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Thread: Darkroom Designs

  1. #1

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    Darkroom Designs

    Is there a book with Darkroom Designs that you know of?

    Ok, a lot of books have examples of darkroom layouts, but is there one that gives specific dimensioned designs/floor plans?

    Where optimized designs for different sizes and ambition levels are discussed?

    I am sure there is PLENTY of darkroom design experience here!

    Obviously any layout is highly dependant on size and $$ available, but for starters it would be interesting to hear more anecdotal information, like stupid things NOT to do, where to put storage, electrical outlets and how to design for an orderly development and print flow through the darkroom.

    I have a pretty good idea how it should look, but often it's small practical details that makes the difference between a good work place and a great workplace.

    For starters, what would be the minimum square ft you would recommend for a "nice" darkroom for development of film 35mm through 8x10 and printing to 20x24. Enlargers for 35mm through 5x7 with contact printing of 8x10 negs.

    B/W only at this point. Standard silver process only.

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    The only ?universal? rule I know of is to keep the wet side and the dry side separate.

    The first choice you need to make is your maximum print size.
    That will dictate the size of your sink, which is by far the largest item in the darkroom.

    Beyond that you scale the cabinetry, enlarger location, etc., to fit the space available.

    I use a straight linear layout:


    I've seen several books on darkroom layout, and likely others exist.
    A search for darkroom in Books at www.amazon.com gets 1252 hits.

    Quote Originally Posted by gth View Post
    ...is there one that gives specific dimensioned designs/floor plans?...
    Every darkroom is different.
    Nobody's going to spoon-feed you. You need to do some work on your own.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    I'm looking at the same sort of thing. I think room size obviously comes first. Mine is 12 x 16' and not close to done. I am stuck at permanently covering one wall of windows. I can't use a ladder right now. The windows are 12' tall. I have 2 sinks 120 X 30" and 72 X 24" that basically use up 2 walls. Another wall is enlargers. I need to get rid of a few enlargers to give me more dry space. I am thinking of a big table on wheels in the center and boards to cover sinks when 2 sinks are not needed. I put in exhaust ventilation, that will pull off the top of the sinks. I had to petition the condo board to do that.

    I really have to get the windows covered first...
    2022

  4. #4

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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    Right now I have two darkrooms, one at home, the big one at work. I have "built" up to five darkrooms, I think.
    Personally, I`d differentiate two rooms; one for the dark-room (strictly speaking, sink, enlargers), another for drying, retouching, matting, mounting... if everything should be installed in one only room, think that the dry press, working table, drying cabinets, etc. take its own space.
    For a single room layout, the "straight linear" rectangular design is what works best for me. Neither too big or too small. My current darkroom (at work) is a bit on the big side, with a bit more squared shape; I prefer my smaller at home, more longitudinal, more comfortable, less tiring. Obviously, it`ll depend on the space you have to do this... do you already have a room, or you have to build it up?
    BTW, I`m now in the process of replacing the sinks, two stainlees steel ones (main is 6 feet long), not designed for photography work, quite uncomfortable. I`d like to have a much bigger one, deeper, wider.

  5. #5
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    I'm in the process of building one in a standard shipping container
    Well standard size wise.
    It's flat aluminium as opposed to corrugated steel. Which is nice.

    Six by four Meters. by 2.4 high
    13 x 19 feet aprox

    I had dreams of putting 8x10 horizontal enlarger in there but might be dreaming.

    Any way
    I will prob be best putting wet side and dry side.






    .
    through a glass darkly...

  6. #6

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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    The only ?universal? rule I know of is to keep the wet side and the dry side separate.

    The first choice you need to make is your maximum print size.
    That will dictate the size of your sink, which is by far the largest item in the darkroom.

    Beyond that you scale the cabinetry, enlarger location, etc., to fit the space available.

    I use a straight linear layout:


    I've seen several books on darkroom layout, and likely others exist.
    A search for darkroom in Books at www.amazon.com gets 1252 hits.


    Every darkroom is different.
    Nobody's going to spoon-feed you. You need to do some work on your own.

    - Leigh
    Indeed!

    Lot's of books some actually specific to designing and building darkrooms.

    The last(?) 1963 Kodak "Darkroom Design and Construction" there is 1 used copy for $96!

    A newer ones are "Build your own home darkroom" and "The New Darkroom Handbook" which is even available in Kindle.

    Kodak Black-And-White Darkroom Dataguide (last 1996?) is probably more about working techniques.

    /gth

  7. #7

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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    I've just been editing my page about my darkroom ( http://blog.rwhawkins.com/darkroom_portrait/ ) Like many things in life what works for me may not work for you, but it might give you some ideas.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    Very good advice! Kee Klamps are a great idea. I am already changing my darkroom setup and design.

    Thanks for a great Blog!


    Quote Originally Posted by RW Hawkins View Post
    I've just been editing my page about my darkroom ( http://blog.rwhawkins.com/darkroom_portrait/ ) Like many things in life what works for me may not work for you, but it might give you some ideas.
    2022

  9. #9

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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    I'm looking at the same sort of thing. I think room size obviously comes first. Mine is 12 x 16' and not close to done. I am stuck at permanently covering one wall of windows. I can't use a ladder right now. The windows are 12' tall. I have 2 sinks 120 X 30" and 72 X 24" that basically use up 2 walls. Another wall is enlargers. I need to get rid of a few enlargers to give me more dry space. I am thinking of a big table on wheels in the center and boards to cover sinks when 2 sinks are not needed. I put in exhaust ventilation, that will pull off the top of the sinks. I had to petition the condo board to do that.

    I really have to get the windows covered first...
    Randy, I didn't mention in my blog that 3 sides of my darkroom are 13 foot tall windows. I think I went through 3 rolls of 6 mil black plastic from Home Depot! I used gaffers tape plus expandable curtain rods to solve that issue.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Designs

    I have all materials on hand. I either need to get a little stronger and have better balance or find some helpers. I wore my neighbors out bringing in some rather big sinks and enlargers. My usual helpers are busy with their upcoming movie and music fest. I will be their staff shooter.

    http://cimmfest.org/

    This will happen.


    Quote Originally Posted by RW Hawkins View Post
    Randy, I didn't mention in my blog that 3 sides of my darkroom are 13 foot tall windows. I think I went through 3 rolls of 6 mil black plastic from Home Depot! I used gaffers tape plus expandable curtain rods to solve that issue.
    2022

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