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Restoring my vintage Nikon 7x50 advice required


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Hi all,

I have a pair of vintage Nikon 7x50's tropical which are rubber clad,the rubber is breaking down and cracking so I've decided to take it off.

I intended just to clean up the glue residue I say this because when I took off the rubber from the top panels I found lovely unmarked black paint.......but when I took off the remaining rubber to my horror I found bare metal.

So I was thinking mask off the bare metal and under coat and then top coat with something like smooth hammerite,but then also thought about replacing with leatherette.

So here's the problem.......I require a pattern to cut the panels has anyone here replaced their leatherette and used a pattern these Nikon's look very similar to other vintage bins maybe if there's a pattern that someone could send in a file it would be a great help I then could print a paper version to see if it fits or to make any adjustments.Or would you just paint them.....thoughts please.

Clear skies and keep safe.

Ash.

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Afternoon all, I have tried and tried to cover these binoculars in leatherette to no avail.......I will leave it to the experts recover to when funds are available and I've found a new job!

PS just don't do something like this with them, Bill will be horrified 😉 

Just a quick final update....I have applied another bandage to both sides and given them a good coat of clean resin...they are dry they just need a little more time to cure. I'm happy with the re

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You definitely want some insulating cover to the metal, especially at night! Using some thin card ought to get a Pattern? I have covered the metal bits of a monopod head with few mm thick neoprene rubber sheet, though not sure how this would work for binocukars.

Peter

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Shame about the rubber! I’ve seen some older Ross and others with a textured paint finish- maybe you could experiment with mixing stuff like sawdust or something a bit more chunky into some satin black paint? I think it could look quite decent.

I think getting a flat covering to fit those contours would be pretty tricky! but if you used thin leather which has a little stretch maybe doable though probably easier if you could strip them right down to the bare castings and then trim after sticking it all down

Mark

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Edited by markse68
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I'd agree with Peter, painting it will leave a smooth surface with no insulation of the cold metal against your hands. More chance you could find they slip from your grasp perhaps too. You can buy self adhesive leatherette for camera bodies etc but you'd need to work out the best layup to get a good fit ideally in a single piece for each side tho that doesn't look possible under the prism body. I guess thin neoprene sheet should work too but the same issue in getting it cut to suit the shape. 

How about something like Rubbercon paint?

You'd have to be very careful with masking to protect the optical surfaces but it would give a seamless covering and can be peeled off if you decide to change or renew the covering.

Edited by DaveL59
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Thanks guys for the replies.......regarding the cold painted metal I always use a strap and can wear gloves! I'm going to contact Nikon UK maybe someone can delve into the history vault and maybe help.

Plus I'm gonna google binocular repair specialists  maybe someone out there can find a pattern.........if not I'll have to make my own I'd rather cover with leatherette quicker and safer.

Watch this space....no pun intended!!

Ash.

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Evening all, I decided to have a go at covering them myself,have ordered some leatherette and will make a paper pattern but will probably make the paper patterns in sections then once they cover the body hopefully in a single skin but with seams I will transfer to the leatherette and glue them on very carefully!!

I have been quoted £75 from Harry Truman at Intrasights to do the job,then you have to factor in P&P........I will see what the paper template looks like and if I'm happy will take the job on myself......if not I will send them away,I did email Nikon UK and USA support just in case they have a vault where they kept the vintage stuff in!.

I will phone my local repair guys because they might know where I can send them too.

Stay safe people.

Ash.

Edited by MrZuiko
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Should work out ok Ash, patience, a lot of and all that but I'm sure a nice finish is possible. The only area you might need a fill segment is the bit under the prism housing but it may be feasible to do it in a single piece. You might find it easier to do if you separate the two halves, watch out for the little grub screws in the larger brass cap bolts if you do decide to do that and remember what spacers/washers went where so you can reassemble as it was before.

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Hi Dave thanks for the reply........I won't be taking the binoculars apart now way.......their filled with nitrogen for starters!.........wait up ah I see what you mean separate the optical halves....not had my morning coffee yet....it's on my desk here cooling down! it would be easier to get a template if I was to split them too.

I'll take photos of them before I start surgery.......I've just watched that video you posted for Rubbercon paint.......I didn't know you could get rubber paint.

Now I'm torn between leatherette which I've now ordered and I like the look of the grain or try this paint.I would imagine it would be easier to get complete coverage because of the shape of the body,I could keep them as a whole unit and then suspend them by hooking wire around the hinges.

 has anyone used this paint before?

Thanks Dave.

Ash.

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hi Ash

oh yep, that pre-coffee moment can be problematic 😄 

Luckily, being IF they should be easy to split, even CF ones aren't so hard really but then I've taken a fair few apart now and have various tools and loupes to see what I'm doing etc. Often there is a little grub screw in a larger slotted end bolt that locks it into place under the trim plate. The trick when reassembling is to get the tension just right so the hinge moves smoothly but is tight enough so as to not drift when holding only one side.

I've not tried that rubber paint but it looks an interesting alternative, tho I too like the leather grain look rather than smooth. Looked pretty effective in that video tho didn't it and being able to easily peel it away if you wanted to change was pretty cool too 🙂 

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Hi all,

Quick update Nikon UK support have emailed me asking for some photo's so that they can identify my binoculars........hopefully they can help and you never know send me a file with a pattern so I can recover them easier! or better still sell me the leatherette already cut would be great! 😉

Keep safe.

Ash.

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5 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

hi Ash

oh yep, that pre-coffee moment can be problematic 😄 

Luckily, being IF they should be easy to split, even CF ones aren't so hard really but then I've taken a fair few apart now and have various tools and loupes to see what I'm doing etc. Often there is a little grub screw in a larger slotted end bolt that locks it into place under the trim plate. The trick when reassembling is to get the tension just right so the hinge moves smoothly but is tight enough so as to not drift when holding only one side.

I've not tried that rubber paint but it looks an interesting alternative, tho I too like the leather grain look rather than smooth. Looked pretty effective in that video tho didn't it and being able to easily peel it away if you wanted to change was pretty cool too 🙂 

 

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I think you will find the "trick" not to be in reassembly but in collimation once that task is completed. 100% of the “collimation tips” CURRENTLY on the Internet are WRONG and deal only with CoAl (conditional alignment). This task, shared in Jan Seifred’s, Choosing, Using, & Repairing Binoculars, the Edmund Scientific booklet, Collimators & Collimation No. 9072, and others, erroneously reference the LONG-OUTDATED Brit method developed using their MK 1 collimator (attached), which they (the Department of Munitions) had abandoned by 1941.

 

CoAl is adequate for SOME observers IF the binocular is going to be used by them or others with nearly the same IPD, IF the error is small, or IF they have adequate spatial accommodation. However, for a complete disassembly/reassembly operation, alignment will usually fall short of not inducing some degree of eyestrain.

 

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Hi, Dave,

Nope. But some people don't get it. A new Roll Royce Phantom and a used Volkswagen Beetle are autos. But that's where the similarity ends. Every time I see a bino broken down all over the kitchen table, I ask what method is going to be used in collimation. So far, I have received no answers. I'm such a bad fellow. Realistic but bad.

Bill

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For this recovering I think we are only talking about separating the two side at the hinge rather than a full dismantle and moving the prisms. That shouldn't affect the alignment much if reassembled correctly should it?

I'll bow to your expertise if you feel it would after all you are the optical specialist where I'm a mere fiddler 🙂

Edited by DaveL59
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19 minutes ago, MrZuiko said:

Hi all,

Quick update Nikon UK support have emailed me asking for some photo's so that they can identify my binoculars........hopefully they can help and you never know send me a file with a pattern so I can recover them easier! or better still sell me the leatherette already cut would be great! 😉

Keep safe.

Ash.

if really lucky they may even be able to supply original coverings to restore them back to original look, they were after all a higher end model I believe 🙂 

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Dave,

Just sent another email to Nikon support asking if they can indeed supply the leatherette already cut because if I'm not mistaken these look like the same design as their "prostars" 7x50 bin fingers crossed I'll get a reply in the next few days.....hopefully with some good news.

In the mean time I'll carry on cleaning the residue off and make a template.

Looking at photo's of their leatherette covered models I can't see any seams where I thought they would be 😬

Ash.

Edited by MrZuiko
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24 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

For this recovering I think we are only talking about separating the two side at the hinge rather than a full dismantle and moving the prisms. That shouldn't affect the alignment much if reassembled correctly should it?

I'll bow to your expertise if you feel it would after all you are the optical specialist where I'm a mere fiddler 🙂

 

24 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

For this recovering I think we are only talking about separating the two side at the hinge rather than a full dismantle and moving the prisms. That shouldn't affect the alignment much if reassembled correctly should it?

I'll bow to your expertise if you feel it would after all you are the optical specialist where I'm a mere fiddler 🙂

Woah! Would you like to kiss my ring, too! I think your plan is more than adequate. However, although the nitrogen molecule is slightly larger than O2 molecule, that instrument probably lost its nitrogen YEARS ago. Do I know that with certainly? No. But has experience told me that it’s probably so? Yes. What I do know with certainty is that nitrogen is still available. But, being a Brit, just be sure it’s left-handed and metric nitrogen!

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1 hour ago, DaveL59 said:

PS just don't do something like this with them, Bill will be horrified 😉image.png.892c0104c6f2b2cb85892e310fd8a19e.png 

Not at all. I used my Audubon until replaced by my 8x32 Nikon SE. Just think how lucky I was. When I bought it from my sea of Zeiss, Leica, & Swarovski, it was just a great binocular and a very good price. Now, thanks to the needs of my countrymen, I have (drum roll, please) an ... “ALPHA!”

Being a great bino technician requires a modicum of dexterity, experience, and common sense. However, performing a 3-axis collimation requires considerably more. Complicated? NO! Requiring special skills? NO! Requiring one to stop making lame excuses and taking asinine short cuts? Yes.

There’s one know-nothing pathological liar over on _________________ who is getting an ego stroke by showing others how much he doesn’t know about collimation by overly extrapolating the math and drawings involved. Doing so, he has the super newbies wrapped around his finger. Heck, real Opticalmen can collimate 3 binos while he’s trying to figure out what his pretty drawings mean.   

Edited by WJC
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yep I can't claim the skills to do proper collimation, first to admit that. I'm wary to advise someone to dismantle stuff the way I do not knowing skill or equipment level etc. Where I may be willing to have a go to repair/improve others could just wreck a useful instrument. Then of course they have to be able to achieve a working alignment which is another minefield. Getting collimation in the proper sense well that's an area I've read a little and of course your various posts elsewhere, but have neither the equipment nor the expertise to be able to share or offer that sort of service to others. So far I've managed well enough on my own gear for my specific needs but I'm a very long way from being an optical tech. Has been a lot of fun and very interesting rescuing older binos and making them fully useful again tho 🙂 

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Many thanks Bill. I don't know Gary but I know he's at East Cost and would refer him and have done here. I'd definitely send the better more important gear to him to overhaul should that be needed. While I may tinker I don't plan on wrecking something that is a quality piece. Most of my gear I've picked up at low prices so within my limits I've been happy to have a look at them, went a lot further on those HR/5's where I rebuilt the broken arm but again dirt cheap so was worth a go and a good result in the end as you know. 

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1 hour ago, DaveL59 said:

Many thanks Bill. I don't know Gary but I know he's at East Cost and would refer him and have done here. I'd definitely send the better more important gear to him to overhaul should that be needed. While I may tinker I don't plan on wrecking something that is a quality piece. Most of my gear I've picked up at low prices so within my limits I've been happy to have a look at them, went a lot further on those HR/5's where I rebuilt the broken arm but again dirt cheap so was worth a go and a good result in the end as you know. 

You should be very proud of what you did on that piece! I keep hoping that as I reach my expiration date, a few others have learned enough to keep the craft going. Too many, though, should start a business called ... SHORTCUTS R US! There are two ways to make a profit. Through shortcuts and through learning your craft well enough to do your projects in record time ... without shortcuts! The money is all the same but the latter method will earn you more of it.

Edited by WJC
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