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Published on January 23rd, 2019 | by Shannon Walford

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Ask Megan: Cleaning and Tripod Maintenance

In the winter months our tripods brace the cold, the wet and the muddy in order for us to get those perfect shots. However, much like ourselves, this can leave our tripods feeling a little under-the-weather. This month, we have asked Megan, our resident tripod fixer-upper, to share her top tips with us on tripod maintenance and cleaning to get our tripods back in tip-top condition. 

There are some great opportunities in the winter to take your kit out and get some beautiful location images. With only a few hours of daylight to get that perfect shot, its often we find ourselves embracing the elements which can lead to us trekking through wet sandy beaches, mud filled terrains and across icy landscapes to achieve that ultimate shot. These elements can take a toll on our kit but there are a couple of things you can do to keep your tripod clean after shooting in such circumstances. 

 

1. Cleaning your tripod. 

Pro Range Tripods

To undo, grip the cap and rotate counter-clockwise (if looking down upon cap) until it disengages with the friction- lock. Then, undo the friction-lock until it comes free of the thread. You can then pull the leg or column section out. With a toothbrush and some warm water, gently run the toothbrush around the threads and wipe any remaining dirt off with a soft sponge or cloth. Never scrub the threads, always follow the threads. Once clean, completely dry with a clean cloth. Do not leave to air dry, ensure all locks, threads and legs are dried thoroughly before reassembling. The internal “Chicken Lips” (green or orange shims) easily clip on and off the tubing, and should be carefully lined up with the internal key line when reassembling sections. 

Cleaning a Paralock

Punks Tripods 

Take each individual leg lock and unscrew until completely undone, and gently pull the tubing out, (being careful not to lose the Chicken Lips!) Allowing you to clean the threads of the legs. Using a toothbrush and warm water gently clean around the threads before wiping off with a small sponge or cloth. Dry thoroughly with a clean dry cloth, do not air dry. Once cleaned, ensure that the Chicken Lips are in place and then carefully insert the leg, lining up the internal slot with the gap in the Chicken Lips, and tighten the leg lock in place. 

2. Lubrication. 

To keep your tripod working smoothly it’s important to lubricate. Let’s reiterate, it’s important to keep the locks lubricated, particularly after thoroughly cleaning your tripod for ultimate optimisation of the legs and centre column. The best lubricant to use on your tripod is silicon grease. As an alternatively original Vaseline or petroleum jelly works just as well. Unscrew your twist locks to expose the thread at the base of the leg tubing or column and little by little add the lubricant until the lock feels smooth running over the thread. Please do not use WD40 as it will dissolve the adhesive on your tripod. 

Recommended: Flo Plast, Pure Silicone Grease.

 

3. Feet.  

Tripods need Pedicures too! In challenging conditions, your footwear plays one of the most vital roles in keeping your tripod sturdy and still. For keeping your footwear in the best condition you can, use a damp cloth to wipe away any mud or dirt on or caught in the foot and dry with a cloth. If the threads have managed to get dirty then we recommend using a damp cotton bud to get in-between the groves of the thread or the adapter. Dry thoroughly and check they are tight before every use.

If you are not aware that we offer a range of stainless steel and rubber feet or are unsure of the reasons why you may require different ones take a quick look below… 

  • Our Stilettoz are designed to elevate your tripod clear of potentially harmful terrain, or for embedding in softer ground to provide a firmer anchor during windy and turbulent weather.
  • Heelz were created in mind of harder surfaces such as concrete and rock, and equally at home on pliable surfaces like carpet and vinyl.
  • Clawz are built to grip ice and rocks with multiple teeth, or spread the load over malleable surfaces like snow and sand. Clawz increase the stability of any compatible tripod on such inhospitable terrains.

3 Legged Thing Rubber Boots.

All footwear accessories come with a 3/8″-16 adapter. A little extra tip, if you screw the adapter into the tripod first, make sure these are tight. Then screw the foot and washer in. This holds them a lot better. If your adapter is stuck on the boot, then cover with a cloth to protect the thread and use a pair of pliers to unscrew. 

But that’s enough of me trying to sell you some feet… Lets get back to the point. These easy maintenance tips will have your tripod feeling brand new in no time at all and by keeping your tripod as clean as possible this will help with the performance of the tripod. 

You can take a look at our ‘How to’ Videos if you get stuck at all.  

Happy Cleaning!  

Megan x 

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