darkroom chemical question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by cyberspider, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. cyberspider

    cyberspider Member

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    hi all i have a question i was looking through the darkroom pic topic of all your rooms and noted some of you had this in your bedrooms and bath rooms

    are the chemicals not to smelly for that or even dangerous to your health

    sorry if this is a dumb question but i have to ask as its one of the things thats putting me off i have no where to put the enlarger or stuff
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Depends what chemistry/chemicals you are using. I wouldn't have a darkroom in a bedroom I was sleeping in but a spare bedroom is different matter. A bathroom no problem.

    Ian
     
  3. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Common darkroom chemistry is pretty inocuous. I have a vent fan, but I only run it with the door open between prints.

    There are some things to avoid. Lith chemistry has formaldehyde, so that should be vented. I avoid skin contact with film developers by using nitrile gloves (if you get them a size big, they can be used several times.) I avoid contact with pyro developers, and if I mix Amidol I will put a mask on. I also wear a mask if mixing hydroquinone or metol.

    Basically, if you are thinking about liquid concentrate developers, regular stop bath and fixer, as long as you don't put the stuff on your cheerios, you will be alright. (I actually like the smell of fixer!)
     
  4. Hikingman

    Hikingman Member

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    Bathroom is no problem, and these help...
     
  5. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Two most important things to have in a darkroom is ventilation and a drain. Water comes in a close third. :smile:
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    If there's no running water there's no need for a drain :D

    Ian
     
  7. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Years ago my darkroom was my bedroom at my parent's house. I once did a really long session lasting well into the small hours and I then continued the next day. In between, while I slept, I didn't bother taking down any of my blackout blinds or water baths (chemicals were in a Nova processor). When I woke up I had the worst headache ever. Felt really sick and horrible. Grim. But being young, I went back to printing and just worked through the pain! Clearly a ventilation issue.

    My darkroom is now the cupboard under the stairs next to our sitting room and my wife will not tolerate exotic aromas drifting out of the cupboard. I have to keep everything spotless. All splashes must be wiped up straight away. But it works, no smells emerge, and I'm able to keep a darkroom running so close to the rest of the house.
     
  8. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Isn't that the way a darkroom should be, clean all the time, no matter what, wife or not? Most chemical items in a darkroom are harmful to finished film and to completed prints, if allowed to accumulate in dried up spills, poorly rinsed hands, encrusted tools ... Once they become dry, and become dusts, they are set free to attack your film and paper, and also your lungs and body. Clean up as soon as you find or even suspect a spill. Preferably when nothing has had time to dry.

    The smelliness question is individual. I don't mind the odor of an acid fix bath, but some find it intolerable. I do not work in a tiny space though. My darkroom is in a basement, and I turn off cellar lights and leave the darkroom door open, so my darkroom is effectively quite big.
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sprint photo chemicals have very little smell
    and the stop bath is vanilla scented :smile:
    you can get their chemicals off their website
    (they are a site sponsor! )

    - john
     
  10. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    A drain is good if you have to pee:D
     
  11. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear cyberspider,

    In addition to the above, avoid toning in living spaces.

    Neal Wydra
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Taking the original question in a context I think it was meant to be taken (which I am assuming basic B&W work without exotic processing or toning)....

    There is nothing in basic BW chemicals that are dangerous or risky in a sense that touch or smell in duration that will take to complete the process will cause explosions, illness, or death. If you consume large amount such as eating or drinking them, or, if you are somehow sensitive to the particular chemical component, you may have problems but that is true to just about anything. Typical household chemicals such as toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, hair sprays, nail removers, paint thinners, and rubbing alcohols are far more risky.

    Is it smelly? Not really. Developers I use are almost scent-less. Stop bath smells like vinegar. Fixer smells like very light acid. I also do some processing in a bathroom. A quick wipe will eliminate all traces of chemicals for me.

    However, basic precaution is warranted. For example.... I never bring any food or drink into darkroom for I may mistaken chemical bottles in careless and mindless moment. I always clean up after working. I never use containers that could be mistaken for anything else for storage. While there is no children in a house, there is one dummy I cannot eliminate. ME!

    Even now, area high schools and middle school actually teach and let students process films and prints.
     
  13. cyberspider

    cyberspider Member

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    i thought it was a bit odd well i have been looking into darkroom tents
    i have looked at photos i think it would be easy to make
     
  14. unclemack

    unclemack Member

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    Years ago I made a few prints in fresh chem one night, thought it would be OK to leave chem in trays for next day.
    Next day I was offered the opportunity of an extended trip on short notice and left right away.
    When I got back the white walls of my bathroom/darkroom were covered in brown stain - had to clean it all off & redecorate.
    Another lesson learned the hard way.
     
  15. CBG

    CBG Member

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    A wise man...
     
  16. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    The past year and a half I split my darkroom up -- enlarger in the bedroom, processing in the bathroom next door. Just use a light-tight bag or box to transfer prints over. It worked really well and not really a hassle (of course, I lived alone so didn't need to worry if someone needed to use the bathroom). This was a standard practice in the university darkroom that I first started in, where we all had our own little darkrooms for printing, but most of us walked down the hallway to put our prints in the processor for RC prints.
     
  17. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Ian, I know of some die hards (good for them) who carry the water into the DR for processing. :smile: