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Christopher Barrett
23-Mar-2017, 18:16
I'm in the design phase of my new darkroom and thinking about sinks. I'm not really interested in building my own and have always liked the stainless sinks I've worked with. In my research so far, I've come across three manufacturers: California Stainless, Darkrooms USA in NY and Rosy Products, north of me in Mich. Has anyone compared the three or have opinions? I'm planning on getting an 8-10 ft sink and want it to be the sink I use till I'm dead, so not that concerned with costs.

Thanks!
CB

greginpa
23-Mar-2017, 18:23
Try contacting a local restaurant kitchen fabricator. They make custom SS sinks and counters all day.

Christopher Barrett
23-Mar-2017, 18:35
That's a damn good idea.

chassis
23-Mar-2017, 18:36
Agree with greg.

There are some across the country on craigslist. Shipping would need to be figured into the cost vs. buying new, or custom fabrication.

https://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/pho/6056241714.html
https://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/for/6041819025.html
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/ant/bfs/6027279975.html

Richard Wasserman
23-Mar-2017, 19:26
Rosy makes a good sink for the price, but they are not the best. These folks can make whatever you want, and it will be industrial strength (and they're near by)—

http://www.mresmfg.com/custom-made-stainless-steel-products-1.html

Christopher Barrett
23-Mar-2017, 19:31
Also, I didn't realize Leedal is right here in Northbrook.

Keith Pitman
23-Mar-2017, 21:43
I bought a used Calumet sink that I think was made by Leedal 14 years ago. I then had Leedal make a backsplash to my design. They were very easy to deal with long distance and knew exactly what I wanted. I'd certainly recommend Leedal.

Duolab123
23-Mar-2017, 22:23
I have the best kind of SS sink, a free one. A older fellow threw in the towel. Arkay 10 footer with stand, beautiful. I also have a Kreonite fiberglass 8 footer, it came out of a graphic arts lab and has a separate drain trough in the back so you can dump your trays without getting it all over the sink. I really love this feature. Arkay still makes all manner of sinks and the last I checked a fellow was still making some Kreonite sinks . The stand is as important as the sink.
I like the price is not a concern approach, getting some half-assed thing is a waste of time. My Arkay will hold 4 Paterson 20 x 24 trays with room leftover. It's definitely a luxury. Don't forget a Damn fine Thermostatic mixing valve and a extra faucet for your print washer.
Good luck, Mike

Bob Salomon
24-Mar-2017, 06:37
For photo use it must be 316 stainless steel. Other industries require different grades of stainless.

Greg Davis
24-Mar-2017, 06:41
I have a rosy sink. It was cheap, but can get light surface rust if I don't put turtle wax on it.

Ray Van Nes
24-Mar-2017, 07:41
Custom sinks can be surprisingly affordable. I built a wooden sink for my latest darkroom, ( my third) and for some reason , I could not get the sucker from leaking. So I had a local firm make a custom liner for $700 CDN. This is an 8ft. long by 30in deep sink so not small. Definitely an option to consider.

jose angel
24-Mar-2017, 07:47
Bob`s point is important, notice that there are different steel qualities. For photographic use, you`d want what people around here call "marine" grade SS (316). Cheaper, ordinary "kitchen"grade steels (e.g. 304, 18/8 and so) show corrosion spots somewhat easily (photographic use), so you`ll need to keep control of them. Although you can live with a "kitchen type" one, it`s definitely better to have it with a "true stainless" material.

BTW, I also had mine custom built. Expensive, but worth every penny. If you opt for this route, think on a reasonable size. Do it as big as you need, but maybe not as big as you could... otherwise, you may find that you want it on another place and it could not fit. And, I personally prefer to have two sinks instead of an enormous one (one big for trays and general stuff, other smaller and deeper for washing and film developing stuff).

Bruce Barlow
24-Mar-2017, 15:16
I had a California Stainless. It was gorgeous, well-built and wonderful.

Except I grew to dislike it. The metal sucks heat out of trays like there's no tomorrow. I bought 2'x4' plastic ceiling light louvres and put them on the bottom of the sink to get the trays up off the metal, which worked well.

In my new darkroom, I built my sink from plywood and 2-by's. Custom sized to my needs, painted with epoxy paint. It will out live me. I think it might have taken a morning to make the sink, and several days to paint four coats of epoxy on it. It doesn't suck heat like the metal. Not as elegant, but neither am I in my old age.

Bob Salomon
24-Mar-2017, 15:17
I had a California Stainless. It was gorgeous, well-built and wonderful.

Except I grew to dislike it. The metal sucks heat out of trays like there's no tomorrow. I bought 2'x4' plastic ceiling light louvres and put them on the bottom of the sink to get the trays up off the metal, which worked well.

In my new darkroom, I built my sink from plywood and 2-by's. Custom sized to my needs, painted with epoxy paint. It will out live me. I think it might have taken a morning to make the sink, and several days to paint four coats of epoxy on it. It doesn't suck heat like the metal. Not as elegant, but neither am I in my old age.

Were you using metal or plastic trays?

Greg Davis
24-Mar-2017, 15:20
My ss sink was very loud. Anything being placed in it sounded like a gong. I put a sheet of rigid foam wall insulation underneath and along the sides, and now it it is quiet and better at keeping temperatures steady than before.

Bob Salomon
24-Mar-2017, 15:29
My ss sink was very loud. Anything being placed in it sounded like a gong. I put a sheet of rigid foam wall insulation underneath and along the sides, and now it it is quiet and better at keeping temperatures steady than before.

When we remodeled our kitchen we bought a ridicusouly expensive stainless steel sink made by Franke in Switzerland. The drain stoppers alone were more then the same size sink at a Home Depot!
But one of the things that made us spend over $600.00 on the sink 12 years ago was how much heavier it was then a standard sink. It turned out that that weight was because it was a heavier grade of steel but also because it has some type of coating on the bottom. It turns out that it is virtually impossible to dent and if you drop something heavy in it it won't wake up everyone in the house.
Very happy with the extra cost and quality, but we would never have known if the sales people didn't point out the reasons for the added weight.

Daniel Stone
24-Mar-2017, 15:55
Definitely go with 316. Food grade is 304/308 in most cases, but for the extra cost if this is a "til you're dead" sink, definintely go with 316.

I'd also see about supplying the metal yourself. Unless the shop that fabricates these can get a better deal on the raw metal than you can, there are many places I've found that will happily charge for 316, but only use 304 or 308. To the eye, they're pretty much indistinguishable, until you start to spot rust on it down the line ;)... 316 will not rust. 304 will in the presence of certain chemistry, 308 might.

Recommendation: Install wooden "duck boards" on the bottom of your sink, or put down industrial rubber kitchen mats to reduce the "bong!!!!" noises a stainless sink will create if anything is dropped in the bottom of.

Also ask the shop to use 316 welding wire, you can weld 316 with 308L wire, but for the same reasons(rust), use 316L.

An honest shop will of course do this naturally. I'm simply mentioning it because I've run across shops here in LA that have(and will continue to) do that to customers.

-Dan

Duolab123
24-Mar-2017, 19:42
My Arkay SS sink has a spray mastic on the bottom side to insulate a bit and reduce noise. No matter if you get 316 or 304 you have to be careful not to leave any active metal like iron on the sink. It will corrode the sink no matter what it is . Even iron filings, bits of steel trapped under a tank or such will (in the presence of water) pit the SS. I still like my fiberglass Kreonite for day to day use. It has a dump trough, and a feature where you can use the entire 8 foot sink as a inch deep water bath. If you are wanting to maintain temperature, and you have a mixing valve, you just flow water into the sink, it has a built in spillway for the water to drain into the trough. Heck of a waste of money, but back in the day, this was a not so uncommon practice.
Best Mike

Bruce Barlow
25-Mar-2017, 06:37
Were you using metal or plastic trays?

Plastic.

Christopher Barrett
25-Mar-2017, 08:35
When I was in college and had a part time job printing black and white for a local studio, we had a huge stainless sink. I mostly developed in stainless trays. What we did there was support the trays on short risers and fill the sink with a water bath. Chemistry held temp pretty well throughout the day.

Also, I've just started talking to Leedal. Josie there was super helpful and is going to start by checking their existing "factory sinks" to see if she already has something that would suit me.

-CB

jon.oman
25-Mar-2017, 08:43
Some very good ideas here....

resummerfield
25-Mar-2017, 10:58
...one of the things that made us spend over $600.00 on the sink 12 years ago was how much heavier it was then a standard sink. It turned out that that weight was because it was a heavier grade of steel but also because it has some type of coating on the bottom. It turns out that it is virtually impossible to dent and if you drop something heavy in it it won't wake up everyone in the house.
Very happy with the extra cost and quality, but we would never have known if the sales people didn't point out the reasons for the added weight.

For my third (and last) sink, I had it custom made by Cal Stainless, and I specified a heavier grade of stainless. It adds little to the overall cost, and the sink just feels heavier and seems to be less prone to denting. Also, have all the corners made with a radius, so they are easier to clean.

Willie
25-Mar-2017, 12:14
I use my Uncle's darkroom and he has a 12 foot wood sink. Easy to build. One sheet of plywood, 1/2 or 3/4 inch thickness. Set it on two metal desks he got for $20 at military surplus. Then 2x6 front upright, 2x8 side pieces and 2x12 back piece. A bit inch thick sheet of Owens Corning pink PolyIso set inside and a roll of shower pan liner on top of that. A hole cut for the drain. He put padded naugahyde on the front so he can rest his forearms on it when processing film in trays in the dark. The whole thing cost less than $120 - including the desks it sits on.

Quiet because if you drop anything the insulation with rubber on top absorbs the noise. Also that padding keeps dropped glass stuff from breaking. Is not cold and with the drain stopped it can hold a water bath.

You can make any size and do it in less than a day - other than maybe having to wait for a garage sale or military surplus sale for the desk.

He has done three of them now at different houses. A lot less hassle than working with fibreglass and metal. Don't have to use waterproof paint inside since the rubber shower pan liner covers it completely.

Michael Kadillak
25-Mar-2017, 13:48
Acquired a surplus Oscar Fischer SS sink that is truly great and have used it for many years. But without question my next darkroom sink will be a customized wooden one. Being able to build one that fits my specific needs of fitting 20x24 trays in it with room to spare is an important part of the process as it is an extension of what you feel is important to your darkroom needs. The other critical need for my next darkroom is a high ceiling height to accommodate tall enlargers as well as a vented hood over my work area that is adjustable up and down.

Luis-F-S
25-Mar-2017, 18:12
Bought a used 6' Leedal SS sink at Helix 30 Years ago and have never regretted it.

Keith Pitman
25-Mar-2017, 20:14
If you are looking for a product to reduce the sound of bumps and isolate trays from a stainless sink for heat loss, look for DriDek tiles. They are 12" square perforated plastic tiles that snap together. I found them at a restaurant supply, but (like everything else), you can find them on Ebay. The only downside I have found is that the sink gets really scummy underneath the tiles. I clean the sink a few times a year to get rid of the scum.

Willie
26-Mar-2017, 06:18
One note on the rubber shower pan liner in the home built sink. Amidol does stain it. Most other chemistry normally used doesn't seem to bother it.