Got a nice deal on SS reels

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Wade D, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I just received 5 35mm & 2 120 reels from an ebay seller. The name is small and hard to see but looks like Kinderman. Cost was $8.50 for all. I've always used Patterson plastic reels and tank but the tank broke. I have a Nikor SS tank that was thrown in with a previous purchase of a Yankee 4x5 Agitank. Now I need to practice loading the new reels so I don't mess it up in the dark. Any tips or tricks for doing this would be welcomed.
     
  2. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    I haven't used my new Hewes 35mm spirals yet, but I have used the new 120, and it was tricky at first. I took an old uncut 120 test roll, and practised feeding that into the centre clasp, then rolling it on. Tricky, as the end of the film strip has to mate pretty neatly and square on in order for the film to feed in to the spiral groove neatly at both sides. In the end, I hit on the idea of taking scissors and snipping the corners off to make a very blunt and shallow arrowhead, and this let me get the end of the film inside the spring catch without fouling at one spiral end or the other. I repeatedly practised with my eyes shut, then in the changing bag.

    Once I was confident, I did it with a roll to be processed. It was trickier still, because the curl was tighter than on the processed roll. I nicked the corners off the trailing end of the film while in the bag, and once it was inserted into the clip on the core, the rest followed easily, and it was easier than pushing into a plastic Paterson reel.
     
  3. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Alex,

    You may do this, but folding the tape over the end of the film gives it a little stiffness. I think this helps me load 120 reels.

    Mike
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Lining things up and making sure the film is centered is perhaps the trickiest part, but it's not hard to learn. As Mike says, starting with the taped end of 120 or 35 makes things easier, especially on 120.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    One word--- Practice. Then practice some more. Start with the lights on and watching, then closing your eyes and visualizing, then its lights out and the real deal. It really doesn't take long to get the feel for the process. I've found that the film makes a certain sound when loading properly, and I can hear when it isn't before I can feel it. BTW--wow what a great price on spirals.
     
  6. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    As above. For yours truly, though; I never got the hang of straight loading of a 120 reel. When I discovered the trick of not attaching the film under the clip, all loading problems were solved. I just hold the film end against the core and turn slightly until friction holds the film in place, then wind merrilly away.
     
  7. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    I've used Paterson tanks for years. A couple months ago, I had a problem roll -- wouldn't load no matter what I tried. (This was one of my first bulk loads, which was probably somehow the cause.) I remembered that a whole-darkroom load that I'd picked up had stainless tanks and reels. I grabbed those and found that things are easier than my ancient memories (stressed beginner with cramped fingers).

    But one heads-up. Last week was the first time I did two rolls. I found that one of the films would not fit. In the dark, I assumed that I'd bulk loaded too much, bit the bullet and cut it to length. But once I hung up the two films, I saw that they were not the same length anymore.

    It turns out that not all of the reels were the same length. I had 5 reels of two almost identical constructions -- one stamped Taiwan and one stamped Japan. They differed by 1/2 winding (10.5 vs. 11), which on the last pass turns out to be 5-6 frames.

    I was meaning to start rolling shorter rolls, since PrintFiles don't play well with over 36 frames, so this won't be a long term problem. It just caught me off guard.
     
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Kinderman are excellent. I like those plus Nikors, and Hewes. If they are not deformed, should load easily. Practice with with scrap or test rolls with eyes open first. Then with eyes closed. Then next in a changing bag/tent or the darkroom. Then go for it with a good roll.

    A good SS reel is the easiest way of loading film, once you get use to it.

    You got a great price, good luck.
     
  9. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I had always heard horror stories about SS reels when I started out 40 years ago. I used various plastic reels and tanks till the last one broke. Learning something new in the darkroom is always fun.:smile:
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    We are never too old to learn new things. I've been in and out of darkrooms for the better part of 45 years, and still find new things to try on a regular basis. I suppose that being retired gives me the time and desire to do new things. Good luck Wade and have fun. BTW-- if for some reason you dont like the SS tanks and reels, I'll swap you a Paterson Super System 4 set for them.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I do what that rascal AnscoJohn does, don' bother with the clips at all.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I used to agree with this, until I started using rotary agitation.

    For 120 film, the rotation tends to cause my film to work itself back out of the reel. So it turns out I do need the clips to work.
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've had that happen with 120 film because of the style of agitation I use. I invert and twist, and that causes the film to back out of the reel unless its clipped in. It only had to happen one time for me to make sure its fastened.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This works for me:

    1. The emulsion side goes inward, toward the center of the reel (unless you are loading two rolls back to back, in which case one roll goes emulson in and the other emulsion out).
    2. Keep the hand holding the film totally stationary, and simply rotate the reel in place with the other hand. This "sucks" the film onto the reel smoothly and quickly, as opposed to pressing it onto the reel with your hand, which is rough and prone to causing loading errors.
    3. Slightly bow the film away from the center of the reel.
    4. Let the film slide between your thumb on one side and however many fingers you like on the other side. (I usually use the index and middle.)
    5. Let all of your film-guiding digits ride on the outer rim of the reel as you turn it. (Once you get confident, you can slide them a little bit the opposite way that you are turning the reel, as you turn the reel, in order to make loading faster.)
    6. IMNSHO, if a reel does not load smooth as butter every time, there is something wrong with it, and you should forget it. It is trash. Smash it in so no one will ever try to use it again, and recycle it. Reels are cheap enough now that it is not worth it to take the chances you take when working with anything other than perfectly-smooth-loading reels.
    7. Try it all in the light first.

    Welcome to The Wonderful World of Stainless Steel Reels!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2010
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree about the clips. I use a combination of inversion and twisty agitation, and they make a difference. However, you don't need them, because you can wrap the end tape around one of the bars in the core and stick it onto the other side of the film. Also, when the film has slipped out on me, it has never caused development issues; just a minor annoyance when reinserting the film into the tank during the post-fixer part of the process.
     
  17. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The key is to pick reels that have good clips. Good clips, non-deformed spirals, easy to load.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Interesting thought about the tape, although I find that sometimes when I pull it off the backing paper, it loses its adhesion.

    Using the rotary agitation, I've had the film slip out so much that it has gotten scratched.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have trouble using the clips because only one of my two hands has enough strength and dexterity to activate them.
     
  20. fotch

    fotch Member

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    That would cause a problem. One of my reels, i think a Kinderman, has a spade or point in the middle and you start the film by pushing the middle of the film into the spade, thereby hooking it.

    I don't know if that would be easier for you but if it was easier to load, might be something to consider. If you interested, I will take a picture of the spade as used in loading and the name.

    On the other hand, if the self loading plastic work, no need for others. The only plastic that I found to always load OK is the Jobo. I have both size reels and don't remember if both were equal in regards to loading or if the larger one was the better of the two.

    Then there is the fool proof Kodak Apron. Freestyle has a knockoff of this that they sell.
     
  21. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Lots more good info! I am determined to make this work for me. The SS reels and tank are much more compact than plastic and use less chemistry. Easier to maintain temp in a bath as well. Thanks all!
     
  22. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Wade, there's always the other side of the coin. It's true that you can get a SS tank to the desired temperature quicker than a plastic one. It's also true that the temperature of/in a SS tank will drift quicker. A plastic tank, once at the desire temperature, will maintain it longer than the SS ones.
     
  23. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I have several 120 SS reels, unknown brand, that don't have any type of clip. Just hold the film over one of the bars and start loading.

    Mike
     
  24. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    This is one reason to get in to the habit of keeping the tank and bottles in a water bath at the right temperature. Far less time is required to equilibrate a steel tank in a water bath than a plastic one. That said, it's all down to how one is organised. I've used a plastic tank since the sixties without problem, simply by following the water bath scheme. I've now moved on to steel tanks and I prefer them now.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    For clarity, I would point out that for 35mm, I use SS reels without clips, and they work fine. The ones I use have a little "C" shaped wire frame - you push the film into the "C" and it crimps slightly, which is enough to hold it in the reel.

    I've seen the Kindermann reels with the spike. In fact, I remember selling them when they were new, current stock :smile:. I don't recall, however, whether they were available for 120, or just for 35mm.

    As for aprons, I have original Kodak aprons that work fine. The problem with the aprons is that they don't work well in inversion tanks. There is a problem with how the chemistry flows around and through the apron. If you use the Kodak tanks you are unable to use inversion agitation and you use a lot of chemistry.

    I can load 120 on to SS reels without using the clips, but if I use rotation agitation, about half the time the film starts walking itself out of the reel.

    In a perfect world, the SS 120 reels would have a latchable clip that one could latch open, insert the film, and then release the latch so it would hold.

    Alternatively, the SS 120 reels could have a gate at the outside end that one could close, preventing the film from working it's way out.

    In the meantime, I use the plastic AP clone reels in Patterson tanks for 120, and SS reels in SS tanks for 35mm. The plastic reels cause problems sometimes, and require too much chemistry, but I can make do :smile:.
     
  26. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I like reading your post and your wealth of experience. I never tried the Kodak aprons and didn't know you couldn't invert or the problems you would have if you did.

    I have a reel that has a clip that you snap open, stick the film into it, then snap it shut. I don't remember if its on a 120 or 35.

    Other than a JOBO, how do you rotate a SS in a SS tank? I know you can twist and invert and such, and I never had any film walk out. When i think of twist or twirling, I think of the plastic tank with a stick or rod coming up the middle of the tanks, like the old Ansco or Yankee tanks.

    I wonder what happens with the JOBO SS reels in use on one of their processors?