View Full Version : Tips sought for 4x10 Darkroom.

Robert McClure
13-Jun-2006, 07:01
A space 4x10 is my max area for my first darkroom for 8x10 and 7x17. I was pleased to locate trays 12 x 23 3/8x 4 3/8 through Molded Fiberglass Tray Company for 21.26 each. I have water running to the room already. The sink will be the next issue.

I know there are probably a dozen different options for sink from stainless steel to fiberglass to pvc-covered plywood, to plywood and polyurethane, etc.

With the information I have given above, I'd appreciate any thoughts that strike you. I really liked Michael Smith's (much larger) set-up in Pennsylvania. Because his was made of wood he was able to design it exactly as he wanted it.


Ron Marshall
13-Jun-2006, 08:06
Do you intend to have both the wet and dry sides of the darkroom in a total area of 4 by ten feet? That will be tight with the big trays.

Joe Lipka
13-Jun-2006, 09:47
Mine is 5 x 10. It will force you to make decisions on just what you really need to do in the darkroom. Storage is the biggest headache for a small space.

Robert McClure
13-Jun-2006, 10:36
Thanks, guys! I had assumed lots of storage shelving overhead on the walls. Just outside the darkroom is a larger Laundry Room for the home. I had assumed I would store many non-essential/related items outside the darkroom. I will be contact printing only. I guess I need to think in terms of locating what items where within the darkroom and hopefully have space left over for a dry area. I guess it's time to sit down at the drafting table.

I might be able to increase to 5x10, conceivably. How tight would that and the 4x10 be do you think.

Thanks for the help.

13-Jun-2006, 10:44
I have had several small darkrooms in the past, and always found that though I really wanted that nice large sink, what I really needed was countertop space. Most of the time when I process in trays, the sink is religated to spill and slop over control. I built my darkroom counter using ceramic tile, over plywood, with a nice large deepsink at the end for film and washing overflow (I use a vertical washer). Along the edges of the counter where I place my trays I have added a small rounded ceramic "lip", perhaps 3/4 inch high. This lip catches most of the spill over from the trays, and still provides me with a working countertop when I need it for other things, like my Jobo processor for film. The deepsink also has a cover to give me the maximum amount of workspace when needed.

Steve Feldman
13-Jun-2006, 12:28
My DR is in the corner of the 1 car garage. Car out - Zone VI in. I thought that a 5x7' room would be fine. NOT! Tighter than a frog's @SS in there. It's all wet side. Except for the enlarger stand area. The dry side is in my daughter's bedroom. (Thanks for moving out kiddo. Needed the space). Next DR is gonna be at least 8x10'. With a dedicated wet and dry side AND storage. Now there's a novel idea.

BTW - Just how tight IS a frog's @SS?

Answer: Water tight.

Robert McClure
14-Jun-2006, 06:49
Thanks again, guys.

Also for the value-added Amphibian Anatomy lesson!!! Ha, ha!

Back to DR, though. It's seeming like squarish or at least rectangular in shape may beat
long and narrow. But all of this helps a lot.

Will appreciate any further insights!

Many thanks!

Ralph Barker
14-Jun-2006, 07:11
Now that you have a few useful responses, Robert, I'll add one - a crash diet. If you're only 6" thick, 4' x 10' might work out OK. ;) A 5' x 10' DR would seem luxurious by comparison.

More seriously, I'd agree that counter space is more critical than sink size - as long as there's a lip to keep any spillage off the floor, or, ideally, directed to the sink. Also, think about how to ventilate the DR, and how to provide a fresh air (ideally, filtered) inlet.

Doing the layout on grid paper with scaled cut-outs of the trays etc. will help with the design. If you stay with the long, narrow rectangle, I'd put a wider (30" - 36") section of counter at the far end. That way, you'll have space for an enlarger should you add one later. If you do that, consider making the center section such that it can be lowered to accommodate larger print sizes (requiring the enlarger to be wall-mounted, with no base board).