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  1. #1

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    What to use for enlarger work table...

    I am setting up a darkroom, or a dark area, in the garage. To efficiently utilize the space and since darkroom stuff is relatively cheap now, I got a print processor and a print washer so I don't need much space for the wet space. For the enlarger, would it be best to get a table so I can sit on a chair or would one of those workbenchs with drawers sufficient? I don't mind standing for a long time (e.g. an hour or two is no problem) so the latter sounds appealing, especially then I can use the drawers for storage. Any recommendations?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    jp80874's Avatar
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    I bought two kitchen cabinets, put 2x4”s horizontally on the sides between them at the table height needed, then laid a ¾ sheet of plywood cut as a table top and screwed into the 2x4s. To make the whole thing more stable I put a sheet of plywood across the back of the two cabinets and table top. I screwed in a 2x4 at the join of the plywood sheets. I then screwed the back sheet of plywood into the wall studs. It has been good as an enlarger stand, but I suppose the table could double as a tornado shelter.

    The second enlarger is a Durst 138S converted to 8x10 cold light. It has a weighted floor stand. The top of the stand in bolted to the wall. Vibration is not on my wish list.

    John Powers

  3. #3
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Well... since you do not say where in the world you are, I will have to assume it's warm enough all year round to work in a garage.

    I think whatever you use as a bench, make sure it is sturdy and not extremely sensitive to vibration (wood is better than metal).

    The other thing to consider is that standing for long periods on concrete can play he!! on your back... I bought one of those rubber anti-fatigue mats for my darkroom... it's a good thing!

    Drawers are nice! You always need shelves, drawers or whatever. You could even make one of the drawers light-tight and use if like a paper safe while you are working.

    If you get a stool (as opposed to a chair) you could actually have it both ways... standing until you get tired, then sitting for a while. Just make sure you don't wonk the bench while you are exposing paper... makes for sore knees and ruined prints! haha

    Hope this helps a wee bit!
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  4. #4

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    I recently built a couple of tables from kitchen countertop material donated by a friend of mine. I use the larger one in my wet area and the smaller one as a stand for my enlarger (it's just large enough). I built both at about the height of a kitchen table, so I'm most comfortable using the tables sitting. I also bought a cheap office chair with wheels, so I can roll from the dry area to the wet area without standing up. Previously, I had my darkroom equipment on some ranky old bedroom dressers that came with my house. They were high enough that I had to stand, and I found that my feet didn't like that. (My darkroom sessions are typically 2-4 hours long.)

  5. #5
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Similarly to John, I used 3 kitchen units from my local DIY store to make an 8' long worktop (http://www.apug.org/forums/attachmen...tachmentid=914). They are screwed together through their sides and pulled out about 9" from the wall to give the width needed to fit the enlarger. A 2x1 strip of timber goes along the wall behind them at the same height as the top of the units. The top is a counter unit which is screwed to the timber strip on the wall and screwed to the units using the brackets that came with them for fixing the normal kitchen counter top. It happily held two 4x5 enlargers (now only one).

    See the Darkroom Portrait thread for tons of ideas (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/10966-darkroom-portraits.html).

    Cheers, Bob

  6. #6
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Another option for a counter top is a solid core door. These slabs are available at lumber yards in paint-grade with a hard surface (masonite) and are flat and heavy (1 3/8" or 1 3/4" thick). They are available from 2' x 6' 8" up to 3' x 6' 8" as standard sizes. Get one without the hinge mortise or lockset hole and you have a pretty good work area. Best to use a sealer on all sides and edges to protect from moisture (don't use latex paint, too clammy when it dries). Another option is the particle board with a fused surface called "melamine" to have a slick surface which is water resistant. It is available in different colors, but is best with an edge applied to the working side. tim

  7. #7

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    It's not that hard to pick up some 2x4" or 4x4s and to build a custom table. Top it with some MDF or some plywood or whatever your heart likes.

    You can build it to the height that works best for you. To the width and depth you like. Cost will likely be less then any prebuilt.

    The only real skill needed is being able to screw it all together. Odds are if you have something like Home Depot nearby they'll even cut the lumber to size if you ask.

    4x4s for legs or 2 2x4s sistered together. 2x4s for the rest. Might not look pretty but done well it'll be strong enough to stand a mule on.

  8. #8

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    I use an old computer desk propped up on cinder-blocks. Gives me the base height of about crotch level and an open bay of shelves (no drawers in this cheapo) perfect of keeping paper boxes.

    Wood is definately the way to go to reduce vibration.

  9. #9

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    I've used a door with 2x4's for a table before, works well and is cheap provided you don't mind a bit of sway. I used it for a drymount press and rotary trimmer.

    I found an old office desk that weighed atleast 350lbs waiting to be thrown out.
    It was left outside behind an old building. Worked out very well, extremely stable..
    Many drawers, etc. I used cinderblocks to prop it up, too.

    Places like www.sciplus.com usually have surplus materials like 1 to 3mil vinyl sheeting with adhesive, great for covering your tables. I love that site.

  10. #10

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    Since I still use garage for cars, I had to be creative in space utilization ( a 6' X 7' space in garage contains 2 enlargers, contact printing area for AZO, and dry mount/matting area). One of the Durst L1000 enlargers is wall mounted on a rail. For the other Durst L1000 I created a wall mounted table out of 2X4s & 2X6s that is very stable. The table has no shelving underneath so I can store a stool there as well as getting close to the table while printing (dodging, burning, etc.).
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

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