New darkroom coming along

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by KenM, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. KenM

    KenM Member

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    For the last few weeks, I've been constructing a new darkroom in my house. My house is completely finished, so I didn't really have any space I could take and build a darkroom, so I evicted myself from my office, and started turning it into a darkroom.

    The space is about 12' x 16', with a closet for storage. As the room previously had carpet, I decided to rip out the carpet, and lay tile, ala the rest of my house. I have a heated basement floor (I live in Canada), so warmth will not be an issue in the winter.

    There was also no plumbing in the bedroom (!), so I'm putting that in as well. Water will be brought in from my (really) small darkroom next door, and a proper drain will be installed, via tapping into the bathroom sink drain on the other side of a shared wall.

    I've ordered a Haas Intellifaucet, and am currently working on two sinks, one 12', and the other 8'. For those of you who have taken Bruce Barnbaum's workshop at his house in Washington, my sinks are constructed in the same way as his: wood boxes (plywood for mine, his was made with particle board), and lined with PVC sheets. The PVC sheeting was quite expensive, but will make an impervious barrier.

    A friend-of-a-friend is a plumber, and he'll be coming in next week to run all the plumbing for the sinks, and the incoming water, for a case o' beer - gotta love that, expecially since I'll be helping him drink it :-D

    I still need to determine safe-lighting, and what to use, but I'll get that figured out next week as well. Unfortuantely, my other darkroom is out of commission right now, as it's being used for storage while I'm constructing the other darkroom; I therefore haven't printed for almost a month now. Ick.

    I'll continue posting to this thread as I go along, just in case anyone else is interested.

    Cheers all!

    -ken.
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    that's great! I'm both happy and jealous. Any chance of some photos of the work in progress and at the end stage?
     
  3. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I'll see what I can whip up....I do have the technology, it's just a question of time :smile:
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  5. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Yup, I know.

    Problem with OC safelights is that they fade over time; that, and the fact that the filters are stupid expensive makes me want to find another solution. But, OC filters (and the housing) can be had for cheap on eBay. It's just a question of how safe (faded) they are.
     
  6. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I actually painted my darkrooms ceiling and walls deep red so any fade or change is odsorbed by the room. My veiwing area is medium to dark grey so I don't have red reflections when trying to make print adjustments. Having a red room really brightens the room believe it or not. sounds crazy but it works really well.
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Member

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    The OC filters are the ones supposedly for VC paper? If they are then they aren't safe with Forte's VC paper. They recomend red which should be safe for all B&W.
     
  8. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    After working in color processing a LOT, I've become accustomed to working without a safelight, in total darkness - well, see below.

    I do have the JOBO - what is it called - "Maxi-Light" (???? don't quote me on that one) that operates with Light Emitting Diodes. Wall mounted, with three dial-in filters - one dedicated to "color". The thing has a MTBF of something like forever - and I can't see where ANY fading would take place.

    It may not be the brightest - I haven't tried reading a newspaper with it ... but then again, how many people choose safelights for reading newspapers?

    Light leaks - After my eyes have become acclimated, I can see a few - well, more than a few - light leaks in my darkroom. I've tested: first by setting up my ColorStar 3000 to the most sensitive density possible and attepting to read indicated exposure - turned out to be nada - nothing but blinking indicators - therefore more that 999 seconds; and by setting my Gossen UltraPro to the highest ISO speed 800,000 (DIN 60), setting the aperture to "wide open" - f/0.7, and again, a blinking display indicating "Out of Range" (and that puppy will read to eight [8] hours).

    After all that, I don't think I have to worry much about fogging film.

    One question, though ... Why do I always wear my glasses when I load film into the tanks in total darkness?
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Could I suggest that you have the plumbing done BEFORE the beer drinking?
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I use the Zone VI safelight that is marketed by Calumet. This uses leds rather then filters. I have used this in processing both Seagull VCFB and Classic Polywarmtone VC with no problem of paper fogging. This light does have a switch to alter the light output for graded and VC materials.
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I did the "quarter" test with Bergger paper and it seemed to show slight fogging at around 5 or 6 minutes with anything but red filters. Ilford seems fine with OC.

    Not a very scientific test but I switched to those cheap red bulbs in ordinary fixtures when printing Bergger.

    Michael McBlane
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

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    I am using a Thomas and it has shown me that I am safe under 10 minutes. Still, I like to have the vanes closed and so far no fogging.

    lee\c
     
  14. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Well I'm holding one of the inserts. What Forte calls a technical sheet. To quote

    "Safelight:
    Red safelight. (OC and greenish-yellow filters are not recommended as they may cause fogging)"

    Now I guess things like how long the light is on and how far it is make a difference but red tends to be safer.
     
  15. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I ran out of Wood/PVC glue on the weekend, so I had to order more. Bummer. I should have it tomorrow, which will allow me to finish the sinks.

    In the meantime, I started working on a light trap for the window. Since this is a (relatively) new house, it was easy to build a frame to fit into the recessed window space. Then, inside the frame I built a series of four slots, into which 1/4" plywood sheets can slide. Bingo, instant light trap. Even with the panels unpainted (they will be painted flat black), and with only two of the four panels in place, it cuts out most of the light. There are a few light leaks around the edges, but those can be covered with either tape, or foam.

    Ah, progress.....
     
  16. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    Ken:

    Another option for general room ilumination, is a 24" flourescent lamp with a Doran/Premier safelight sleeve over the tube. Their brown, dark OC color is ok with variable contrast papers. The shadowless light coming from the 24" long bulb is wonderful in a darkroom, most of which are traditionally lit like a coal mine with a few puddles of dull glowlight here and there.

    If you use it for general room light, it would probably be at least 5' from your enlarger or processing area, and should't cause any fogging (test, first, of course). I have two of them in my 12'x14' darkroom, and have never had fogging in the 15+ years of using them.

    For inspection and local safelight, I hang some good 'ol Kodak beehive lights on footswitches. Put any color filter you want in them (a green #3 for developing by inspection, a red for those Forte papers, a diffused white for print evaluation, etc.).

    I also have a Thomas, but it's outside in my windowless finishing area. It throws some light throught the darkroom door, which I leave open when printing. Those Thomas saflights will give you sunburn, I can't get used to that much light when I'm composing on the easel.
     
  17. RAP

    RAP Member

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    My sinks are all plywood. The only sink I ever bought was a 5' pvc sink that I used in my apartment in CT. I could only work at night. My kitchen was my darkroom. The work table and enlarger was set up on one wall. The sink was placed on top of the stove with the garden hose drain into the sink. Working with 11x14 trays was challanging to say the least.

    All my other sinks are home made from 1/2" exterior plywood, finished on both sides. I used resin to seal them up, the kind used for surfboards. You can buy pigments if you want colors.

    One thought, the light over your sink that you use to judge the exposure of your prints should be of low intensity. If it is too high, you will over print. I use a 60 watt bounced off the cieling. Wet prints ideally should be dried before making determination. Keep a blow drier handy.
     
  18. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

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    I also use the Thomas. It is about 8 feet from the easel and usually have the closest vane mostly closed. The light is really bright for a darkroom but I have not experienced and fogging. However I have not tried Forte papers, using mostly Kodak and Ilford multicontrast papers. I have also used the Thomas with the vanes closed for color printing without obvious ill effect.
     
  19. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Just a quick status update, for those who (still) care :smile:

    Had the plumber in yesterday, and we worked on getting the two sinks hooked up to the drain, as well as bringing in water. The drains are done (and very neatly done, as well), and the water is *just* about done.

    Turns out we ran out of 90 deg. elbows, and the hardware store was closed by that time, so we couldn't finish the job. Bummer, that. I'm going to pick up a few more elbows tonite (more than I need!), which will allow us to finish the job.

    The Intellifaucet is all hooked up as well, with water wired into it. Can't test it out, however, until I get the water to the tables setup.

    Soon. Very soon.

    Cheers all!