Restoring a Kodak Eastman D2

Several weeks ago I went out to Hyrum Reservoir to photograph, and in addition to my digital camera, I wanted to bring the 5x7 with me. I parked my car, gathered my gear, put the 5x7 on the tripod, which I then hoisted on my shoulder and started walking. After a few steps down the trail, I felt a sudden lightening of the load on my shoulder  followed by a crash. I knew immediately that it was the camera that had fallen, but I didn’t know how or why. Turns out I’d pushed the limits of my tripod head too and the weight of the camera popped the plate right out of the head.

I whipped around, expecting to see bits of shattered ground glass, the lens to be in pieces, and the wood reduced to splinters, but was utterly surprised and relieved to see that everything was still in tact. Though it hadn’t exploded on the rocks, it had still sustained enough damage that it wouldn’t be usable until some repairs had been made.

   Not   Hyrum Reservoir, but the Buffalo River in Island Park, over a year ago. This will have to do for a “before” picture.

 Not  Hyrum Reservoir, but the Buffalo River in Island Park, over a year ago. This will have to do for a “before” picture.

Once I got home, I was able to survey the damage a bit better. Some of the wood did get scratched and dented, and the brackets connecting the front standard to the bed got bent, which took quite a lot of force.

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I had it in my mind to restore the camera sometime, and this just accelerated and necessitated those plans. So I got down to work disassembling the camera.

 I’m pretty sure this was where the camera landed. The grooves for the rails of the two standards got pretty bashed in.

I’m pretty sure this was where the camera landed. The grooves for the rails of the two standards got pretty bashed in.

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After hours and hours of sanding and several sheets of sandpaper, I finally finished.

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Then came the stain, then the clear coat. 

 After staining and just about to get the first coat of finish.

After staining and just about to get the first coat of finish.

After four coats of clear coat, with light sanding in between each coat, I was finally able to start reassembling. 

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A few hours of turning a screwdriver and referring back to reference photos, I’d got it all back together! Here it is with freshly polished brass. 

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Now that this project is done, maybe I can turn my attention back to making all the pinhole cameras I want to make.