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Thread: Second Best Darkroom Door

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Second Best Darkroom Door

    I think those plastic revolving doors are pretty slick, but short of getting one of those expensive and bulky beasts installed, what is the next best "low-volume" darkroom door?

    I have been leaning towards a pocket door - any experience and what's the best light sealing for it, especially the base?

    Other options? Just a cheap 36" wide swinging door? Simple enough. What about sealing that?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northwest of Chicago

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    I used a plain swinging door that I weatherstripped, which blocks almost all light. I found that painting the edge of the door and the jamb flat black also helped a lot. I put a towel on the floor to keep light from creeping under. You could also hang a curtain in front of the door and sleep well—paisley would be nice....

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    A door that locks on the in(dark)side, painted as above, with a heavy black curtain.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2010
    St. Louis, Mo.

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    Check craigslist. I have seen those revolving doors sold for cheap. Some one was even giving one away. I tried to get my friend Harold to pick it up for the darkroom that he pans to build but he let it go.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    grand rapids

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    Two pieces of duvetyne slightly larger than the hole. One stapled on top on each side of the entry way. That's what i had in my last darkroom. Now i have a regular door sealed w/ black weather strip and duvetyne stapled to the bottom as a flap seal. Totally lightproof and no black paint needed.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Los Angeles

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    Wish I knew who made it, but when I was in college we had a brand new darkroom in a new building paid for with a grant. The solid darkroom door would close and as it did, a spring loaded light baffle dropped down from inside and cut out the light under the door. And automatically turned on the "darkroom in use" sign. Maybe you can find one of those....

    Actually I just use a regular door at home, exposed to the elements and direct sun on the outside. I glued a light baffle around the edge on the inside and except for a little light at the bottom, it is very effective. The light at the bottom (one corner) is stopped by a trashcan.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Northern Virginia

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    My darkroom had a standard interior door, to which I installed standard weatherstripping, including a rubber threshold strip. All of it was available at Home Depot (or Handy Dan or whoever it was at the time--we're talking 25 years ago). Even when the sun was shining in the windows of the room into which the darkroom opened, I never saw a hint of light leakage.

    But I sure wish I'd had an air-conditioner vent. Keeping the chemistry and the photographer from overheating proved most challenging in the San Antonio summer. I already had problems with water coming out of the tap at 85 degrees.

    The only black paint I applied in that darkroom was on the walls adjacent to the enlarger.

    Rick "who was living alone at the time and didn't need the lock on the door" Denney

  8. #8
    lenser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Tim from Missouri

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    In one past darkroom, I used the pocket door system, painted flat black and it worked fine. I had a separate film room which was inside and at one end of the main darkroom and that also had a pocket door. Since it was several feet form the main darkroom door, there was no need for a light trap at the base.

    A later smaller in home darkroom was in a big laundry room with a normal swinging door. Weather stripping on the jambs and a towel against the base of the door solved all problems even though it was just off a room with huge and very bright windows.

    Currently, I load film in my walk in closet (swinging door) with a towel at the base and nothing around the jambs, but I only load at night and with all lights off in the bedroom.

    Plans for the next darkroom include the revolving door. I've seen quite a few of those go for just $100-$200 bucks in this area on Craigslist, so you might look into that. I'm guessing they came from old print shops or newspapers that no longer have darkrooms.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  9. #9
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    I am on my third darkroom and I have access to a free revolving door. I am choosing NOT to use it, mainly b/c I see major problems with moving large items in and out of the darkroom.

    A regular door with two light-tight air filters in it (high and low), some weather stripping around the jam and a felt sweep at the bottom will do just fine. I have done this with my previous darkrooms and have had zero problems.

    The revolving door is nice, but IMO is a huge pain for a darkroom that is not shared with a group of people.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Hamilton, Canada

    Re: Second Best Darkroom Door

    I use two swinging doors (swinging in the opposite directions) with a 12 inch space between them to stand in as I open and close one and then the other.
    Door stops all around and a black inside stop any light.
    A wall sconce outside tells everybody I am in there, although one door does a good enough job and the sound of the door opening tells me to yell a warning before the second door is breached.
    Above and across the width of the doors are two double turn tunnels, about 4x2 inches, painted black, for ventilation.
    As the wall is an outside wall going to a fruit cellar under the porch arrangement, no space is lost by the double door.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

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