A simple way to repair the holes (more or less deep) in the rubberised curtains of a shutter. Often these holes are located on the second curtain, that is rolled up when the shutter is not cocked, causing annoying light leaks. With a little patience it is possible to repair it, reviving cameras otherwise destined only to be shown in a cabinet.
The substitution of the curtains of a camera is long and expensive work. To do it, you need to dismantle the whole machine, and after having refitted it, if you are not in possession of the appropriate instruments, it is almost impossible to calibrate the shutter speeds of the camera. The operation of changing the curtains makes sense for cameras of great value (Leica, Nikon and other leading brands), while for the cheaper Fed and Zorki Russian cameras, the operation costs more than the machine itself. But, with with a little of patience, I have had success to revive a Fed 3 and Fed 5b camera. Here I explain to you how proceed:
CASE 1: The hole is big and deep (this was the case of my Fed 5b)
Step 1: Locate the holes in the curtain (you can use a light bulb close to the rear side of the shutter, looking inside the lens attach). The operation is simple and straightforward in the case of deep holes.
Step 2: Make a mixture (approximately in equal parts) of water and white glue. The pure white glue is more difficult to apply on the hole. You must be careful to confine the glue to cover only the hole, avoiding to stiffen the curtain.
Step 3: Clean the curtain with alcohol to remove any layers of grease. Then, with a brush with a thin round toe, cover the hole with the mixture. When the glue is liquid. it appear white in colour, but when the glue is dried it will be transparent. Apply several layers at a distance of a few hours, until it you have filled the hole.
Step 4: When the glue is dry, paint the hole with an elastic black paint (preferably matte). You can use textile dyes for shoes or thin layer of liquid rubber, as Plasti-Dip. Apply one or more thin layers, avoiding to stiffen the curtain. After 12 hours, the camera is ready for use!
CAS£ 2: The hole is small and not very deep (as in the case of a mine Fed 3)
Step 1: as above.
Step 2: After you have removed eventual particles of dirt and grease (cleaning the curtain with alcohol), take a brush with a thin round toe and some liquid rubber to cover the hole, applying from one to three thin layers at intervals of at least 30 minutes. After 12 hours, the camera is ready for use!
In the final photo, which shows the result, I increased the contrast to show better the repaired detail.
Remember that the liquid rubbers (as Plasti-Dip or similar products) are made for painting, not for filling the hole. In the case of deep hole (lack of a piece of rubber) is better to proceed with a filling by means of white glue, as in case 1, followed by painting with liquid rubber or elastic black paint. If you fill the deep hole with Plasti-Dip you will find that the rubber tends to distribute in uniform layers, coming out slowly from the holes as it dries. Do not dilute the Plasti-Dip (normally you can use xylene or naphtha) because the diluted product tends to become more glossy than the pure product. This however don’t affect the effectiveness of the repair.