Blackout Blinds: Casstyle vs Shy Zipscreen vs Hunter Douglas

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ic-racer, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I'm finally getting serious about putting a roller-style blackout blind over a large window adjacent to my darkroom. I found three devices that look like they would work. The difficulty now will be trying to purchase it. Like many things on the internet, a pretty picture and or a PDF brochure can be a far cry from actually obtaining the product. Even with cash at hand. Does anyone have any experience with any of these products, or know of another product?

    Shy.co.uk
    Farnboorough Blinds UK
    Decora Blind Systems UK
    Hunter Douglas USA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2011
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Shy.co.uk
    This UK based company makes a nice roller blind with a 'zipper' on the edges of the blind. The zipper fits in a track that fits in a metal channel which slides up and down the sides. This looks like the best one out there. I'm waiting to hear from them to see if they ship to the USA.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Farnborough Blind Co. UK

    Again this looks like an excellent solution. They handle the Casstyle brand of shade. However, it is also UK based. I'm waiting to hear from them about USA shipping.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Last on the list is the USA based Hunter Douglas. Although USA based, they are the most difficult to obtain any information from.

    For example in the link above, the picture does not show a proper blackout blind. However, by scanning the link to their PDF file on the RB500 system, I located a mechanical drawing of a proper blind system, the RB500 5-51. However, there is no other mention of that product on the website, so it is a mystery if it is actually available.

    I have an e-mail out to them, not asking if they ship to the USA, but to see if the products are actually available for purchase. There is no ordering or purchase information on the site.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi ic-racer,

    In addition to my curtains, my windows are blocked out with removable plywood. I nailed up a furring strip above the wall window and set an aluminum channel below to hold a 1/4-in plywood panel. Thursday I "daylighted" my darkroom because the weather was nice and I needed the cheer. This morning I put the panels back and loaded some film.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Followup on this thread. I just ordered a total blackout blind system with side channels, bottom channel seal and light-tight upper cassette from www.seesawusa.com This is a USA company that was very easy to deal with and will be shipping all the components straight to me for only $40 postage.

    The other companies mentioned either were not interested in selling their product or did not respond to my inquiry. Shy UK did respond with a nice quote but wanted me to arrange shipping from the UK, which I thought was strange, but maybe that is the way they do things across the lake.
     
  8. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    Hello,

    Which product did you choose from SeeSawUSA? I am always on the look-out for black-out systems. I have bought some El-Cheapo ones from IKEA (made in Poland, but discontinued). The product seems fine, although I have not installed them yet. They don't have the fancy side tracks, etc.

    If the British supplier is not used to shipping overseas, they are probably rather reluctant to quote a shipping price, since the shipping to North America is often quite dear and wide ranging in price. I am located in Canada.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
     
  9. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  11. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    Actually, the blinds are just fine. I did a temporary fit and they work perfectly according to their design. (I heard of them here: http://www.apug.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-75880.html ). My use of the term El-Cheapo was perhaps inappropriate and ill-advised. What I meant was that I am trying to use a simple and inexpensive alternative in an application that probably requires a better thought-out solution. I have yet to decide exactly how I will do the permanent installation. Side channels, though perfect for windows, are not acceptable in my case, since the blinds are covering an open door-way.

    Cheers,
    Clarence
     
  12. neelin

    neelin Member

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    Better thought out? That's code for SU (spousal unit) approval :wink:

    I've added super magnets from Lee Valley to my bag of tricks since my cottage has had 2 overhead prop. fans hanging off 3 small magnets for years now.
    -mount several magnet buttons in jamb or casing, add ferrous (and light seal material for the crack) to side channels and snap in place before use.
    -saw kerf on outboard edge of casing would make a nice light trap groove to slide in continuous strip of broken metal attached to side channels to the casing face with magnets.
    -route back of casing thinner & slip ferrous into space. magnets to temp channel, etc.
    -find Schlegel pile http://www.schlegel.com/assets/files/pdfs/Building Products/Pile Seals Sliding and patio door.pdf from someone that repairs/mfgrs residential aluminum storm doors, the stuff for the removable screen/window would be great for the removable side channel light seal

    -I used to use Newco in Winnipeg a lot for all kinds of weather sealing, they've got a really wide range of products. some might work well for removable temp. installation with magnets.

    http://www.weatherstripping.ca

    Hope that sparks some ideas.

    Robert
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I also have this blind and fully endorse the poster's comment on them

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I believe they offer products from different manufactures. The salespeople seemed very knowledgable and helped select an appropriate top cassette, fascia, side panels, curtain material and lift mechanism the right caliber for the large double door I'm covering.

    The best thing about SeeSawUSA was that they treated me as the contractor.

    The other USA company that I contacted would NOT sell me anything. They directed me to some localyocal window shade store. It was called "Bob's Windows" or something like and had no website, just a phone number. They said the local contractor would have to come to my home and measure and special order it for me, then it would be shipped to the contractor, not to me. I wouldn't deal with any kind of scam like that.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    This is the door I'm covering. I'm making this part of the basement into a personal office, that is in continuity with the darkroom. Thus the need for a blackout shade for the door. My desk will be right by the door, so I want to still be able to look outside and use the door when I'm not printing or loading film-holders. I did not put drywall in the darkroom, because I didn't want to cover any of the wiring and plumbing, in case I need to modify or service anything.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. CRhymer

    CRhymer Subscriber

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    Hello Robert,

    Just so, SUA! :laugh: Thanks, I need my logic circuits reset from time to time. The doorway has drywalled jambs, corner-bead, etc, but a magnetic solution is quite feasible. There is a sign-making business here that has magnetic strip and (some) ferrous metal although they use mostly aluminium-type material. My son has some of those Lee Valley magnets - very strong. At any rate, I'm sure a good light seal and easy install/remove is possible. I'll give Newco a call, which brings back memories. I had a car stolen from a lot just down the street from them in 1991. It had just had major repair work done on it at Rudy's Auto. The car was left on the lot across the street overnight. The next morning, when I went to pick up my car it was gone. Rudy and I were staring across the street, wondering what had happened, when a tow truck went by with the remains of my car attached. The joy-riders had smashed the ignition lock, hot wired it, side-swiped a whole row of cars on another street, and left the wreck on the railway tracks. The driver of the switching engine radioed the police, because the car was blocking his way. Needless to say my Autopac settlement was less than satisfactory.

    p.s. Robert, I finally got around to trying the Scopix - very nice. I'll email or PM you tomorrow and fill you in on what I've been doing the last couple of years.

    Hello ice-racer,

    Please pardon my sort of hi-jacking your thread, but Robert is my first cousin once removed (I am not making this up).

    Thank you for posting your info and photos. I have a window that could use a black-out blind like the one you are installing on your patio door, so this is quite helpful, although more SU negotiation may be required.

    Hello cliveh,

    I had a look at the Richards of Hull site. They have some very interesting equipment. I fear the shipping would be a killer to North America, but I always like to see what is out there.

    Thanks and Cheers All,
    Clarence
     
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Thread update. I have received word the blackout blinds will arrive shortly.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Installed the blinds this last weekend.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Here is the PDF for the product I used: http://www.polarshade.com/images/pdfs/PT8-ManualRollerShadeSystemRDA.pdf

    It says "for room darkening applications" and that can mean many things. As it came, the top cassette was not light tight at all. It required extensive modifications to be light tight. In the end it worked out OK seeing as it was the only product that was available to me in the USA. After spending quite a few hours sealing all the little cracks (not much different from sealing up light leaks a monster enlarger head) it is now totally light tight.
     
  21. pentaxuser

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    I think Decora Blind is in fact the company that richards.uk use to make them. You supply the measurements to Richards according to diagrams on its website, pay Richards and the blinds arrive from N Ireland. Dealing with Richards was easy and problem free

    Mine were well packed, well made and relatively easy to fit but you might need a second pair of hands for the top channel.

    It was money well spent. Dealing direct with Decora might be cheaper but I wasn't aware that Decora is set up to deal with the general public.

    pentaxuser
     
  22. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    So it took them 7 or 8 months to manufacture the blinds for you, ic-racer? I'm counting from your December post to July.
     
  23. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I thought I might have been scammed but the seesaw people answered every e-mail and phone call. The original manufacturer they send the order to failed to deliver and I was told they went out of buisness. They re-sent my order to polarshade and I got the shade in less than 2 weeks.
     
  24. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    I'm glad that worked out for you. It's good that you were working with an honest middleman.
     
  25. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Installation pictures. [​IMG]
     
  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Test fit of the side and bottom channel:
    [​IMG]