Working on turning a very small room into a darkroom.
I know that's not recommended, but it's what we've got to work with.
It's about 7' square, maybe a little longer on one side.
It has one window and a door on the adjacent wall, the plan is that the chemicals would be under the window (To help make the ventilation easier) , and the enlargers (a Besseler 23CII and hopefully a Besseler 4x5) would be on the opposing wall.
I know we will have long printing sessions, and I know photo chemicals aren't good for your brain.
I don't however, have any idea what to look for in terms of venting out the place.
Are there vent's/fans built for this purpose or do we have to create some odd light tight fan apparatus thing?
How close should the fan be to the chemistry and how powerful should it be? Should there be one in the doorway too for a crossbreeze?
What would you recomend for both light tighting the room and the fans/whatever we end up using?
I don't have any ventilation in my darkroom, and I haven't fallen deathly ill yet.
That doesn't sound quite right.
Originally Posted by reub2000
Do you go on 13 hour printing binges?
Do you have 8 foot ceilings in a 7'x7' room?
And do you have gasmask on during printing?
I was under the impression the fumes from the chemistry generally got quite bad, and the only reason I didn't notice it at school was the fact that they're huge rooms with tall ceilings and good ventilation. Is that not right?
You might like to start looking here:
A small fan together with a light-trapped vent could both be fitted to the door of your darkroom (easiest solution).
You don't "need" ventilation in a b+w darkroom, the chemicals are relatively low in toxicity. but ventilation makes a darkroom a much nicer place to work and also reduces the long-term risk of allergies, bronchitis, etc.
Robbo, you should have reasonable ventilation, otherwise the long term effects could be felt in about 10 - 20 years time.
In my darkroom I took out a piece of glass from the window frame and inserted a bathroom wall exhaust fan on a piece of 6 ply board.
I built a light tight box on the inside out of 3 ply board. Very much like the light tight doorways in darkrooms that only have baffles.
You should do a search on the forum for darkrooms, one of the threads is one that shows many, many pictures of different darkroom set-ups.
The smallest regular darkroom(s) I have used over the previous 25 years before I built my current darkroom, were usually converted wardrobes (closets in America) or under stairs type of cupboards. In other words, miniscule rooms
I myself, when doing marathon printing sessions, usually have a break for a cup of hot chocolate about 3 hours into a late evening early morning session. Really gets the creative urge going again.
One of the things I have done in various darkrooms over the years, is to open the door(s) up as reasonably often as I could, this allows fresh and sometimes cooler air into your working environment.
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13 hours? I could not do that without many break. Stuff like bathroom breaks, meal breaks, checking "my posts" on apug and my e-mail.
I don't find the fumes to be that noxious. Then again, I've always suspected that there's something wrong with my sense of smell.
Also, if something is bothering you, change to a different chemical. I was getting rashes after using chemicals containing metol, so I no longer use metol containing developers.
Originally Posted by RoBBo
You don't know the meaning of the word! I'd consider 7' square luxury!
My darkroom/dark-cupboard is a walk-in wardrobe off the bedroom. I don't have any (cough) ventilation and (wheeze) have never had any (gasp) problems at all (vomit).
Seriously, I've never had any problems in 37 years of using b/w chemicals and even the smell doesn't worry me. It goes with the territory, as they say, in much the same way as that wonderful smell from a steam engine.
Smell??? B&W chemicals smell??? Geez, I never noticed that!
Originally Posted by Steve Roberts
Seriously, in the almost 30 years I've had darkrooms, the smell has never bothered me at all. Whenever I hear someone who has recently fallen into the digitrap trying to justify their path down that road to perdition by saying, "Oh, and you don't have to mess with those stinky chemicals," I reply that "I beg your pardon, maybe your chemicals stink, but mine don't. Maybe you should check your pants."
Joking apart, it is foolish to take any risk with chemicals, particularly if you have a preference for such substances as pyro developer or sulfide or selenium toners. I am personally fairly immune to allergies etc but as a legacy of 7 years professional work as a youth I have a dust mite allergy (which started when I was working in a museum darkroom with a filthy airconditioning system) and also suffer from rhinitis, which means I find it hard to breath if I attempt to do darkroom work when I have a cold. These things may not bother you, particularly if you are an amateur and go into the darkroom only rarely, but once you notice the effects, it's way too late to do anything about it!
Providing ventilation is a smart move. Health concerns aside, working in the absence of fresh air is tiring. Ventilation will allow you to work longer and more productively.
An important consideration, especially in a small darkroom, is that the ventilation should be quiet. Most commercial ventilators are pretty noisy. I found that computer-style 'muffin' fans are much quieter and can provide excellent ventilation. And they are less expensive. Be sure to get a 120v fan - you don't want to complicate things by having to come up with some exotic supply voltage. Radio Shack sells a nice 120v fan for about US$25.
The ideal ventilation system forces air into the darkroom, which then flows out through passive exhaust vents. The ventilation system also should include a baffle to prevent light leaks and a filter to control dust. You didn't mention where you live, but I would recommend taking air from inside the house rather than trying to bring air in from outside and then have to deal with heating or cooling. It would not be a very big deal to install a ventilator in the space between a couple of wall joists. Install the fan on the wall outside the darkroom with the air flow into the joist space. Construct a frame from wood molding to hold an ordinary furnace filter against a hole in the same joist space that is at least a foot above or below the location of the fan. Cut a couple of baffles that are as wide as the joist space and with a width that is a bit more than half the depth of the space - cardboard or foamcore would be fine for the application. Hot glue one baffle against the inside wall, and the other against the outside wall (so that they overlap) with a couple of inches between. If you want to be fancy, you can paint the baffles and the inside of the joist space flat black.
The exhaust vent can be either to the inside of the house or to the outside - I live in a place where we have serious winter, so I chose to vent inside the house. The construction of the vent is the same as the construction of the ventilator only without the fan, and of course you don't need the air filter. Ideally, it should be as far as possible from the ventilator inlet.