Most of us never give cassette felt a thought. If we discover that it is corroding or leaking light, we look to replace the entire cassette. But with film cassettes costly or impossible to find, we no longer have that luxury. The first thing to do is to help make your felt last as long as possible. Keep your cassettes dry. If the metal under the felt begins to rust, the felt won't last very long. And keep your cassettes clean. If you have cassette cases, use them. If you don't, use at least a plastic sandwich bag. And clean out the cassettes after every use, with a camera lens cleaning kit.
If you still need to replace the felt we have a few tips from a couple of people who have been down the road before you:
A Steky example -- "I replaced the dried out felt in a Steky cassette with the felt from a used roll of FUJI 35mm film. Simply rip open the sheet metal 35mm can and pull of the felt. It peels off easily. Use some 3M #08001 weatherstrip adhesive (available at any auto parts store). Apply a thin film of it to the back side of the felt with a Q-tip. Apply a thin film to the area of the cassette needing adhesive. Stick in place and push it down securely with the back side of a small pocket knife blade. Let it dry and gently scrape off the excess glue. Trim any excess length felt with a razor blade. The FUJI felt was just the right width to do the job. And the price and availability cannot be beat!!"
A Minox example -- "Installing the felt is not that hard, and I dare your fingers to be fatter than mine! For repair, getting the original felt out in the first place is the hard part. For the record, here's how I install felt: Cut a strip of thin sticky-back felt (it's actually flocked paper-- I use the stuff from Edmund Scientific) maybe two or three centimeters longer than what you need. It's OK if you cut it a little wide, but the edges have to be straight and smooth. Peel up one end of the non-stick backing and fold it back against itself, leaving about half the felt strip's adhesive exposed. I don't, but you can stick another piece of paper to the exposed felt to keep it from sticking to everything. It will be trimmed later anyway. Insert the end of the felt with the doubled backing into the slot. For a Minox cassette, position felt so it extends inside the cassette far enough to wrap about 1/4 of the way around the inside wall. I don't remember how far in the Minolta felt goes. Hold the felt in position and pull the loose end of the backing through the trap (I use a hemostat to pull the backing). This uncovers the adhesive, and since the felt is already in place there's no fussy positioning to be done. Use a smooth implement to press the felt so it adheres securely, and to shape the part that extends into the cassette into position. Finally, use a sharp, sharp, sharp blade to trim off the excess felt. I use half of a single-edged razor blade. (Be careful, of course.) The flocked paper sold by Edmund Scientific might be OK as it is for Minolta. For Minox cassettes I had to mow a piece vigorously with an electric razor to make it thin enough (maybe not quite as thin as the original stuff, but it seems to work)."
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