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  1. #11

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    Whatever you use, you want something rigid, stable, and heavy so that the enlarger has a perfectly immovable platform, otherwise you can get the enlarger equivalent of camera shake. I use an old chest of drawers, which holds paper, lenses and other kit.

    David.

  2. #12
    rbarker's Avatar
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    The ideal enlarger work surface is a block of granite of the appropriate dimensions. Chiselling out the shelves, however, can be a real bear.

    Short of that, I agree with the other's suggestions of using commonly available components, but maximizing rigidity and stability. For example, 3/4" plywood makes a nice tabletop - if the front and rear edges are reinforced. I glued a 1x2 along the front edge of mine to accomplish that, and the sides and back are screwed to a frame to provide the rigidity.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  3. #13
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    In regard to granite, be aware that sometimes you can find scraps of granite or syntheti quartz countertops from stone companies that install kitchen countertops. If you leave the edges rough cut and use the scraps you can get nice stuff that is easy to clean and keep dust free.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #14

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    Been using a sears & sawbucks workbench for the enlargers. It has three drawers & one swing open door w/2 shelves. Trays etc go on a solid core door with 1 1/4' PVC legs w/PVC bracing.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #15

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    The basic answer is something sturdy. Also something that sits firmly on the floor. You can't afford to have wobbles or vibration, but many small tables will do the trick. I have a very small darkroom, and I use a small desk to hold the enlarger. It's handy because I can use the drawers for lenses and paper and stuff. I attached a little shelf to hold the timer and the color analyzer, and I braced up the back overhang of the enlarger copyboard. The desk provides a good working height, which is important. Many find it better (more sturdy) to remove the enlarger from the copyboard and attach it to the wall. The same requirements for firmness still apply, though. You can't have the image move on the paper, which means the paper must stay still. There are some commercial tables made, and they have some advantages.

  6. #16
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    Whatever you use to make your table or bench, be sure to leave about a 4 or 5 inch overhang to the top shelve so you can work close to the enlarger without jostling it constantly, for example when you use a grain focus device.

    Cheers

  7. #17

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    How about an old steel/metal office desk or two low cabinets with a piece of pine wood on top?

    I personally think making a table with 2x4"s and a plywood is the best way to go because it's cheap but solid, and you can adjust it anytime you want.

  8. #18

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    desk baseboard

    The desk ideas are really good. I found an old wooden desk, not 350 lbs, but I bet it is 200 lbs. I mounted an 8x10 enlarger to the wall and use the desk as bottom support. The drawers are a bonus.
    Jack

  9. #19
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    working height

    I don't think a sitting desk would be a good choice unless you elevate it or happen to be short in physical stature. You will want to set your table height to a comfortable working level, so when you bend to focus or make some adjustment at your work area, your back is not over-taxed. You also donít want your work surface too high. Next to your enlarger choice, good bench and tray/sink heights can be the most important darkroom decisions you make.

    A good way to find out where to start is to stand upright with your arms at your side with your 'good' hand flat, level and palm down. Whatever measurement you get from the heel of the hand to the floor would be the minimal working surface height. This method is what I used to determine the surface height for several workbenches and I have found it to work pretty well. I donít think youíll want to add more than an inch/inch-and-a-half to this measurement. You also want to keep any floor mat height in mind when tweaking your worktable.

    Cheers

  10. #20
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Eli's advice is good, but you also need to be careful about enlarger height with the bigger enlargers. I'm tall enough that putting my D5-XL at the height he suggests puts the head too near an 8 foot high ceiling, so I have a sturdy desk height table (actually a custom made enlarger table that I built) that I sit at for the enlarger. I also cut a relief curve in the front of the table to make it comfortable to use a grain focuser when making smaller enlargements nearer the back of the table (a slanted enlarger column).

    My wet side is at 41 inches, perfect for my height when standing at trays, running a Jobo, or hand developing film. (However, the 11 year olds I'm teaching have problems with my setup.)

    So I get a mix of standing and sitting for long printing sessions, which I find good.

    Lee

    Edit: For some reason the post from Eli was garbled (and labled as being from Phil) when I started typing, then disappeared and came back under Eli's name, maybe an HTML glitch or simultaneous editing. In any case, make sure you have enough room to get your enlarger head to full height beneath whatever ceiling you have. That's probably not a big issue in a garage, but in common basement and attic installations it can become a problem.
    Last edited by Lee L; 01-05-2006 at 11:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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