole, and counter window.
This is a fastening I took off of a broken jewellery case. I plan to use it to securely close the two parts of the camera body.
Today, I’ve been drilling holes for the film carriers, film counter window, ‘lens board’ and film winder.
The winder itself is one I took from an Ilford Sporti with a broken shutter.
The bolts to keep the spools steady are just small bolts I had in the shed, screwed permanently into the wood. The ends are slightly smaller than the hole in the 120 spool, so the spools will turn freely. Because the top and bottom are seperate pieces, there’s no requirement for these holders to move up and down, although closing up the camera and lining everything up will take a little wiggling.
I’ve also rounded off the edges with a metal file, and sanded down the entire thing, then given it a coat of dark wood varnish.
All that’s left to do now is to light seal the interior and give it a coat of flat black paint, and add a shutter and closure system.
Hopefully, I’ll have it all completed by the weekend, and can take it out for a test run.