According to Arnold (here in California), only "[COLOR=Plum]Girlie-men photographers[/COLOR]" use persnickity Patterson plastic. The solution is to switch to (the more manly) Hewes stainless steel reels.
[SIZE=1]The (appropriately) discarded Pattersons should be responsibly recycled, of course. [/SIZE]
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I suggest to do what you initially did not want to do.
Do it in daylight. Use old film or waste a couple of rolls and practice in the daylight and check out the lay of the land. Look closely at what is happening and make your corrections.
In the long run it may be less costly and save you time and money.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
Good to hear it's working a little better! Re the Patersons, my suggestion was to throw away the reels - by all means keep the tanks! The AP reels are the same size as the Patersons, so you get the best of both worlds IMO with AP reels in Paterson tanks... Onwards!
I've used these reels for going on 20 years and over that time learned all the "tricks of the trade" that have been posted here. After years of pulling my hair out in frustration and cursing like a druken sailor I accidently hit on the one thing that has helped more than all the others. Relative humidity - or lack of to be exact. I live in the southern US where RH levels can be horrible in the summer. The emulsion on the film is extremely hygroscopic - it will suck up moisture like crazy, and when it does it gets really sticky and will fight sliding in the reel, the more film you get into the reel the greater the resistance. Buy a dehumidifier and set it to 45% - 50%. It's great !
"It is only the auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art" - Oscar Wilde
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If you are just starting out, it may well be worth the time and cost of sacrificing a roll of film by loading a spiral with the light on. The idea is to experience the kind of tactile feedback that the reel and film give you in the dark, but with the lights on to see what is causing those things. That way, when it later happens in the dark, you have some idea of what is happening and have a better chance of knowing what to do about it.
One of the quirks of walk-in spirals (Patterson or Yankee) is that they tend to start binding as you get close to the end of the film. Remember that with walk-in reels, you are loading from the outside in, so as you get close to the end of the strip of film, you are forcing the entire strip to slip through the spiral as you feed more film onto the roll. Someone pointed out that the spiral must be absolutely dry - otherwise the film will "grab" onto the spiral and won't budge. But it sometimes binds even though the spiral is dry. I find that when this happens, wiggling the two halves of the spiral often will free up the binding and allow the rest of the roll to load.
Another possibility is that the film is actually too long to load into the spiral. I have frequently found that I have several inches of film that won't fit into the spiral that I just wrap around the outside of the reel. Sometimes this tail end contains images, and sometimes not, but at least it gets developed and I can later decide what to do about it.
To start with, I took a roll of film - and as I sat watching the TV, practiced loading with eyes closed. If I met a "snag" in ether the JOBO or Patterson reels - I use both - I would open my eyes and notice what caused it .. then - close the eyes - and try again. It took about three days of spare time - one will know when your significant other "breaks" and informs you that - "One more time - and it will be your last." It is a matter of "muscle memory". In the ten / fifteen years following, I think I've misloaded two rolls of 120 without noticing the error.
One error that will cause trouble is squeezing the reel flanges together - that is something of a reflex reaction - from trying too hard to load the reel.
It is a good thing to perform reel maintenance regularly. I do not use Kodak Photoflow - even Edwal LFN wetting agent seems to leave something of a build-up. SCRUB the inside film tracks of the reels with dishwashing detergent and a toothbrush thoroughly to restore "slippery-ness". Works for me.
Ed Sukach, FFP.