Page 1 of 1

Cleaning a Mitchell Camera

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:38 pm
by astralisdp
I just bought a Mitchell and it was really badly taken care of and it's covered in grease and paint. What do you suggest I clean it with so I don't ruin the original black layer. Simple soap won't cut it.

Thank you!

Re: Cleaning a Mitchell Camera

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 6:56 am
by mediaed
Whatever you do, do not scrub the exterior with a stiff brush or even a heavy cloth. The crackle finishes of these cameras on aluminum and magnesium didn't adhere in the best way. And, a 50 & 60 paint job is not trustworthy. Stripping any camera down to the metal and repainting is a awful job.

No harsh solvent either. You want to find something that will help lift the grime off. Those "miracle" absorbent cloth products work fairly well with a thin dishwasher detergent solution.

Just keep water away from the interior works. Unfortunately, dirt or crud inside the box really requires a technician disassembly, cleaning, lubricating and reassembly -- depending on the model, there are lots of small parts and timing issues to watch out for.

If a touch up of a small area or of a removable part is required, knowing that it will be impossible to match the wrinkle pattern, you could get a reasonable result from an automotive product: VHT wrinkle plus. BEWARE this product is temperature and time sensitive as well as being finicky. It will require lots of practice runs to get it right. Buy two cans.

And, on that happy note, wish you best of luck in the endeavor. ED.

Re: Cleaning a Mitchell Camera

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 7:03 am
by mediaed
Um...make that "a 50 to 60 year-old paint job." Ack! ED.

Re: Cleaning a Mitchell Camera

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 9:03 am
by astralisdp
Thanks a lot Ed. Really good advice. I think I'm going to see if I can get this camera professionally cleaned because I don't want to risk it. Luckily the inside is pretty clean, it's just the outside that is problematic.

Re: Cleaning a Mitchell Camera

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 1:23 pm
by mediaed
Just to add for future reference:

If you had happened upon a white navy GC or USAF model "D", I would have advised to have at it.That finish is almost like porcelain and has somewhat been proven impervious to nuclear weapons (Umm..Ha & not PC!)

But, I'm surely certain the government safely disposed of those long ago, right?

I did repaint my GCN gloss black after cleaning and running a geiger counter over it just for fun. ED.