Fastest Tool to clear yellowed Thorium lenses

Hi all, just wanted to share the absolute fastest way I have found to clear up the yellowing of lenses due to rare earth content. I’ve cleaned up several Takumars and now a 50/2 Wetzlar rigid ‘Cron with this lamp. After witnessing the speed in which it just cleaned up this Leica beauty from 1970, I was compelled to share this technique. For whatever reasons, it is able to clear up the yellowing of lenses  FAST. Like in all of 24 hours. Not a week of sitting in the windowsill trying to harness the sun.

So here’s the secret tool.

The JANSJÖ work lamp from Ikea. Item number 101.287.34

It’s an LED unit, but evidently puts out a highly focused beam of UV light that you can bend down right into the barrel of your lens. Seriously this thing works awesome. I’ve tried other UV bulbs to some good results but still those take days to undo the yellowing of decades of the radioactive breakdown. This lamp will cure it overnight. 2 nights, and you’re back to like new.

Hope this is helpful to someone… other than just Ikea’s lamp sales.

6 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. bc

    Ha- perfect timing on the Ikea lamp trick- just been looking into the depths of my Super Takumar and wondering what to do- good thing Ikea is on the way home!

    Mar 22, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  2. Herbert Kanner

    Does this apply to f/2 90mm Summicron M designated “Leitz Lens Made in Canada”?

    Apr 16, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  3. Nortega

    Chances are, no. The Canadian Balsam cement that was used in some years has a tendency to yellow, but that look is more like an oil slick than a yellowing. Like this: balsam

    Apr 17, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  4. Herbert Kanner

    That was GOOD news. My yellowed “Made in Canada” Summicron looks as uniformly yellow as a yellow filter. So, I’m off to Ikea.



    Apr 18, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

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    […] could try this instead of the sun: Fastest Tool to clear yellowed Thorium lenses | Nortega __________________ The best shot you take is with the camera that you have with […]

    May 11, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  6. john defazio

    hi my name is john and i am an avid collector of super takumar lenses
    (i am only missing the 16mm)
    but i enjoyed your post on removing yellow with the ikea jansjo light
    3 of my lenses have the yellowing so i bought that light today at ikea
    however i noticed that the item number you specified (101.287.34) is no longer sold
    its now 201.696.58
    my question is: do u think that this bulb still puts out the same UV light needed to clear the lens?
    any help would be greatly appreciated
    thank you so much

    Dec 02, 2012 @ 9:11 pm