Actually I had posted a pic of mine prior to me moving out and you moving in. So it's there somewhere. For a dark-hovel it's pretty functional. And hey you get Wayne as a added bonus LOL!
Originally Posted by walter23
Not sure how much anybody looks at this thread anymore, but heres the proposed layout for my 1st real darkroom. Up until now I've been using a filing cabinet tipped on its side as my wet side and the floor for my dry side. It will be nice to actually be able to stand when I'm printing. I'd love whatever suggestions anyone might have.
What's the plumbing and electrical like and were is it located, basement, upper, etc.. Looks like you have enough room, how large are your prints going to be?
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
You plan shows a safelight in the center of the room. If this is a Thomas or similar, it will certainly provide bright and safe lighting of the room. The only drawback is the enlarger table is also lit all the time. The Thomas units are quite good (and expensive) but I find it a bit annoying to have the enlarger table constanly lit. I set up my darkroom with 2 10x12 lights bounced off the ceiling over the sink, which provides safe even light there, but falls off sharply to the dry side. I have a small light over the enlarger table connected to the timer, so that the safelight goes off whenever the enlarger is on, which helps for focusing and dodging/burning. Something to consider.
"I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.
Something to think about - would you be able to get out of your darkroom in the event of fire?
In a perfect world, you would have a second exit - maybe just a weak wall that you could kick through in an emergency. Frankly, I don't have that in my darkroom, but I've thought through the options and concluded that it isn't practical. But at least you should ask the question.
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The darkroom will be located in the basement. I will be building everything myself, except for the sink which I will try to find cheap, people are constantly giving them away on Craigs List. I will be enlarging some MF and 4x5 negs as large as 20x24 although that will be relatively rare, my normal print size is 11x14 or 16x20. I will also be contact printing 8x10. The electrical is partly there already although I will also add to that. I was thinking 10 or so outlets spread around the room and 2 on the ceiling? I probably won't use that many, but I'd rather have too many instead of too little.
The plumbing is a bit tricky. I have a septic system, and although the plumbing runs directly above where I'm building, I've been told it might get expensive and complicated to reroute it into the darkroom. I don't have enough skills to do it myself either so that will be even more costly. So for now I will be carrying water down from upstairs until I can sit down with someone and really figure out the logistics and the cost. I plan on being here for a while though so I'm not too worried about having to add on later.
I actually prefer to have an extremely dark darkroom all the way around, so the one safelight I have is very dim and will fall off pretty much everywhere except for the center of the room.
The fire exit is a good idea, I hadn't even thought of it. Once I start framing everything in I'll have to look and see if its practical, although once out of the darkroom there are 3 other exits to the basement so those may be able to serve me well in case of an emergency.
Two other questions, 2 of the walls are already in place, but they are the cement foundation walls. What are opinions on leaving them that way? Good, bad, or does it matter? I have no real objection to framing them in but if I could get away with leaving them as is its even less work. Also, does anyone have suspended ceilings in their darkroom? If so, do they work fine? I have lots of duct work and plumbing above where i'm building that might need to be accessed at some point and so my only option is to leave it bare, which I'd rather not do, or suspended ceilings. Just wondering. Sorry for rambling but thanks to everyone!
As far as the foundation walls are concerned, there are two considerations: first, can you adquately control dust factor by painting it? Second, involves the climate in which you live and whether adding insulation would be beneficial. Framing it does give you easier options for mounting stuff to the wall by screwing into the studs. Extruded polystyrene foam boards are a good option for this kind of insulation, inexpensive and easy to install yourself. 2" thickness generally about R10 value. Do not use fiberglass or moisture barriers like plastic below grade.
Originally Posted by dc1215
I have a suspended ceiling in mine and I consider it well worth it - helps to better seal out light leaks coming from above and controls dust from above.
"I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.
Given that you are starting from scratch:
I would make a much larger sink, especially since you seem to be more handy than I am. A 7 foot sink seems inadequate for all of the space that you have. I would shoot for a 12 foot sink (e.g. 8 ft + 4 ft). That way you have rooms for the large trays you mention and a paper washer. Likewise, if you use a Jobo you might have room to leave it in place.
I don't know why it would be difficult to get water lines run to the room. Any plumber should be able to do that. The harder part is getting water out of the room, especially in a basement. Do you have floor drains?
I would limit the chemical storage shelves. The attract dust and all the ones I have seem are usually a mess. Perhaps a long shelf or two above the 12 foot sink would suffice. I would use the space for a deep counter/table top to accomodate a dry mount press and/or paper trimmer.
Likewise, for the "extra shelving" I would put another countertop with storage above and below. You can't have enough sink or counter top space.
I would use 2 safelights, one near the sink and one near the enlarger. You could operate them independently. Also, you have some redundancy in case one burns out mid-session. I hate changing the bulbs and usually can't find a spare anyway. Thomas safelights are great but so bright that they fog paper in my darkroom. Also, placing the safelight in the middle of the room guarantees that you will cast a shadow on whatever you are trying to see.
Also, I gave up on drying racks. Dust magnets, a nuisance to clean (because they are large and many), and take up valuable real estate. Instead, I use retractable vinyl covered clothes lines that stay clean and dust free. I hang the prints to dry with small clamps. Also, by dring the prints vertically, I can dry more at once than on racks. Instead of the print drying racks, I would get a good, enclosed negative dryer like an Arkay.
So, if possible, I would move the entry door to the middle where the chemical shelves are. Expand the sink to use up the entire 12 foot wall. Put the enlarger table where the extra shelving is. Eliminate the drying racks and put in a counter top with storage above/below + negative dryer; and use a couple of retractable clothes lines with clamps for paper drying.
Just my take and some ideas. Enjoy the project.
Getting water into the darkroom is not especially difficult. You would have to tap into existing supply lines that are probably copper, and than probably means soldering. That's not hard to do, and the material costs are not significant, but it's intimidating for a newbie and hiring a plumber is always expensive. You might ask to see if any friends or relatives are willing to help you with that.
Getting water out of the darkroom is another matter if the main drain to the septic system is above the level of the sink in the darkroom. That's the situation in my darkroom, and my solution is to drain into a reservoir (a Rubbermaid bin), and then use a sump pump to pump the water high enough to get into the house drain. If you have a floor drain in the basement (into an existing sump with a pump), the problem may not be too challenging.
Receptacles - I heartily agree with your desire to go hog wild!. Just be sure to use a GFI receptacle at the point where power enters the darkroom. You want your prints to glow, not your eyes and ears!
As to the walls, you could leave them bare concrete, but providing a sheet rock wall would be better. In our former home, the basement walls were cinderblock, and I chose erect sheet rock walls over light framing. Our present home is new, and by code the basement walls were framed and insulated. I simply added a layer of sheet rock to create a sealed envelope around the darkroom so as to manage both light and dust.
In my former darkroom I used a sheet rock ceiling. The main advantage was that it was cheap. In the new place I used a suspended ceiling. The reason was twofold. One was that I wanted to be able to get access to piping and other stuff above the ceiling. The other was that I had a beam running across the darkroom and I could suspend the ceiling below the beam and have a uniform ceiling height. The dropped ceiling works fine - I did have to so some fussing around the edges to make it totally light-tight.
The one thing I would strongly recommend against is doing nothing - open ceiling joists would be a major source of dust.
One safelight versus two - purely a matter of choice. I have two - one aimed at the ceiling above my enlarger, and one aimed at the ceiling above my sink.
Ventilation: providing for continuous fresh air makes working in the darkroom much more pleasant and less tiring. You could use a bathroom extractor, but they tend to be very noisy. Also, the best ventilation scheme is positive pressurization where you blow air into the darkroom with the blower located remotely so that its noise won't be heard in the darkroom. I boxed in the space between a couple of ceiling joists outside my darkroom, and added a track so that I could slide in a furnace filter into the bottom of the "box" formed between the joists. I mounted a computer-style muffin fan at one end of the box, and then piped over from the fan outlet to the darkroom wall using the vinyl duct material intended for bathroom ventilators. The result is that my ventilation system is almost totally silent.
Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to frame in those concrete walls. In the long run I think it will be much more beneficial to have them in. The suspended ceilings are also going to happen most likely. I would rather go with sheetrock, but everything above needs to be accessible so thats my only option and it sounds like it will work out fine.
Jerold thanks for all of your layout ideas. I hadn't thought about some of them and actually did decide to get rid of one of the shelving areas, move the door a bit and put in some counter space for finishing. And the retractable clotheslines were already on my list, for negative drying at least, we'll have to see what happens with the prints once they go into practice. All of this is in theory of course. We'll see what happens when I actually start building.
The plumbing I'll figure out after all of the framing is done. Louie, I thought the same as you as far as just tapping into the existing pipes and rerouting it, however I was told that I would have to get a whole other pump to get water down there, along with one to pump it back out since there is no drainage in the floor. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but I do know a good amount of people who could help me out for very little if anything, so I'm not too worried about it, and like I said its going to be a work in progress for a while to come.
Also, thanks for the ventilation suggestions. I hadn't really thought about how I wanted to do that yet, I guess I was just planning on using a bathroom fan, but I do like the idea of having one thats pretty much silent.
I'm going to pick up some lumber after work tomorrow and I'll frame all of the walls and maybe start the electrical on Wednesday. In the meantime, any other suggestions are more than welcome and thanks so much to everyone who has already pitched in