Home made sink

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Síle, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Síle

    Síle Member

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    I've seen similar questions in this thread, but none that specifically deals with what I need to ask. so please forgive me if I'm being repetitive..

    My darkroom/shed is coming along nicely and I've finally got a nice sink built from MDF. At the moment it's in it's raw state but I want to protect it so that it will last a few years. I have Yacht varnish for a protective coating, and am wondering if Blackboard paint be suitable to paint it with first or is there a specific paint finish that anyone would recommend?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

    Many thanks,

    Síle
     
  2. CBG

    CBG Member

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    If I recall correctly, MDF can be prone to signifigant swelling when it gets soaked, and swelling can force the rupture of thin brittle paint films, so I think you will want a very good water barrier. I'm not an expert, but I suspect you may find an unadorned paint film fails soon, and that you will be rebuilding before you want.

    A lot of people will put a layer of epoxy or of polyester resin on a sink. Either usually reinforced by a layer of fiberglass. Epoxy or polyester resin will saturate the fiberglass and bond to your substrate, MDF.

    If epoxy or polyester resin are beyond the scope you wish to undertake, then beefing up the paint film, and reinforcing especially in corners would seem a fair second best. I would stay away from brittle finishes. Flexibility would allow the finish to take impact without failure.

    A high grade flexible caulking in all corners would be part of my suggestion.

    I just looked at your reference to MDF and it says:

    "Drawbacks of MDF: .... Swells and breaks when waterlogged"

    That reinforces my inclination to urge you to apply a resilient surface to your sink.

    Best,

    C
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2008
  3. DODDATO

    DODDATO Member

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    I have used just the two part epoxy resin brushed over plywood. I never needed to use the fiberglass on any of my sinks. The epoxy resin will do the best job for you. I cut in my drain strainer and epoxy right over it to seal it right to the sink. Good luck
     
  4. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    I have an older book here on darkroom/film developing. Can't remember the name right now sorry. The first chapter deals with building a sink. Basicly you make the sink out of wood, lay in a coat of fiberglass resin, QUICKLY lay in fiber matting, another layer of resin, let dry. Drill hole for drain andn install proper hardware. Looks pretty simple and fiberglass is much easier to work with than many people think. Like high tech and stinky paper mache. You just have to work FAST as the resin sets in about 15 minutes.
     
  5. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Síle, I myself am looking into building a new sink for my darkroom. I have thought long and hard and have come up with two solutions, one of which is MDF.

    I have MDF bench tops in my factory, we sealed them with a yacht lacquer as you are contemplating, they have been there for 15 years now and apart from wear in some places requiring a re-application of the lacquer, they have been brilliant.

    As to painting I have looked into the colour and rejected black as it means you cannot see a dark stain appearing if there is a leak in the lacquer.

    I finally found a mid grey coloured waterproof paint which is used on ships, think Navy ships. This appears to be the best product for my new sink.

    I also looked at concrete paints but the Naval paint appeared to be the best, although I'm a novice when it comes to actual paint properties.

    If some people are thinking that yacht lacquer isn't waterproof then they should look at my motorcycle rack. I'ts made out of normal 3 ply and has been sealed with yacht lacquer. It has been on my motorcycle for the last 7 years and hasn't required any re-sealing, even though it has incurred heavy use with all sorts of luggage being strapped to it and obviously rubbing as it is jolted due to the undulations of the roads and tracks it has traversed.

    Síle, I would suggest you seal the MDF on all sides, we had one bench which absorbed moisture from condensate on a wall.

    Mick.
     
  6. KenM

    KenM Member

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    A more expensive solution, but perhaps a life-long one is to line the sinks with PVC sheeting. I've done it on my two sinks, and I fully expect these sinks to last a very, very long time. The glues used for PVC are quite harsh, so you want to do it outside, if you can. It helps to have two people, since the glue also sets up fast. It cost about $300 Cdn (back when the Cdn/US exchange rate was $1.35) to line two sinks, one 12', the other 8'. Glue was another $50. But, considering that I'll never have to touch these things again, it was worth the expense.
     
  7. JRJacobs

    JRJacobs Member

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    I just finished my sink last week, and used heavy plywood. I used the tried and true polyester resin (the type used for fiberglass) directly onto the sink in 3 seperate coats - wasn't very difficult and makes a very durable and waterproof finish (the sinks at our school darkroom are built this way in the 1970's and see heavy use, and are still perfect). It really wasn't any harder than painting a sink would be - but I did do it outside on a sunny day - it stinks to high heaven and I wouldn't do it inside. Also, use the cheap "chip brushes" for each coat, and throw the brush away when done with that coat - if you use a good paintbrush you will ruin it. If it is good enough for canoes and surfboards, it certainly would waterproof your MDF. I would think the PVC sheeting idea would work well also - I personally wouldn't take chances with varnish or paint, since your substrate is MDF, which falls apart when wet.
     
  8. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Though it is going to be more expensive than MDF, if I were to build my own sink, I would use pressure treated or marine-grade plywood, and then seal it with the resin/fiberglass treatment. Even if you seal top and bottom surfaces of the MDF, I would be afraid that the moisture that is typical in most darkrooms would find its way in through small cracks or joints in the bottom surfaces and eventually ruin the sink. Although it may cost more initially, I would bet that in the long term the treated plywood will be serviceable for much longer and therefore more cost effective.
     
  9. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    I have a friend who built a sink for a college darkroom. It has been getting daily heavy use for over 20 years now and is still going strong. He used plywood - which I would prefer over MDF, but that sounds like it is done, and his coating was a spray on pickup truck bed liner - I don't know what you would call that in Ireland, pickup trucks are far less common there, and I don't know about bed liners - but here is a link for a US chain that does this sort of work:
    http://www.speedliner.com/
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I would go one step further than using polyester resin. I would put in a few layers of glass fibre matt too so if (when?) the wood finally rots away, you still have a sturdy and useable sink.


    Steve.
     
  11. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    What is a good sink width? Going to build a 7 1/2 footer but not sure what a good width would be.
     
  12. Síle

    Síle Member

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    CBG, Doddato, Pete, Mick, Ken, JrJacobs, Firephoto, MarkS and Steve thank you all for taking the time to reply and for the excellent and informed advice.
    As for the sink.. yes it's already made, so too late for Marine Ply (as it's called here) unfortunately.

    I will look into the fibreglass coating, but from what I can tell it's very expensive here..

    Mick the Grey Navy paint idea is a great one, I'm off to google it now, and also for coating underneath too.. I never thought about that! :surprised:

    Thanks again everyone,

    Síle
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi sile

    get fiberglass epoxy resin and put a few thick coats on it.
    the resin is mixed 1:1 with a harderner ( comes with ) and
    you can use fibreglass cloth for the corners and edges where the walls and
    sink meet.

    i had a 20+ year old sink made just like that
    ( except with cheep plywood ) your sink will last for a very long time.

    good luck!

    john
     
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  15. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I read somewhere recently that a guy used plywood and had it sprayed at a truck bed liner shop...worked perfectly and is a great solution! I think every town has one of these places...
     
  16. Síle

    Síle Member

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    John, thank you.. I'm going to have a look at a local motor repair shop to see if they stock and how much the resin is, it does seem to be the best option for durability according to everyone here. Also thanks for the luck.. I think I'm going to need it!

    PVia.. thanks, but unfortunately every town in Ireland doesn't have a place to spray truck bed liners.. so it's a case of working with what's accessible for now..

    Síle
     
  17. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    West Systems Eppoxy is available from yacht suppliers. When mixed, it is easily flowed on. They also make a filet material which makes beautiful rounded corners.
    I built a plywood sink using this product 19 years ago, and it is still going strong.
     
  18. Síle

    Síle Member

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    Thanks Jim, I managed to find a supplier of West Systems Eppoxy resin in Dublin so I'll give them a call.

    Síle
     
  19. CBG

    CBG Member

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    West Systems seems to have a lot of happy users who recommend them. I see their name come up a lot. Epoxy will be a very fine finish and should keep the sink in tip top shape for decades.

    C
     
  20. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Depends upon what you are going to do with it. If you are doing small prints and just three trays and wash, you might go with a 24" width or so. If larger trays and more going on, think about a wider sink. Absolute minimum is width of trays plus a little. Widest would probably be how long your arms can reach.

    I like an expansive sink. So for me, a 30 width is minimum. You might want something quite different.

    C
     
  21. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I just finished our 40ft sink with West Systems,, great stuff goes down really well no stink , three coats and your printing.

     
  22. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I'm following this thread with interest Sile, I only have a small sink but its at the end of a long formica counter top and maybe I might make this into a sink if your plan works well. Please let me know.
     
  23. matti

    matti Member

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    MDF is not ideal. But it should work with two coats of West system epoxy. Before you coat it, mix some epoxy with fine saw dust, or even better, with silica (available from west system). Make it thick like mayonnaise. Then use it to make a filet in all places where two MDF-sheets meet. Within 24 hours coat everything with clear epoxy. Then coat everything again within 24 hours. If you wait more than that, you will need to wash everything down with water and then sand it before applying another coat. Be sure to coat the inside of holes for drains etc at least two times as well. Also, coat the outside at least once. Round all edges a bit too, since epoxy won't coat sharp edges.

    /matti
     
  24. Don Dudenbostel

    Don Dudenbostel Member

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    I've built a couple of large sinks from plywood and used marine varnish but lately seen a couple of the spray on liner sinks and by far this is the best solution. If I were building another sink there's no question I would do it this way.

    My sink was from a mold made by a friend. he built a negative plywood mold and we took it to a boat company and had gellcoat release coating sprayed on it and then the fiberglass. It's basically a boat hull in the shape of a sink. Works great! I guess I've had it for thirty years.
     
  25. Síle

    Síle Member

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    Great advice Matti thank you, I've seen sports hall flooring manufactured out of MDF dust mixed with glue and the finish is hard as a rock, so it's an excellent idea to use the epoxy mixed with sawdust for the filler.


    I'll let you know how it goes Fintan, I found a place in Dublin http://www.wallerwickham.ie that does West System Epoxy but unfortunately as most businesses are closed for the Bank Holiday weekend, I haven't been able to get an answer.. I'll try again Tuesday.

    Thanks again for the advice everyone.

    Síle
     
  26. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Just how large do you print?????

    C