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Leica M3 Vulcanite Replacement


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Hello All,

 

About 4 years ago, I came into the possession of a Leica M3 (Double Stroke, 735 xxx) after my friend found it in his grandfather's basement. Anyways, I immediately noticed that the vulcanite had already started chipping off the body due to the conditions which it experienced while not being used for nearly 15 years and I (of course) I wondered if there was any way to remedy the detection of the vulcanite.  Now (four years later) I'm wondering if I should re-vulcanize the body or if I should leave it alone.  My main issue is not the fact of shipping it overseas to be restored, but rather the value lost.  Will it lose much value if I were to carry out re-vulcanizing the body?  Or Should I not even consider this and just leave it alone?

 

- Kevin

Edited by kwphoto
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Hello All,

 

About 4 years ago, I came into the possession of a Leica M3 (Double Stroke, 735 xxx) after my friend found it in his grandfather's basement. Anyways, I immediately noticed that the vulcanite had already started chipping off the body due to the conditions which it experienced while not being used for nearly 15 years and I (of course) I wondered if there was any way to remedy the deterioration of the vulcanite. Now (four years later) I'm wondering if I should re-vulcanize the body or if I should leave it alone. My main issue is not the fact of shipping it overseas to be restored, but rather the value lost. Will it lose much value if I were to carry out re-vulcanizing the body? Or Should I not even consider this and just leave it alone?

 

- Kevin

 

P.S. I did post this earlier, but under the wrong category and I'm unable to delete it.

Edited by kwphoto
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There are plenty of tips on recovering your M3 on the forum.  The original covering was a rubberized leather which is difficult to manufacture and has been replaced with modern synthetic or natural materials.  Aki-Ashai, Hugoleather, Cameraleather are all good websites to search and often have advice about ordering the proper covers, best way to prepare the chassis and application techniques. There are several good technicians in the U.S and there is a thread dedicated to where to send your camera for cleaning and repair.  There are a lot of M3s' and its' real value may come from using it.  Welcome to the forum and enjoy your M3!

Edited by madNbad
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Are you looking to use the camera or sell it?  If selling, collectors who value original condition may not be appreciative of restoration attempt(s).   On the other hand, some users don't want to deal with fixes while others are the opposite.  There's no easy answer.

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Unless the camera is otherwise in extraordinary, mint condition, it likely won't affect its value if you remove the rest of the vulcanite and re-cover the body. Aki-Asahi in Japan is a tried and trusted seller of replacement covers. Check out his website.

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Unless you are hell bent on recovering it to make it look new(er) or different, leave it alone.

 

As they say about classic cars, they're only original once ...

 

Apparently Liquid Electrical Tape is the right consistency to repair smaller torn or missing sections, and can be molded or embossed with a suitable patern, if desired.

 

All the best with your lovely Leica!!

 

Cheers

 

J

Edited by Mute-on
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Are you looking to use the camera or sell it?  If selling, collectors who value original condition may not be appreciative of restoration attempt(s).   On the other hand, some users don't want to deal with fixes while others are the opposite.  There's no easy answer.

Yes, but a user grade M3 is hardly a collector's item. It can only gain from cosmetic restoration.

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Unless your M3 is a collector's item, recovering would make sense to me. The camera will be more attractive, a bit more fun to use and the resale value should be retained or go up slightly. I had my M2 recovered by Youxin Ye in Canton Mass. He did a perfect job, very inexpensively. He also did a very thorough CLA, and the camera is now in fantastic "as new" condition.

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You certainly don't have to ship it overseas to get it recovered. The original vulcanite process is no longer used, so you have to go with a modern material no matter where you send it. Doing the job yourself is pretty easy, but I can understand some people's reluctance to tackle it. As far as value goes....I agree with earlier posters...unless the camera is unique in its own right sans covering, I'd get it recovered if it is unslghtly looking...if only a little almost unnoticeable chip here and there, I would probably hold off. The choices in coverings is pretty good, depending on your taste. I've recovered 5 cameras to date (Leica & others) and generally been quite happy with the results...fit and finish was perfect using Aki-Asahi & Cameraquest products. And, most importantly, I enjoyed using the cameras even more when they were dressed up in their new finest clothes.

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recover it!  you'll like it better  and it will look and function better..it's a relatively inexpensive and quick process usually. As mentioned many  many technicians can do it for you or you can do it yourself.  If the M3's been out of service so long treat it to an overhaul at the same time. 

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I suspect Cameraleather may be defunct. A lot of the pages on his website are no longer responding and Morgan has not replied to any emails for over a year. I have a credit with him, after he sent the wrong item a couple of years ago and have been trying without success to spend it. Aki Asahi provides impeccable service. Sadly he does not do a cover kit for a 1936 Model II, which is my current project. http://www.hugostudio.com are other folks who do Leica cover kits but I have no experience of their product. I am waiting to hear from them if they do a cover kit for a Model II. They do recover kits in both synthetic and real leather for all the variations of M3 (round strap lugs, Buddha ears, no VF lever etc). 

 

Wilson

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Youxin would be a good choice. He serviced a '55 double stroke that I was given with broken shutter curtain tape, and he did a fine job on the repair and CLA. I haven't had him do a re-cover, but I have used the same Aki Asahi replacements myself.

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I suspect Cameraleather may be defunct. A lot of the pages on his website are no longer responding and Morgan has not replied to any emails for over a year. I have a credit with him, after he sent the wrong item a couple of years ago and have been trying without success to spend it. Aki Asahi provides impeccable service. Sadly he does not do a cover kit for a 1936 Model II, which is my current project. http://www.hugostudio.com are other folks who do Leica cover kits but I have no experience of their product. I am waiting to hear from them if they do a cover kit for a Model II. They do recover kits in both synthetic and real leather for all the variations of M3 (round strap lugs, Buddha ears, no VF lever etc). 

 

Wilson

 

 

I think not, Wilson. On this post I sent Morgan a mail and got  the following response:

 

 

Hi Jaap,

Thanks for your note, we are still cutting any camera parts you may need.

We did partly disable the site awhile ago, but I have a family member here who is working on a renewed site. Our existing customers can still purchase at the online order page.

We had to focus on our main parts business, I cut parts for other fabricators in furniture, flooring, packaging, fine art framing, auto restoration, to list a few. Most of the individual camera sets are easily handled by "amateurs" or even "pros" (like yourself!) but there is a substantial number of users who need a lot of coaching and multiple emails to the point that I can have an hour (or hours) of my time into a $10 to $25 parts set made to order. So I can't tell ahead of time what it will cost us to complete and support the transaction. It's not possible to run this place at $5 an hour!

But I think I have someone here with some good ideas on how to simplify the whole thing. And even if you see some fewer options in the future, please know that I will be happy to cut any type of leather we have for you, the same as always.

Thanks again and let me know if you need anything!

Best regards,

Morgan

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Jaap, 

 

I wonder why therefore Morgan has not been replying to my emails for over two years. I suppose it just doesn't suit him, that he is due to send me a recover kit for free, from my credit balance. I paid for an embossed kid leather kit, over two years ago and was sent the wrong item (a vinyl kit). He said to keep or chuck the vinyl and he would send me a leather kit for the camera of my choice but never has. I will never do business with him again. Life is too short for people who mess you about like that. I had previously been a good customer for him, so his loss. 

 

Wilson

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