Need to make door lighttight

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by kjsphoto, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Ok,

    What do I do? I installed the door and tried weather stripping but it doesnt work at all. What can I do to make the door light tight?

    Thanks,

    Kev
     
  2. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Maybe you just need a thicker weather stripping? How about a dark curtain to just hang over it and stuff underneath the jamb?
     
  3. galyons

    galyons Member

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    Hi Ken,
    Need to understand where you are having light leaks. Corners? All four, just 2 on a side, the diagonals? Sides, one or both?

    Some basics. Did make sure the door is installed square and plumb? Out of square and/or out of plumb will make it difficult for the door to close flush to the jamb stops and weather stripping. Does the door appear to be mating evenly around the jamb stops. Gaps same above and below door bolt?

    It is really tough to get a total block on light without additional weather stripping.

    Cheers,
    Geary
     
  4. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    It is pretty much in the corners and a bit around the sides. I have this cheap indoor white stripping and I think it is just too transparent...

    What kind of weather stripping to you use?
     
  5. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I'm pretty satisfied with what I ended up doing. I got strips of wood (sorry... been printing for 13 hours... vocab is failing me right now) and built up a frame within the door frame on the doorknob and top sides. On the edge of the strips (they're about a half inch thick and about an inch or so wide) facing the door, I put a layer of stick-on weather stripping (the kind that looks like a "D" if you cut a cross-section) and hot-glued black felt around that. Each of these light-trap strips extends the full dimension of the door. for the hinge side, a layer of black felt stapled to the door frame where the door seats sufficed.
    On the bottom of the door, I got a length of 2x2 exactly the width of the base of the doorway, and made one of the above-described weatherstripping/felt light squeegees on the bottom facing the floor, and another one on the side facing the door, then I mashed it down with my knees while I screwed it into either side of the door frame.

    I had to redo this 2-3 times and exercise the darker side of my vocabulary before I found the right materials and also realized that I had to get just the right fit of the felt traps to the door. Too tight against it, and it will either push the door out elsewhere or worse yet, prevent the latch from engaging. Too loose, and it lets light in.

    As it stands now, it could use some cosmetic work, but I can go in and out of the door, and simply closing the door makes it completely light-tight. No need to mess with jamming towels under the door or adjusting curtains.

    What I really want in my next darkroom, though, is a 2-door vestibule so I can go in and out of the darkroom without losing my dark.

    If my description is too totally vague, say the word and I'll shoot some digi-pics and post a URL to them.

    -KwM-
     
  6. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I think the strip you are using may be acting as a light-pipe and making matters worse. In my last darkroom I painted the door edge, and frame rebate matt black. That was after I added an extra rebate strip across the bottom of the door, blocked the keyhole, and glued the rebate strips to the frame. Your door does have to be warp free and in itself light-proof. Maybe an increase in the depth of the rebate strips is required. What you need to achieve is a double corner around which the light cannot be reflected. I'm using the same sort of design in the darkroom I'm building now.
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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  8. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Ohmigosh! That's an awesome job -- make my handiwork look laughable. Hopefully, I'll be able to find those pics when I do my next darkroom.

    Your felt looks somewhat thicker than average fabric/craft store felt. Is it something special, or do you just have many layers?

    What did you do at the bottom of the door frame?

    -KwM-
     
  9. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I used standard weatherstripping that I got at the local hardware store. The felt is about 3/16" thick, and was pre-attached to the aluminum backing strips. They came in 36" lengths. The bottom of the door uses the same type of strip, pressed against the floor a bit when the screws were tightened. I have carpet on the other side of the door, so that helps block the front of the bottom edge.
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Kev -

    You've gathered a number of good suggestions here. Let me add a couple of thoughts.

    The door to the darkroom in my former home had been recycled from another use in the house, so I had to construct the door jamb and framing from raw lumber. I opted to make the door stop from 3/4" clear pine rather than use door jamb molding - what that meant was that the door jamb could be thicker. As a result, I got essentially no light leakage through the door jamb.

    When I built the darkroom in my new home last year, I used an ordinary prehung interior door - where the door jamb was the ubiquitous jamb molding that's about 1/4" thick. In this instance there was some leakage through the door jamb. I then purchased some dark gray felt weatherstripping that I attached to the door using carpet tacks. This completely eliminated any leakage through the jamb.

    I still can see a little light leaking around the bottom corner of the door. It's not enough to cause a problem with printing, and when I am working with film, I generally stand in a way that my body is between the door and the film. So while that isn't a major problem under normal circumstances, I do want to eventually get around to doing something to reduce that leakage also when my wife doesn't have other projects for me to do.
     
  11. ElrodCod

    ElrodCod Member

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    Why not a simple curtain made from black cloth inside the door?
     
  12. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I used a heavy duty corduroy cut into 6~7" strips (the same H and W dimensions as the door). These are then folded in double and tacked or stapled round the perimeter of the inner door face. As the door closes, the baffle butts up against the door jamb and makes it light tight. The trick is to get a material thick enough to offer up some 'resistance' to the frame it sits against. A roll of the same corduroy, rolled up, provides an effective baffle against stray light entering from the bottom of the door. Regards, BLIGHTY.
     
  13. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I have extended the door frame inwards by screwing wooden battens along the top and sides of the frame on outside of the frame. These are painted matt black and I will augment them with some 8mm blackout foam supplied by First Call Photographic. To black out the bottom I will install a brush type draught excluder inside the darkroom.
     
  14. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Yeah, the white weather stripping is no good. I tried that first as well with bad results. I ended up buying more, in a brown color and a different shape and it works good for me.
     
  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Rather than just the corners I put weather striping all around the door on both sides. It ain't pretty, but it is dark and it is in the basement. My wife doesn't entertain there so "pretty" isn't critical. I should add that you can't slam the door. Movement is slow and deliberate, but dark it is. An added benefit is that the seal is pretty air tight so air that would have gone in with the light now has to go through the filter. That dust stops there.

    John
     
  16. Todd Barlow

    Todd Barlow Subscriber

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    In addition to the weatherstripping and a threshold I added a curtain of "light blocking" material that drapery manufacuters use to provide room darkening drapes. I sewed velcro patches to the curtain and glued the opposites to the wall to secure the curtain in place when I am printing or loading film.

    Todd
     
  17. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I used a prehung exterior door with weather proof tread. It solved all of my door problems, it is light tight and near air tight this allows air in only through the filter not under the door. It was $90.00 at home depot and easy to install.
     
  18. galyons

    galyons Member

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    I used a Stanley steel exterior door, Home Depot $119. I still had to add some additional weather stripping a couple of the corners because the factory corners were allow some light when the sun directly hit the door area. I am sure as the door ages and from use, the factory weather strip will need some help.
    Cheers,
    Geary