Tuesday, January 1, 2008

DIY: Westcott sharp tips protection

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_001I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and a fabulous Happy New Year's day.

What a better way to start 2008 than a Do It Yourself tip ;)

I would also like to mention a place in Europe where you can get the Westcott folding umbrellas for a reasonable price.

Well that's right, I finally found a place where we all can get our Westcott umbrellas in Europe without being afraid for the expensive custom taxes nor those horrible Adorama logos.

You can check the full story on another post "Adorama uses Strobist photographers as free advertisers" and follow the Flickr thread in here.

During December and after my failed attempt on getting some Westcott folding umbrellas from Adorama I phoned the main house and they gave me the direct contact for the European importer.

The company is called Creative Video (CVP) and Pete Trevena is the manager. The company is based in the UK and they are the exclusive importers of Westcott products for Europe customers.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_002

I decided to give it a shot and ordered one 43" Soft Silver Collapsible Umbrella (# 2001) and three 43" Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella (# 2002).

After exchanging some emails with Mr. Trevena and explaining my problems and situation with Adorama logos He personally told me that they do not have the Westcott umbrellas without any company logo except for Westcott and that the ends were not sharp.

The price for each umbrella unit is €29,45 + €5,15 VAT (€34,60) plus shipping to your country this makes them a good option. The CVP company does not work with PayPal or VISA payments so you will need to make a Bank IBAN money transfer to their account.

If you visit Creative Video (CVP) website the umbrellas are not visible available through their products so the best way for you to get them is to send an email or call asking for prices and shipping to your country so they could send you an estimate email.

--- Updated 22-02-2008 ---
As per my suggestion Creative Video decided to make the Westcott folding umbrellas pictures and links available at their website you can check above the direct link for each model:

F J Westcott 2001 43inch optical white satin collapsible umbrella
F J Westcott 2002 43inch soft silver collapsible umbrella
F J Westcott 2011 43inch optical white satin collapsible umbrella

This way you no longer have to send an email asking for estimate, but if I were you I would send and email confirming availability and also the price to send it to your home country.


Here are the complete details of the company:

Creative Video Productions Limited
Castle Road
United Kingdom
B80 7AA

Phone: 01527 854 222
International phone: +44 1527 854 222
Facsimile:01527 857 666
International facsimile: +44 1527 857 666
Email: sales@creativevideo.co.uk

Opening hours:
Monday: 09:00 - 17:30
Tuesday: 09:00 - 17:30
Wednesday: 09:00 - 17:30
Thursday: 09:00 - 17:30
Friday: 09:00 - 17:30
Saturday: 09:00 - 13:00
Sunday: Closed
Bank holidays: Closed

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_003

After placing the order at the beginning of December I received it 3 weeks later, not bad, concerning that they had to order some of the umbrellas from the US.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_004

Although everything came with a good package I instantly noticed that the tips of the umbrellas were the sharp ones :(

Nothing that I was not expecting, since I had previously talked to Westcott headquarters in the US and they told me that the only umbrellas they make now with the round tips are the White one's with a removable black cover. They also told me that they had a few problems with the round tip production because they easily tear apart.

Well I have mine with round tips for a year now and never had any problem with them.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_005

Anyway since they only had the Westcott logo I decided to keep these ones and start look for a solution to not hurting myself on closing them nor hurting other people with those sharp tips.

This is what you will need for todays DIY sharp tips protection and pencil reinforcement:

- A normal pencil (for the reinforcement)
- Glue
- Scissors
- Lighter
- Plastic Electrical Heat Shrink (Sleeve)

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_006

Get the pencil and cut it in order to fit inside the umbrella metal stick and had some glue to the pencil so it can stay inside after drying out.

Tip: The IKEA pencils do not fit tight so don't bother bringing them home instead get some of the office :)

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_007

Here is the pencil going inside the umbrella with lots of glue, now you just have to clean that extra glue :)

Tip: Use some UHU glue or some other but pay attention not to choose one that dries quickly or else you would risk of having the pencil glued before you put it all inside the umbrella metal stick.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_008

Nice and easy. Take a look at the complete and detail article on another of my posts DIY: Westcott Umbrella Reinforcement.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_009

Now let's move to the part of the sharp tips.

What do I call "sleeve"?

Well Sleeve is an electrical plastic thing that is used to isolate the electric wires when you weld them. I think you can find this on any electrical/electronic components store and is commonly known as Heat Shrink.

The Heat Shrink I use here measure 1,2mm thick and they fit very nice on to the umbrellas tips. They are identical to the ones I used on the article DIY: Flash Hot-Shoe MOD.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_010

Now let's cut them up so they can be put on all of the sharp tips as a protection. Measure the tip by putting it through the tip just remember to leave a little bit out.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_011

You will need to cut 8 of them to each of the umbrella tips.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_012

Cut them like this and put them in. Leave a little bit out so when you shrink them they will not be too small.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_013

Use the lighter to tight them up since as soon as you got them hot they shrink and mold to the shape of the tip.

Tip: use the middle part of the flame (blue) so you won't burn them out, this way you will get a lot of heat and will not burn the Heat Shrinker (Sleeve).

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_014

This is what it will look like when you finish. Make each one carefully so you won't burn any part of the umbrella.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_015

Here is what it look like on the Silver umbrella.

Westcott Umbrellas Sharp Tips Fix_016

And here is the look like of the finish of the white umbrella. This would not interfere with the lighting situations and would be much safer when you close the umbrella and also if anyone, by accident, pass by it.

I hope this would help you out with the sharp tips on the umbrellas.

I also would like to wish you all a great 2008!!!


Anonymous said...

FYI, the "sleeve" stuff you're talking about is more commonly referred to as "heat shrink".

SarahSmiles said...

Dear Rui,

I was interested to read your blog on a DIY method for providing protection from risk of harm from the sharp tips of Westcott umbrellas. As you are now aware, the issue of the sharp tips is down to the manufacturing process,which in turn has been decided by the product development team at Westcott - which is really out of our hands, here at Adorama camera.
However, I'm extremely impressed with the method that you have developed to overcome this problem. For some users it might be too troublesome, so it occurred to me that if something were available to buy off the shelf, it could be of interest.
I have a couple of people at Adorama checking out whether this is a possibility right now, but I'd be very grateful if you could post again with an up-date re: the durability of the tips. I'm wondering if after a number of uses, whether the sharp tips would break through the plastic cable?
I'm sorry that you are unhappy with the decision to print the Adorama name onto the umbrellas, and again, I am investigating how & why that decision was reached, & whether it is universally unpopular.
We do value your business and we sincerely apologize for any frustration that you have had. We look forward to further serving you for all your photographic needs.
Please visit our website, www.adorama.com, again as we are always adding new items - and new sale items.

Helen Oster
Customer Service Ambassador

ruimleal said...

Thanks Marty,

made the corrections on the blog.
Have a good 2008.

drmauro said...

always clear and precise! thank you!

ruimleal said...

Dear Helen,

thank you for the comment. My only frustration concerning your service only had to do with a bad information on the website about the umbrellas. They could have at least the information that Adorama logo was added to the umbrellas this with a small picture of the article with Adorama logo would cause people to decide on having or not the umbrellas with Adorama logo and not imposed by company policy.

This DIY fix tip was a simple method that I got not to hurt myself when closing the umbrellas since that every time I close the new sharp tip umbrellas, even if I close them carefully, I always get hurt on my fingers and bleed.

After talking to some other photographers, who have the same umbrellas, this was now becoming an habit every time you close them so this fix will help people not hurting them selfs while closing it.

I don't believe the tips will come out so easly since they seem to stay galvanized to the tips after indulging fire to them. I even tried to pull one out with my hand unsuccessfully.

I think that this should be a problem for the manufacturer to fix , maybe if you ask them to fix this instead of putting your Adorama logos in them.
I have a couple of Westcott umbrellas, previous manufactured generation, where the tips are round and never got any problems even after using them constantly over a year.

I hope your comment is true and that at least Adorama would update their info on the Westcott umbrellas in order for other photographers know what they are buying.

Have a good 2008.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rui,

Great info on these umbrellas. I'm also looking for these but can't find them on Creative Video's website.

Do we have to call or email to order them?


ruimleal said...

Hi galahad's thanks for the comment.

Did you read the full post carefully?

You have all the contacts in there I also make it Bold/Italic for the order information.

And yes you have to call, fax or mail them for estimate since the product is not available as an online part of their catalog.

Have a great 2008

Unknown said...

Hi Rui! Best wishes to you and family - happy new year! Thanks for this ext. information conc. the umbrellas :-)