View Full Version : Vulcanite Replacement for Leica cameras

Mark Hansen
03-10-2005, 01:25
Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum, so I think before my post, I will introduce myself.

I am Mark Hansen, and I operate a very small camera repair business out of my home in Portland Oregon, since this is truely small, and kind of a hobby, I can repair many vintage and classic cameras for a fraction of the cost of established shops. My goal for this little venture is not to get rich, but to keep as many vintage film camera alive and shooting as possible, while putting enough money in my pocket to allow me to collect some very nice range finder cameras, like my Zeiss Ikon Tennax II, with f:2 4cm Sonnar, or my mint condition Super Ikonta A, to name just a few.

As of late I have turned my attentions to learning how to repair screw mount Leica cameras, and replace curtain straps in Contax II, and III models (what a major headache). While working on Leica SM cameras I came to the conclusion that most need to have the Vulcanite replaced, so I went about creating a CNC program to laser cut replacement leather sets, for the IIIa, I was working on. I have since added to this the IIIc model, and would like to have all the III's covered in the coming months. I laser cut these out with absolute accuracy, usually better than +/-.005", and they fit perfectly in every way, looking even better than the original vulcanite.

My question is: Is there a market for this product, or should I just make these for myself? If there is a market, what would you the consumer be willing to pay for the covering as a DIY item, or to have me do the work? Currently I have only black leather, would anyone be interested in colors? What other cameras would you guys like to see me do, Contax IIa, and IIIa which would be really simple, as would M2, M3 Leicas. Also, since I do not have every Leica camera ever made, would some of you owners be willing to ship your cameras to me to be recovered for free, while I develop CNC programs to make the covering?

Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated,
Mark Hansen

Kim Coxon
03-10-2005, 02:28
I think there is a market but you will have competition! There are 2 others I know off who support the Leicas. If you want to have a look they are at:


Brian Sweeney
03-10-2005, 02:33
These is an interest in these items. One such example of a business set up to provide covering is here:


I am fortunate that the Vulcanite on my IIIf (actually a factory IIIc conversion) is perfect. But most people are not so lucky.

03-10-2005, 09:45
Welcome to RFF, Mark! We seem to be building quite a contingent from the Portland area, and the Northwest region in general.

Mark Hansen
03-10-2005, 14:44
Thanks for the reply's people,

I am not worried about the competition, because I know I can undercut there price on any product or service. Firstly I pay nothing to use my employers $500,000 laser equipment, all I have to do is run a customers job off on the weekends and they will give me all the time I need to make my products. Second, I can actually make a perfectly fitted (all radiuses perfectly tangent to the sides, all radiuses the same, or different as needed, adjust for variances in production within camera models, etc.) set for a camera in seconds (for my Leica three pieces were produced in 56 seconds!) Third, I have never deluded myself into thinking that I could possibly earn a full time living working on and restoring vintage cameras, the number of users is growing, but in the long run that will probably not continue. Lastly, all I really want is to help people use there vintage cameras, whether that is a Rolleiflex I, Contax IIa, or an old slide projector; I want to have as many people buying film as possible.

Thanks for the kind responses.

11-25-2006, 02:09
Reading Ricardo's praise and recommendation of Mark Hanson's work I decided to look him up. Funny where you find some folks. Glad to see he visits us every once and a while.