16 X 20 Tray Ladder

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Bob Marvin, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've been making 16 X 20 prints for about a year in my very small darkroom, with the trays on three shelves of a rolling cart. That arrangement works, but is very awkward, since the bottom shelf is almost on the floor. Among other things, I had to shorten my darkroom apron, because it kept getting into the bottom (fixer) tray and emptying trays without spilling them was really hard. I've been using an 11 X 14 Leedal tray ladder for years and it certainly makes printing that size easier, but a Google search for the larger store led to only one US result, at Calumet, which lists a 16 X 20 Leedal tray ladder as "Out of Stock–Taking Orders" Since no other stores, including B&H and Adorama listed these, I assumed that the listing was some artifact of their computer system. Leedal couldn't really still be in business, could it. Anyway, Calumet had a "free shipping" sale in December and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try placing an order. I got back an automated response that the item was on back order and that back-ordered items usually ship in three to four weeks. I didn't have very high expectations, but the thing has just been shipped and should arrive next week. I wonder if I'm getting the very last one manufactured–I hope not. I anticipate that this piece of equipment will make 16 X 20s almost as easy as smaller sizes.

    Now, if only my archival print washer took 16 X 20s. I've been washing them in a large tray, with a tray syphon and that seems like a step backward, but it works.
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,131
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Live Free or
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Leedal is still in business http://www.leedal.com. A 16x20 tray ladder probably isn't a high-demand item, it might be something that's actually build to order, sort of like Print On demand.
     
  3. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Good to know. I actually posted this to let anyone interested know that these tray ladders are still available. Maybe a few more orders will keep them in production. It's odd that other large US stores don't list them' I ten to think thatg ifB& H doesn't list something it's not available, but that obviously isn't true.
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

    Messages:
    2,058
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    According to a comparison of print washers in one of the magazines 20 or so years ago, the tray syphon is as efficient as any other washer if used correctly. It does consume more water. an alternative is a series of five rinses in trays for one minute each as described by Ilford in their article on archival processing.
     
  5. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Messages:
    1,169
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Downers Grov
    Not difficult to build and more stable. Build a two step ladder with the steps around 5" high each. Seal the plywood well, marine varnish. Had mine for decades.
     
  6. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I thought of making something, and would have tried that if the commercial tray ladder wasn't available, but I'm not a great carpenter.
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,310
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A couple of years ago I replaced the ones I had with new ones from either Calumet or B&H -- I forget which one. Anyone interested might search for "photographic tray stackers" if "tray ladders" doesn't give a result. My suggestion is to have two. That way you can stack up to six trays in the space of two. If you happen to get the same ones I have the shelves attach with bolts and wing nuts. The wing nuts like to loosen so I suggest a trip to a hardware store and buy some lock washers to prevent that.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,820
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't need one but wanted to see what they looked like. Searching for "stackers" did not bring up any photo products, rather, it returned items for a regular office type envioroment. Searching for "photographic tray ladders" returned the photo items including the Leedal.
     
  9. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The parts of the 11 X 14 tray ladder, which I bought from Porters several years ago, just slip together; I don't think there's a way to attach a second one. My new 16 X 20 tray ladder is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, so I'm not sure about that. Since I'll use it on top of a three shelf cart, I don't think I'd need any more tray space.

    Here's a link to the 16 X 20 model on the Calumet website, the 11 X 14 model is also shown:

    http://www.calumetphoto.com/product/leedal-tray-ladder-for-16x20-trays/AY0456/

    I don't really mean to advertise Calumet, but no place else seems to show these; not even the Leedal website.
     
  10. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

    Messages:
    519
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Newnan, GA,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IIRC Spiratone made on way back in the 70's for 11x14 trays. Not sure if they ever did a 16x20. I'd have a welding shop cobble one to get her.
     
  11. Bob Marvin

    Bob Marvin Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Spiratone seemed to have EVERYTHING; I really miss them. The closest I could find in recent years (for darkroom gadgets) was Porters, but alas, they've been gone for almost a year.

    FWIW the Leedal tray ladder arrived as scheduled about a half hour ago. I put it together and it does indeed hod 16 X 20 trays. My darkroom apron will no longer drape into trays near the floor :smile:. The thing was a little bit expensive, for what it is, but I don't think having a welding shop make one up would be any cheaper, at least in New York City.