View Full Version : Detatched dark room musings...

John Kasaian
28-Jan-2013, 08:24
The biggest problem I have using my kid's bathroom for a darkroom is that I cannot fit my Elwood 8x10 enlarger in through the hall (its impossible to get it around the corners without a complete dismantle, which is too noisy and takes too long for the amount of time in the wee hours I have for lab work:( ) So the thought of a real live dedicated space is something I find attractive. Another plus is that I'd be able to bust Uncle Elwood out of enlarger jail (storage) and free up badly needed space.
Framing in a corner in the garage would work nicely but thats not practical right now (don't ask---please don't ask:mad:) but I've thought that a prefab shed along the lines of a Tough Shed would be a good solution except none of the ones I've seen are tall enough to accomodate the Elwood:(
One really great thing about Tough Sheds is they are considered "portable storage" by my town---no permits or paperwork required if the structure isn't visible from the street.
It so happens I'm now in possession of four galvanized frozen food pallets which I used on the farm to keep a squeeze of alfalfa off the dirt. Each pallet is 3.5'x4' so when placed together I have a 8'x7' footprint on which to build my own design "not so tough shed:rolleyes:"
My next task is to lay out how everything should fit into the space. I print with trays and I'd like to be able to print as large as possible if I'm going to go through the work of building a shed for the job. As near as can tell, Uncle Elwood's footprint will take up 2.5'x3.5' so it woud be tight.
Any suggestions? Thoughts? Recommendations?
Or is this an impossible dream and I should saddle up Rosintante and abandon the notion?

Light Guru
28-Jan-2013, 08:51
Unless your detached build has plumbing I would not bother.

28-Jan-2013, 08:58
Slightly more $ than a toughshed would be a locally made wooden "garden shed". You could have a slightly higher ceiling to accomodate the 8x10 enlarger. I could see using pallets to keep a shed off the ground, but wouldn't build with them.

28-Jan-2013, 09:05
Plumbing, Electrical and Insulation are all critical as is sealing in the dark. All of that points to locally built with a company that lets you sit down with their design team.

Peter Gomena
28-Jan-2013, 09:25
A simple cinderblock foundation or small poured slab would be preferable to pallets. Keeps the bugs and critters away.

David Karp
28-Jan-2013, 19:21
For years, I had a darkroom without running water. Running water would be nice, but a darkroom without water is better than no darkroom at all. I am in John's situation now. I would be happy to have my old darkroom now!

Gets hot up there. Can you sir condition it?

Roger Thoms
28-Jan-2013, 19:54
As long as your'e musing, how about two more pallets.


28-Jan-2013, 22:32

Roger Thoms
28-Jan-2013, 22:36

Might not have enough height for Uncle Elwood, but Jonh will have a better idea about that.


29-Jan-2013, 07:28
I've always thought it'd be fun to have shipping containers for outbuildings, but I'm sure my wife would not agree.

29-Jan-2013, 19:29
hi john

have you seen the videos on youtube or websites for making a shed out of pallets ?
i have been wanting to scavenge pallets near where i live but they are hard to come by
but it is pretty easy to scarf them together and make a shed ..


you should build a cistern and a filter to use rain water for your DR while you are at it :)

fun project !

29-Jan-2013, 19:34
Your 8x10 Elwood is less then six feet tall. How can your shed be so short??

Mark Sawyer
29-Jan-2013, 22:22
I'd permanently install the Elwood in the kid's bathroom. It's easier to build an outhouse than a darkroom. Or just plant a bush in the backyard...

Brian Ellis
30-Jan-2013, 08:38
My first darkroom had no running water. It's actually quite feasible as long as the darkroom is reasonably close to running water so that you can carry trays of chemicals to and from it without spilling the chemicals all over the place. Mine was an outdoor panty adjacent to the kitchen. Electrical of course is a necessity.

30-Jan-2013, 08:40
Well, this article was timely for this discussion:


30-Jan-2013, 08:58
I bought a 16 by 24 foot shed about eight years ago from Home Depot. It was built on site by them. I used it for a number of years just for storage, and my yard tools. Finally, I decided that I needed to put a darkroom in it. Two years ago, I partitioned off an 8 by 16 foot room in the back of the shed, wired it, plumbed it, put up drywall, and finished it. I now have a darkroom for all of my photographic needs. So, it can be done......

Jim Jones
30-Jan-2013, 10:00
Some of my darkrooms had walking water instead of running water. I walked in with jugs of water and walked out with pails of waste water. It is less inconvenient than one might imagine. To save space, I've occasionally used trays stacked vertically instead of spread out in a sink or on a table. As long as you can look down at the top (developer) tray, it is manageable. Until one darkroom burned down, my 5x7 Elwood sat on the floor. Awkward, but plenty of exercise!

30-Jan-2013, 11:48
Well, this article was timely for this discussion:



31-Jan-2013, 20:06
Bought an Amish built 8 x 12 shed from the local dealers repo list. Barn roof with lofts at each end and open to roof in center. $3K delivered set and leveled.
Retired 20 ft shipping container is less expensive. Nicely light tight and easy to put a wall at door end with an house quality door for user friendly entry exit.
We occasionally rent them as portable offices for sporting events like national championship cross country meets.