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Thread: My New Darkrrom

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    66

    My New Darkrrom

    I lost my darkroom when I moved three years ago and finally got around to building one at my new house. The house came with a 6.5 by 6.5 storage area in the corner of the garage. I have already turned a bedroom into a work room for cataloging, mounting and storing prints and equipment. So the darkroom is only for activities that require darkness and/or water.

    I shoot 35mm and 4x5 which I enlarge. I'm limited to 11x14 due to sink size and the print washer. I also shoot 5x7 and 8x10 which I contact print. So this small space should serve me well.

    These two pictures were taken while standing just outside the door looking in. To save sink space I built a small "sink" that is attached to the back wall to hold the print washer up and out of the way. Half of it is visible in the wet side picture. The little bullet safe light in the left of the same picture is for developing by inspection. In the other picture the reflector flood light I use to contact print on silver chloride paper is hanging on a hook by the wall but clips under the enlarger lens for printing. The piece of closet rod to the left of the flood light has clips for hanging roll film to dry.

    Wet Side:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dry Side:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    14,031

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Very efficient!
    sin eater

  3. #3
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    2,083

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    That’s very nice! Any more space than that and you’d just waste movement.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    -Chris

  4. #4
    Ironage's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Groton, CT
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    210

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Beautiful cabinets. Look custom made.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    66

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironage View Post
    Beautiful cabinets. Look custom made.
    Thanks!

    They are. I made the cabinets from plywood with pine facing boards and finished with a few of coats of polyurethane. The sink was leveled and flooded with West System 105 epoxy resin. I used polyester resin on a previous sink but it was very hard and brittle and was constantly developing cracks. This is supposed to remain flexible.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Middle Georgia
    Posts
    74

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Looks really nice. I think I may need to make a plywood sink because I haven't been able to locate anything near me. Any secrets that will keep me from making a mistake?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    66

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Quote Originally Posted by morecfm View Post
    Looks really nice. I think I may need to make a plywood sink because I haven't been able to locate anything near me. Any secrets that will keep me from making a mistake?
    The sink you see in the picture in the original post is the third plywood sink I have built over the years. I use exterior plywood, screws and wood glue to hold them together. I find a six inch front panel works well. The latest sink has a 12 inch rear panel. A previous sink in a darkroom that required the enlarger to be next to the sink had about an 18 inch panel at one end to protect the enlarger from any splashing.

    One problem I had on the last sink was caulk. I caulked the corners after the build. The problem was that the caulk was soft and even though it was a very thin layer it did not support the resin I used to seal the bottom so the resin cracked over the caulk if anything impacted it. I never got a leak but pieces of the resin would break away and I would see some water staining of the wood. I also used the more expensive epoxy resin on the current sink as it is supposed to remain flexible. Polyester resin is very brittle and cracks easily.

    The only other problem I had previously was when I painted the resin with white paint. I prepped the resin by sanding it and using a paint which was supposed to be compatible but after a few years it started peeling off. This latest sink is just coated with the epoxy resin. No paint.

    Good luck with your sink!

    At the very far end of this sink there is a white PVC "T" fitting about an inch below the rim. This is an overflow drain. This is important as my print washer drains into the sink and I often leave the darkroom with prints washing. Hopefully nothing ever clogs the bottom drain, but if it does the sink should not overflow.

  8. #8

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Very well done. I really like your layout.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Central TX
    Posts
    520

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    That's a nice looking set up. I'm currently "darkroomless" and miss it. 5x7 and 8x10 contact prints are hard to beat. but, I often feel like there's so much more information on the film than you can see on the contact prints that I wonder if I ought to continue down the path of trying to improvise a larger enlarger. I have a 4x5 enlarger that needs some help, and a 35mm one that worked when I put it away.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
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    1,544

    Re: My New Darkrrom

    Well done! A criticism which might be unavoidable is placing the enlarger next to a wall. Two problems: reflected light (fog) off the wall; and difficulty using dodging and burning tools on the left side of the print. I would paint that wall black and position the enlarger as far to the right as possible.

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