Darkroom & running water?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stephen Prunier, May 29, 2010.

  1. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I'm in the design stage for building a darkroom. Other than the final wash of the print do you need to have running water? If there will be a bathroom across the hall would that be OK? I could mix up the chemicals needed before hand so they could be in the trays. I already do my B&W/E-6 in the bathroom. I'm just looking to make prints in the darkroom.

    Thanks
     
  2. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I do not have running water in my darkroom and I can work just fine. My darkroom is in the basement, right across the way from the laundry room where there is a large slop sink. I do all my print washing and film developing in the laundry sink.

    For INSIDE the darkroom, I have two five gallon plastic buckets.
    The first bucket contains clean water. I fill it up about 2/3 with water from the laundry sink. The second bucket is for slop.
    When the clean bucket gets empty or when the slop bucket gets too full (usually pretty close to the same time) I take them out dump them down the drain, rinse them and fill up the clean bucket again.
    I bought them at Home Depot just for the darkroom. I use them for nothing else.

    It is, however, a big PITA to have to lug those dumb buckets back and forth all the time!
     
  3. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I used to have my darkroom in the laundry room but later moved it to a spare bedroom that does not have running water.
    I just placed the processed prints in a kitty litter tray with a few inches of water in it then transfer them to the wash sink in the laundry room after I have a few to wash.

    This works well for me.
     
  4. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    For about ten years I had a darkroom without running water. I worked like Randy S. I had trays of developer, stop and fix, and a tub of water with hypo eliminator. When the tub got full of prints I took them to the print washer in the laundry room. Maybe not the most efficient, but it works well.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Running water in the darkroom is a luxury, not a necessity. I dont use a slop bucket in my DR, no need, I dont waste that much chemy to warrant one. Keeping clear water on hand is easily handled with a couple of jugs of deionised, and some distilled, for mixing chems. My discards mostly pour down the toilet, those that cant, stored in a marked jug for later proper disposal. I develope film at the kitchen sink, and use the DR for printing and loading film into the can (or LF holders). My fresh prints go in a holding tray until ready to wash, then to the kitchen for that.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I do not have running water either. I do all of my film chemical work in bathroom once a film is in a tank. For printing, I have a deep tray with water for temporary pooling place after fixing. I put my paper there and usually take it to my bathroom to do the final wash. My latest procedure works out that the paper never stays in this tray for no longer than 5 minutes.

    What it did was to slow down the pace of my work - which actually was a good thing. I take the paper out to bathroom, wash, then to living room to squeezie and lay it on bath towel. Then I can view the result in more light. I actually reduced the wasted print paper by factor of two....

    It'd be nice to have water but it isn't an absolute necessity.

    I wish I had running water when it comes to cleaning though. I have to move all the dirty trays, tongs, etc to bathroom - wash - dry - and carry them all back in.
     
  7. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Me either - although it would be nice to have.
    Instead I fill a 9L bucket and use that to fill my sink that I wash my RC prints in.

    When I process film, I just take the developed film to my laundry sink indoors to rinse - easy as long as I'm not trying to do the laundry right at the same time! :D

    As others have said - running water is nice, but not necessary - you can always work around it. . . . . . .
     
  8. clayne

    clayne Member

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    If there is a bathroom across the hall, you can use this. I've used a darkroom without running water for a while - but I won't lie to you - running water is MUCH more convenient and most of all: saves time. It also becomes more important once you start focusing on local bleaching (although you could still do this elsewhere) and really helps when it comes to cleaning trays and the like after a session. The drudgery of carrying water and trays back and forth tends to get to people after a while.

    What are your adjacent rooms? If the bathroom is adjacent or sharing a wall - you can gain access to the hot/cold water supply and tee from there. Most hot/cold supplies are 1/2" or 3/4" copper routed through walls or routed under a crawl space and then vertically run to a fixture. The point being that if you can find them, you can use them.
     
  9. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I don't have running water in my darkroom, you can use a holding tank for prints and take them to another room for the final wash, as for film, use the ilford method Richard
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Yes, it can be done. I have used a laundry separated from the kitchen by a door. Hardly inconvenient, but not ideal. Also, I am not one that prefers to be using darkroom chemistry in a food prep area.

    Running water and a drain are not necessary, but don't reach the level of luxury IMHO. In my experience, it's the same as the difference between an outdoor well and an outhouse, and proper indoor plumbing. You can get the, ahem, job done either way, but come on ... :wink:
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

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    A darkroom without running water works, but it's a compromise. If you have running water across the hall, I'd find a way to get warm and cold water, including drainage, into the darkroom. Maybe, it's not the highest priority, but I wouldn't want to be without it for long.
     
  12. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I just want to say THANKS to everyone for your input. If I was to put it in my basement I would only have 6' of headroom with exposed pipes and I'm 6'3" so ouch!!!! LOL

    I don't mind using the other method for my E-6 work because if I do my job correctly at the camera I don't need to do much to it before printing. For B&W it just feels wrong. I have gotten nice results BUT it takes way to much of my time and I'm not really into PS even though I own it.
     
  13. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I'm a licensed Carpenter in MA so I was already thinking of running pipes through my attic and use a reverse type flush system! LOL Don't get me started because in my line of work we like to say "sure you can have it, it's only $$$$" LOL
     
  14. grahamp

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    I have had temporary darkrooms (bathrooms) with running water, and now I have a permanent room without. While fully plumbed hot and cold with drainage would be nice, the permanent space is more valuable. My sink drain drops into a large bucket. For water I bring in a large container with a tap. As long as the volume I bring in does not exceed the capacity of the sump bucket, I'll have dry feet :cool: I do major washing of film and prints in the laundry area of the house where there is a sink and print washer. The print drying racks are in the darkroom.

    Putting in water and a drain would be difficult for my setup. If I did a lot of work the need would offset the issues. It is a balance that will be different for everyone.
     
  15. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Water doesn't run, it trickles.:D Seriously though I have had no running water in my darkroom for ages and it doesn't bother me. A few buckets and a little lifting is all it takes. Film/prints are washed in the kitchen.
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I don't know how much you know copper, or if you use it, but I didn't know how to work with copper before and took it upon myself to learn it in order to setup a sink. I'm glad I learned. It's not that difficult and if access isn't a hassle it's usually only moderately difficult to run another supply leg somewhere else. Drain is another thing to worry about, but as long as you don't mind holesawing around through the walls you'll probably be fine. ;-)
     
  17. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    I was just kind of joking about running pipes through the attic. I could do it for reasonable $$ but it would be more than necessary. Plus I already have a long list of more important things that need to get done to the house first :rolleyes:
     
  18. tropicpine

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    Having had dark rooms with and without running water I will agree that running water is a convience. The biggest difference I found is that setup & cleanup is much much easier with running water.
     
  19. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I will say that not having the convenience of running water teaches you to be "lean and mean" with your workflow.

    I have to remember to bring in water before I need it. I have to remember to empty my slop bucket before it gets full. If I don't I'll have to stop everything and go do it, wasting time in the process.

    When I develop film in the laundry room, I get all my stuff ready and measure out all my chems into plastic containers and carry it all to the sink in a plastic tray. I get my water up to temperature and temper my developer. I set my timer, I do my thing and it all works out great unless I forget something and I have to run back to the darkroom to get it. Then I have to hurry because, I might miss my next agitation time.

    On the other hand, when I'm on my game, I can have EVERYTHING cleaned up and put away before I am ready to hang the film up to dry. While the film is in the fixer, I can rinse out my plastic containers and put them in the drying rack. When the film is in the final rinse cycle, I can put away all my thermometers and utensils. By the time the film is hung up, all I have to do is rinse the Photo-Flo out of my reels and I'm finished. I can literally be turning off the lights and shutting the door 5 minutes after my film comes out of the rinse.

    If I ever do get water inside the darkroom I will be a lean, mean film-developing machine! :wink:
     
  20. clayne

    clayne Member

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    That's the biggest issue in my eyes - the time lost to setup and teardown and just getting nickled and dimed by things requiring easily accessible water. The time wasting starts to add up.
     
  21. Andrew O'Neill

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    Yes. I survived for 12 years in Japan with a bathroom across the hall from my "closet" darkroom. You do not need running water.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I will add that while doing 8 rolls of c-41 tonight it made me greatly appreciate having a sink right there. A large sink is great to contain the constant flow and splashing of a water bath. One could foreseeably do this in the kitchen however. It's just easier and more convenient in the darkroom. If you're like me and do a lot of printing it's damn useful having the sink right there. Also being able to contain the print washer rather than breaking it out on the kithen counter everytime is a big plus.

    If one can wing it they should figure out a way to get water in the DR. As someone who has done it without water for a while I wouldn't go back.
     
  23. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    I built my darkroom without running water, but a zink and running water just outside the door to the darkroom – call it the lightroom!
    I could easily have installed running water into the darkroom, but decided not because of the following experience:

    A long time ago I had together with some friends a marvellous huge darkroom including “everything”. But those of us who weren’t into mass printing “cards”, but rather making a few prints with some ambition towards the “perfect print”, were all the time running in and out of the darkroom in order to view the print in full light, and do some thinking how to proceed.

    In view of this I realized that the important thing with a darkroom wasn’t a wet darkroom but just a DARK room ☺. Nothing wrong with water in the darkroom, but if you want to view your prints in full light you could as well have water and washing trays in “the lightroom” – of course nice to have it very close to the darkroom. Your eyes adjustment to the darkroom light will not disappear that easy, unless you don’t do tooo much thinking how to proceed next!
    I always keep clean water in a 20 liter plastic container (with a tap) in the darkroom, just to have water at darkroom temperature easily available.
    /Bertil
     
  24. Adrian Twiss

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    My first home darkroom did not have running water and to be frank it was not a big deal because my bathroom was right next door. I used to set up my print washer in the bath and quite happily produced 12x16in prints this way. The only down side was I stripped the chrome off the plug hole. I have a purpose built darkroom now and running water is a boon. It makes cleaning up afterwards that much easier.
     
  25. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Although I said earlier, you can do (and I DO) without water in the darkroom, if you are actually designing and building a darkroom, you might consider getting plumbing done at the same time. It's convenient and it'll make your life easier.