Spool winding made difficult

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by joeyk49, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I've only developed three rolls so far and two of them have had at least four frames ruined because film was wound too tightly.

    Besides Practice, Practice, Practice...what tips do you have to prevent film from being wound too tightly on the developing tank spool? I'm currently using a changing bag, but will be going to a darkroom environment soon (hopefully).
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Assuming you're using 35mm and stainless steel reels, treat yourself to a couple of Hewes reels. Instead of the center clip, the Hewes reels have edge cleats that grab the sprocket holes, making it far easier to maintain a consistent light tension on the film while loading.

    I believe that most 35mm loading errors on stainless reels occur toward the beginning of the roll, where a loose (or, off center) clip makes it difficult to keep the film from moving in and out, causing it to jump the spirals. Too much curvature can also cause that problem. My technique is to hold the film in my right hand, spool between my little finger and the butt of the palm, feeding the film out between the thumb and index finger. By placing the thumb and index finger on the edge of the reel, and allowing the friction to maintain tension, that works for both aspects (tension and curvature). I rotate the reel with my left hand, being careful to keep the motion steady.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I've always "pushed" the film onto the reel. Even in a changing bag.
    Keeping a slight curve in the film & set the reel on the floor of the bag or counter top just a slight pushing motion will roll the film right onto the reel.
     
  4. tbm

    tbm Member

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    When loading film into stainless steel reels, intermittently push the film slightly back into the reel and immediately back out. If the film refuses to be pushed back, indicating a jam/misfeed, pull the film out and run the push/pull sequence again and again until you detect it pushing back in appropriately. Then continue inserting the film. Repeat this test intermittently to ensure proper loading until the end of your loading. Works perfectly for me every time!
     
  5. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Shaggy: I think I get the pushing idea. When you say "keeping a slight curve to the film", do you mean accenuating the natural convex curvature of the enulsion side of the film. Squeezing slightly the two edges together, I notice, tends to make it a little easier to get the film past what I call the threshhold of the spool.

    Can the film be handled under a safelight? Would that make loading any easier?
     
  6. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Not a good idea....safelights are fine for developed film, but not for undeveloped film. There may be some exception to this, but it's not B&W film! It would be VERY easy if you could see what the heck you are doing, but unless you can see in complete blackness.... :D
    Keep trying! What reels are you using?
     
  7. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    My experience with stainless steel reels is that the film doesn't always slip naturally into the space between adjacent turns of the spiral. I think the reason for this is that the spiral is wound from round wire, and the film slips over the round edge and skips to the adjacent space. I have some old Durst plastic reels in which the spirals are molded with a square cross section, and the steeper walls of the square side retains the film better.

    You do need to cup the film slightly, especially to get it started in the reel. Once the film has been attached to the center of the reel and starts into the groove, it "should" flow naturally. But I find that cupping the film about an inch or so before it enters the outer diameter of the reel makes things go smoother.

    One of the common problems I have seen is that if you cup the film too much, you will get half-moon-shaped shadows on the developed film. Go easy!

    Someone suggested Hewes reels. Clearly they are the best. But others will work also. But be careful about buying used reels - if reels are dropped (even good Hewes reels), they will distort slightly. It is very difficult to load a reel if the two faces are not absolutely parallel. So if you are having a consistent problem, check your reels to see if they have become bent.
     
  8. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    One last point - no safelights can be used when loading film!
     
  9. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    What about orthochromatic film with a deep red safelight? Ilford says that their Ortho Plus can be used with it, although recommending to use safelights only if neccesary.

    Morten