Restoring a Yashima Yashicaflex A-II from 1955

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner a cast on serial number was under the painted on one.

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner, an etched or cast-in serial number was under the painted one

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate.

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate

Yashicaflex A-II Box

Six decades of dirt and moisture = corrosion… Big Time!

Over the next few months (turns out 14 months) I hope to be able to document my attempt to “restore” my 1955 Yashima Yashicaflex A-II. I have years of experience in cleaning and adjusting TLRs and SLRs, but I’ve never attempted a complete restoration on this scale. So why the Yashicaflex? Well it’s relatively common (especially in Japan), not necessarily a historic camera in terms of Yashima’s history, and it was in really bad physical condition overall. So why not? It was purchased from a seller located in Hiroshima, Japan, and if you know anything about Japan, Hiroshima is in the very hot and humid southern part of Honshu. When it arrived, I had to pry the camera away from the leather case as the two had become welded to one another. It must have been trapped in that case for years. The leather case with the felt liner did a good job of holding the moisture against the aluminum body of the camera hence the super bad pitting and overall corrosion. The leatherette covering on the camera was so brittle it just fell away in some areas but has stayed super stuck in others. I’ve had little success so far in removing it. So sit back and enjoy my “interpretive restoration” of this vintage Yashica. The good news… even with all the corrosion the lenses appear to be fungus and mold free! The lenses were made by Tomioka Optical for Yashima and somehow managed to avoid the ravages of moisture. The shutter works well, the aperture blades are clean and snappy and the focus is sharp. The reflex mirror was original and it looks terrible. I ordered a new one custom cut to fit. This camera will be a “user” so I will appreciate a clear view and sharp focus.

July 2014... my first look at what I would be up against!

July 2014… my first look at what I would be up against!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

Yep... lots of dirt!

Yep… lots of dirt!

Nasty... nasty... nasty!

Nasty… nasty… nasty!

Slow progress being made. Some of the paint removers did nothing to the 60 year old paint!

'Simple Green' did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing... not even a hint of paint removed.

‘Simple Green’ did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing… not even a hint of paint removed.

More parts to clean.

More parts to clean. Keeping track of all the removed screws and what-nots will be critical.

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

Close-up view of the camera back showing the radical pitting of the aluminum body.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.

3 thoughts on “Restoring a Yashima Yashicaflex A-II from 1955

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