I would like to convert an 8x10 camera to an 8x10 enlarger to make roughly 12x b w mural prints. For awhile, I had planned on using a cold-head (Aristo) as ligh t source, but now I'm not so sure that is the way to go afterall. I want the 12 x enlargements to be as sharp, crisp, and vivid as possible. Will I be able to achieve those characteristics with a cold-head, at that printing and resultant v iewing distance, and size of magnification? I realize that a cold-head does di stribute light evenly, decrease the chance of hotspots and the tonal polarizatio n of "soot and chalk", and (at the risk of inciting controversy) perhaps lead to the likelihood of a "higher-quality" print, but will I be sacrificing crispness and possibly sharpness with a diffused light source such as a cold-head? Are t he considerations of mural-printing different than those of smaller size printin g, such that a condenser light-source is thought to be the standard or more sens ible choice when it comes to making prints that size? Then again, if a condense r head would be better, is it even possible to mount condensers to the rear of a CONVERTED 8x10 HORIZONTAL camera-enlarger? Or is a condenser light source reall y only possible or practical in the context of a VERTICAL design enlarger--eithe r by pivoting the head, when printing horizontally, as in the case of the Durst, or bouncing the light with a mirror, as in the case of the Omega? I also have heard that the heat from a 300 (and especially higher) watt bulb can be great, a nd requires forced ventilation (which may introduce complications), as well as c ausing the negative to possibly buckle during long exposures.
Who out there has made bw mural prints with an 8 x 10 enlarger--and especially a converted horizontal one--and if so, what type of light source did you use and which would you recommend?
Note: I am already well aware of Ansel Adams' exlanation of his 11x14 camera-enl arger conversion in his book The Print, so please don't just refer me to that. I am also aware of several major vertical-design 8x10 enlargers, and am more int erested in this question as it relates to HORIZONTAL 8x10 enlargers, and especia lly to homebuilt or converted ones.