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I’m pretty sure if the tripod could talk it would say that it hates shooting seascapes with you. Especially when it is exposed to the sea water directly, the legs are oftentimes dipped in water and all the other parts are splashed by the waves from time to time. Why all that is not too entertaining for your tripod? The answer is here:



Yeah, it looks pretty bad and actually it’s not that easy to fix. To be honest, you should really avoid getting your tripod to this stage, but if you have already done so I’ll try to give you some hints what can be done.

First of all you need a proper screwdriver to disassemble the whole thing. For my Manfrotto tripod this screwdriver does the job:


These two guys will help too. The first one will deal with some rusty hinges and whatnot, the other one will be used after the cleaning to all the moving parts. You can use whatever lube you can get from your DIY shop.


While disassembling try not to get too depressed when you see something like that:


And here’s my tripod (actually only legs) in pieces:


Nuts and screws require special treatment. Put them with some water mixed with a cheap descaler (for kettles, coffee machines, etc) in a small cup. Leave them for a few minutes (not more – it can cause damage). After that time all the salt should be gone. If not, try extra few minutes.


Clean all the leg parts with warm water and soap. Accumulated salt won’t disappear completely and you will need to scratch it manually. Takes some time, but it’s doable. All you need is some piece of plastic that will not scratch the carbon-fiber surface (screwdriver handle in my case). You can cover it with some cloth to be safe. Then start removing salt coating by rubbing it gently. Here’s my before and after:


After cleaning and assembling all the parts put some lube or grease around the joints so the movement is smooth:


Here’s the final result:


As a regular maintenance it should be enough to clean your tripod with warm water as soon as you get back home from the shooting even if your tripod wasn’t exposed to the salty water or sand directly.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • R. Brooke Fox says:

    Thanks for the share. I’d be concerned about the wet lubes holding sand, etc. Might a dry lube be better?

    • That’s a good point! Thanks for mentioning it. Actually I’ve never tried using dry lube, but didn’t notice problems with the wet one. Anyway, I think that a dry lube might hold sand as well, if only anything comes inside… Maybe just protects better from getting grains inside? But definitely got to try that.

      • R. Brooke Fox says:

        I think they do not hold sand as well, but yes, proof the pudding. . From Wiki ‘dry lubricant’:

        The four most commonly used solid lubricants are:

        Graphite. Used in air compressors, food industry, railway track joints, open gear, ball bearings, machine-shop works etc. It is also very common for lubricating locks, since a liquid lubricant allows particles to get stuck in the lock worsening the problem.

        Molybdenum disulfide. Used in CV joints and space vehicles. Does also lubricate in vacuum.

        Hexagonal boron nitride. Used in space vehicles. Also called “white graphite”.

        Tungsten disulfide. Similar usage as molybdenum disulfide, but due to the high cost only found in some dry lubricated bearings.

  • Bri Morris says:

    Ive done the same myself but not to this extent, I also use furniture polish on mine after a cleaning on the hope that the wax may add a bit of protection, nice blog with great photos!

  • jonathan sureau says:

    As I have the same tripod and face the same challenges I have gone through a similar regimen. Dry lube is really the way to go and I also used some furniture polish on the legs. It’s nice to release the leg clamps and let gravity slide the extension out on it’s own accord.

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