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Thread: Basic Darkroom

  1. #1

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    This is my first post. I hope this post is in the right location.

    I'm venturing off on my own and will be doing a home studio (camera room), gallery, and darkroom. We have the cameraroom and gallery figured out. The darkroom is giving us fits.

    We're having a hard time figuring our shape and size. So far I have concluded that a square room with an L shape wet/dry areas will work nicely with a swing out door. Is 8 x 8 feet realistic? To big to small?

    FYI: I have a total of 575 sq ft to work from (camera room, gallery, office, and darkroom).

    I'd appreciate input and ideas.

    Thanks
    Chazz


  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    8x8 sounds reasonable for a darkroom, but the main concern I would have would be sure to maximize the space for the studio. Do you have enough room to get good separation between the subject and the background for portraits, if you're planning to use it for portraits, and at the same time set up the camera at a comfortable personal distance? Enough room for lights so as to acheive separation between them without concern about reflections from the room?
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3

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    Thanks David for the response.

    We worked the math and all seems ok. Studio will be 25 feet wide and 24 feet long.

    8 x 8 Darkroom will be in the corner opposite the camera area. Office work area will be in the other corner (other end of camera room area). We'll have 20 feet from subject to back wall. This is more than enough space for H/S or full length.

    The camera room side of the darkroom walls and down the right side of camera room will be used for the gallery. Proper lighting of course. We'll display smaller pieces and images near and aroung the office are.

    BTW: office will not be an enclosed room. We're planning to use an L shaped 1/2 wall. This will give us additional room to display images.

    Wish I could draw out the layout! Grins.

    Thanks
    Chazz


  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great plan. I was also going to suggest making the office part of either the gallery or the studio just to pick up more space, but you've already thought of that.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5

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    Sep 2002
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    This is a very timly topic for me to, as I am in the process of moving and designing my new darkroom. In my present one, due to archetectural problems my wet side is more dry then wet. I wasn't able to plumb the sink, so I jury rigged it which made for some interesting problems I hope to avoid this time.

    I will be having 8 feet of sink space in my new lay-out. I am thinking of putting in two 4 foot ABS units, one shallow and one "convertable" with a deep sink on one side that is coverable to shallow when needed. Any comments good or bad on this arrangement? Also how many faucets should be put in? 2 one on each, 4 two on each...or separate hot and cold on each making for 8? Filter? temper? needed, not needed...right now I do not filter water and tempering is done in my Jobo processor. As far as drying goes, RC in a heat dryer, FB on screens built in under the dry side counter as you walk into the darkroom.

    Further suggestions would be welcome as right now all I have to do is change drawings..once I start cutting it will be too late. And thanks for your imput.

  6. #6

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    after years of balancing my enlarger over the hand basin and trays in the bathtub I moved into a new house with a dedicated darkroom... and boy am I happy

    I only had one set of taps installed over my sink. I have one of those extendable swing arm taps usually found in laundry's. I have a hose on it as well and have found that pretty much works ok for me. I connect the hose using general garden connectors to either my film tank for washing or my home-brew print washing tray, or use it to wash trays and the sink. It reaches the far end if the sink. I can see an extra set of taps might be useful if the print washer is connected and you want to mix up some chemistry. Currently I unplug the washer, get the water required then plug it back in (not that I do this much, as I usually mix chems before starting the washer)

    Regarding your sink arrangements... I would only query what happens in the middle? By having two seperate ones I can imagine the joining walls will get in the way of where you want to put your trays if you want to print large. My sink is 2000mm x 700mm (6 1/2 ft x 2 1/4ft) and covers the whole benchtop. It has 100mm sides (4inches) and at one end it has a deep well( for washing stuff - see attached 'pic&#39. One problem that also has a sort of good side benefit is my bench and the bottom of the well area are all flat (horizontal), so the water doesn't actually run to the drain. The added complication is that since it's made of acrylic sheet, the drain sits a little proud and so, when the print washer is running and the water is running into the well (I sit it in the well) , it fills the well area with (a few mm deep) water before going down the drain. The upside of this is I can rinse my hands easily even though I only have the one tap (although the water has been thru the wash tray) I've contemplated fixing this design flaw but have almost convinced myself it is a feature

    Since you mention a Jobo, don't forget power outlets on the wet side. I also have a light bulb over the washing area which has a pull string switch. Other things that I can think of that you might consider are solid mounting points if you're going to wall mount your enlarger.

    This topic (darkroom setup) was raised in one of the B&W forums at photo.net fairly recently and is worth a read... http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-...g?msg_id=002Xrw

  7. #7

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    here's a pic of the actual room (need a wider lens&#33

  8. #8
    bmac's Avatar
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    Hey Nige,

    Is your darkroom built in a spare bedroom, or was it specially built for this? Just currious. I work in the garage at our house, we have one of thos nice new lightproof roll down doors installed for the main door, and I block out the windows. I still can only print at night though so it is kind of a drag. We are renting so I can't complain though... (plus the H2o bill is included in the rent&#33

    Brian
    hi!

  9. #9

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    Sep 2002
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    Thanks for the reply, I was thinking of using two 4 foot sinks so that it would be easier to ship, but never thought about the consequences of the two lips touching. So, I think I'll go with the 8 foot convertable sink and have the contractor erect the legs rather than buy the ones delta sells and we can probably stiffen them better.

    Nige, thanks for the photo of your dark-room. That is about the size and space I'm going to have available. It is always encouraging to see what others have. And yes, there will be plenty of GFI outlets above both the wet and dry side. I'm always running out of electric contacts.

    One other thing. I can get a Thomas safe light cheap. Is this space too small for one? I like the brightness of them, but fear I won't be able to tamp it down enough to not interfere. I like the almost daylight brightness against the ceiling.

  10. #10

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    Brian, it's purpose built. At our old house I used to 'operate' in our bathroom but that had a skylight (which I could pretty well block with cardboard and material) but the exhaust fan was a problem due to a tiled roof that let a lot of light in during the daytime. I only went to the trouble of covering it a couple of times and used to restrict my darkroom time to night time, which is a problem in summer (sunset about 9pm) not to mention getting all the stuff out of the cupboard and setting it up, then cleaning up ready for the morning showers. My new room has cost a few $$$ more than it could have been done in that I had the sink made rather than doing it myself, and I got the cabinients made by the kitchen suppliers where something home brew or 2nd hand would have really surficed. Now I only have to find time to get in there!

    Marsh, everyone says the Thomas safelights are the best.. I wouldn't know myself but I've got a 10x8 Premier (I think that's the brand) mounted on the wall pointed up at the ceiling. It's got the original 25w globe in it and it quite bright. I did a safelight test and it seemed ok. I need to revisit this and confirm how long I can keep paper out (for those multiple dodge and burn jobs&#33

    One thing I do need to look at modifing my exhaust fan. I have the small Dorian (once again, I think that's the name) exhaust fan but it's a noisy little mongral. I'm thinking of moving it by putting it at the end of some ducting which should quieten it down.



 

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