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Thread: Versalab query

  1. #1
    PhotoBob's Avatar
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    Versalab query

    Hi Everyone,
    Just wondering if any one has experience using the Versalab archival print washers.
    I recently ordered one and thought it would be nice to find out if there are others out there that use this product and what they think of it.
    Comparing washers out there - I found the price a very significant factor.
    Follow the Light John 8:12
    ~~~PhotoBob

  2. #2
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    I've owned and used the Versalab 16x20 model for about seven or eight years now and I'm completely satisfied. It's a big unit, both in size and weight (about 220-lbs/100-kg when filled). I had to build a custom frame to support a custom overflow sink that holds the washer itself. This kept it outside my modest 6-ft/1.8-m sink, and assured fail-safe unattended operation via a timer on my water tempering equipment.

    The only issue I can think of that might be a problem for some is that the divided sections for each print are not isolated. The water mixes between "compartments" so that a final wash must await the final print to be added. For me this is only a minor concern. I usually finish printing sessions late at night, then set the timer and go to bed.

    I did purchase the 20x24-inch auxiliary print rack, but have never used it. I just wanted to guarantee I had it in case it became unavailable down the road.

    I would not think twice about recommending the Versalab washers. In fact, I have actually done so several times in the past. I prefer tough, overdesigned equipment that I don't have to baby or worry about.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  3. #3

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    I've got the 11x14 and have been very pleased with it. Do it.

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    Jeff Bannow's Avatar
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    I really like our 16x20 Versalab as well. Very well built and works great.
    - Jeff (& sometimes Eva, too) - http://www.jeffbannow.com

  5. #5

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    Good Morning, Bob,

    Ditto to the comments above. I'm very satisfied with my 11 x 14 model.

    Konical

  6. #6
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Konical View Post
    Ditto to the comments above. I'm very satisfied with my 11 x 14 model.
    ditto again

  7. #7
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Bought an 11x14 a month ago..a breeze to put together, well built, light (without the water obviously) and fits perfectly in my laundry room sink. Love it!

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I have the 11x14 version, and after having used it to wash most of my prints I have found after a few years that parts of some prints will yellow, even after extended washing (2 hours +) in 70 degree F water.

    The problem I attribute to the print surface actually being in full contact with the divider walls inside the washer. It doesn't seem to matter what flow rate I'm at either, from lowest to highest possible. I still can't see the front of the print (or back, depending on how the paper bows) releasing fully from the plastic dividers. This is enough to make me nervous.

    Prints I sell are always washed in a tray with a tray siphon, which I have found does a 100% perfect job as I don't see the same problems in any of those prints (some of my own prints are washed this way too).

    So now I use the Versa Lab as a pre-wash of sorts, and finish off with a 30 minute wash in a tray. Just to be safe.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    My prints are never in anything approaching "full contact" with the dividers, the water stream in each division keeps them suspended in between. They might touch here and there briefly, but only for a second or two. They never, ever stick. I have even used mine for washing 5x7 and 8x10 negs, and if something was going to stick it would be those. But they don't. There's something not right with yours. My guess would be the flow isn't strong enough, or isn't directed properly, or both. You do have to wait until its almost full to put things in, if you don't maybe THEN they might stick.

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Wayne, the washer is always full before I put prints in it.
    The water flow rate is up to the maximum, where it would overflow if I had higher flow rate.
    I have tried to turn the nozzle tube and to no avail. A lot of the prints basically are in constant contact with the side walls, and seemingly there is nothing I can do about it. Some are right in the middle with some papers, but if I print on Ilford, for example, the paper has a natural bow to it that causes a large portion of the print surface to be in direct contact with the side wall for the duration of the wash cycle.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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