Now, I love the Velbon Ultra Maxi L[a] tripod to death - and it's a shame Velbon has ceased manufacturing it - but it has one weak spot: The plastic bits that make up the locking mechanism in the legs.
I don't know if it is temperature, moisture or any other environmental factor that causes it, but these little - but oh so vital - plastic bits have been the bane of two of my tripods so far. The first lasted almost six years before a joint failed. (It now lives on as the monopod for less and stabilizer for less). The second one packed up after a little over a year, little plastic bits dropping off as I extended the leg to shoot A Snowy Evening.
Realizing that Velbon no longer make these excellent tools, and that the replacement Ultrek series[b] tripods weren't quite as good, I ordered two new Ultra Maxi Ls from Amazon. Even with the sobering realism that my second tripod only lasted for a year, these two should last me until a new tripod, as good as the Ultra Maxi L, comes out.
And yet... as I got home with the package from Amazon, I couldn't shake the idea that some kind of repair should be attempted. After all, the only thing that had broken was a tiny flimsy bit of plastic.
This is what I Frankensteined up: