Here are the simple steps to clean a 1951 Nikon S Rangefinder camera. I’ve read that the Nikon One and Nikon M are similar except for the Accessory shoe does not need to be removed on the S. Also the film advance knob does not need to be removed, but for cleaning, simple loosen the set screw and unscrew the knob (ccw)
remove rewind knob-1
remove rewind knob-2
remove shutter button guard
remove shutter speed dial
slow speed dial-1
slow speed dial-2
slow speed dial-3
remove body screws
top plate removed
slow speed cam
remove front plate
front plate removed
remove film plate
film plate removed
gear fell out
gear goes here
remove bottom plate
bottom plate removed
replace top plate/slow speed dial-1
replace top plate-2
The slow speed dial is not as complicated as it may seem. basically you need to clear that linkage with the cam as you re-assemble. It’s a fairly easy camera to work on except I’m not sure how to get at the shutter curtains for replacement.
Giving my 1937 Zeiss Ikon Contax II as best of a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) as I could without dismantling the mechanism itself, I doused with lighter fluid twice, avoiding the shutter slats, tapes and glue, which is fairly easy as, everything is on one side. then I oiled a few choice spots, avoiding escapements.
With the help from forum friends, I fixed a problem with the Infinity on the RF, the previous hacker put the longer screws on the RF side of the front plate and they were preventing the plano-convex lens from traveling all the way to the side.
I also removed foam light seals from the film back surround. originally there were no light seals (so I’ve read} around the camera back. The Kiev clones used Yak hair as a seal. I’m opting to use my smaller size black yarn just to be safe on this 80 year old camera.
I re-glued a loose flap of leatherette and cleaned with Meguiar’s leather foam. I touched up some rubbed off chrome on the top plate with my faux chrome plating kit.
Here are the steps to open it up, remove the shutter cage from the frame and clean. I did not disassemble the shutter mechanism itself, it is for experts and usually is not necessary to clean it.
remove rewind knob
rewind knob removed
remove body screws
remove winding lever center
remove advance knob
remove speed scale
remove single screw
lift off chrome top plate
frame counter disc
remove cast top plate
remove cast top plate
cast top removed
remove shutter cover
remove screw here
remove this rod-screw
lift out cradle
self timer lever
I use Zippo lighter fluid (any brand will do) for flushing and cleaning the gears and other parts. just be careful to keep the fluid off of the shutter curtain ribbons, they are glued on and could become unglued by the lighter fluid.
For the oil, I use sewing machine oil. You can use watch oil or any light oil of that type. use very sparingly and never use it on the gears of the slow speed escapement.
The Leica lens, E. Leitz Wetzlar “Summar” 50mm (5cm) f/2 is notorious for having internal haze, clouding images sometimes giving a desired warmth called “Leica Glow”. Some desire it for using as a portrait lens or other such use as the effect is warranted.
Before I show you how I got my 1939 Leica Summar lens apart to clean the haze, I first cleaned some kind of dried gunk on the front element that resembled very bad cleaning marks.
I had seen it before on my former 1936 Summar and other people complaining about their’s calling it cleaning marks, so it must be a somewhat common thing. This time it was more crusty, uneven looking that led me to believe it wasn’t just the glass itself.
I looked at it with a loupe and could see it was raised, some kind of crust or crystallization. I scratched at it with my fingernail and sure enough it flaked slightly. Perhaps a buildup of years of cleaning fluid?
I knew conventional cleaning wouldn’t work so I tried the method for removing Fungus on a lens. A 50/50 mix of household Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide then rinse with tap water. It immediately started working, almost foaming around the edge where it was thickest.
I had to repeat twice, as is usual, but a nice clean outer lens now with just a few true cleaning marks.
Clean the interior haze
Now I must say, while searching for tutorials and methods of cleaning the haze, it was kind of confusing because it was rarely stated that, in fact, the front name plate is attached to the front ring and the element itself.
It was also stated several times to unscrew the front element right from the lens base and people were having trouble because it would just unscrew the front group. I came up with a way to easily remove the front element.
First unscrew the front lens group from the base, just above the aperture ring. Extent the lens tube fully so it won’t spin in the base and grasp the outer knurled ring and turn it counter-clockwise ‘ccw’ it should unscrew fairly easy.
Unscrew fully and remove from lens base.
NOW is the time to unscrew the set screw ‘ccw’ in the nameplate (red arrow) so it will separate from the front lens group. It’s tiny don’t loose it.
Now you need some kind of grip tool to aid in holding the front group housing while removing the front element. I used an electrical cable, about the same diameter as a pencil or slightly smaller but not too small.
not clear here but, the front lens group housing extends backwards with a nice metal tube to grab onto with your tool just behind the front element ring. Firmly grip your tool around the group housing and firmly grip the front ring and unscrew ‘ccw’.
The entire front knurled ring, nameplate and front element are attached together. Mine came right off, I’ve read it could be difficult and a good soaking of the front element in isopropyl alcohol might help.
Again, I used the 50/50 mix ammonia / hydrogen peroxide to clean the haze from all inner elements except the lens behind the aperture blades as I didn’t want to risk damaging the aperture unit/blades.
Blow out any dust and fuzzies from cleaning before reassembly. I found what looked like dust in mine that turned out to be bubbles in the lens glass. I’ve read this is normal. Here’s a before and after the cleaning shot.
It looks great mounted on my 1953 Leica IIIf. It does have a few cleaning marks and some mishandled scratches in the middle but it was cheap and it’s mine.
Giving my 1936 Leica IIIa a CLA. It basically works fine, the shutter fires on all speeds but the slow speeds are sluggish. The curtains have previously been changed, maybe even twice in it’s 78 year history and look good. Overall there is brassing on the top and bottom plates but from normal heavy usage telling me it was well loved. From what I can see, the inside looks clean-ish, no major rust or anything like that.
Above, showing the external condition, dirt and a reddish oxidation to the Vulcanite (red circle) and dirty internal glass.
After getting the shell off, that’s a good time to observe the shutter action. Look through it against a florescent light. When I did mine I discovered the 1/500 speed had just a blip of light and the 1/1000 speed showed no light at all so now it’s a CLA and repair as well.
Lets remove the top plate to see the Timing Mechanism and RF glass. (on the III and IIIa, only the smaller plate over the RF comes off, on the later IIIc, IIIf and IIIg, the entire chrome top plate comes off.
While I was cleaning the old grease I noticed a stop-post on the second shutter release arm was leaning. I poked it and it wiggled. I tightened it and all speeds work now!
I cleaned old grease and re-greased the Timing Mechanism, winding knob, rewind knob shaft and Diopter adjust. I cleaned the gears at the bottom of the shutter drum.
12/23/14: cleaned the Vulcanite. a 3 step process and it looks great now. Reassembled the camera shell and slow speed dial.
Lets put it back together. The film pressure plate rides in it’s own groove milled into the back of the body shell. The two leaf springs have their own slots as well.
Now put the lens ring and slow speed dials back on. If you had shims under your lens ring, remember where and how they went.
This camera was fun to work on. It may seem intimidating but is actually easier to work on than the later Japanese rangefinders where you, a lot of times, must remove the leatherette to get to the lens plate to get to the shutter to get to the …blah blah.
Recently my wife’s brand new Cuttlebug V2 embosser lost an internal gear and quit working. After searching the internet, she discovered it is a known problem. The manufacture was awesome, they sent her a new one for free and let her keep the old one. We decided to repair it and keep it as a backup in case the newer one breaks after the warranty is expired.
As with most cases found searching the internet, a gear, washer and screw falls out the bottom. On ours the washer was missing. I went to the hardware store and got a basic #6 flat washer.
This repair is for the newer model Cuttlebug only. If you have the older version, this link might be of help. Also, this is posted as a reference to this repair only. I do not know any thing else about the CuttleBug or repairs, it is my wifes CuttleBug.
1.) take a small screwdriver and carefully pry off the lighter colored end panel, starting at the bottom. (Hint: unfold the handle and turn it to the side, it will steady the machine as you work)
2.) unscrew the 6 screws
3.) Gently lift the oblong/egg shaped side slightly and gently push to one side to expose the gears.
4.) Slip on the gear and washer that fell out and replace the screw. You’ll need an Allen wrench.
5.) Here’s the gear replaced with screw tightened.
6.) put back together in reverse of the above, 6 screws and careful snapping the side panel back on, start with the top (small end) and work your way down.
After film testing my Tower 43, I was getting pictures back from the Lab that the frames were only half exposed and with an obvious hunk of broken film wedged in the area between the image aperture and the pressure plate. It was possible that the film piece was fouling the shutter curtains, so after removing the film piece I tried another roll but got the same results, just not as bad.
After doing some research and advice from forum friends I decided to tear it down to see if there was a small piece of film lodged in the curtain area somewhere or if it was just needing an adjust.
I got it opened up and couldn’t find any film pieces lodged anywhere so I decided to brave adjusting the curtain tension. I read a couple Leica curtain replacement instructions online and after holding it up to a florescent light at 1/500, I could see only partial opening of the shutter.
What you’ve got to do is release the Pawl, *WHILE HOLDING THE CENTER SCREW SO IT DOESN’T SPIN LOOSE, IT’S SPRING LOADED*, back off the sprocket shaped nut clockwise a little and then turn the center screw counter clockwise to tighten the spring, hold it there while turning the sprocket nut counter clockwise, this puts tension on the center screw preventing it from spinning loose.
This worked finally and an added bonus to this repair is, I now have use of my slow speeds which I didn’t have before!
Here is a shot after the repair
See the entire repair with step by step photos at my Flickr site