setting up my darkroom and......

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by wilfbiffherb, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    hi all,

    finally got permission to setup a mini darkroom in one of my spare rooms. i have been lightproofing my room in preparation - i got some thick heavy duty rubble sacks from homebase and have taped them in double layers over my window (bit concerned they may melt in extreme sunshine and set the house on fire) and they are blocking the light perfectly. there is only my door left - im planning on stuffing a towel under the door. light is getting in around the outsides of the door but it doesnt fall onto the paper directly. do you reckon i should still block it up with card/tape or do you think i can get away with it?
     
  2. spatz

    spatz Member

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    your description mirrors my darkroom exactly. and dont worry about the light from the sides of the door - the towel is enough. ive never had any troubles with paper. with film i usually wait until night. goodluck!
     
  3. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    hi wilfbiffherb



    My laundry is set up in much the same way as your spare room is described. I, too, have a problem with cracks around the back door letting in light. More often than not, I only use it at night, but I have used it during the day and simply ensured that I'm not putting the paper anywhere in those beams of light. No real adverse affect, thus far, but I'm not printing fine art here so it would be hard to tell the difference :D
    I do put a towel along the bottom of the floor, though, since that's a fairly major gap and I use my hallway floor as a 'table' for my paper, notebook and negatives. Hope that makes sense.
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I have a curtain (in black) with a thick light-proof lining hung over the door and window. Some strips of velcro have been added around the frames which help to cut out any light leaks. - If you choose to follow my example, any decent fabric store should be able to supply the light-proof lining. Just don't sew it in place as the needle will give you a row of holes that let light through - Use an impact adhesive instead.
     
  5. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    i may try it out without sealing the door then. theres a fair bit of light that comes in but it seems to hit the opposite end of the room. maybe ill make a cardboard door frame type thing to slot over it.
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Weather stripping will solve the door problem.
     
  7. Grumpyshutter

    Grumpyshutter Member

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    Hi wilfbiffherb,

    Sounds a bit like my old darkroom in the spare bedroom. I had a problem with light leaking around the edges of the door. Despite the door being at the other end of the room to the enlarger, the walls being painted matt and no light falling directly onto or near the enlarger, I would still have problems with slight fogging. I tacked up a heavy blanket over the door and this solved the problem. If I still used the darkroom (I'm building a new one in agarden shed...) I think I would replace the blanket with a curtainpole over the door and a heavy curtain, just like granny used to have to keep out draughts before the days of double glazing and central heating. Hope this helps,

    Grumpyshutter.
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Hey wbh. I did darkroom in the downstairs half bath for a couple years and the light around the door never affected my work. I say go for it.

    Keep it light.
    ChrisW
     
  9. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    im thinking now if i do it i may as well try and block the light. maybe some draught excluder around the door would do it. or maybe just cut come card to slot over the gaps between the door and the frame. we'll see!
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Weatherstripping around the top three sides of the door, and a rubber draft sweep on the bottom.
    Works good, easy to do, not expensive. It's also easily reversable if that's an issue.
     
  11. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    reversible is a must as i live in a rented house. thinking i may just hang a curtian off the door. ill have another look when i excape form work!
     
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi wilfbiffherb,

    A curtain hanging over the door sounds like a good plan. While it's always good to have a truly dark room, I don't freak out when a bit of light gets through on occasion.

    I imagine it in terms of whether it's enough light to take a picture of. I imagine what I would get if I were to take a camera loaded with 400 speed film, and shoot a picture of the door at f/1.4 at one second. If I imagine that I would get nothing on film, then I figure it is probably not enough to worry about.

    It takes a fair amount of light to cause a problem. If light is always coming in, then check with a "safelight" test, expose a print on the enlarger then cover half the sheet with cardboard and leave it "exposed" for about 10 minutes (or as long as you think you need to keep it safe). Then process. If both halves of the print are identical then you have nothing to worry about.
     
  13. EdGallop

    EdGallop Member

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    If I may offer some advice.

    I did the same thing that you did with my window at first. It blocked the light just fine, but I found that during the day time the black plastic over the window acted like a furnace. It's hot enough in my darkroom without adding a furnace over the window. What I did was cover the glass with aluminum foil (shiny side out)... it being an old house, the window frame was slightly out of square and there was still some light leaking around the foil. I covered the whole thing frame and all with 4 mil black plastic sheeting. The window stays nice and cool now because the foil reflects the heat back outside.

    For the door (which leaked light like crazy) I made a curtain out of the same plastic I used on the window... It rolls up out of the way when not in use and is held up with 2 velcro cable ties that are tacked to the wall above the door along with the curtain. I have absolutely no light leaks now and it was a super cheap and easy thing. The door curtain hangs from above the door down to the floor with some extra length on the floor. It's also wider than the door by about 6 inches on both sides.

    Ed
     
  14. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    yeah ive noticed the room gets a little hot due to the plastic. its ok for now-may have to think of a better solution in future. going to try and bodge a curtain over the door when i get home form work. hopefully that should deal with the rest of the light.
     
  15. EdGallop

    EdGallop Member

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    The curtain works for me... I hung it on the inside of the door so that my kids, cat and dog won't tear it up. That's why it has to roll up out of the way, 'cause I can't open the door while the curtain is down.

    But it does work well... If I go in there with my eyes closed for 5 minutes or so when I open them, there's no change... no light whatsoever. I handle film in there and everything.

    Hope it works for you as well.

    Ed
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Be careful with semi-permanent blocking up of the windows with anything - someone outside is bound to think you have set up a "Grow-Op".
     
  17. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    yeah that crossed my mind - well if the police come knocking theyre welcome to come look. got the door situation sorted. 2 tacks in the door frame and i can hang some of the landlords curtains of them (shh, he doesnt need to know). can hang it in a matter of seconds, rather useful really. now all i need is an 80mm lens......
     
  18. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    They might ask you if you're using a Hassleblad [no matter what you are actually using haha]....
     
  19. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    alls etup now - curtain works a treat and my first prints came out ace! thanks for all the help everyone!!
     
  20. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    I made a darkroom in my bathroom. Go to home Depot, get 1" or larger weatherstripping. DO NOT take off the backing paper all the way, use Xacto to take off 1/2 the width
    and stick sticky side on door. If u take it ALL off the door will stick to frame.