Buying a print washer

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by mrtoml, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    I am in the UK and have been monitoring used print washers on ebay. They seem to go for an awfully high amount (usually well over £100). I have therefore decided to buy a new one rather than pay almost new prices with no guarantees or warranty. I need a 12x16.

    I have narrowed it down to a few models:

    Nova eco 5 slot £249
    Nova academy £389 (probably too expensive)
    Nova washmaster (5 slots) £259
    Prowash £229
    Paterson major (12 slots) £149
    Silverprint £215

    My question is that I am tempted by the Paterson as it is not only the cheapest by a significant margin, but also holds 12 prints at a time which is a lot more than many of the others. Is it worth getting the Paterson at this price or would it be better and spend a bit more for a Nova or Silverprint model? What are you paying for with the more expensive models?

    Thanks in advance for any advice/comments.
     
  2. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Do you really need one? There's an interesting thread that isn't that old about making your own print washer. I'll see if I can find it...

    I myself use one of the RC print washers for a fraction of the price. I also soak the prints in a large dev tray and the prints are fine.
     
  3. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    The more expensive models usually have individual print slots so that prints already in the washer are not contaminated by those coming in from the fixing bath. I think the Paterson doesn't have this facility.
    Also some have a 'rapid dump' facility where by raising a gate empties the total wash water in a few seconds. This rids the washer of fixer laden water which occurs in the first few minutes of a wash when the print is heavily saturated with fixer.

    Don't forget a hypo clear bath as this greatly helps with fixer removal and shortens wash times.
     
  4. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I have a Nova Washmaster, which I think in very good, works well and is as good as the day I brought it about 10 years ago. I remember reading that the Paterson major would not always work properly with 16x12 FB paper as it was a fraction small for the swollen paper. May be someone else could confirm their experience with this unit.
     
  5. RobC

    RobC Member

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    If its any help,

    I have a silverprint 6 slot 20x16 washer. It was pricey but it is extremely well built, keeps each slot entirely separate so there is no chemical crossover and has a dump facility. In the past I've had some nova equipment and the build quality was not as good or solid but I have no experience of the particular models you have listed.
     
  6. haris

    haris Guest

    I use Paterson major in a way that I fill it with water, put each print in it after processing and when I finish printing session from that moment I start water to flow into washer and wash about 1 hour. So, last processed print is in washer and activly washed atleast for 1 hour and prints before last are already in washer soaked in water. So, even if last processed print do contaminate earlier processed prints I wash all prints atleast 1 hour, so all prints are properly washed at the end...

    About Dave's remark, I measured (still didn't wash 30x40cm paper in washer) inside dimensions of Paterson major washer (that is paper basket dimensions and inside wall dimensions) when I got it, and as I can remember there is about 1 or two centimeters more space than paper size (at both lenght and width/height). I remember after measuring I thought it will be OK for 30x40cm paper. But, as I didn't actually wash 30x40cm paper yet, take these words with reserve...

    I thought first to buy Nova, but Paterson was what I could afford, Nova was expencive for me...

    Oh, and I still can't belive how small water flow is needed when washer is in function :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2008
  7. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    FWIW I have the Silverprint 12x16 6 slot and it is certainly well built. Individual slots have dimpled sides so prevents prints sticking to the sides of the washer.

    My only regret.......I wish I had bought the 12 slot.
     
  8. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    The Versalab is a good value also.
     
  9. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    Thanks everyone. I thought of making my own washer, but it is not that easy to make a big one. And I haven't figured out a good way to keep the slots independent like many of the commercial washers. I have read good and bad things about the Paterson and I think it is probably better to get one that keeps the prints completely separate. So I think I will check out the Silverprint and Nova models. I haven't come across Versalab in the UK, but I will do a search for that.

    Cheers.
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Mark, give Bruce at NOVA a call - NOVA often have nearly new stuff for a good price.
    They are very freindly and of course just down the road from you in Warkwick (off the A46 at the IBM turn).
    I have had some good deals from them when I gave them a call.
    They may even have some secondhand stuff
    Or you could try secondhanddarkrooms - they too often have good used NOVA washers around - and they are only about 1hr away by car from Kenilworth so you can actualy see what you are buying
    Good Luck
    Martin