Craft Project :: DIY Lightbox

I’ve been meaning to build one of these for a while, but upgrading my camera and my wife starting her etsy store and needing me to photograph stuff for it gave me the impetus.

Some cheap wood, a scrap of PVC sheeting, a $4 white sheet from the thrift shop and here’s what I’ve got so far:

I’m not getting enough light, and since I’d broken a few bulbs in the past few days I had 3 different types of bulbs in the 4 lights.

I clamped the sheet on because I’m not sure of the best way to secure it, or even if that’s the right kind of sheet to use. The point is to diffuse the light, but I don’t want to block too much of it either.

I may need to partially cover the front of the box  to bounce some of the light back in.

Raising the dead…

Background HERE. Post informed guesses as to years/location in comments below.



Coop thinks the Model T’s are from 1915-16 and 1917-18. I hadn’t realized they were even different cars.

Picture 2 of 28 – “This is a 1915 or 1916 Model T.”

Picture 3 of 28 – “This one is at least a ’17 or ’18 Model T, but I’m not schooled enough to spot the minor differences, and they were pretty similar year to year. The main difference from the earlier T in the other photo is the embossed grille shell, stamped fenders and the rounded hood.”

Scott Huffhines “digs up” the following:

Re: the graveyard shot. Definitely from Maryland since she was referenced in a 1944 Sun obit (which I didn’ want to pay for).
My guess the obit was for one of her children or relatives but not for her.

Rob Sherwood:

Number 3 has a license plate, which reads “OHO 256825 1920” I think. I’m researching that, assuming that OHO refers to “Ohio” and 1920 is a date.

Looking at “http://www.worldlicenceplates….“, the OHO is common in ohio but a 6 digit plate number is only listed on the 1921 license plate.

Christopher Mealie:

What a great find. Nice scans too. From clothing and autos they seem to be 1910s.

A reader named “Jack” that wasn’t able to post for some reason peels a sharp eye on the scenes:

I’m sorry to get this to you via email, but I was unable to post comments when I logged in. These are interesting. You may have already noticed these things, but…

I think the woman in photo 20 is the same woman years later in photo 23 who is sitting on the right. She has the same mouth and the same hairdo. Although the hairdo was probably common back then, the facial similarities seem convincing.

The dog in photo 23 appears to be the same one sitting next to the boy in photo 19. The boy in photo 19 looks like the toddler in photo 27.

The man sitting on the left with the woman’s arm around his shoulders is the same guy standing in the middle in photo 24. Judging by that dimple on his chin and his overall looks, he is also the same guy wearing the hat in photo 11. That could also be him on the horse in photos 13 and 15.

The same little boy appears in photos 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 12. There may be some more repeat subjects but I’m not sure.

The rustic wooden bench in photos 20 and 21 is interesting. That would be a cool heirloom to have, eh? This isn’t really important, but the bench seems to have moved when you compare it’s position relative to things near it on the ground such as twigs, holes in the dirt, etc. Based on the way the man and the woman are dressed in those two shots, I’m thinking they may have gone to church that day. If so, then the paper leaning up against the leg of the bench may be the program for that day’s service. I’m not enough of a historian to know if churches could afford to do that back then though.


Nerd Project No. 1920 :: Analog + Digital = <3 (scanning glass negatives)

It’s been a little while since I posted a project. The last one might have been my Accordion Box that I refurbished. Yesterday I found three boxes of 5×7″ and 4×6.5″ glass negatives at a local junk shop that I stop in at least once a week. The place mainly deals with estates, so you never know what’s going to come in the door.

Being, well, me… I looked quickly at a few of the slides, asked for a discount on all three boxes (they were marked $4 each, but they gave ’em all to me for $9) and then spent my Saturday morning scanning them and then doing a small amount of color correction in Adobe Lightroom, and now this afternoon putting them online.

The photos themselves will go into a post by themselves, but I did document the process a bit for here.

I WOULD like some assistance, if you’re inclined, in dating and locating these images. There are a ton of clues in the images for the keen observer. Please use the comments section to make suggestions (and give reasons).

Being the weirdo I am, I own a few bags of cotton gloves for occasions just like this. I also have a few other things laying around that I used in the process, as I’ll detail below.

Two of the negatives were broken, and many had deteriorated  or had some decay going on. I did my best to wipe off the dust and smudges on the glass side, and did a gentle wiping of the emulsion side. I suppose I could have looked online to see what should be done to clean these properly, but I didn’t. I did quite a bit though.

I tool some thick matteboard and cut a template out so that I could place the negatives in the scanner consistently.  I know I’ve got some plastic templates that they provided, but had no idea where a “cleaned them” to last time (to the spot I’m sure I thought I’d never forget).


There are three boxes, but the third wit the smaller negatives had no printing like these.

Here is one of the negatives on the scanner with the template. The template needs to be removed before the scan starts.

Just because, here’s the top of my scanner.

Holding up a negative, in case you’ve never seen such a thing.

Once the negatives were scanned, I took some packing sheets and cut them down to size to insert into the top and bottom.


Then I took some archival storage bags and put the boxes in them.

Now that I have everything scanned, I’d be willing to donate the negatives to either a museum, historical society, or the living family. One of the photos is a grave marker, so there’s a name to go on. If I can figure out a region, that’d narrow it down.

Oh, and the “1920” in the post title isn’t really a guess, but it sounds good.

Book Scanning…

I’ve scanned a LOT of books. Page by page by page on a flatbed scanner. Occasionally, over the past few years I’ve used digital cameras to photograph sections or a short number of pages.
At some point I ran across various websites for folks building digital camera based book scanners. This is an amazing collision of things I love – building shit, culling great shit from old books and magazines. Anyway, if you’re remotely interested at all, I’m starting this post to collect some URLs on the topic…

Over the next year I’m going to start on a build.

Craft Project :: Accordion Box

I haven’t posted a craft/design project in a while. I built a nice deck in the back yard, but I’m not posting any photos of that.

I’m not  a musician, and it’s questionable if anyone will see me playing an intrument in public, but a few months ago I purchased a 12bass accordion at a Flea. It was in surprisingly good shape, all the notes are correct, but there are some flaws (the bellows aren’t airtight, etc.). So while I am going to try to learn this damnable squeezebox, my need to customize kicked in and I went to town on the worn down case…

I started by taking all the measurements and creating a design for the top and bottom. Figuring out exactly how many different peieces and how they’d be applied was the most difficult part.

I based the design around an ad from the Johnson-Smith catalog of 1929 (reprinted 1970).
Love the ad and illustrations for too many reasons to list here, but I did want to acknowledge the source.
One point is the old-world immigrant look of the two figures, and that the accordion itself has an old-world look to it.

The top was completely seperated from the case, but not cleanly.
The rear panel was still attached to the bottom by the rusted hinges.

I stripped the lining from the box.

Broke the hinges off. I tried drilling out the grommets holding the hinges,
but I ended up breaking 3 drill bits doing it.

I used PVC sheet to reline the box and wrap in new fabric.
The fabric was in a dumpster from a place that does upholstery and window treatments.
I work in the same building and smoke on the loading dock, so I peak in occasionally to see what’s there.

I don’t expect many readers to have access to a 54″ printer, but I do. I printed 2-up andthen applied a gloss laminate over it.
I was going to do a matte lam, but the gloss was loaded up and I was feeling lazy.
Once the design was applied to the lid, I decided I wanted to keep the worn look on the bottom half, and didn’t print the design I’d made for it.

Cut down more PVC to size for the inside of the bottom part of the box.
Wrapped it all in a different fabric (also from the dumpster) and glued it all in place.

Over a few days after work, my fancied up accordion box is done!

New brass hinges and fancy protective corners for the bottom.

Slaughter Family Band

The accordion fits pretty snugly, and it looks as I imagined.

Now, if I don’t learn to play it, it’ll at least look good sitting in a corner.