The Naked Leica - With Earnest
Oh, I can hear the whirring of the search engines with that title - but read on and you will be rewarded.
Or Chief Service Technician, Earnest, has shown me a frightening sight. He disassembled a III-series Leica camera at the request of a client and tackled the task of completely rebuilding the heart of the camera - the shutter mechanism. It is work worthy of a surgeon.
Leica cameras have focal-plane shutters and in the days when the III series were current, those shutters were made with cloth curtains. This was a specially rubberized material attached to the drums and springs of the mechanism with cloth tapes. You could look at the parts and distinguish fine stitches as well as well as glue that kept it together. Not surprisingly, time has taken its toll of these shutters and the one presented to Earnest had long-since ceased to be workable.
Aha. But Earnest has some stock of the original material and access to some of the tapes - and he has an intimate knowledge of the cameras as well. Thus he was able to tackle the task of disassembly and re-manufacture of the cloth curtains. See the attached images.
The business is slow, as the tapes have to be glued to the drum and this means that he has to wait for the drying before the next stage, but as it slowly goes back together one of the classic Leicas comes back to real working life.
This is good news for the owner, who had been discouraged in other repair shops, and good news for people who might be facing similar restoration work. Take heart - Camera Electronics and Earnest are on your side and can help!