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Thread: Darkroom Dilema

  1. #1
    Matthew Cherry's Avatar
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    Darkroom Dilema

    Hello fine member of APUG, I'm hoping you can help me make a decision...

    My current "darkroom" setup is an enlarger sitting on a file cabinet in my laundry room, which has a sink and small bit of countertop for me to place my trays. There's no where for me to place my print washer, where it can be in service all the time. My JOBO is on a stand next to my washer. It's a small room, but to me not a a bad size. The biggest obstacle is that it houses a full size washer and dryer (positioned across from each other) that I have to work around. On the plus side, there is only one window, which I walled off and installed a plexi print viewing board. Additionally, as my landlord had used the room as a basement kitchen years ago, there is a electric ventilation above where the small stove used to be. There is, however, no heat or cooling in this room.

    This laundry room opens up to large mailroom (split level house), so it's kind of a basement. That room also only has one window. Currently, I have my desk, a small conference table, bookshelves and a workstation with my drymount press, rotary cutter, etc. Basically a working office. There is, what was once a bar area right next to the laundry room that is essentially going unused.

    I'm doing some work on the house of the owner and he has agreed to let me modify the basement/laundry room however I want. I can either take everything out of the laundry room (except for the washer and dryer) build a custom sink (max length 6', unless I make an "L" shape, then I could get another 2'), some shelving etc.

    Or

    I could remove the bar that's there and use that space for my darkroom - I just can't wall it off. So the downside would be I'd have to wall off the other window (which is no great shakes) and I'd have to put my computers to sleep whenever I print. On the plus side, I'd be able to set up my second enlarger that is currently in my garage, along with a color print processor. My print washer would have a home of it's own and so would my jobo. I have a Thomas Duplex safe light so I can easily light the space. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to install good ventilation, however.

    What would you guys do, take an open corner of a basement, or fit out the laundry room that's contained within it, even though it would be a bit small and limiting?

    I hope this all made sense - I look forward to hearing your responses.

    Best,

    Matthew Cherry

  2. #2
    PDH
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    In the distant past I had a small dark room in a laundery room, I dont know if yours washer dyer are side by side, but I built a shelf to sit over the washer dryer, 2 X 4 box with 1/2 ply board making up the shelf. I was able to fit a couple of trays over the washer dryer, I had a large sink so washing prints or negatives was not a problem. You can use of the other rooms as your dry room for enlager and use the laundery room for wet work.

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    fotch's Avatar
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    Open corner. Can you hang some black plastic or make some temporary partitions out of 2x2's?
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  4. #4
    Matthew Cherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    Open corner. Can you hang some black plastic or make some temporary partitions out of 2x2's?
    That was my inclination as well, but the landlord is now reconsidering my tearing out the "bar" area. So it may be done in the laundry room. Not super happy about that Either way, I'll take pictures of it later and with the construction effort.

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    PDH
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    I just talked to guy the other day at Tempe Camera who built a tent out of PCP piping and blackout cloth in his garage, has a small AC set up, to cool just the tent. Told me it is about 6X12 but could be make any size, the door seals with velcrow (sp?) I did not have to disucss how he put to tent together, sewed or taped? My conern would be dust, lots of dust in the desert, he will need to vacume the inside of the tent often.

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    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    You don't need the print washer in the dark. So if you could put it out in another area with running water that might work. You could collect the prints in a holding tray if the washer is far away. Just an idea - don't know if it would work for you.

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    Your setup sounds like mine (2500x1800mm laundry). What I did was install a set of flatpack cupboards and a benchtop along the long wall. The clothes washer lives under the bench and there are three sets of 600mm cupboards also under there in which I store chemistry. There are additional high cupboards above the bench: enlarger lenses, timers, meters, etc, more chemistry and laundry detergents.

    From left to right on the bench there is: sink, Jobo, about 350mm of space (for paper and timer) and then the enlarger. The upper cupboards are 1600 long and above the sink+Jobo; the 900mm gap makes room for the enlarger which (on the benchtop) reaches nearly to the ceiling. In the 200mm above the high cupboards I've got speakers and safe lights.

    Things you might consider:
    - definitely a set of custom bench/cupboards can save you space by building-in unavoidable appliances and keeping the room above them available
    - the print washer doesn't need to be in the darkroom; could you plunk it down in the bar area assuming there's water there?
    - consider wall-mounting the dryer if there is room or if it will make some room for you, otherwise put it under the bench with the washer
    - could you maybe move the clothes dryer out into the other basement area? It probably doesn't need any plumbing unless it has an external vent.

    I would be extremely keen if I were you to keep the dryer out of the darkroom for dust+lint reasons.



 

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