I was talking about ground glass with some friends online and realised I haven’t actually mentioned upgrading the ULF camera’s ground glass from that shambolic affair with sandpaper and cream cleanser.

Well, I didin’t photograph myself upgrading that sheet of glass but I did photograph others.

Road to Silicon Carbide
I contacted Silver Print to see if they stocked any grits to make a ground glass after reading about different grits on forums here and there.

I got an amazing reply to say, sorry we don’t supply anything like that but you may want to try here and linked to a website that sold Silicon Carbide grits for grinding or shaping materials.

That’s customer service, do you hear that AG-Photographic?

I’d briefly read about different strengths or rather sizes of grit but the consensus was around F400 or ‘Fine’ 400. You could use a larger grit but you may start to see more traces of the marks it makes.

This is what I bought …

I wasn’t sure how much I would actually need so I went for the 3.5kg tub which came to around £40 plus delivery.

In order to grind an 8×10 sheet of glass I used less than 1/4 of the volume from that little red cap left of the tub in the above photo.

I reasoned with myself that the absurd amount I actually bought would be fine because I might be making a lot of ground glass especially if I’m going to be building big cameras.

I was quite right too because I leaned on my 8×10 sheet a day or two later and cracked the bastard in half!

Here’s one half in use with one of my Kodak folders …

This was another interesting use for having a ground glass kit around, testing the focus of cameras.

I was having a hard time getting my focusing right on my folders so I ground a piece of sheet plastic-glass from a cheap already-scratched Ikea frame.

I should say that by now the 2 halves of the 8×10 had been smashed to tiny bits.

Preparing To Grind
On the left is the plastic sheet and the right is a small sheet of real glass.

I dumped a little amount of grit on the plastic sheet; you can see how scratched it was.

Just add a little water.

I placed the small glass sheet on top and ground down using a circular motion.

You can see that after a short while the plastic sheet is pretty much done, a glass sheet would take about 10 minutes or so of constant grinding depending on size of course.

Here I’ve taped the sheet to the back of my Kodamatic …

… and here’s a view through the back. It turned out I am now shit at guessing distances and the rangefinder I was using was unreliable.


I’ll finish with this: photography is a fantastic medium to play with, there’s always something fascinating just around the corner.

I wonder what I would say to me if I showed these recent blog posts to myself 3 or more years ago?


3 thoughts on “Glass

  1. 3.5 kgs!! That made me laugh. Well done though. I could use some of that magic fairy dust myself. I use, and am happy with, scotch tape taped to perspex. Whats the model of that kodak folder! It’s a monster – I’m looking for something like that.


    1. I know, 3.5kg’s, I’d no idea how much I’d need – you don’t need that much that’s for sure! Scotch tape would be great for small plates but maybe tricky for a 16×20 glass.

      There’s actually 2 different Kodak folders here. One is a Kodak Kodamatic Special No.2C, Autographic that’s designed for 130 film, about 1cm bigger than 120 (you get 5 frames with 120 film) but the other is a Kodak No.3A (Model B-5) which was made for 116 film which is even bigger; it can take a sheet of 5×4 on it’s back plate and you only loose about half a cm on that sheet. You get about 3 or 4 frames on a single 120 roll.

      What you should find with these Kodak cameras from the 1920s is that the shutters still work a treat at least the 3 I have and almost every other one I’ve come across in antique fairs have also worked perfectly.

      Good luck in your search!


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