An Ode to my Print Washer
Awhile back I learned about a small photographic products shop very near where I live, courtesy of Jerold Harter. I hate to admit that a Wolverine can learn something from a Badger, but so be it...thanks again, Jerold!
Rosy Products is a one-man shop working out of a modest building on a farm near Pullman, Michigan, specializing in stainless steel print washers and sinks. I bought an 11x14 print washer and I am so impressed with it that I wanted to tell other Apuggers about it.
The bottom, sides, water distribution channel and support pieces of the washer are built from stainless steel, which for my money is the most beautiful metal that man has made. John meticulously bends the stainless steel on an ancient press, and welds it with a spot welder that might have been invented the same year that electricity was discovered. Regardless of the age of his tools, he wields them with the utmost craftsmanship and the washer really is a work of art.
The dividers are made from very thin plastic precisely cut, drilled, and assembled. The result of using these thin-walled materials is that despite only being 5" wide, the washer holds 10 11x14 prints. This was important to me since I have a very small darkroom and sink space is precious. It comes with a divider so that 20 8x10 prints can be washed at once, but since I seldom if ever make more than 10 prints in a session, I just leave it out.
I am attaching a picture of the washer installed in my darkroom. Note that the aluminum angle stock along the bottom is not part of the washer, but is a frame that I built to sit the washer above my sink for space purposes. It also comes with a plastic "lid" to keep prints from floating up in the water, but I left it off for illustration purposes.
John mentioned that he might not be building many more of these since they are rather labor intensive, and in fact I think I read over on the LF forum that he is no longer making 16x20 washers. So anyone interested in a washer should contact him soon.
Unfortunately the only finished sink on hand was already boxed up for delivery, so I did not get to see one first hand. But I am anticipating building a new darkroom later this year after relocating, and it will be designed around a Rosy Products sink.
Very beautiful product. I'm saving up to get myself a print washer but I assume it will be a Nova. But this would look nicer.
It is a beautiful print washer for sure, and I'm sad to hear your hero will not be making these much longer. You're lucky to own one!
In the past I have used a similar print washer, but because the print 'bows' inside the slot due to the natural 'curl' of the paper, some parts of the paper is in continuous contact with the paper slow walls. This prevents water from flowing by that part of the print, and I have seen yellowing of prints that have been washed for in excess of an hour.
All of the prints I have ever sold have been washed in trays either by hand or with a tray siphon, so I'm not worried about sold prints. But how does your washer fare in this respect? I would love to find a solution that uses less water than a tray and siphon.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Thomas: It seems that the water flowing up through the washer moves the prints around and will hopefully prevent the problem you are referring to. I will watch the prints that come out of the washer and be on the lookout for yellowing. I have never used a tray and siphon so I don't know how much water they use. But I don't know if this washer is necessarily a water miser.
That's a beaut, Dan. I can see why you like it so much.
I didn't see the website listed, so here it is: http://www.rosyproducts.com/
Do you know if they make ventilation hoods for the backs of darkroom sinks?
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These guys do:
Originally Posted by Jeff Bannow
But you probably want something of stainless steel now
"The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true.
" - William M. Ivins Jr.
"I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White.
" - David Burnett in 1978
"Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?
Huh, looking at their website, I discover that they are the ones who made my very nice film drying cabinet with no nameplate on it. I bought it used down in Chicago. So here's another plug for a product of theirs!
Jeff: he makes stainless steel backsplashes for sinks, and I think his web site offers custom builds, so I think an email or phone call would be worth your time.
Thanks. I think so too.
Originally Posted by Dan Henderson
Wow they are nice. I have a stainless steel washer that will wash 11x14 print too. But it's an old Arkay. I'm not sure if it's archival or not. My prints take a tumbling when they're being washed. I've heard an APUGer call it a contraption of evil. I inherited it when my former work place threw it out. What can I say, I'm a dumpster diver.