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Don Wallace
5-Sep-2006, 17:36
FINALLY, building a darkroom. Let me rephrase: I gave up on building a darkroom and I am hiring a contractor to build the darkroom. I will do most of the finishing touches. Any good advice from anyone who has been through it recently? It will be primarily a black and white darkroom, although I may be adding colour equipment. I already have a colour enlarger (4x5 De Vere). Any pitfalls, things to avoid, things to remember?

I also one specific question, so far: a lot of darkroom books have the trays in a long sink. Is the sink necessary for that? Big sinks are expensive and I thought a wipeable counter would be fine. I have been using a temporary counter for ages and I spill very little. Why the sink?

steve simmons
5-Sep-2006, 17:44
di you see the article in the July issue of View Camera?

IMHO a sink is a necessity

steve simmons

Jim Jones
5-Sep-2006, 18:01
Few things are necessary in a darkroom. Many things are convenient. I got by several decades in several darkrooms without a sink, and often without running water. With care, a counter like you describe and a floor that also is easily cleaned will certainly work. In a custom darkroom consider wall mounting the enlarger. Properly done this permits huge enlargements. Provide many outlets with ground fault interrupters. Include ventilation.

Ron Marshall
5-Sep-2006, 18:11
I just had 20x24 trays on a piece of plywood sitting on two sawhorses in a finished garage. Water was from the gardenhose tap. Not the most elegant set-up, but it worked fine for me, and it was cheap, had to be at the time.

Oren Grad
5-Sep-2006, 18:18
You want a sink, but you don't need a sink large enough to hold all your trays.

I designed my darkroom to have two smallish sinks, plus a countertop (with a storage shelf below) in between. My usual working arrangement is to leave the sink on the left end entirely free (to allow hand-washing, chemical mixing, implement rinsing, or whatever else I may need on the fly), place the develop/stop/fix trays on the countertop, and place a tray siphon-based wash setup in the second sink on the right-hand end. There's enough room left in the second sink to allow for a holding tray if I'm printing FB, or a tray of toner or Sistan if I'm printing RC. There's also a second faucet on the right-hand sink, so that I can have a source of water there even if the tray siphon is hooked up.

Install as good a ventilation system as you can.

You can never have too much countertop space or storage space. Put in as much of both as you can fit into your space.

Put filters on the water lines and GFI on the electrical outlets.

Don Wallace
5-Sep-2006, 18:27
Sorry, I should have said that I am DEFINITELY getting a sink, just not a huge sink that will hold all the trays. It is quite a large sink however, with an Intellifaucet.

Ed Richards
5-Sep-2006, 19:14
Make your whole counter area around the sink into a sink. Put a lip on it and and a drain and fiberglass it. It is cheap and will save a lot of grief if you do spill something.

SAShruby
5-Sep-2006, 20:07
I built my darkroom in my basement all by myself. It took me four months from putting walls up, till complete finish. The size of my darkroom is 14x11 feet. I have a hand made 3x8 feet wood sink, fridge, freezer, dry side is 14x4 feet table wet size 3x8 feet sink and 3x4 feet table. Three indepensent circuits with 16 plugs, three independent lights circuits - dry side, wet side, and safelights, air purifier, ventilation, heating and cooling.

Costs - around 7 Grand. I love it because I built it. Everytime I come, I feel my work.
My friend told me if I would hire a contractor, it wpould costs me twice as much.

Brian Ellis
5-Sep-2006, 20:22
I wouldn't say a sink is a "necessity" for your trays. I used a utility room as a darkroom for about four years and put the trays on top of the washer and dryer. Nevertheless, a sink big enough to hold your trays (and print washer) is very nice and when I built my last darkroom I had a carpenter make a plywood sink big enough to hold the trays and the washer. It's just a lot neater, easier to do things like clean trays, etc. but certainly not a necessity.

If you have the sink made instead of buying one you can customize it to fit the available space perfectly and it shouldn't cost very much. I think labor and materials for mine were about $500, $100 or so of which was in the plumbing fixtures. I also had some shelves built underneath the sink for storing trays and other things which saved some space. You can coat the plywood with a variety of waterproof materials, I used a Benjamin Moore product called "Moorelastic" and it was still going strong after six years when we sold the house. If you do build a sink make sure the drain is located in one corner, not the center, and the sink is slightly tilted towards that corner (i.e. don't have the sink exactly level) so that it will drain well.

davidb
5-Sep-2006, 21:13
A sink is necessary. You definitely want one. I have a 6 foot sink and it is too small, so I am going to build one out of plywood and have it coated with Line-X (http://www.goline-x.com) for about $250.

Stephen Willard
5-Sep-2006, 23:15
I would use florescent lighting. It is brighter and cooler.

Rather than buying a big sink I would buy a JOBO ATL 2 plus or better. They are programmable, fully automatic, and can process anything (film, prints, color, b&w) up to 20x24. You will need both a tempered water supply and a cold water supply along with a drain for the JOBO.

Make sure your darkroom is vented. I also have two air purifiers in mine. They both use charcoal filters which will remove toxic fumes.

My darkroom serves as my office as well, so I actually have a window with a nice view in it. I have a light tight shade that allows me to close off the window when I am processing. My desk and computer are in a side room off the darkroom with a door. This is real nice because I have easy access to desktop computer and a database I use to record all printing information about each print I make. I also surf the internet when I am waiting for my ATL to process something which is exactly what I am doing now:-)

Make sure you have space for a film dryer. I use the JOBO Mistral II. It does a good job at keeping dust of the film while it dries.

I have small compressor that is connected to an ionizer so that when I blow film or anything else the ionizer will neutralize any static charge allowing the dust to be easily removed.

I have tons of cabinet space, and I use every bit of it. The more cabinets the better.

Hope this helps or at least gives some good ideas to think about.

lee\c
6-Sep-2006, 00:09
I think a sink is a necessity and I think you can't have too much sink. I have two 8 footers in my darkroom and it is really not enough.

lee\c

John Bowen
6-Sep-2006, 03:46
I wish I would have put a few more outlets in my darkroom and had a master switch that would turn everything off when I left the rooom. I always seem to be leaving a safelight or timer on for a day or two before I realize it.....

John

Bobf
6-Sep-2006, 04:20
I use a shallow (4") sink which allows me to spill a little developer while agitating dishes etc and rinse equipment out without worry. You could get away with a counter I'm sure, but the sink means you don't have to be careful all the time. And of course, Murphy insists that you WILL spill an entire bottle of fixer at some point in the future - best to let accidents like that happen in a sink. It's worth it for the peace of mind.

I'll second the cabinets idea. Don't put stuff on shelves - they just gather dust and are a pain to keep clean: put them in cabinets. I use kitchen units from the local DIY store.

Ditto the power sockets - you can't have too many of them, but make sure they are on an residual current breaker (not sure what they are called in your part of the world - but they will break the circuit before you get a bad shock).


Cheers, Bob.

Bruce Barlow
6-Sep-2006, 04:41
In my old darkroom, I built a 9' sink out of plywood. I loved it. Painted it outside with Epoxy paint used to reline bath tubs (REALLY bad fumes), and moved it in. Cheap and highly usable. Faucet was on a small platform that fit over the back, and plumbed with hoses so I could move it from one end to the other as needed.

In my new darkroom, I splurged on stainless steel. Wonderful, but unnecessary. I would have been as happy with plywood, and could have bought many lenses with what I would have saved. Its valve is a round knob shower valve connected through a dial thermometer and then to faucets at either end. It keeps temperature absolutely steady without adjustment (except for twice a year in spring and late fall - adjustment takes about a minute). A lot less expensive than the photo versions, and for me just as good. A faucet in the middle is plumbed straight from the water supply, bypassing the control, so I can mix Dektol without altering my temperature adjustment.

Nevertheless, the common denominator is SINK. For me, I gotta have a sink. I've used formica on sawhorses, and I'm too much of a slob, I guess. And now I'm an old fart who can afford what he wants.

My critial dimension was the distance between the wet and dry sides. Not too much to feel like a hike, not too little to squeeze my expanding waistline. I think it's 32", and it's perfect.

I second the cabinet idea, especially up high (I'm 6'6" - altitudinally challenged). Keeping things orderly and out of sight has been good for my head when I print. I built cabinets suporting the dry-side top - they're extra high to fit my height, but students have used them successfully. The sink is extra high, too. Cabinets can often befound for really cheap at box stores and cabinet places when folks have ordered and then canceled them. Not a wide selection, but I've picked up stuff for pennies on the dollar.

Do exactly what you want. When it's done, you'll love it.

Ben Calwell
6-Sep-2006, 05:03
I bought one of those black, plastic sinks from B&H, I think. It's five feet long by about 24 or so inches wide and has a drain. I actually cobbled together from 2-by-4s a stand for the sink. I used stove bolts to bolt it together. Given my incredibly lousy carpentry skills, this was truly a monumental effort on my part, but it turned out well. I hired a plumber to hook up the faucet and the water supply.

Steve Kefford
6-Sep-2006, 07:45
...they're extra high to fit my height, but students have used them successfully. The sink is extra high, too....

What height are your worksurfaces. I am a couple of inches shorter, and trying to work out what height I want.

Steve

rwyoung
6-Sep-2006, 08:08
What height are your worksurfaces. I am a couple of inches shorter, and trying to work out what height I want.

Steve

Experiment a little bit with some saw horses and boards but consider starting with something an inch or two below your elbows. If you are going to stand on a mat, make sure you account for the mat when experimenting with counter / sink height.

Rob

Alan Davenport
6-Sep-2006, 09:26
I built a darkroom in my previous house (haven't done so in this one. Yet.)

For basic stuff, I was really happy with an 8x8 room, with a 6 foot counter on one side for "dry" operations -- the enlarger -- and an 8 foot counter on the opposite side for the "wet" stuff. I had an ordinary kitchen-size sink (single tub) which I got from a local building salvage yard, along with the 8' laminate countertop. The dry side counter I built using a door for the countertop.

One thing to consider is your own comfort. I'm tall enough that I quickly grow tired of working on standard-height counters, so I built everything 4 inches higher in the darkroom.

Eric Woodbury
6-Sep-2006, 09:28
There is a nice post over at apug.org with lots of pix of different darkrooms. I would recommend studying this.

My new darkroom is 9' wide and 12' long. This gives me a counter a little wider than 3' and 12' long. Two enlargers, one coldlight and one condenser. The enlargers are set into the counter top so the counter is all one level. There are two sinks opposite, an 8' and a 3' wash sink that is a bit lower. I tried to make it as comfortable as possible in an attempt to make me want to be there as much as possible and make visitors welcome. This includes lots of little safelights such that there are no dark corners where things disappear. Also, a stereo.

As mentioned in other posts, I wired it with switches such that when I leave, I can turn the whole room off. There is maybe one plug that is off the main switches so that the clock keeps time. There are three main circuits. I've divided this into 1) lights, enlargers, things that might fog film, and 2)everything else, vent fan, stereo, timers, things that need to be on in the total darkness, 3) is a heating/A/C circuit. Each circuit goes through a GFI for safety around water.

For general lighting I use track lights. Color is good. Fluorescent lighting has bad color and glows after it is turned off. I use string pulls to turn on/off the white lights and leave the safelight on all the time for printing. There is a footswitch for a white light over the fix tray that is handy for detail examination of prints.

Ventilation is provided by a large exhaust fan near the developer tray that vents outside. Fresh air comes through the door vent from the room next door. I don't operate the fan often, as the air stays pretty good. I don't use many nasty chemicals.

The main sink has a wide front rim on it so that I can lean on it. It is fairly high. The wash sink is lower so that getting prints in/out of the washer is easier. One sink I built from plastic 20 years ago and one is plywood that I will paint this weekend with epoxy paint.

Floor is painted concrete with a rubber mat. There are plenty of shelves for storing paper, chems, trays, and tanks. The cold water is filtered and the hot water comes from a flash heater in the laundry room. The hot water is a bit of a pain and I suppose I could ad a small electric 6 gallon heater, but have not yet. Flash heaters are good for lots of hot water, but for small amounts to warm wash water don't, the demand is not great enough to activate the flash heater. All or nothing. Both hot and cold water have shutoff valves so that like the electricity, it can be off when not in use. I don't need a fire and I don't want a flood either. S**t happens.

Have fun. Get it done and make photographs.

-EW-

Don Wallace
6-Sep-2006, 12:41
This is terrific, folks. Thanks so much. Feel free to continue adding to this. I am paying very close attention.

paulr
7-Sep-2006, 11:55
A sink is necessary. You definitely want one. I have a 6 foot sink and it is too small, so I am going to build one out of plywood and have it coated with Line-X (http://www.goline-x.com) for about $250.

It is convenient, not necessary. I have never had a sink or even running water in my darkroom. The quality of my work was never effected by this.

In a high volume production environment this would have been a problem, but since I typically worked on a print over a period days, the only nuissance was that it took longer to clean up.

In place of a sink I had an 8 foot long countertop. And some buckets.

paulr
7-Sep-2006, 12:02
I bought one of those black, plastic sinks from B&H, I think. It's five feet long by about 24 or so inches wide and has a drain. I actually cobbled together from 2-by-4s a stand for the sink. I used stove bolts to bolt it together. Given my incredibly lousy carpentry skills, this was truly a monumental effort on my part, but it turned out well. I hired a plumber to hook up the faucet and the water supply.

Do you like it? I always thought it I got a sink I'd try one of these. Stainless is cool, but there are a few issues with it (besides price). Most stainless sinks aren't made out of the highest quality alloys, and can be corroded by a number of common chemicals if you're at all lazy about washing them out.

Also, stainless sheet metal is fairly conductive, which multiplies any problems of holding your chemistry at any temperature if it's warmer or colder in the room. I know some metal sinks have some kind of insulation on the underside to help with this (and to make them quieter). but that ABS plastic always seemed like a great solution ... even though the black color probably isn't ideal.

Making a sink seems popular, but you definitely have to be down for the project, and for dealing with the fumes. I don't know if I'd be interested in taking that on.

paulr
7-Sep-2006, 12:08
Rambling continues:

for me the most important quality for a darkroom is that it's a nice space to spend time in. this is completely subjective. but i need to enjoy the time i'm in there. i'll make some decisions that lead to the space being less efficient if they make it more inhabitable. i've always prefered spare bedroom-type darkrooms over the basement dungeon type. which i know is a luxury.

I got my first darkroom upon getting rid of a certain woman, and when she and her attendant piles of art supplies were gone, I ended up with a big darkroom with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and lots of room to wander, to breathe, to jump around to the music, etc.. it wasn't very light tight so i only used it at night. but that was nice because i could leave the door open, and my cat could come and go, and the room felt like part of my living space and not some cave.

this might not be at the top of everyone's priority list, but it's worth considering before you make the big irreversible decisions.

Oren Grad
7-Sep-2006, 12:12
Do you like it? I always thought it I got a sink I'd try one of these. Stainless is cool, but there are a few issues with it (besides price).

The two sinks that I mentioned in my comment earlier in the thread are both black plastic. I got them from Calumet. They've been in service for 10 years now, and I'm still very happy with that choice - saved lots of money up front, and there's been no functional downside for me at all.

The only potential issue I can think of as I look back on my experience is whether the plastic has a load limit that might ever be constraining. I've had no problem running a loaded Jobo CPA-2 in one of my sinks, but if you wanted to put a large print washer in the sink - say 16x20 - you could be concentrating >200 pounds on a smallish footprint. There's some flex in the plastic of my sinks, and I don't know whether they'd hold up under that sort of load.

David Karp
7-Sep-2006, 13:19
A sink somewhere is a necessity. A sink in the darkroom is a welcome luxury. For years I had a darkroom without sink. It was much nicer than the darkroom that I don't have now.

I would mix up the chemicals, put the trays on the countertop and develop prints. I had a holding tray that I filled with water and used to move the prints to the area with the sink. That is where the print washer lived. It worked fine.

Working in a darkroom is more convenient if there is a sink, but you can live without it if a sink is not possible, or you can't afford to have one in your darkroom.

Bruce Barlow
8-Sep-2006, 05:08
What height are your worksurfaces. I am a couple of inches shorter, and trying to work out what height I want.

Steve

Dry side: 44"

Bottom of sink: 38"

I actually increased the height of the sink bottom to about 40" by getting 24x48 ceiling grids and putting them on wooden slats. Keeps the stainless from coolong off the trays in these chilly New Hampshire winters, and aids draining.

Louie Powell
8-Sep-2006, 06:12
I have a sink - it's framed up in 1x2 pine with a 1/2" plywood bottom. The bottom is sloped, and at the low end I installed a small stainless steel sink (purchased from a travel-trailer accessories shop) under a bar faucet to provide a drain and a place to fill containers with water. The whole thing was painted with two-component epoxy paint and is about 25 years old at this point.

But I think the key question really is NOT do you need a "sink" - a darkroom sink is nothing more than a place to lay out an array of trays, and unless you opt for some kind of automated processing, you will have to deal with trays. And in that case, you will have to deal with how to deal with spashed liquids around the trays. The choice of wood, plastic, stainless, concrete, soapstone, or rtificial stone all pertain to how you manaage splashes.

To me, the real question is do you need a drain, and the followup question is how to arrange for a drain. The fact is that unless you are very fortunate, setting up the drain will be the real challenge. It's the exception rather than the rule that the building design will put a drain exactly where you need it for a darkroom.

If your darkroom is in a basement, the chances are that the darkroom drain will be below the level of the waste lines in the house. I can only think of two ways to put in a darkroom drain in that case. One is that if you have a sump and sump-pump, you may be able to have the darkroom drain flow into the sump, and then let the sump pump do whatever it is set up to do with the gray water. Yes, that probably does not meet building codes, but it's an option.

The other solution is to install a reservoir to store gray water from the darkroom, and a pump to then move that gray water up to a level where it can flow into the house drain. Home Despot and Lowes sell "laundry tray pumps" that are ideal for this application, or you can cobble something using some kind of storage tank (a Rubbermaid bin works well) and a sump pump.

Some other things to think about:

- ventillation: this is important, both for health and for comfort. If you are more comfortable, you will be more creative. Positive pressure ventillation is best (that's where the fan blows air into the darkroom, and it flows out because of the positive pressure), and the ventillation system should include filtration to manage dust incursion. Something that is often overlooked is the noise level of the ventillation system - if it is too noisy, it won't be used. The ventillator in my darkroom is a computer-style muffin fan mounted outside the darkroom; air flows in through a plastic duct. The master switch (see below) turns on the fan so that it is on whenever I am in the darkroom. Always provide a way for the air to flow out near the sink so that fumes from the chemicals don't have to work their away across the darkroom to find a natural exit.

- master switch: very convenient to have. In my case, it's by the door and controls a circuit that includes the white light, the safelights and the ventillator. I have separate switches for the white light and safelight mounted under the enlarger station so that I can control those features as needed by the process that I am working. I also installed a small red indicator light outside the darkroom so that my wife will know that I am working in there and knock before opening the door.

- Door: the perfect-world answer is to have a maze, but that takes a lot of floor space. A door works just as well in a one-person darkroom. Whether it opens in or out depends on what is convenient to you and your layout. I put a lock on the door to keep people on the outside from opening the door when I have a box of sheet film open - used a "bathroom" lock that can be opened from the outside in an emergency using a pin or nail.

- GFI: all receptacles near water should be on a GFCI. I chose to install a GFCI receptacle near one end of the sink that protects all of the downstream receptacles. And yes, I have LOTS of receptacles in my darkroom.

- cabinets and counters: I used inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets from Lowes. I purchased a piece of roll-formed laminate top from a clearance center to make the cabinet tops. An alternate counter top is particle board - it's absolutely flat, and works quite well with a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish to contain dust. Not bad looking either.

- the floor: there are two requirements for the floor. One is that it needs to be treated to deal with splashed liquids and to manage dust. In the case of a basement darkroom, the choices are either to paint the concrete or install some kind of vinyl flooring. I opted for vinyl - the cost of vinyl was about the same as the cost of special concrete floor paint, and it was easier to install vinyl tiles than to etch and paint the floor. But the second consideration is comfort. Concrete is very hard, and after a few hours your knees and legs start to complain. I ended up covering the vinyl with an inexpensive rubber mat material - 2' interlocking squares about 1/2" thick that is actually quite comfortable.

- general layout: kitchen planners talk about the triangle between the sink, cooktop and fridge. Similar principle applies in darkrooms - the enlarger is the apex of the triangle, while the sink is the base. Conceptually simple, but there are sill lots of ways to fit that triangle into a space. What you have to do is look carefully at the structure to determine if there are other factors that would govern where the apex and base have to be. The location of the sink may be influenced by where the water lines come into the darkroom, and by the location of the drain. The location of the enlarger may need to take into account the need for maximum ceiling height (so that you can elevate the head to the top of the column) and by the need to provide structural rigidity. I chose to mount my enlarge on a shelf that is rigidly attached to a wall. I also had to work around a ceiling beam that supports the floor joists for the room above the darkroom; I opted to drop the ceiling below the beam, and then frame out a hole in the dropped ceiling over the enlarger in order to maximize the height in that area.

- windows and walls: not a problem in my current darkroom, but in our former home I had a basement window that I had to remove and then close up with cinder blocks. I chose to erect walls all around the darkroom rather than rely on the concrete basement wall - better control of dust and humidity. In our former home, the main drain to the septic system was behind one of these walls, and there was a cleanout where it penetrated the basement wall. So I chose to build a removable panel in the wall to allow access to that cleanout - - - just in case! Wall and ceiling color: white everywhere except the area immediately behind the enlarger which is flat black.

- general space; whatever you build will initially look large, but five years later will be cramped. Try to think ahead to identify possible future requirements, and make provisions for growth.

- other: I like having a radio in the darkroom. Also have a telephone so that if I'm working with no one else in the house, I can get to the phone without opening the door. Have thought about an intercom to the kitchen upstairs, but so far the need has not been there. Have lots of phosphorescent tape (or paint) on various things (switches, telephone, enlarger timer, wet-side timer, etc) around the darkroom - doesn't bother film, and makes it possible to find things in the dark. Have a sheet of "homosote" on one wall that I can pin up work-prints.

Clay Turtle
5-Jun-2008, 05:56
Just a word or two about large sized sinks
1) MAKE A PLYWOOD FORM THEN LINE IT with shower pan material (plumbing supply)
2) " " with a metal box of galvanized steel sodering the corners to seal them.
3) " " have a a/c shop produce the pan (above) as they (metal duct working) generally supply drip pans for used to capture condensate from the a/c units.

PS: The other solution is to install a reservoir to store gray water from the darkroom, and a pump to then move that gray water up to a level where it can flow into the house drain. Home Despot and Lowes sell "laundry tray pumps" that are ideal for this application, or you can cobble something using some kind of storage tank (a Rubbermaid bin works well) and a sump pump.

Some other things to think about: good idea hut wouldn't running the grey water through a de-ionizing unit & recirculating it be better? This would in effect make the processing wash water recycled (long term) & collecting material from the electrodes would (short term) recycle silver content. This would reduce ecological contaminatination?

Louie Powell
5-Jun-2008, 06:48
good idea hut wouldn't running the grey water through a de-ionizing unit & recirculating it be better? This would in effect make the processing wash water recycled (long term) & collecting material from the electrodes would (short term) recycle silver content. This would reduce ecological contamination?

I can't disagree with the principle that you want to minimize release of contaminants to the environment.

But I don't think you need to treat 100% of the darkroom effluent.

As a practical matter, the concern in a typical black and white darkroom revolves around silver and selenium. Selenium is easy - just use selenium toner until it becomes exhausted, which means that (nearly) all of the selenium content has been transferred to prints. The resulting effluent is not an environmental hazard - and in fact is supposed to be very good for roses and certain other flowering plants in the garden.

Silver is another matter, but if you are processing to archival standards, most of the effluent silver will be trapped in exhausted fixer, and dealing with a small quantity of used fixer is far more practical than dealing with all of the gray water leaving a darkroom. You can do a pretty good job of deslivering used fixer by simply dropping in a bit of steel wool and letting it sit for a few days. The silver content will precipitate out as sludge, and the remaining liquid can be safely added to the gray water stream.

The other chemicals used in a darkroom - developer, fixer, hypoclear, etc - are relatively innocuous, and the actual volume of those chemicals is minute compared with the total volume of gray water.

CG
5-Jun-2008, 14:09
... I gave up on building a darkroom and I am hiring a contractor to build the darkroom ... Any good advice from anyone who has been through it recently?

I haven't had someone build a darkroom for me - but I did have a painting studio building built for me, and I found I needed to be very firm that I did NOT want a gorgeous piece of architecture - just a workspace. Many builders cannot conceive of building anything without fancying it up beyond all reason. I wanted a space I would feel no guilt about messing up or adding a shelf to ad hoc or tacking something to. I did not want the space to be "precious".

You don't need a fancy six panel pine door - a cheeep hollow core looks about the same in the dark. A friend of mine just finished getting a studio built for her, and her contractor bought a fancy multi-panel door without consulting on it with her. When she realized the unneeded expense, she was annoyed.

You don't need fancy trim. Don't have everything trimmed out like fancy furniture.

You don't need, for gosh sake, the most expensive paint the contractor can find - and he'll be planning on it unless you are very determined to keep costs in line. Use cheeeeep paint. Use a workable but low priced door handle set.


... Big sinks are expensive ...

As long as you have water coming in and out, the additional cost of a sink need not be that much. It's just a workbench with a lip and a drain hole somewhere. Your contractor will be able to make it fancy and expensive, but it need not be.

C

Milton Tierney
23-Jun-2008, 11:24
I all. All the poses have some great points and ideas. Silver can be recovered with a silver recovery system and the silver sold and the fixer reused. One of the most important items that put into my darkroom was an air cleaner. It keeps the dust down and when reloading film holder I have very little dust or none at all. No dustů. no dusting, no spotting.

aduncanson
23-Jun-2008, 12:56
My new B&W darkroom has been up and operating for about 6 weeks now. I am very happy with how it works for the most part. There are still some capabilities to added or tested.

I have worked in dirty darkrooms before and so was somewhat cautious about controlling dust in this one, particularly since it is in an otherwise filthy basement. I put one of the larger room size air purifiers outside the room near the door and attached its output to the darkroom wall via a vinyl plenum so that air would flow up the stud space and into the darkroom through a cold air return grill. The air exits the room on the adjacent wet side wall through two more cold air return grills located just over the sink. I leave the air purifier turned on low 24/7 to keep the room at a positive pressure. If I were using some particularly foul process, I could to turn the air purifier up to high. I sized the air purifier so that the room air could be changed 10 times an hour (on high) as somebody recommended for more toxic processes (although I am afraid that my vinyl plenum would soon blow off the wall.)

I don't know what flow rate I am getting with the purifier set to low, but I do find the darkroom pleasant to work in and that the stop bath and fixer odors over the trays are faint. In the first couple of weeks I would occasionally find that this ventilation system had blown some residual drywall dust out of the stud space and that it had fallen on the table below the inlet. That seems to have stopped now. Had it not, I might have added a fairly porous furnace filter over the inlet to the room.

To add suspenders with my belt, I created a drying cabinet out of a portable vinyl storage closet (as somebody posted here.)

Every couple of weeks, I find that it is time to run a microfiber dusting cloth over the tables and shelving and then put it on a mop handle and push it around the floor. I am amazed by what this dusting process picks up (It does seem to be tapering off in time.) but my negatives are clean.

NER
23-Jun-2008, 18:09
A sink is necessary. You definitely want one. I have a 6 foot sink and it is too small, so I am going to build one out of plywood and have it coated with Line-X (http://www.goline-x.com) for about $250.

Consider "Reflex." It's a bit softer than Line-X and available in colors other than black. The cost is about the same.

N. Riley
http://normanrileyphotography.com

Jon Wilson
28-Feb-2010, 15:44
Well...so as not to create a new thread, but to blend with an existing thread which pertains to building a darkroom....here is a link of some earily shots taken of my darkroom which is being built.
http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=957873

The area is basically what I would describe as being a stubby L laying on its back.
The base of the L will be the Dry Area and it is approximately 15' long and 12' wide.
The long portion of the L is about 5 feet wide and 14 feet long.

My thoughts as to covering the windows is to make insulation board inserts with dark material which can easily be inserted and kept in place. The floor is presently covered with a glued down carpet which is being removed. The floor is concrete.

I have an old school stainless steel kitchen table which has some counter top (about 4 feet) and place for 2 sinks. At the sink end of the stainless steel table will be a large Zone VI/print washer unit that will drain into that sink. The exhaust fan will be installed above that portion of the wet area.

At the far end of the Wet Area will be a small sink to empty my JOBO drums and about 5 feet of counter space with a small sink/drain to hold my JOBO Unit.

On the wall where my ceiling has been raised to allow a 10 foot high opeinging is 22 inches by 40 inches. This opening will allow my Durst CLS-2000 8x10 enlarger to be used for really large enlargements.

The opposite side of the Dry Area will have counter top and base cabinets covering about 10+ feet. That area may also have a 5x7 Zone VI enlarger and a Saunders LPL 4x5 enlarger set up. That will depending on the needed counter space for the dry mounting press and other items.

Please feel free to comment and/or send me suggestions, inquiries etc. I definitely want to make the darkroom user friendly and very functional. All assistance is appreciated.

This is my first darkroom and probably my last.....but I plan to use it for many years to come.

Next to my 8x10 enlarger is a door that will contain my small studio. It is approximately 11x12. It will hold my 11x14 Studio Deardorff and many other goodies.

More to come....Thanks. Jon

largeformat apt
28-Feb-2010, 16:52
A good floor covering, Easy to clean, low care and place some soft matting where you stand.

Roger Thoms
28-Feb-2010, 17:17
Consider "Reflex." It's a bit softer than Line-X and available in colors other than black. The cost is about the same.

N. Riley
http://normanrileyphotography.com

I have Line-X in my truck bed, it has a rough textured surface that is hard to clean. Hopefully Reflex is smoother and less porous.

Roger

ret wisner
28-Feb-2010, 19:17
i find that my most important item in my darkened room is my leather couch, also my coffee machine. the tv covered in ruby lith and a good relaxed attitude.

no sinks, ventilation or running water.

in fact it doesnt even look like a dark room

i dont think i could use a plastic coated sterile darkroom, its gotta feel like a regular space or im not interested.

total cost zero euro

bigdog
1-Mar-2010, 16:54
Well...so as not to create a new thread, but to blend with an existing thread which pertains to building a darkroom ...

I'll do the same, if I may. I'm blogging mine. It will seem slow at first, but I hope it picks up as the project wears on. :cool:

(link in sig)

neil poulsen
2-Mar-2010, 00:26
My big accomplishment in building my current darkroom was to put all the plumbing and electronics on one roughly 3.5'x4.5' sheet of plywood. All the pipes are on the back and the fixtures are on the front. Electronics occupy about the left quarter, with the remainder for the plumbing. (Probably wouldn't pass code. :D) Fixtures include:

> Hot and cold filters.
> Two electronic thermometers.
> Temp control unit.
> Separate hot/cold faucets for filtered water.
> Separate hot/cold unfiltered faucets for washing prints. (Includes embedded
thermometer.)
> Faucet for temperature controlled, filtered water.
> Three switches, one for each thermometer and one for the safelights.
> Graylab 300.
> Zone VI compensating developer timer.
> Extra plugs.

Building this thing took some planning, because I wanted all the pipes in a single layer. Had to do some frantic retro-piping, when I discovered I'd gotten the hot and cold feeds for the temperature control unit backwards.

Anyway, this thing is fastened to two vertical 2x2's to allow room for the copper piping in back. It connects to the outside world through two hoses (hot/cold) and a single plug.

The advantage of building this thing is that, when I leave this house, it leaves and is ready to mount in the next darkroom. (Or, that big darkroom in the sky.)

Jon Wilson
2-Mar-2010, 21:33
Progress! My new 8x10 Durst enlarger has been installed and it works! It has maximum clearance and will make up to 20x24 inch enlargements!

Additional pictures of it being set up today have been added. http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=957873

It took 4 people to move it over to my "darkroom" and those persons and my friend who is doing the remodel set it up. The enlarger rack with its weights totals over 1000 lbs. It is not going to be moved again. The 220v wiring was installed over the weekend and the enlarger was fired up. It works and it is rock solid. There will not be any movement on this enlarger when printing paper.

The remainder of the carpet will be removed, the floor cleaned, the wet side set up....chemicals and paper are being delivered.

It may be done before the end of March! I am excited.

Jon

ic-racer
3-Mar-2010, 09:12
Looks fantastic.

Just curious if you had a chance to check your bulb reflector. Mine has just one or two small areas where the coating has flaked off. I suspect that mine is the original one in the head, with commercial use since 1993 or so. So, I hope it will still last a long time (especially since a new one is $1600!).

Jon Wilson
3-Mar-2010, 19:21
Looks fantastic.

Just curious if you had a chance to check your bulb reflector. Mine has just one or two small areas where the coating has flaked off. I suspect that mine is the original one in the head, with commercial use since 1993 or so. So, I hope it will still last a long time (especially since a new one is $1600!).

Thanks. No, I have not had a chance to check the bulb reflector. I will do that and keep you posted.

I know the seller told me this was the 3rd time he had moved it and he too was very pleased it fired up on the first try. It told me he originally purchased it from a studio in Portland, Or.

Jon

MR CORONET
4-Mar-2010, 19:47
Progress! My new 8x10 Durst enlarger has been installed and it works! It has maximum clearance and will make up to 20x24 inch enlargements!

Additional pictures of it being set up today have been added. http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=957873

It took 4 people to move it over to my "darkroom" and those persons and my friend who is doing the remodel set it up. The enlarger rack with its weights totals over 1000 lbs. It is not going to be moved again. The 220v wiring was installed over the weekend and the enlarger was fired up. It works and it is rock solid. There will not be any movement on this enlarger when printing paper.

The remainder of the carpet will be removed, the floor cleaned, the wet side set up....chemicals and paper are being delivered.

It may be done before the end of March! I am excited.

Jon
Hi Looks very nice, i am very jealous.
Now i have a problem on my De vere 5108 here in the UK (South of England) : The winding wheels on mine are at the back and are not connected! There are some wires at the back but i cannot see how the pulley system works! I am not that practical a person. Could you email me some images of the pulley wiring etc form your beast ? Gerry
P.S. BTW the seller just refuses to answer my calls, I guess he does not want to help/know.

Jon Wilson
4-Mar-2010, 21:34
Hi Gerry, I don' think that Jon's Durst and your De Vere 5108 have the same cable set up.

However, I am pretty sure that a Devere 504 and a 5108 have the same drive cable configurations. If they are not the same I think they at least should be close enough. I have a 504 and will try to get a copy made of the pages that show how the cables are routed and instructions on how to replace/adjust.
Will try to get copies tomorrow, if not it will be over the weekend.
If you have a floor standing model you are probably going to have to separate the column from the base. If you would let me know if you do have a free standing model I can include some instructions on how to separate the column and base too. I'll PM you for your email address.

Cody

Gerry, Cody is correct. They are not the same. Here is a link where you may be able to get the De Vere 5108 manual. http://www.khbphotografix.com/devere/DevereManuals.htm

Gerry, good luck in getting yours setup. I am definitely indebted to the person I purchased the 8x10 from; for a few dollars more, he not only moved the 1/2 ton beauty, but made certain it was level and working properly.

As a side note, my Freestyle Photographic Supplies order arrived today! Yippee! Now I have all my photo paper and chemicals to make prints. Now for the rest of the darkroom to be built....I am biting at the bite.

Jon

ic-racer
5-Mar-2010, 07:07
Hi Gerry, I don' think that Jon's Durst and your De Vere 5108 have the same cable set up.


It is a little hard to tell from the photos but Jon's Durst head is on a massive Fotar chassis.

MR CORONET
6-Mar-2010, 17:42
Jon,
Thanks for link to manual, that could be most useful if i cannot get any further myself and with help of the forum.
Best wishes for all your prints, it will be grate fun :)
Gerry

MR CORONET
6-Mar-2010, 18:12
Hi,
It is most kind of you to help me out, how nice , thanks.
Today the bulbs i ordered have arrived and i am slowly working out how to wire then in series so i can test, first with the old 50 w bulbs then change to the new 300 w x 4 bulbs.


Yes, it is frees standing and i recall it took to people to move it in and put it together!

I have made some pictures of the enlarger as it is very heavy to move but it certainly looks like someone has pulled or broken the wires that go on the pulleys and their is a cloth tape that is knotted. I can email you my images if you iwsh.

I am and will be most grateful for any advice/help.
Legs and fingers crossed.

best wishes to you,

Gerry




Hi Gerry, I don' think that Jon's Durst and your De Vere 5108 have the same cable set up.

However, I am pretty sure that a Devere 504 and a 5108 have the same drive cable configurations. If they are not the same I think they at least should be close enough. I have a 504 and will try to get a copy made of the pages that show how the cables are routed and instructions on how to replace/adjust.
Will try to get copies tomorrow, if not it will be over the weekend.
If you have a floor standing model you are probably going to have to separate the column from the base. If you would let me know if you do have a free standing model I can include some instructions on how to separate the column and base too. I'll PM you for your email address.

Cody

Jon Wilson
6-Mar-2010, 19:09
Well, another step to getting my darkroom set up. We moved my sink into my darkroom today. The sink is an old stainless steel sink you find in school kitchens. It will have 2 sinks with one faucet. My good friend Phil (Viet Nam Vet) removed the door frame so the sink would fit through the door. It is about 6' + long and weights about 300+lbs., but the price was right a couple of years ago...$100. The fully functional sink is about 18 inches deep and 24 x 26 inches and is located next to the steel counter top which is about 30 x 28 inches. The sink on the other end is about 6 inches deep and about 20 x 20 inches. It will be used as a drain only. I will have shelves installed under the the sink unit for extra storage. I have a Delta Temperature Unit with a filter which will be plumbed above the sink unit.

Any suggestions on improving the sink setup?

BTW, that is my dog Spanky. She had a close call in my parking lot when someone pull in and hit her accidental. She is very sore now, having had 3 ribs broken. She is such a good dog....she is in pain, but still tried to fetch her ball today. Her activities are RESTRICTED for the next couple of weeks.

Jon

Robert Hughes
8-Mar-2010, 08:57
At the Photoworks (Glen Echo Park, Washington DC) dark room, they have a long sink that was originally ... an autopsy table! With drains in all the right places. Talk about a history... I'd die for a table like that. :p

Michael Cienfuegos
11-Mar-2010, 09:49
At the Photoworks (Glen Echo Park, Washington DC) dark room, they have a long sink that was originally ... an autopsy table! With drains in all the right places. Talk about a history... I'd die for a table like that. :p


Just don't lie on it if there is a pathologist nearby.:p :p :p

Jon Wilson
13-Mar-2010, 21:05
More progress on my first and only darrkroom....http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=957873
Enlargers will include an 8x10 CLS-2000, a Zone VI 5x7, and a Saunders LPL 4x5.

The newest addition is the 6 1/2 foot stainless table wet area and my Print developer tank with 5 slots for chemicals. One can't see in the newest pictures, but at the end is a 5 foot plus counter top with a sink I plan to use my jobo unit in that area to develop primarily film and will have a Zone VI 11x14 washer and when I print a 20x24 print, I have a similar washer of several sheets at a time.

I had hoped to a least try my first prints this weekend, but duties called and it should be next weekend. By that time, I should have a couple of safelights installed and an exhaust fan.

Jon

ic-racer
14-Mar-2010, 07:26
More progress on my first and only darrkroom....http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=957873
Enlargers will include an 8x10 CLS-2000, a Zone VI 5x7, and a Saunders LPL 4x5.

The newest addition is the 6 1/2 foot stainless table wet area and my Print developer tank with 5 slots for chemicals. One can't see in the newest pictures, but at the end is a 5 foot plus counter top with a sink I plan to use my jobo unit in that area to develop primarily film and will have a Zone VI 11x14 washer and when I print a 20x24 print, I have a similar washer of several sheets at a time.



Jon

Tell us more about the big slot processor!

Jon Wilson
21-Mar-2010, 20:46
Tell us more about the big slot processor!

The Print Developing Tank System is 29 inches high x 23 inches long x 15 inches wide. It has a sealing lid with sealing tape inserted around the lid, 5 floating lids which fit each of the 5 individual (5 gallon capacity) tanks which are 27.5" high x 19" long x 2.25" wide. Each of these tanks can be removed to be cleaned or just flushed out and drained out of the individual taps. The unit weighs about 50 lbs. All of the joints are plastic welds. According to the designer, with the floating lids and minimum exposure to air, the chemicals last 6+ months.

Essentially, only 1 large print can be developed at a time in this system. Once the print has been developed and fixed....then it will be moved to the area where my JOBO system is presently located and an Archival Wash Tank, e.g., Zone VI, will be used.

The time saving feature I see will be the fact I don't have to mix the paper chemicals each time. Thus I can expose the paper and proceed to the wet area.

Again, this is my first darkroom and thus I am a newbie who needs lots of guidance.

I thank everyone for your assistance and guidance. If you are in the neighborhood, get a hold of me and we can print some negs.

Jon

Paul Harris
10-Apr-2010, 03:36
Jon - Looks real good. The only thing that I'd change would be to install 2 filters on the water panel, one on each of the input lines instead of just the single filter on the output. Might as well protect the panel as well. Have fun,

Paul Harris

Jon Wilson
10-Apr-2010, 07:27
Jon - Looks real good. The only thing that I'd change would be to install 2 filters on the water panel, one on each of the input lines instead of just the single filter on the output. Might as well protect the panel as well. Have fun,

Paul Harris

Thanks Paul. That is a good idea. I am just now trying my hand at printing some pictures. I need to figure out how to use the Saunders adjustable print board. I have not been able to figure out how to properly place the paper with the lights out. Maybe the safelights need to be installed. I will have a long learning curve on the darkroom experience......but I know I will enjoy the ride. :)

Jon