Water Woes.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sjixxxy, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    I'm one of the lucky guys with a no running water darkroom. Previously when I only used it for small contact prints, I just used RC to deal with the lack of water, but now that I got an enlarger, I want to start doing fiber again.

    The room is in a sectioned off part of the basement, and the closest running water is a small hose on the otherside of the basement that is primarily used to fill a big tank of water in the water softener system. Doing RC I'd just fill up two buckets and go dev->stop->fix->holding tray->few minutes in first deep bucket->into last deep bucket until wash.

    Think I could get by with a similar process with fiber? I'd like to try the TF-4 fixer to eliminate stop and permawash. The instructions say to rinse in running water between developer (I'll be using my old favorite Ethol LPD) and the fix. Is there really going to be enough carry over to affect the fix if I just slosh it around in an 11x14 tray, or better yet, dunk it a few times into a 5-10 gallon bucket of water? Then do the same for holding until I can transfer the prints to a wash? (Btw, This washer would fit in my bathtub, and satisfy the cheap bastard inside me, anyone know if it is a worthless piece of junk, or something just designed for RC?)
     
  2. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I also have one of those wonderful waterless darkrooms!! (Think it's a WI thing??? :wink: ) I just started doing fiber, so I may not be the most knowledgable, but here is what I do... I develop, stop, fix; then I do a 5-10 min rinse in a large tub of water. Then into wash aid, then into a shallow tub of water (this is my holding bath) until I am done printing. Then I take move the prints from the holding bath to the tray I use to transfer things up to the bathroom where they get a leisurely soak in the tray in the tub. I change water 4 to 5 times in the tray & move everyone around so they don't get too cozy.
    I don't know if this helps any, but what the hey! :D
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    You can do fiber in a "dry" darkroom as easily as RC. I think it's actually easier as fiber will tolerate long soaks better than RC, which tends to get water soaking in from the cut edges of the paper after too long a time.
     
  4. stephen

    stephen Member

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    Back in the 1960s I did my enlarging in my bedroom, and put the fixed prints into a bucket of water until I felt inclinded to carry them to the bathroom for washing. The reason for mentioning the date is that the prints I still have around from that time are still OK. The method may not be archival, but it seems to last for nearly forty years.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I recently ran all the plumbing to my darkroom and it wasn't that painful. A few rolls of that flexible grey piping, some joints, and a crimper tool. Not sure what your current pipe situation is but in NZ mine was easy, cut my main line, crimped on a T junction, then ran the pipe, crimped on the joints that screw to a faucet, done. Could be a DIY problem though if you have all copper piping..
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Here in the states, if you have a Home Depot, they make some pretty easy lines to use for doing a darkroom, it got a bad rap a few years ago when it was being used for stuff it was not designed for, it is called quest and I have done a couple of darkroom plumbing setups with it and it works great, very easy to splice into existin plumbing as everthing is either screw together or crip fit, and really pretty cheap, won't really break in freezing weather and holds all the pressure that most applications require, I just plumbed the new shop for doing glass with it and spent less than $100 to do it and the shop sits about 50 feet from the house.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass
     
  7. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Water pipes do run across the ceiling, but they are all copper. I don't have enough plumbing experience to hack them and make a split. I think it would also be a problem that the nearest drain is all the way on the otherside of the basement. I'm also contemplating moving to a different state, so I'm not up for doing any investments on anything permanent that I might abandon in a month.
     
  8. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Do you have those garden tap kits over there where the clamp for the tap cuts into the pipe and seals it at the same time? If you do maybe a kit could provide a nice inexpensive option to get running water.
     
  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Also sold for washing machine connections. However it's sometimes more of a problem getting rid of the waste water, as it seems in this case.
     
  10. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Mmmmm good point, how about a couple of ex-forces water carriers like on the back of a landrover. The water could be transfered to them and the caps put on so water didn't slop all over the house on the way to the drain? All that would be needed on top of that is a reasonable sized funnel.
     
  11. veriwide

    veriwide Member

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    No water, no outlets, no problem.

    I too have a dry darkroom, plus there are no electrical outlets, I run an extension cord under the door. I print fiber with no problems by using a holding tray, then transferring to a Versalab 11x14 archival washer at my kitchen sink.

    My room is 7 feet 4 inch by 8 feet 10 inch. I have a lot in it, but it is well spaced and quite easy to use. It holds my Omega D3V enlarger, Polaroid MP4 camera, film drying cabinet, cabinets with my chemicals, reels, and assorted supplies. I have made a quick assemble/take down drying screen rack that I use on my counter top once I'm done developing and have put away the trays. If you have any questions about my set up, please ask.
     

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  12. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Can you buy a Y junction and run a garden hose from the existing hose?
    There are Y junctions with on/off valves.
    I work in a bsement too, shared with washer/dryer, so I put one of those Ys in the washer water connection, garden hose and voila!

    Same fro drain, you can even get a large tray, make a hole on the bottom and run another piece of garden hose to the drain.


     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Great heavens!! The place is NEAT!!!

    It is a shock ... I hadn't realized that a "darkroom" could exist without piles of "working" prints, empty chemistry bottles that "I'm going to use ... sometime...", odds and ends that I haven't put away yet ... Papers and magazines not filed yet...
     
  14. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    That is interesting. What is it made from? Is it flexible or stiff? How does it join into copper hot and cold lines? Should I just ask for "Quest" at Home Depot and annoy them with these questions?

    I have a waterless darkroom and don't really mind carrying my prints into the bathroom at the end of the evening for washing but it is a huge PITA trying to deal with that tiny, dainty, round vanity sink and space is a problem. I am seriously considering putting a utility sink in another room if I can do do it cheaply and as easily as possible.
     
  15. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hi Neal,

    Quest is the brand name, and it is in the same spot as the copper tubeing in our home depot, it uses compression type fittings to attach to the copper, I have used it extensivly when I was in the RV business and have replace a lot of the piping in our Mobil home with it and it is good stuff, just cut your copper line, slip on the nut, then the cone and the ring and tighten with a cresent wrench, I have never had a leak from it, and like I said, I have used it extensivly. Forgot to mention, it is semi flexible and pretty easy to work with, you can cut it with a pocket knife.

    Let me know if I can help more.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass
     
  16. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Thanks Dave,
    It sounds like just the ticket. I will swing by HD this afternoon and look into it.
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I went Home Depot and asked where I could find the Quest plumbing fittings. They looked at me like I was from Mars. I'm not surprised, I think that if I had asked those banjos where I could find a wrench they would have looked at me like I was from Mars.

    Maybe I'll try Lowes.
     
  18. veriwide

    veriwide Member

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    That's why I didn't include shots of the rest of the house. LOL
     
  19. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Thanks for the response so far, all I ask now is any thoughts on the final wash. Would an item like this washer suffice? Or do I need some big rig with the adjective "archival" attached to the description. What about the standing water method that I remember reading about a year or so ago where you just fill a tank with the prints in, and let it just stand so that the chemicals seep out, then drain and refill and repeat a few times. I have an unused fish tank around here that I could easily rig up dividers to let it accommodate multiple prints for this method.
     
  20. veriwide

    veriwide Member

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    It really depends on how much work you are planning to do. I have used most every method you mentioned. I am doing the most work I have ever done now. I just bought an 11x14 Versalab archivial washer and I love it!! I did 80 8x10's in it this weekend. If I were using the "rapid tray", I'd still be washing them. The Versalab washers are on sale right now and the 11x14 is @$190. It is pricey, but in my mind it has already paid for itself with convenience, speed, and ease of use.
     
  21. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    My darkroom is what once was a small dressing area adjacent to a bathroom. It sounds like it has access to running water but it really doesn't. The bathroom is tiny and the shower stall is too small to use as a print washing area without removing the shower doors so put in a tray or washer. The good part about it is that it is "dark". Anyway, it's not really practical to use the bathroom for washing film or prints.

    I've actually had very few darkrooms that had running water. I process my film at the kitchen sink and carry my prints in a holding tray to the kitchen for washing. Since my wife occasionally wants to use the kitchen for cooking, I have also just ordered a Versalab washer that I expect will speed up the process and get me out of her way a lot faster.

    As long as there's water available somewhere in the area, you can always carry your prints and film to the water for washing. It's a lot easier than carrying the water to the prints and film and cheaper than plumbing work.
     
  22. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Kip,

    I used one of those for years and it worked quite well...

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass
     
  23. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Based on my experience in extraction, from a chemical engineering perspective, the smaller the “tank” the better as long as there is sufficient room for print movement. Several changes of water in a small tray or tank or whatever is theoretically superior to either constantly moving or large stagnant quantities for removing small concentrations of whatever, in this case fixer et c.

    It makes sense when one considers the concentrations involved. Final washing involves a lot of pseudo-diffusion where molecules of hypo et al. migrate slowly through paper fibers and emulsion layers into a less concentrated solution – wash water. In the case of fiber paper, there is a lot of hypo that is attached to print materials in a loosely chemical bonding called mordent. This is similar to the “bonding” of some dyes in cloth. Normal diffusion mechanisms do not apply in this case and the washing is more or less at a constant rate – whether the water is moving or not.

    As others have mentioned, I also use a modified siphon technique, filling and emptying about a pint per minute for an hour (after all the preliminary prep with HCA et c.) I guarantee my framed prints against all damage from “normal” aging and so far, except for one delaminating print due to a cleanliness error during mounting, there have been zero complaints. (Now said, watch the complaints come rolling in!)

    Thorough washing is very important. If you have doubts as to the effectiveness, wash again, and always use a HCA.