About the tools

Repairing/Restoring cameras, shutters, and lenses require some tools.

Some tools are basic, like screwdrivers, while others are more specialized. Good place to look for tools are Watch/Jewellery repair supply stores or Micro-Tools.

Cleaning is the one thing that always needs to be done, and even these items can be specialized.

Custom cut leatherette can be purchased from cameraleather.com or aki-asahi.com.

One item that is really not a “tool” but it is an essential tool to have knowledge. I highly suggest taking the National Camera repair program which is now available for free … also helpful info is Rick Oleson’s camera repair tech notes CD.


  • These you will always need. You will need them in many sizes … the smaller the better. Get a good set of mini/precision slotted screwdrivers, and don’t go cheap as those will always break the tip the first time you use them.
  • JIS head screwdrivers are a must


  • #00 stainless is a nice one. You might want to also pick up a couple of cheap ones so you can bend the end to get at things in odd places.


  • Great for cleaning small spaces but they do leave threads behind.

Small pliers


Dental pick/probe

  • Great when you get into leaf shutter mechanisms and need to reach a spring or push a gear/lever somewhere.

Dental chisel

  • You are probably really wondering what this is for … it is to scrape off old leatherette.

Syringes and 18 gauge needles

  • If you are applying oil, this will give you a precision applicator.


  • If you are going to do any work on Barnack type rangefinders you will need one of these to get those rings off the range/viewfinder windows without damaging them.

Spanner wrench

  • This one gets used a lot for most lens disassemblies, and also with some other ring screws that may be used in camera bodies.
  • If you are just going to get one … get straight long legged.

Retaining ring pliers

Rubber lens ring tool set

  • Another one those really handy tools for lens disassembly.

Needle files

Lens filter ring vise

  • I got this as an Xmas gift. I have used it twice.


  • Great to scrub in those hard to reach places

Pin vise

Dremel power tool

Soldering iron and silver solder


Rare earth magnet wide – to find those damn small screws when they fall on the floor.

New addition to the arsenal … ultrasonic cleaner

Sheets of thin felt and foam

Shutter curtain material

Sheets and pre-cut leatherette

Rosonol (lighter fluid)

  • This is one thing that is always used for cleaning … especially shutters.




Isopropyl alcohol

Hydrogen Peroxide

Residual oil remover / lens cleaning solution

Watch Oil

Super Lube


Acrylic paint pen


Black restoration tincture (from eBay seller hobby-nexus out of Poland)

Glass pump dispenser vials for all those liquids

The adventures of this guy who tries to restore and repair vintage photographic equipment … and wins (most of the time).

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