Leica M2 Vulcanite / Leather Replacement (How To Video)

I’ve had a Leica M2 with cracked and missing vulcanite sitting on a shelf for over two months. It was sad, ugly, and wasting away. So this weekend I decided to do something about it. Replacing the vulcanite with original material is downright impossible for the average guy, so instead I opted to use high quality leather from a well-known online shop, Aki-Asahi.

Being pretty casual about my cameras, I thought mixing things up a bit wouldn’t hurt, so I decided to go with navy blue leather instead of the traditional black, and the final result is nothing short of gorgeous. But rather than selfishly enjoying this Leica in isolation, I’ve gone through the trouble of making a short video to show how you too can re-skin your aged bauhaus masterpiece, and turn it into something clean and new.

For the video tutorial and shameless camera porn, read on.

First things first. Here’s what the M2 looked like before the operation.

Leica M2 Vulcanite Replacement 1

Pretty ugly. And I can’t tell how many Leicas I’ve seen sell for well under their deserved price as a result of ugly, broken vulcanite. While this is great news for shrewd shoppers, I think that many people are fearful of buying these decrepit looking machines simply because they don’t think they’re capable of replacing that tired, old vulcanite. Well, my fearful friends, I’m here to tell you that it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s not difficult at all. If you follow the video guide below, use common sense, and take your time, you’ll be able to get yourself a Leica for a lot less money and just a tiny bit of work.

Aki-Asahi’s camera leather comes from Japan, but even so it arrived here in less than five days. That’s amazing service. Not to mention the impeccably precise packaging, perfect product, and astoundingly low price. At less than $30 USD, I’m not even sure how Aki-Asahi stays in business, but they’re doing something right. They’ve got pre-cut templates in numerous colors and textures, and offer solutions for nearly every camera.

But that’s enough babbling. Below you’ll find the video tutorial, which should show you everything you need to know to refresh your own Leica. Some advice before the video and subsequent camera porn: take your time. The only way this thing will go south is if you rush the process. Understand that the slower you go, the better the final result will be.

If you get tired, take a break. The camera’s not going anywhere, but if you blunder ahead with flagging concentration or foolish impatience the giant scratch you leave on your top plate will be there forever. Take it easy, go slowly, and good luck!

Want your own Leica M2?

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  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Neat! quiet elegant. I wanted one from asahi to my canon EF but it’s a rare model so I did my own skin buying a thin Italian leather and gluing to the camera.
    But the leica here looks like it would be using a classic suit.

    • Reply
      March 30, 2015 at 4:09 am

      That’s excellent. It’s much harder cutting your own template. You must’ve had a steady hand!

      • Reply
        March 30, 2015 at 4:20 am

        I studied architecture, so after a lot of models of buildings I got some practice, now I’m making a paper tube to a macro lens to “scan” with my camera my negatives.

  • Reply
    Jorge M. Treviño
    September 9, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Fifteen years ago I found a button rewind M2 with a small ding on the bottom plate and cracking vulcanite. In a few weeks it was cladded in beautiful cognac colored leather with a pebbled imprint. It still draws looks like a magnet, something my 2002 MP never did. 😀

    • Reply
      September 9, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Good stuff! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, how wonderful! This gave me the inspiration to attempt this. That really looks sharp.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    How difficult/tricky is it to remove the two levers?
    Seems like that would make the job a lot easier.

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