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  1. #1

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    Drums for 4x6 feet photopaper development?

    Good day to you,

    Does any of you develop darkroom (silver) photos size 4 or 5 feet by 6 or 7 feet??
    If so, I would be happy to know, in which containers you do development, stopbath and fixing?

    I have bought a couple of rolls of paper (one Ilford 300 Art, looking especially forward to that), and have the idea to find suitable PVC- or other tubes, diameter one to two feet and length 7 feet or so, and make bottom and lid. Like an overgrown Jobo tube that you roll on the flor while you whistle a little tune.

    I would prefer to keep the smell inside a container rather than using the roling forth and back method in open halftube.

    I guess handling this large surface is not practical when it has become soaked, so it will have to stay sticked to the tubes inner surface while changing to stopbath and fixer and first wash. Could this be a problem? Seemes to go well in Jobo drums for smaller formats. If I find nice and not too heavy tubes, I have the idea of an additional thin flexible but still stiff sheet the size of the photopaper, "glue" (with water) paper to sheet and then move it between three tubes, each still with only a few liters of liquid.

    --- Or do you simply have the space for large brickbuild or whatever tanks? --- or maybe enormous flat sinks with covering lids??

    Looking forward to learn of your experiences - regards from danish analog fan, hmm new user name maybe, Danealog

  2. #2

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    I have heard that extra large sheets such as you are suggesting were developed by using a paint roller dipped in the developer and the developer allowed to work until there was no more activity. The same was then done with stop bath and the fixer. Needless to say this required a large room with a stone floor and facilities to hose the print down afterwards. It seems a monumental task and not one I would care to undertake.

    Alternatively, you could make large shallow dishes out of thin plywood (you would not need to be a qualified carpenter) and line it with sheets of polythene (waterproof tape any seems). That would not be too expensive and eminently more practical than the roller method.

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    B&W chems don't smell too awfully bad, actually some have almost or no smell at all. I have done a couple of large prints in a home made trough. I used plastic sheeting for a liner and a removable dam at one end to drain chems. I haven't tried the paint roller trick, but that sounds interresting. Either method, you'll find yourself busier than a one armed paper hanger.
    Rick A
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    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  4. #4
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    bob carnie makes big prints but not in tubes. If you want tubes, this is what you need:https://www.whitecap.com/categories/Columnform
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  5. #5
    AndreasT's Avatar
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    You mean 4x5 feet, that would be about 120x150cm right. Metric system over here.
    I problem with making a drum and put the paper inside is that when the paper gets wet and soaks up liquid it gets heavy and collapses into iself.
    Besides the drums would be gigantic and you would need to build a new house for them.
    I have made numerous prints ranging up to the size of about 140x280cm, being about 4,7x9 feet.
    I developed them in long drays about 150x50x20cm large and rolled the print. There is also a rolling device made by Deville to develope such large pictures.

  6. #6
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with this, I would be worried that the print would collapse upon itself.


    I use very large trays specially built for my darkroom to make big prints.
    You also can make large holding tanks 55 inches x 2ft x 1ft depth and scroll your prints by hand, you need to leave a border for handling , but we do this all the time with
    fibre paper.. In our case 30 inch x 12ft pieces of paper with no issues , but I see no issue with 50 inch x 12 ft prints.

    We do this for ganged up images that are printed on our lambda , then in a monster tray we cut down the individual images for post treatment.
    There are other labs that use a roller transport for this purpose, but we prefer the hand prints.. We have been doing this since 2002,
    I learned to scroll prints back in the 80's . Made some murals on the weekend on the new Art 300 paper and for sure this paper would collapse in a tube.



    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasT View Post
    You mean 4x5 feet, that would be about 120x150cm right. Metric system over here.
    I problem with making a drum and put the paper inside is that when the paper gets wet and soaks up liquid it gets heavy and collapses into iself.
    Besides the drums would be gigantic and you would need to build a new house for them.
    I have made numerous prints ranging up to the size of about 140x280cm, being about 4,7x9 feet.
    I developed them in long drays about 150x50x20cm large and rolled the print. There is also a rolling device made by Deville to develope such large pictures.

  7. #7

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    Mural-making technique has been thoroughly discussed on this forum. Search under "mural" or "large print" and you'll find a bunch of info. To summarize, there are a number of different techniques ranging from sponging chemistry across the sheet of paper to attempting development in tubes a la Jobo, as you've suggested. I've made over a thousand b/w fiber murals in the past twenty-five years and my preferred technique is very similar to Bob's except with some minor differences (e.g. I use just two trays and much less chem. per bath than Bob). The salient point is this - scrolling is essential to repeatable, exhibition quality results. Trays should be at least four inches deep x 12 inches wide. Beveled sides will make scrolling easier. Less chemistry (mine is only an inch deep) means less drag, faster scrolls, and less liquid weight in the ctr. of the scroll to cause crimping when removing from the bath. The cylinder of the scroll is what gives the sheet of paper structural integrity and thus provides a method to make a crimp-free, evenly developed print.

  8. #8

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    Going to pass on a secret I learned a few years back about doing large paper...

    1---light does not go around corners.
    2---night-time is dark

    I was able to do some larger stuff in the backyard by rigging up clotheslines that I hung blankets on-- the top of my developing space was bare sky. On a moonless clear night I was able to develop paper just fine outside. While mine were more poster sized, I had built a "tray" on the ground with 2x4s and covered with plastic. I used paint brushes to slosh developer on the paper and then just hosed it down to stop. Fix was about the same as developer with maybe a 6 quarts of fix used in total and then just washed off with the hose. Most of the chemistry was collected at the end of each process with sponges.
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
    * When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *

  9. #9
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Makes sense to me , unique way of getting around a somewhat expensive process.

    QUOTE=Jeff Searust;1398346]Going to pass on a secret I learned a few years back about doing large paper...

    1---light does not go around corners.
    2---night-time is dark

    I was able to do some larger stuff in the backyard by rigging up clotheslines that I hung blankets on-- the top of my developing space was bare sky. On a moonless clear night I was able to develop paper just fine outside. While mine were more poster sized, I had built a "tray" on the ground with 2x4s and covered with plastic. I used paint brushes to slosh developer on the paper and then just hosed it down to stop. Fix was about the same as developer with maybe a 6 quarts of fix used in total and then just washed off with the hose. Most of the chemistry was collected at the end of each process with sponges.[/QUOTE]

  10. #10

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    Thank you

    Thank you all for comments and advices,
    and not the least, warnings on the behavior of wet FB paper in large sizes. Saved me from hospitals closed area following struggles with sqaremeters of wet paper entangling me like a Python.
    I appreciate your infomation on your experiences with different methods of rolling, scrolling, swamping and others methods of development and practical advices on the building of devices. And your references, hereamong to a 100 years old instruction, fascinating thought.
    So, to play it save for a beginning, I may start with scrolling in halftube trenches. Also, to take a beginners route, begin with smaller sizes to get the feeling of it, as well as learn of differences, if any, in shadow and highlight behavior between submerges tray development and more or less airexposed development. And then go on with the scale up.
    I look very much forward to this proces, and I have certainly written your advices and recommendations behind my ear, once again thank you very much.

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