How small is too small?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sjixxxy, May 22, 2005.

  1. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    I'm moving into an old late 19th century tri-apartement type building. Just started moving stuff in, and am harboring the idea of actually packing a darkroom into this place. Only possible location is the small walk-in closest attached to my bedroom. I measured it out, and the useable dimensions would be 20inches by about 56 inches, with plenty of headroom. I measured out the baseboard on my Omega and it is 26 x 17, so it will fit in there, leaving me little standing room only (I'm small and can fit into the remaining 30 inches)

    Builing a stand for the enalrger with a slot processer could work, but do you think it could possibly not worth the effort to work in a suck a small space? I know I've seen some really compact darkroom setups here, and am wondering how they are working out for those people, and just how much smaller this would be in comparason.

    Or, maybe I'd be better off finding another photographer with a large room and doing a co-op.
     
  2. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Bah. just realized there is probably no way I'd get a papercutter in there as well. Humbug.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That would be astoundingly tight, and I work in a pretty tight space.

    I guess if you had the enlarger at one end and the slot processor at the other and you in the middle, and maybe a holding tray on a shelf under the slot processer, and someplace else to wash prints, it would be possible. Another alternative might be to stack trays on a tray ladder under the enlarger.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Do you really need a paper cutter in the dark? You can buy paper cut to size and cut down the finished prints. For test strips just use a scissors or a small office paper cutter.
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Expose the paper. Stick it in a drum and then go outside to process.
     
  6. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    You don't need a paper cutter. Used fixed sizes and tear off test strips on the sharp edge of the counter or door. Darken the whole apartment (maybe at night), screw in some red bulbs and develop your paper in the other room (bathroom).
     
  7. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    If you can make it work, then it's worth it :D

    Somehow there must be a way to keep the essentials inside and take the extras out...

    I have only ever tray processed, but don't those who do colour put everything into drums and then process in daylight? I know that in a book I bought, 'How to Build Your Own Home Darkroom', they show a colour setup which places the enlarger in a space of about 2ft x 3ft and the processing takes place outside of the closet in the kitchen/bathroom. I've seen colour processing drums go for a song on eBay, and even in local photo shops.

    Could that be an option?

    Kent
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    That's how I do colour. Stick paper in the drum. Then do all the chemical steps with the lights on. The processing really could be done anyplace. Even outdoors.
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    How small is too smalll...I found out on my honeymoon.
     
  10. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    Sorry to hear that.
     
  11. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    What about the bathroom? It has got to be larger and has running water. There are a lot of designs on the web of bathrooms setups.
     
  12. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The other option is too use a bedroom. Cover the windows and doors with blackout cloth, set up a bench with your enlarger and a motor base and use drums, wash in tray in the bath tub.

    Paul
     
  13. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    I'm ruling out the bathroom since there is only one, and I have roomates.

    I do have a unicolor drum, so I can process outside of the room in it. I figure I'll try building a stand in the closet to put the enlarger on, and process in a rubbermaid container or something similar in my bedroom. (I can deal with the scent) This way if it turns out to just be to darn cramped, I won't have laid out the money for a slot processor.

    I admit, I'm a slave to my computer, so having a printing station three feet from it will really help my productivity. :smile:
     
  14. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    As for paper cutter, I just tear the paper for test strips. A rotary paper cutter can be mounted vertically on the wall.

    Jon
     
  15. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    I use it mostly to chop down my fav fiber down to 5x7s since it isn't manufactured in that size. However, I realize I can just do chopping sessions where I work the cutter on the enlarger baseboard, and just pack them away into a different box until I need to use them.
     
  16. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Are you roomates all males?


    If so, this is the plan. Buy them a couple of real cheap Walmart point and shoot cameras. Hire a model to pose nude for an hour or two at your new apartment. After 3 or 4 rolls of B&W confiscate the camera and film and tell them your will contact print the rolls and print photos they select in your darkroom. Hopefully they will agree to an accomodation for use of bathroom/bedroom as a darkroom on a schedule.
     
  17. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Hmmm... Have a look at this (ignoring for a moment the rather large price tag!).

    Maybe it would be possible to extend the closet with a removeable homemade version of this, kind of like the fabric extensions you can get with some camper vans?

    What do you think?
     
  18. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    That's pretty cool Frank!

    Wonder how much shipping would be across the pond...? Lets see, convert pounds sterling to canuck dollars, add shipping, taxes, import duties... perhaps not.

    Then again, I still have that old canvas tent. I could use the tent as a template to cut and sew together blackout cloth. Hmm... could end up with a darkroom for up at the cottage after all! :cool:
     
  19. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    How about a camper? [Caravan in the UK?]
     
  20. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I thought about this one a little more (the problem is I'm useless at diagrams!). See how this sounds:

    Make a rectangular frame, as big as necessary, possibly cross-braced, possibly from lightish wood or tubular metal.
    Drape a length of blackout material over it, say about 14 foot-plus-the-width-of-the-frame by the length of the frame (use multiple pieces if you have to).
    Put four holes in the blackout over the corners of the frame.
    Run strong wires from the frame through the blackout and seal the holes with black gaffer tape. Attach rings to the end of the wires.
    Put four sturdy hooks in the ceiling to which the rings will attach.
    Next another rectangle of blackout, this time a groundsheet. Lay self-adhesive velcro strips in a pattern corresponding to the frame.
    Fix the other half of the velcro strips to the original length of blackout. This should anchor the sides of the tent.
    Use more velcro to anchor the walls of the tent to the door frame of the closet and yet more (no, I haven't got shares in the company) to rig a door panel.
    Lop a hole in one wall to run a wide hose with a fan and a lightproof baffle (see Tim Rudman's darkroom book) for a vent and also to allow in a power line.
    Wash your prints elsewhere!

    Yes, I do have too much time on my hands and I know it's far from ideal! Improvements anyone?
     
  21. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Depending on parking access to water and power, I knew someone who built a darkroom in a camping trailer. Used a 4X5 laid out vertical on one side, built a sink that took 3 16X20 trays on the other side and washed in small toilet area. Her only compliant is that even with the unit on jacks it rocked in the wind.
     
  22. mark

    mark Member

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    PVC is the way to go. Modular, Sturdy, and lite. No hammering, welding or bolting. If all you are doing is making an extension to the closet this would work great. All the rest of yur plan seems like it would work too, except for the velcro on the wall, maybe two strips down and over the door of the closet, would block the light entirly.
     
  23. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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