New Darkroom build

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by and36y, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. and36y

    and36y Member

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    I am at the stage of planning my new dark room. I will be dividing up my garage to give me a 8x10ft space. I plan to stud partition, insulate then dry line. with plenty of power. It is a standard UK garage and the question I have is. I plan to only have 1 entry into the space. (the current internal garage door. Access to the rest of the garage will be through the main up and over door) Do I need to build a second door as an escape route ?

    Andy
     
  2. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    Second door would be convinient in those cold and rainy days. Plus it allows to transport your 13x18 Durst enlarger into the darkroom by much easier route. I'd build the second door.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Andy:

    I don't know if there are any building code requirements in your area that might influence the question, but all of the single darkrooms I have ever been in or worked in (including commercial and school darkrooms) have only had one door.

    I have worked in a group darkroom that had two entrances, but that was a lot larger than 8x10 feet.

    If you have just 8x10 feet available, then you probably don't want to lose the wall/counter/sink space that a second opening will require.

    If possible, you should make sure that your entry opening is reasonably wide, because as werra points out, sometimes you want to be able to move larger items in and out.

    Hope this helps.

    Matt
     
  4. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    New Darkrrom

    Hi,

    I finished my last (current) darkrrom about 3 years ago. I also thought hard about the same issue you mention, and concluded that one door was a better solution for me in most respects.

    You're doing well to carefully plan the details of darkrrom building. It took me about a year to plan mine, and It's now a wonderful place to spend time in. Mine is about 9 by 10 feet and it feels just right.

    If you need any further info don't hesitate to ask me. I can send you a bibliography of the sources of help I found as well as pictures of my setup if you wish. Why not learn from my mistakes :smile:

    Good luck and have fun!

    Louie
     
  5. and36y

    and36y Member

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    You seem to have grasped the problem. To be honest, I hadn't give it a thought until I tripped over a building recommendation while reading up on garage conversions. It basically says you should never have to go through another room as the only means of exit, if this is the case there should be a window. But if I put the second door in, I lose the counter space. It crossed my mind to have a emergency break panel above the counter, in the stud partition. Make a square within the studs that is not insulated, and maybe weaken the plasterboard that covers it. Mark it on the inside so I know where it is and leave a hammer/axe in the cupboard near by. If the place was burning i could be through the wall within a minute.. In this nanny state we now live in, have I succumbed and become overly cautious?...
     
  6. and36y

    and36y Member

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    Thanks Louie appreciated, As things progress, I may well take you up on your kind offer
     
  7. and36y

    and36y Member

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    Started at the weekend on the stud partition, decided to go with the single door to maximise work space.
     
  8. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I like the idea of a second exit. Since I live in California there is always a chance of an earthquake distorting the door frame and jamming the door. I have a blacked-out window that I can open, even if the frame distorts. UK earthquakes are rare and minor by comparison :cool:
     
  9. HarryW

    HarryW Member

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    Andy,
    In Scotland our Building Regulations are different from those in England but not that much different. It is normal that you would be allowed to go from a room (darkroom) to room (another intermediate room or space) to a place of safety (external or fire protected space).
    The issue that should be addressed is that if you were escaping through what is still a functional garage this may be considered as a place of high risk.
    Speak to your Local Council Building Standards office who will give you chapter and verse.
    Regards

    Harry

    Andy,
    Apologies , I just re-read your original post.
    If the internal door connects to a circulation space in your house this should be OK.
    If it connects into another habitable room from which there is no exit to the external or a protected route then discuss with Building Standards
    Office
    H
     
  10. david b

    david b Member

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    I built my darkroom in my two car garage.

    I did it perpendicular and the space is 9'x14' with a 9 foot stainless sink on one side, and 14' counter top on the other side.

    Then I removed the overhead garage door and put of a wall of frosted glass to make a studio. There was already a door to the outside.
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I have only worried about a second exit in rooms where there was severe danger, such as the previously mentioned earthquake, fire, or on a boat using a deck hatch. The breakaway cut in the wall makes sense. I like it. My five year old basement 11’x13’ darkroom, only has one door, but two of the walls are framing and wall board so I could break out if needed. Thank you for the good idea.

    When wiring plan for twice the number of outlets you think you will need. That is how many I required over time. Make them Ground Fault. I don’t know if you use the same term in the UK. It means all power is instantly shut down if the is a short circuit. Water and electricity can be nasty.

    If you have not already looked through it, there are great ideas on the sticky thread “Darkroom Portraits”, 853 posts at this writing.

    Build it anyway you want and enjoy it.

    John Powers
     
  12. and36y

    and36y Member

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    Here's a quick sketch of the location
     

    Attached Files:

  13. and36y

    and36y Member

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    John,
    I think the device your are talking about is called an RCD (Residual current device) basically grounds everything if it senses a problem. The sort of thing you would use on an electric garden mower in case you cut through the cable.. I have one already lined up

    Andy
     
  14. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Great. Hate to lose a member building a darkroom.

    Here each community establishes codes for construction and electrical requirements. Our community requires ground fault outlets in bathrooms and kitchens where water and electricity are used together. There probably aren't enough darkrooms to have an established code, but I could easily be wrong there.

    John Powers
     
  15. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    code check

    refer to
    ARTICLE 530 Motion Picture and Television Studios and Similar Locations

    GFCI Definition Art. 100-I
    ARTICLE 210 section 8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel. (A) dwelling units (1) Bathrooms (2) Garages (5) unfinished basements (6) kitchens (7) laundry, utility, wet bar sinks


    !!! your community probably happens to follow the code
     
  16. and36y

    and36y Member

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    I now have the room built. Plasterboard up,insulation in, more sockets than I can wave a stick at. I have wired for 3 red lights and will be using 3 old kodak beehives I have, they are on a seperate switch/location to the main light. I have also put a white spot light over sink location on a pull cord, for when I want to look at the finished print. RCD sockets in the sockets nearer to the sink. I have put a double rcd on the backwall of the sink but at ceiling height, to be well away from water. (not quite sure what it will be used for yet, possibly for the nova heaters...) This weekend will be taping the joints, getting ready for decorating. I'm not going to plaster over it, instead I have found some polystyrene veneer wall paper that I will underline with. then over line with lining paper and paint.

    I want to build a 6-7 ft sink. Any suggestions of anything I could convert (ie old water tank) that I can get in the uk. before I go down the marine ply route...?

    I'll post some photo's soon..

    andy
     
  17. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    If you ever get a Jobo or other powered processor the socket near the sink will be handy. Such devices need power and a convenient drain.
     
  18. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Having a second exit would be a smart thing to do although I suspect that few home darkrooms have that feature (I know that mine doesn't). I'm not familiar with the code requirements in London. You may find that there is a regulatory requirement for a second egress.

    I note that you have your door swinging out. That's smart - free's up space in the darkroom, and in the event of an emergency, it's easier to force a door open if you are pushing in the direction of the swing.

    The second exit doesn't have to be a formal door. After all, the objective is to have a way to get out in the event of a fire. So designing a section of the wall such that it can be easily broken through if the main door is blocked might be satisfactory.

    Interestingly, I recall seeing either a TV program or a movie many years ago in which a photographer in England converted a backyard WWII-era bomb shelter into a darkroom. The point of the story was that someone murdered the photographer by replacing some of the chemicals with something that generated a toxic gas, and then jammed the door so that it could not be opened from inside the darkroom.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2009
  19. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Looking at your sketch, I see a hallway leading to the darkroom. Is the hallway and darkroom on the same elevation, could you knock out that wall and make the hallway part of the darkroom? One entrance btw, otherwise you will lose valuable counter space.

    Roger
     
  20. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    At least you have an adjacent laundry area for print washing if you need it. I have to transfer my prints to another building to get running water, though it isn't much trouble.
     
  21. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    I think the 2nd exit is a little overrated. How many bathrooms have you been in with two exits? For that matter, how many rooms in a house really have 2 exits? Even bedrooms, if they are on a 2nd or 3rd story, effectively only have "one" exit short of jumping out a window. Unless you are planning on using a heavy fire door, a standard interior door would offer little resistance even in a worse case scenario if you had to smash your way through it.

    On the topic of doors, you may want to have it open the other direction so you do not have to walk "past" the door then double back to go in, since chances are most of the time you will be approaching from the other direction. By other direction I don't mean into the darkroom, I mean doorknob on the right so it opens to your left as you are facing it from the outside.
     
  22. and36y

    and36y Member

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    The door is the other way around, (I got it wrong on the picture) it does open out, with the hinges on the right as you look from inside the darkroom. I left an area within the studs with no cables and no cross joists. I scored the plasterboard from the joist side with a stanley knife. I thought,it costs nothing, doesn't effect counter space. I'm sure I could be through it in a few minutes if I ever needed to. I'll make sure I leave a stanley, and a small hatchet in the cupboard next to it...

    I lined it with a polystyrene veneer yesterday, then covered it with lining paper. Going to paint this week and finish off the electrics..

    I plan to paint the whole place white, and then add a small sheet of peg board behind each enlarger, (painted black) to mount all the tools for the enlarger, ie masks, lens mounts,dodging tools etc everything to hand. my main enlarger is a Durst ac 1200. When I bought it I cleared out the guys darkroom, filled my car to the gunnels. I've been using a nova slot processor in my temp darkroom and found it very good. Another item I got when is a Jobo Printlab 3504. He showed me it working when I picked the stuff up. Looks a good bit of kit, dry to dry with 70 secs and self-cleaning. Has anyone any experience of these processors? are they any good ? or are they a compromise for production purposes. Also got a CPP2 with only one drum, boxes of spotting inks and more trays than you can shake a stick at.
     
  23. PeterAM

    PeterAM Member

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    I built a 6'+ X 9'+ darkroom (about 20 years ago) by walling off the end of a room in my basement. It took a lot of planning to create an efficient and comfortable space; it was the end of a room that also contained a sometimes woodworking shop, so dust control was an issue. Building the cabinets and counters with the shop right there however, was great. Don't forget to add the things that make it comfortable to work/stay in: proper ventilation, music, a cushioned pad on the floor, etc. Also make sure that an appropriate fire extinguisher is handy.
    On thing that I had to consider, was wiring through a separate panel so that the surge from a furnace or pump coming on didn't affect the power in the darkroom.
     
  24. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    The most important thing is to plan on where you can put a small fridge in for snacks and frostys.