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  1. #11

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    There are two things that cause plastic reels to jam. One is dirt, and the other is moisture. I do hope that you do not immerse the plastic reels in a wetting agent like PhotoFlo. Rumor has it that wetting agents can gum up the plastic reels. I can't say for sure, since I remove the film from the reel before dipping it into wetting agent.

    So there you are, nicely anxious, agitated, and aggravated and with sweaty hands along with film, reel, and tank all jammed into a dark bag. That's enough moisture right there to get things nicely jammed up. Funny how the problem didn't happen when you attempt it out in the open, isn't it?
    Frank Schifano

  2. #12
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Plastic reels must be really, really clean; and also dry. Try scrubbing the reel with a natural bristle brush and a mild cleaning agent like Bon Ami, Barkeeper's Friend, or Zud after each use. Also, the "walk in" type reels sometimes load easier if you snip a bevel on each leading film corner.
    In addition, as with steel, proper incantations, invocations, and summonings of good spirits are all necessary.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  3. #13

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    This thread shows how different products fit different people. The only plastic reels I ever had problem with were from an old Unicolor drum (the one with the plastic gasket, mine leaked like crazy but that's another thread). I've never had problems with Paterson reels, the cheaper brand with the spinning reel, or Jobo reels. I use a changing bag, never scrub them and I dunk the whole reel in photo-flo. My experience with stainless reels has been less successful, but I have a feeling that if I took the time to learn them properly I would be just as happy with them.

    Neal Wydra

  4. #14
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    [I've never had problems with Paterson reels, the cheaper brand with the spinning reel, or Jobo reels. I use a changing bag, never scrub them and I dunk the whole reel in photo-flo.
    **********************************
    Yehhhh, there's one in every crowd.....(VBG)
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by scarfish69 View Post
    I use plastic reels. Sometimes (it seems like rarely) the film goes on like a charm. Other times, it's like there's a curse on me. It can take hours to just load one roll of film.
    I've had similar experiences, but my patience gives out at about half an hour! I gave up on my AP (Paterson clone) plastic tank and reel a long time ago. At that time, I was using a tiny windowless bathroom to load film, and I suspect that the problem was humidity, particularly as my own sweat humidified the room. That said, I did use the AP tank recently. A roll of film had a torn sprocket hole, and this was causing no end of problems loading onto my stainless steel reel. Fumbling in the dark, I managed to find the AP tank and load the film onto its reel. That's the only time when I've found the AP reel easier to load than my Hewes stainless steel reel.

    Are the steel reels as easy (with practice) and reliable as some seem to think?
    Those of us who use stainless steel reels will of course reply "yes!" Seriously, though, each type of reel has its advocates. It sounds like you're a prime candidate to at least try the steel variety. Personally, once I got a Hewes reel and learned to load it, it was like night and day. As others have said, the Hewes reels are definitely worth the extra cost. I've also got some generic steel reels, and they're much harder to get started.

    Again, I use a plastic canister, so I'm used to twirling for agitation. Is the agitation method different for steel canisters? If you buy good reels can you buy a cheap canister?
    Others have answered these questions, but I'll add that you can buy steel Hewes reels for Jobo plastic tanks. I don't know offhand if Jobo plastic tanks support twirling agitation, though. I don't know of any way to fit stainless steel reels in other brands of plastic tanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by geauxpez
    It sounds like you have the Spanish-made plastic tank and reel kit with the "twirling rod" thingy to spin the reels. I had problems using the same kit. I switched to the Paterson tank & reels (also plastic) which you typically agitate by inversion. I find that those reels load much easier.
    If by "Spanish-made" you mean "AP", that's what I've got. It can be agitated either by twirling or by inversion. When I encountered problems I first tried buying a Paterson reel, which fits in my AP tank. It jammed just as easily as the AP reels.

    FWIW, I've also got an oddball plastic Russian tank and reels. It loads more easily than my AP or Paterson reels, but it also jams occasionally.

  6. #16
    CBG
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    It's totally personal. For me, steel is the only way to load film. Back when I did roll film my reels didn't have any hooks and not every reel I had was equipped with clips, I just pushed the film to the center of the rell and fed it in. I wouldn't use plastic if you paid me. But some people have no trouble at all with plasic and endless issues with steel. I'd urge the OP to try steel.

    C

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBG View Post
    It's totally personal. For me, steel is the only way to load film. Back when I did roll film my reels didn't have any hooks and not every reel I had was equipped with clips, I just pushed the film to the center of the rell and fed it in. I wouldn't use plastic if you paid me. But some people have no trouble at all with plasic and endless issues with steel. I'd urge the OP to try steel.

    C
    I have no problems with plastic reels - ANY MORE! I gave them away and/or threw them away.

    I bought Hewes stainless steel reels (35mm and 120) and have never looked back.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  8. #18
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    There are other reasons some people prefer plastic. If you drop or throw a heavy duty plastic reel it won't bend. A bent ss reel is worthless. In addition, plastic TANKS hold the temp better than ss tanks without a water bath.

    The onliest time I use plastic anymore is on the rare occasions I need to soup a roll of 220. Then I use an old Ansco-type "walk in" reel and it's tank. I cannot load 220 on ss worth a darn--I tried with cheapo 220 ss reels as well as Kinderman. For me, 220 and ss just don't work.

    Truth to tell, no matter what the reel, there is a knack; once you acquire it, all is well. When you do, and look back on this thread, you shall find it all rather quaint. Keep at it and good luck.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  9. #19

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    For me, either work just dandy, but on a regular basis, I use the dreaded plastic reels because the are so convenient and can process multiple formats of film.

    Like a prior poster, I don't hesitate to put them in photoflo because I scrub them with hot, hot water and a bristle brush at the end of each session.

    I also, if the air in the darkroom is the least bit humid PRIOR to attempting to load the reels, blast them with an industrial grade hair dryer for a few seconds to drive off any residual moisture.

    Every once in a while, I do trot out the stainless Nikkor reels and give them a whirl, as to keep the skills up.

    I never liked metal reels until I took a practice roll and loaded the reel multiple times while watching a move on TV. Loaded that reel until it was second nature, and it was...

    Either way, they both work fine.

  10. #20
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    [I've never had problems with Paterson reels, the cheaper brand with the spinning reel, or Jobo reels. I use a changing bag, never scrub them and I dunk the whole reel in photo-flo.
    **********************************
    Yehhhh, there's one in every crowd.....(VBG)
    Well, actually there's at least two.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


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