Although I have been very busy working in the garden and laying a stone path from the house to the street, I have found some time to clean and polish my newest addition, the No. 5 Eastman Plate camera. The 10 blades of the iris diaphragm were all in a mess, so I took the shutter apart to see what I could make of it. The mechanism seemed simple enough: ten paper thin blades with a notch of a millimeter on each end. Each notch had to fit into a hole in a ring around the lens. Well, it wasn't as simple as it looked and it took me some time to find a way to keep the damned things in place long enough to assemble the top plate. Finally I put a piece of painters tape under the opening, so the ten blades would stick to it. After some experimenting this worked well. All 20 notches stayed in their hole and the diaphragm worked as smooth as 109 years ago.
In the pic are the two parts of the shutter housing. On the left is the shutter and on the right is the iris diaphragm. What you see is the top plate. Under it are the ten blades. The star in the center is the construction where the ten notches on one end of the blades move up and down when the lever (2 o'clock position on the photo) is moved to open or close the diaphragm.
The re-enforcing of the bellows worked well. All the tears are mended and after cleaning, touching up with some oxblood colored shoe polish (the smallest amount possible!) and treatment with colorless Tana leather cream, the bellows looks as good as new.
The nickel fittings were all very dirty, but polishing improved them a lot. The nickel plating is of good quality, so I had not to be afraid to rub it off down to the brass. Still there is some cleaning to do before I can put all parts together again. Maybe next weekend I can show the result of all the TLC I gave this instrument.