Tools of the Trade

Wow! Sometimes you just get so happy! This evening is such a time. As I do my own CLA of my old cameras I made a bold decision the other week to actually order proper tools for the job. They arrived through the post today and I have just finished using them on an old Halina 35x.

The Halina 35x is an late 1950’s or early 1960’s 135-camera. Nothing fancy with it except for its looks – and perhaps its weight!  The lens isn’t the sharpest and the picture quality has a certain “factor” to it, to put it mildly. But it works and are quite cheap to come by. This particular sample was my mothers first camera. It has a certain crowd of followers on flickr. (No decent photo of this camera here yet…)

I have taken the lens apart several times. It is a common problem that everything in the lens except the shutter is stuck. The grease used in the lens did not stand the tooth of time and dries out into a gluelike substance. Dismantling the lens is not intuitive and putting it together again is no easy matter. But I am getting better and better of it.

Back to the plot. Why the happiness? (He asked, expecting the answer “yes”.) These:

These are Swiss quality Bergeon watch-makers screwdrivers (Bergeon 30080) in dimensions of, from up to down, 0.8, 1.0, 1.4, 2.0 and 3.0 mm. What a joy they are to use! My screwdrivers to date have been of the ordinary variant of 6-10 assorted screwdrivers in a little box for anything between € 2 and € 8. Cheap. Cheap and cr***y. They bend and get out of shape very easily and are often too thick to fit the screws in a camera’s small shutter. They are wide enough but the blades are too thick.

So what a relief they new watchmaker screwdrivers are. Small, fit nicely in the smallest of screws and the blade is not even close to bending. What a difference! Lovely!

You understand by now that I like them right?

Each screwdriver comes with some replacement blades, 4 blades for the smaller dimensions and two for the larger ones. Note the colour coding on the small barrels that corresponds to the code of the individual screwdriver! Nifty!

In just over 40 minutes I disassembled the top of the Halina body to see what was in there and then put everything back again. I was so excited by how easy it was with the new tools I didn’t even remember to take some photos of it. There are already plans in my head to make a total disassembly of the camera!

While ordering the tools I took the plunge and got some watchmaker’s oil too:

The Moebius 9010 is again a Swiss product. It’s a synthetic oil for watches and precision mechanics. The little flask contains a mere 2 ml of the stuff but as one only applies it in homeopathic amounts it will last forever.

My intention is to have it ready when overhauling shutter’s escapement machanism. The gear train must run with ease and make a silent and even “sssssss” sound instead of a more ratchety “rrrrr”. If the escapment sounds like the latter, the shutter speeds will likely be all over the place.

These tools are not exactly cheap but as they will last long and save me much irritation, frustration and right-out anger it is an investment I am willing to do. Each screwdriver costs about €10 and with the hideously expensive oil the total some € 85. Do yourself a favour, be nice to yourself and get a set too. I got mine from watchtool in the UK. They were quick and hassle-free. Recommended.

Now I just need a couple of evenings with a good lamp. This is going to be fun…

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