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  1. #11

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    Dear Aaron,

    For years I lived with a similar setup. The number one recommendation I can give is to try and leave the enlarger set up on a sturdy cart that can be rolled into the bathroom. After I got set up so that I did not have to dig the enlarger out and assemble things I found I was printing much more often than before. Maybe the cart can be kept in a closet to keep everyone happy.

    Good luck and enjoy your new darkroom.

    Neal Wydra

  2. #12
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Thanks again guys

    pesphoto, I have been watching craiglist and the classifieds here in addition to ebay, local classifieds, etc. Unfortunately I don't have funds yet as I've seen some very good deals. There was someone in the next town over from me that had an awesome set-up for $250 a few weeks ago on Craigslist. I haven't contacted any of them though. I want to wait until I have cash in hand first. I already know what my profit sharing will be from work, so I know what I will definitely have for funds, just takes a couple weeks before they process them.

    bdial, thank you for all of your input. I had planned on using 1/2" plywood for a "table" over the tub. I know it would be borderline for fully supporting a few full trays by itself but, I planned on putting a 2" or so high wall or edging around it and sealing with caulking just to contain any possible leaks. No worries on the height part. It's perfect kneeling height which I can comfortably do prolonged periods.

    Neal, I read through most of the Darkroom Portrait thread and it changed my mind from disassembling everything. Just outside our front door, we have a storage shed/closet that I will be using for storing everything but chemicals. I should hopefully just be able to wheel everything in and out easily.

    All this input is very much appreciated! I love this place
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  3. #13

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    Xia_ke,
    I use a projector stand recovered from one of the local schools. Rugged, stable & heavy duty.
    To do both 35 & 6X6(7) keep an eye out for either a beseler or omega 67 enlarger. That will allow you to do both formats & the enlargers are pretty compact. The beseler 23C would allow you to do up to 6X9 but is pretty awkward/bulky even if it's on a wheeled cart. You will need two lenses though, one for each format. If you use a 50mm with 6X6 it will vignette and an 80mm with 35 will not allow you to make larger prints.
    1/2" ply is plenty strong for what you're doing, especially if you put a couple of cleats on the bottom. Just 1X2's would do, or even cutoffs from the ply itself. Think in terms of 1/2" x 3". Even with four 11 X14 trays filled to the top you're looking at 15-20 lbs.
    I think if you put the cleats along the inner edge of the tub you would be fine. It would add stiffness and keep the ply from slipping away from the tub. If you take a look at a cooler or ice chest you will see how this works.
    You probably don't need a backsplash but just an edge to keep spills from going behind the tub. half round or quarter round would do it. If you wanted you could put a series of holes in the platform so if youdo have a spill you could just wipe it towards the holes & not have to wipe it all the way to one edge or the other.
    A waterproof finish will be needed. Polyurethane is easy to apply & available even at K mart.
    Expletive Deleted!

  4. #14
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Thanks John A poly lining is what I was thinking too. I can't imagine I will be spilling huge amunts of anything but, a littlle bit of waterproofing will be needed. I was also planning on a hole in the middle just for ease of cleaning up anything that might happen to spill. I hadn't looked at the Omega 67's yet but, will do so. Not sure if I'll be able to come across a projector stand but, those Craftsman carts some are using look nice.

    Thanks Again,
    Aaron
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  5. #15
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  6. #16

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    Xia_ke,
    Forgot about the dryer part of the question.
    Electric dryers can be a blessing or a curse. If you're working with RC papers you don't need them. Working with fiber base papers they can speed up drying time. But---If you buy used, you may have to clean or replace the canvas aprons that hold the print next to the heated surface to prevent contaminating your prints.
    Drying prints on screens is simpler but you're looking at overnight to dry fiber print & an hour or two for RC. You can get screen frames & mesh at the hardware store inexpensively, use fiberglass screen material.
    Expletive Deleted!

  7. #17
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Thanks Matt I hadn't even thought about microwave stands. Thanks for the idea.

    Thanks John I was thinking about the drier mainly because I want to do glossy prints and with 2 cats, was worried about the dust with screen drying. I read somewhere though on here about another trick of letting prints dry partially, then putting them in the oven for 2 minutes on a low temp (don't remember what exactly). This is another option that I'm thinking could work quite well.
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  8. #18
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    Aaron -

    My first darkroom was actually smaller that the space you are working with, so I can attest to the fact that it is possible.

    You need to plan on four trays (developer, stop, fixer, and holding rinse) - do the initial processing in one step, and the post processing (second fix if you choose, toner, wash) in a second step. If you are making 11x14 prints, your trays are probably going to be about 13" wide - and four trays will occupy 52". So your 64" tub space should be quite adequate. You could even make 16x20 prints but would have to cobble some kind of two-tiered rack to hold your trays. It used to be possible to buy commercial stacking racks, but I suspect those are only faint memories at this point.

    I would strongly suggest using ordinary fiberglass window screening in inexpensive wooden frames (made from clear pine - purchase 1x2 lumber, rip it down to 1x1; use metal brackets to reinforce the corners. Apply a couple coats of polyurethane, and then stable screening over the frames.). Dry your FB prints face down; dry RC prints face up. You probably won't have any problem with cat hair on prints; negatives are another matter and you might want to fabricate some kind of enclosure for film drying. FB airdried on screens actually looks much richer than heat dried.

    Others have mentioned microwave carts and Craftsman shop carts. I started out with my enlarger on an old typewriter table.

    If you can find one, a Durst F60 would be an excellent starting enlarger - with the right condenser, it will do both 35mm and 6x6 roll film, and it was both elegant and rugged. And its small enough to work well in a small darkroom.
    Louie

  9. #19
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    Thanks Louie This may not be the thread to ask but, stupid newbie question, so is the holding rinse just a tray for keeping your developed prints before moving on to washing or a second fix? One question about your screen set-up, I want to do glossy prints. Would placing the prints face down cause imprinting in the emulsion? Thanks again for your help.

    Aaron
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  10. #20
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xia_Ke View Post
    Thanks Louie This may not be the thread to ask but, stupid newbie question, so is the holding rinse just a tray for keeping your developed prints before moving on to washing or a second fix? One question about your screen set-up, I want to do glossy prints. Would placing the prints face down cause imprinting in the emulsion? Thanks again for your help.

    Aaron
    Yes - a holding tray is simply a tray of water that the prints go into after they have been fixed. The idea is to keep them wet so that it is easy to later move to whatever post-processing sequence you want to follow. I generally use the Ilford fast fix process (one fix, "film strength" ammonium thiosulfate, for about a minute), so my post process consists of rinse, hypoclear, selenium toning, hypoclear, and wash. But others use the two bath fix process, and the second bath would be part of their post-processing sequence.

    When you say "glossy", do you mean industrial-strength mirror finish, or do you mean that soft, rich texture of glossy paper that has been air dried? There is a big difference! To get a high gloss on FB paper you must ferrotype your prints. Ferrotyping is a PITA - you have to have the plates, you have to keep them immaculately clean and must wax them before each use, and you have to allow for the possibility that the ferrotyping process will damage a print. Also, there is the logistics issue that your throughput is constrained by the number of plates you own and whether you use a heat dryer to speed the process. Frankly, if you want high gloss today, the easier way to get there is to use RC paper.

    But if you want the air-dried loo, then screens are an easy and effective way to go. Squeegee the prints (I lay the each print face-down on a large sheet of glass, squeegee, and then filp it over to squeegee the front), and then gently lay them out on the screens to dry. I find that they will be dry enough to stack in about 12 hours, and its possible to speed that up a bit by using a small fan to blow air over the screens.

    I have never had a problem with screen impressions on conventional silver prints. I have seen screen impressions on some Pt/Pd prints, especially those made on more fragile papers like Weston Diploma Parchment, so I dry those face up.
    Louie

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