New camera for Christmas (sorry, lots of pictures!)

Quadna71

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 25, 2016
Messages
559
Location
Delaware, USA
I am the proud new owner of a Kodak Jiffy Six-20 Series II. Best I can tell they were produced in Rochester, New York 1937 to 1948 and my mother's boyfriend said he has had it since he was a young teenager. He's 76 years old so I'm guessing he either purchased it used or it was a hand-me-down from a parent or older sibling.

It was pretty rough when I unwrapped it but I figure the best way to become intimately acquainted with something is to really dig into it and learn what makes it tick. I'm also a huge of fan of patina and letting an object's age and condition tell the story, but in this case I was concerned that the loosening leather wrap would worsen and one of the mirrors was separated in the viewfinder. I'm also very uneducated in the ways of cameras like this, but do have a decent mechanical mind and have never shied away from figuring stuff out just by taking it apart!

So first off, like I said before, it was pretty rough around the edges. 70+ years of grime and realistically 40 years of use (he got a new camera in the 90's) took a toll on it.
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So plenty to work with. First - the pulled away leather. All the seams were hit with a little compressed air to get out any dust or grit. Then I applied small dabs of Gorilla glue with a toothpick under each gap and pressed down firmly until the glue set. This is one time when some magnifying goggles would've come in handy. My readers helped but clearly this detail work needs better magnification. Next, I cleaned it gently with some stuff from my car cabinet in the garage - Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner/Conditioner. Sprayed a few shots on a microfiber cloth then started working it in. In no time the camera was gleaming and the cloth was covered in black spots. The stuff worked great. I finished with a good buff by another clean microfiber cloth so that nothing felt greasy.

Next, I located the 3 tiny screws that held on the front plate. Removed those and the front plate lifts right off. I started first working on the front plate. The Twindar lens, which lets you rotate between 5'-10' and 10'-infinity, was filled with dust, haze, and just funky in general. It operates by rotating the bezel which turns it in/out about 3/4 of a thread, but the pins keep it from going further. I took my time and gently applied pressure on one of the tabs until I could rotate it past and then continued to unscrew it the rest of the way. Once separated it was easy to clean the inside of the outer lens and the outside of the inner lens. Already it was looking clearer! Threaded it back together and bent the tab back. On to the "drivetrain" and the landscape viewfinder mirror.

Here's the initial view once the cover is removed.
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Looking at the above picture, the shutter release lever is at the bottom - it is flipped towards the right in order to trigger the shutter. The lever on the left is for switching between I and T. I standing for Instant and T standing for Timer. The instant is self explanatory, but the timer is a little different from more modern film cameras. It is basically a bulb setting. You place the lever into the T position, make sure the camera is very fixed and not moving, flip the shutter lever to the right once to open the shutter. The lever will return back towards the left and leave the shutter open. When you are ready to close you flip the shutter lever a second time to the right and that will in turn close the shutter. So you can expose for any real length of time. It is a little wonky to execute without bumping the camera but hey you got to work with what you have! I took a short video of it working and have linked it here:

And here is a shot of the back of the cover plate - notice the adjustment for the aperture - I guess this is a single blade aperture? :) You get F/8, F/11, and F/16.
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It was at this point that I rotated the aperture plate left about 90 degrees to expose the back of the inner lens. A once over with more isopropyl alcohol and we were looking good!

Here is the landscape mirror that wasn't secured in place. It would flip back and forth and about once every 6 or 7 turns the mirror would lay in place. I removed it, scrubbed both sides with alcohol, then reinstalled it with some adhesive. Should last another 70 years!
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Notice how the entire bed is made of wooded that is dyed black. I was a little concerned about decay or rot, but all seemed well. In addition to the wooden bed for the mirrors and mechanisms, the mirror box is actually made from black fiber board and just is bent into shape and rests in little slots cut into the wood. The cover plate is all that holds them in place. Incredibly simple.

All the pivot points were working great, so I just blew it all out a little more with compressed air, gave the viewfinder lenses and both mirrors again a good scrub, then popped it all back together. Everything seems to be working great. The bellows all compress well, don't leak light at all, and the front plate locks flush with the case. The shutter seems to actuate smoothly, the Instant and Timer modes work great, and nothing is dragging or sticking.

Here are couple more shots of it all cleaned and reassembled.
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Here are a couple viewfinder shots. Funny how it takes a bit for your brain to get used to recomposing in reverse.
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Quadna71

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 25, 2016
Messages
559
Location
Delaware, USA
Looks like some good work.

Wonder if you have Any comment on condition of the bellows.
Thanks. I guess I think that they are in above average shape? I've never had a camera with bellows, but searched online and saw that many folks say that is something that deteriorates the fastest on cameras like these. Visually they look great - no cracking or peeling on the outside or where they are glued (stitched?) together. I turned off the light in my office and with a very bright LED light sort of positioned inside the extended bellows I slowly turned the camera around and around and never saw a hint of light shine through. That's probably the main priority, right? Now while I gave the exterior of the camera a good cleaning and treated the leather, I didn't do anything to the bellows aside from brushing them with a very soft brush (old lens pen) and then some light blasts with a can of air. Should I do more to either test them or to treat them so they last? Thank you for your input!
 

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