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  1. #1

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    Advice needed... Basement darkroom

    About 4 months ago i started a project to build myself a little darkroom in my basement and now i need advice on a few things. Its small... I only had 6.5 x 11.5 area that i could use and to top it off.. I only had 6'1" total height. After only being able to spend 1 hour at a time because of work it took me 4 months to get this far. I built 2 platforms.. One to hold a LPL 6x7 enlarger and another to hold my Beseler 4x5. Due to the ceiling height i had to build recessed areas in the ceiling so the chassis and heads could rise high enough for me to print. I hope i didn't build myself into an unusable area!

    I'm going to use a 6' leedal stainless sink for which i installed a shower control valve and a spigot for my print washer. I installed 4 can lights 2 for reagular lights and 2 for safe light bulbs. I positioned the 2 safelight cans so each one will light up an enlarger and the sink. Was the safelight cans a bad idea or should i have used wall mount safelights?

    Questions!
    Paint... Does color matter? Does finish matter? Will a gloss paint have any affect while printing?

    Flooring.... Its an 82 year old concrete floor with a lot of hills and valleys! I wanted to install asphalt tile but the floor is way to bad even if i try to level it. Would sheet vinyl be my best option or should i just clean and paint it?

    Film drying.... I have an apx 2" area between the sink and wall and was wondering if i can build something to hang and dry film from. Any ideas?

    Shelves... I want to install a 6' shelf above the sink to dry developing tanks ect.... so it would have to be a wired type of shelf and it must be rust proof. Any ideas of where i can get such a shelf?

    On the right side of the sink i have apx 2" area on the wall that i want to hang developing reels from to dry. Are there stainless hooks i can use?

    Here are some photos of my little darkroom. I know its very small but I'm a hobbyist.

    Thank you !!!

    Jim Rollinger
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 005.JPG   003.JPG   111.JPG   003.JPG   015.JPG  

    018.JPG   019.JPG  

  2. #2

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    Wired shelves are widely available from home improvement places such as Home Depot and Lowes. Both will cut it for you from a loooooooooong stock pieces.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Wired shelves are widely available from home improvement places such as Home Depot and Lowes. Both will cut it for you from a loooooooooong stock pieces.
    Thanks tkamiya... I seen those wired shelves at Home Depot but they appear to be closet shelves that would not withstand water on a daily basis.

  4. #4
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    My darkroom is in the basement, and I'm on my second basement darkroom. The first was simply the concrete floor, but the more recent darkroom we installed a "tile" rubber flooring material that had a tongue and groove arrangement. It's flexible enough that it might work with your less than flat floor. Standing on concrete for hours is hard on feet... learned that in my old darkroom before! Here's a picture of the flooring being installed:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showima...imageuser=2670

    Also, I have a few shelving units above the sink that are the wire closet stuff... more for storing beakers and such, but haven't had any issue with water damaging them.

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Rollinger View Post
    Thanks tkamiya... I seen those wired shelves at Home Depot but they appear to be closet shelves that would not withstand water on a daily basis.
    Jim:

    I've used those shelves for years over the bathtub in a temporary darkroom. They've discoloured slightly, but are otherwise apparently fine.

    And they are both inexpensive and easy to handle.

    As for paint, there are two issues:

    1) reflections of stray light from your enlarger; and
    2) comfort of the darkroom operator .

    Darker, matte finish paints near the enlarger and lighter, semi-gloss paint elsewhere is a good compromise.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Flat white so safelight reflects all around. I paint a flat grey near the enlarger so stray light from the head doesn't bounce too far.

  7. #7
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Rollinger View Post
    .....Flooring.... Its an 82 year old concrete floor with a lot of hills and valleys! I wanted to install asphalt tile but the floor is way to bad even if i try to level it. Would sheet vinyl be my best option or should i just clean and paint it?.....
    I would level the floor, otherwise you'll have a problem whenever you try to set or move anything. It's pretty easy.... buy a bag or two of leveling compound from the tile section of the home center, and trowel that around the "valleys". You might not get it perfect, but it will be much better than it is now.

    Then I would paint the floor, and invest in some "anti-fatigue" mats, from the home center. You can easily pick these up and clean any spills, and they will really help standing for hours on a concrete floor.

  8. #8

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    Suzanne... The flooring you are using would be perfect in my situation but i want to be able to mop the floor.

  9. #9

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    I will go with a flat white and try to find some type of matt paper or something to put on the walls around the enlarger instead of painting two different colors on the walls.

  10. #10

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    if you can find a place that is bigger than 2"
    you can get a large, plastic utility cabinet from one
    of your local large hardware stores.
    don't put the shelves in, and drill holes + string
    wire or braided wire ( or string ). you can use that ( i do )
    to dry your film. it has doors and closes to keep the dust out
    AND if you have room outside your darkroom you can stash it there.
    i dry some of my sheet film in there 35mm and 120 film i tied a string between 2 members of a drop ceiling
    and hang the film from there. drop ceilings are great for keeping dust out ...
    rubber floor mats are great for cement floors... either "play room" mats
    or the ones for food service. you can remove them both for floor cleaning.
    have fun building your space,
    ( it took me 2 years to build mine ... )
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

    website
    blog
    sell-site

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