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Thread: Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

  1. #1

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Well I guess the question says it all. :>)

    Actually I have discovered or perhaps learned three important things that I wish to share with you and am getting a bit lazy about waiting for an appropriate thread to post them to. So here are the tips for everybody.

    The first is that I am frequently emailed about how to seal leaky Unicolor paper drums when developing film. Like most of use that use this technique (Unicolor drums) I have tried a few different methods with limited success. The second to last thing I tested was adding a second gasket (polished ring) to the inside of the drum lid. It not only did not work but made it almost impossible to close the lid. This surprised me a bit that the tolerances of the lid/gasket combination are so fine for a leaky lid. I then completely removed the shiny ring (gasket) and also the rubber under ring (another gasket) and smeared a very, very thin coat of clear silicone around the perimeter before where the rubber gasket sits.

    Problem cured! This drum has continued to work for the last three months without a single leak. You do need to be careful about how much silicon you spread because it takes the thinnest of coats to make this work. I used a cheap painter’s water brush (like kids use) which I trimmed down to just very short bristles to smear the silicone around. The lid is quite tight to twist on but not so tight that I am worried that I might break it. In fairness I believe that somebody else had previously posted an answer like this but I wanted to add a bit of detail so others will have an answer where I can point them.

    The next trick that I learned was that I had a new Gitzo CF tripod that had one of the rubber grips come loose from the carbon fiber. I was looking and asking for “glue suggestions” that would work and would also have a long enough open working time so that I could manipulate the rubber ring back into place before everything dried. The Unicolor drum gave me the answer. That damn silicone sticks to everything and most of you would know that if you have ever caulked a window or bathtub surround. So I used clear silicone and it worked like a charm. A perfect and cheap product for attaching loose rubber like photography parts back on to metal of carbon fiber and perhaps other materials. The fix has been there for two months without a problem.

    The final thing I wish to share is a new toning technique I discovered this week. I have began to teach a fall session in photography and wanted to display to the students some photographs that have different degrees of toning as well as toning different grades of the same print.

    I thought about the work ahead that I would need to do in order to present the various combinations I wanted to do. After a bit of contemplation I realized the obvious. Make test strips of the photo with different paper grade settings. I also made test strips of the negative with different amounts of exposures. Now I just finished toning the test strips and the students can now see all of the variables and the effects.

    In the future I will use this to help me determine how much added exposure and perhaps if I wish to use a different paper grade to tone a fine print that I wish to keep. Much easier than printing, developing and toning individual prints until the combination is correct.

    Well sorry for the long post but I am hoping that there are some valuable tips for others. Perhaps you can append to this any little tips and tricks you have learned this year.

    Kind Regards,

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz
    Posts
    134

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    James, After the silicone to the Unidrum, did you reinsert the gasket, or is the seal straight silicone? Thanks.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    51

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Thanks James, Now I can get rid of all my duct tape and replace it with silicone!!!!

    BTW, I have found that Western paper drums work great for me. The inside of the drum has raised ridges so the back of the film sits up off the drum. This makes it easy for fixer to get to the back of the film.

    my 2 cents....

  4. #4

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Pete,

    After placing a thin layer of silicone inside the drum lid I then let it completely dry, re-insert the rubber gasket and then the shiny ring gasket. With a thin layer of silicone the lid will now be tight to screw on but if the layer was done thin enough there should be no problem.

    Let me point out that the silicone layer is so thin that you can hardly tell that it is there. That is why I used a paint brush trimmed down to short bristles, to ensure an even coat. If you put too much on the lid then it may not close. Try a thin layer first and add more another time if neccessary.

    Kind Regards,

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Boston suburb
    Posts
    8

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    After the first two tips about the silicone... I was expecting to hear how the silicone saved the day for the toning problem. Thanks for the tips.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz
    Posts
    134

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Thank you James, I've got it now. Perfect timing too. My #2 drum is leaking.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    16

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Just tried this last night - no dice. I guess my tank is too far gone (it will leak a significant amount with even normal development times).

  8. #8

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Odd that you are having difficulty Max. I had one drum that leaked so bad that it would almost lose half of 500 ml developer in a 6 minute cycle. I spent more time sponging things up than doing much else.

    Are you sure that you have removed both the shiny gasket and then the thick rubber gasket before applying the clear silicone to the inside seam of the black lid?

    The only other suggestion I can think of is that the shiny gasket is "kinked" and perhaps could be re-flattened with a hot clothes iron pressing on perhaps a tea towel and then the ring. That is just a guess ... so take it easy if you try this.

    Hope you find a solution.

    Kind Regards,

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    16

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    "it would almost lose half of 500 ml developer in a 6 minute cycle" Yeah - I finally figure out to push it as far to the side as I can and put a tray under the leaky part to catch it all.

    Maybe I misunderstood the directions - I put the silicone IN the channel where the rubber gasket sits. Didn't seem quite right with those holes in the plastic there (although it never leaks through them). Should I put it up on the side wall above where the rubber gasket goes? (and I guess below the shiny gasket?)

    Or - it could all just be the shiny gasket - the thing is badly warped.

  10. #10

    Unicolor drum Gitzo tripod and paper toning

    Sounds like you have it correct.

    Just to be sure here is what I did.

    1. Remove shiny gasket

    2. Remove rubber gasket.

    3. Place down a layer of clear silicone on plastic lid where rubber gasket sits.

    4. Let dry 24 hours then put rubber gasket and shiny gasket back in place.

    Job is done... lid should be a bit tighter when closing.

    Kind regards,

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