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D-tach
13-Apr-2016, 15:40
Dear fellow LF'ers,

Next year I hopefully will start building a house. What would be the minimum size I need for a darkroom?
I only print black & white, max print size will be 50cm x 60cm, with only a Durst 138S for medium format till 5x7". In the future hopefully bromoil and carbon transfer.
I was thinking about 2,5m x 3m. Is this reasonable...?

agregov
13-Apr-2016, 16:08
The size of your sink is a key determinant. If you're doing 20x24, you'll want enough space for at least four 20x24 trays (1 developer, 1 stop, 1 fix, 1 wash). If you prefer two fix trays, then five. You might add some extra space for a 20x24 washer as well. That said, there's lots of people that do with a lot less. For example, I have an 80" sink, it holds four 16x20 trays comfortably. When I'm printing 20x24, I use three trays in the sink (dev, stop, fix) and have a fourth wash tray adjacent to the sink. It's a hack but it works. So, it's possible to be creative with darkroom layouts. It all depends on the space. I think a good rule of thumb, go as large as you can with your sink.

One place to start is checking out the Darkroom Handbook. It contains lots of different darkroom layouts (wet, dry) for ideas and provides documentation for water and electrical setup. I have the book and found it helpful. In fact, I built my sink stand from a plan offered in the book. Good luck.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Darkroom-Handbook-Joe-DeMaio/dp/0240802608/

Jac@stafford.net
13-Apr-2016, 16:10
That might work! I print small, so 50x60cm is reasonable and it is what I produce. My darkroom is small with a 5' sink on a 6' wall and no running water so I use a bucket to collect, but I have an industrial sink only 10 foot away to finish work such as washing. It works because my volume as an amateur (now, I was not always) works.

In that little room I have, as I mentioned a 5' sink, and a 4x5" and 6x10cm enlarger. It works for me and might for you. Just my two bits worth.

Best of luck!
Jac

Jim Jones
13-Apr-2016, 17:38
I learned darkroom work in a 4x6 darkroom, but we made smaller prints. My last darkroom is about 6x8, and accommodates one 4x5 and one smaller enlarger and a 6' sink. If space is scarce, trays can be vertically stacked. If there is no limit on the available space, you can eventually fill it all. Agregov has good suggestions. Properly designed power, water, heating and air conditioning, and ventilation are important to long-term safety and comfort. Install two or three times as many electrical outlets as you ever expect to use. It's much easier and neater to do while building a darkroom than afterwards.

angusparker
13-Apr-2016, 19:28
Build to anticipate future needs. Space for a 4x5 enlarger for example. Consider a dry and wet room or at least a dry and wet side in the same room. Go bigger! Good ventilation and drainage is key.


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LabRat
13-Apr-2016, 23:31
Good advice above!!! I'll add that if there's little room for a wet+dry area, consider carefully the areas around your workstation... At least is there places that can be multi-use so at least those areas can be converted to be an expansion area for your lab... But for the lab, the bigger, the better!!!

Another often overlooked much needed thing is more than one large table, counter, or other horizontal work surface to do different operations on like cutting film/paper, mounting/framing, holding gear in use, and so many other things!!!! And don't forget to add storage areas (with different sized shelving) to hold gear not in use, supplies, negs/prints, and anything else that needs to get out of the way... You won't regret if if you have enough storage...

And a separate workshop away from the lab to build/fix stuff that won't make sawdust contamination, etc is a big+++...

Steve K

D-tach
14-Apr-2016, 03:06
Thanks for the valuable reactions gentlemen! Much appreciated. I will look into that book.
Cheers!

Jody_S
14-Apr-2016, 06:04
The largest darkroom I've ever had was a converted closet at 1.5 x 2m. I managed just fine. Yes it would be nice to have a bedroom-sized space like I've seen in the darkroom thread here, but small can be efficient if space is at a premium.

Robert Bowring
14-Apr-2016, 06:08
What size darkroom? Make it as large as you are able. You will eventually use all of the space. It may be just me but it seems that my darkroom has shrunk over the years. My rule of thumb is to figure how much space I will need and then build it at least 1.5 times larger. This includes the sink. If you figure you can get by with a 6' sink make it at least 9'. It is much easier to build it the right size the first time than to try and expand it later.

AtlantaTerry
14-Apr-2016, 06:33
Design the darkroom first, then build the house around that.

Jim Noel
14-Apr-2016, 08:42
There is no minimum size for a DR. I once had a 3x6 foot space in which I had a 5x7 enlarger, and a 2 1/4 sq enlarger. Stacked trays, and a home built fill and dump print washer. Many happy hours were spent there.

B.S.Kumar
14-Apr-2016, 09:13
Design the darkroom first, then build the house around that.

If he does that, Mrs. Keymeulen may have a few words to say :)

My first, and only "dark" room was the bathroom at night, when I was learning to process and print B&W. We were living in a company apartment in Bombay, and no structural changes were allowed. Space in Bombay was, and continues to be, extremely expensive, and we did what we had to do. My friend, who had his own apartment, carved out a 4' x 10' space out of a room adjacent to one bathroom he had converted into a permanent darkroom. The new space was the dry area, and the bathroom the wet area. He built a hatch in the wall so that paper could be moved from the dry area to the wet area without needing to be put into a box and carried around.

Kumar

MartinP
14-Apr-2016, 11:17
It might be practical to sort out a print-washing and film-developing area separate to the darkroom. That way you can more easily multi-task or work with assistants during busy periods. Print preparation and mounting also needs a fair bit of space (the dining room table in my case, but it has other less important purposes too).

Edit: Space for toning might be better outside the darkroom too - perhaps another factor to support a light-side sink that you could use for both washing and toning.

D-tach
14-Apr-2016, 11:30
Design the darkroom first, then build the house around that.

😂😂😂 now that's hardcore!


If he does that, Mrs. Keymeulen may have a few words to say :)

My first, and only "dark" room was the bathroom at night, when I was learning to process and print B&W. We were living in a company apartment in Bombay, and no structural changes were allowed. Space in Bombay was, and continues to be, extremely expensive, and we did what we had to do. My friend, who had his own apartment, carved out a 4' x 10' space out of a room adjacent to one bathroom he had converted into a permanent darkroom. The new space was the dry area, and the bathroom the wet area. He built a hatch in the wall so that paper could be moved from the dry area to the wet area without needing to be put into a box and carried around.

Kumar

Luckily no mrs Keymeulen 😁

Andy Eads
14-Apr-2016, 11:35
Caution: some locales will look at the house plans and kill anything that looks like a darkroom for "environmental" reasons. If it is sized and outfitted to look like a laundry room, you may fool them. Good luck! I wish I could start from scratch.

MIke Sherck
14-Apr-2016, 11:48
My darkroom is 5' x 5.5' (1.5m x 1.7m. more or less,) and is fine for 11"x14" (about 28cm x 35.5cm.) 16x20 (41cm x 51cm, approximately,) can be done but with difficulty. Larger is not feasible. I develop film in trays and have a Beseler 45 enlarger. My ceiling height of 6' (183cm) is too low for any of the 5x7 enlargers I've seen unless I want to print on my knees. I also print salted paper and cyanotype up to 8x10 but there is a certain amount of re-arranging that has to occur first. Also, my 11x14 print washer is stored outside the darkroom and only goes into the sink when I need to use it.

I've often wanted my darkroom to be just a *little* larger, in part because I'd like to fit in a second, Beseler 23 enlarger for smaller formats and in part because I'd like to print 16x20 more routinely, but in my basement that's not possible. If I were you I'd consider stretching the size by as much as you reasonably can.

Mike

Ted R
14-Apr-2016, 11:54
I used to do 35mm work in a small room 2m x 3m using buckets of water, and did a lot of good work :-) Now I have 4m x 6m and still have to use buckets. A big enlarger needs a high ceiling. Get running hot and cold water :-)

mdarnton
14-Apr-2016, 12:00
I had a darkroom like that once, and it wasn't bad. The sink on the long wall, the enlarger 90 degrees to it on the short one, the door at the other end, and storage where you can find it. What might mess that up is alternative printing, where you might need a lot of surface and hanging space---perhaps a fold-down top on part of the sink, for instance.

Drew Wiley
14-Apr-2016, 12:01
Buy a nice little tent for the back yard. Live in that. Turn the rest of the house into the darkroom.

Luis-F-S
14-Apr-2016, 16:34
For me 60 To 80 SF

Michael Roberts
14-Apr-2016, 17:40
Some good ideas here:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?58782-Books-on-Dark-Room-design-and-hardware-suppliers&p=556610&viewfull=1#post556610

jose angel
15-Apr-2016, 06:34
I was thinking about 2,5m x 3m. Is this reasonable...?
The smallest? It could, for the so called darkroom. Sink, enlargers, chemicals, etc. Mine is 3m x 3.5m (and I`m packed!).
But notice that you also need a small office (the "dryroom") to store your gear, lenses, books, cardboards, film cooler, dry mount press, archives, light table, etc. and with a reasonable sized table for the mounting&finishing work. And with good light.
So the "darkroom" is just half the space a "serious" photographer actually need...

Drew Wiley
15-Apr-2016, 08:10
I started out with a spare bathroom where all the gear had to be stashed except when in use. That mandated a basic drum processing system instead of a sink line,
but it did the trick. The enlarger and dry supplies were in an adjacent bedroom with the window covered over. It worked well enough to get me some serious early
gallery gigs; but once I was hooked I took out a valid building permit and did things right. But as far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much space. Stieglitz processed his timeless classic contact prints using a vertical tray ladder in a claustrophobic broom closet. So where there's a will, there's a way.

Peter Langham
15-Apr-2016, 09:25
Have used small areas like closets and bathrooms (where I sat in the tub!) Built a 4'x9' darkroom in my garage. Get creative in your design. I have an L shaped sink which maximizes wet space. Drying racks built into the base of the sink as is other storage. I have a 4x5 enlarger and can print up to 16X20s in this small space.

D-tach
16-Apr-2016, 04:41
Good suggestions and info all - thanks!
I have foreseen a separate studio/workroom upstairs from 5m x 5m

Cor
20-Apr-2016, 01:26
Build my darkroom on the attic, "carved off" a part of a bedroom, and build the DR around my Laborator L1200. Have running water, a tiny sink (20*40 cm) and on the single high table: the big space saver: a Nova 20*25 cm (and a 40*50 in store) 4 slot vertical print developer, which can be removed to my son's adjacent bed room..;-)..

Print with difficulty upto 50*60 cm (I use a big drum and a roller base than), have a wooden big "lid"on my base board, which functions as a a table when contact (Alt.) printing..dryer, equipment, chemistry, mounting press scattered around the house..I have understanding wife..;-)..

Good luck,

Cor

Drew Wiley
20-Apr-2016, 13:20
Before my brother was married, and he was still working as a commercial photographer, he had his darkroom in the bathroom of a remodeled barn. Problem was,
it was a very expensive town (Santa Barbara), so he had to have roommates to help with the rent. Just one bathroom, with the toilet lid supporting a spare rinse
tray due to limited sink space, and of course no revolving light safe door. No rapid fixer either. Just wait.... wait some more... go find a tree

John Kasaian
20-Apr-2016, 19:33
My dark room is still a bathroom. A guest bathroom no one hardly uses. Most of the equipment fits in the built in cabinets and the enlarger(used for contact printing) sits in a spare room with a plastic bag over it to ward off dust.
The thing is, it's pretty spacious compared to a closet. Film and print washing is done outside on the porch where the wash water irrigates the plants, chemicals are mixed in the kitchen sink( like in the song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmHlxYfNtVM