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  1. #1
    mr rusty's Avatar
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    Just bought some darkroom equipment - advice needed on darkroom itself

    We are thinking about designing an office in my garage and I have the opportunity (significant other has agreed) that I can divide off an area about 6' x 4' as a darkroom. Today, in anticipation :-) I came across some equipment and bought it :- Vivitar V1 colour/bw enlarger, paterson tanks, various trays, timer, 50mm & 80mm componon lenses, old but good ilford safelight with various glass filters, bits n pieces, and some multigrade paper and some chemicals that the guy said would probably be OK (including some acetic acid ) so the pressure is on now to build a darkroom!

    I'm a total novice at developing (but I'm experienced using film and as a longish member here I understand the basic theory of darkroom.)

    So, bearing in mind the very small space I have available, any golden nuggets of advice for fitting out - sinks etc?

    I understand the acetic acid is a stop, is it worth keeping this or are proprietary stops better. I'm not sure the old chemicals are a good place to start- When I'm ready, I'll start afresh, and come here for some chemical recommendations.

    First things first - plan the darkroom!

  2. #2

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    The acetic acid should be used at about 2%, rather dilute, less than half the strength of vinegar. Stronger than that and you will start to get pinholes in the film and paper from overly vigorous neutralization of the developer.

    It is probably the most usable of all the chemicals you got. Rather stable. It probably does not have an indicator. Is it strongly yellowish/orangish, still yellow when diluted? If so, then it is probably indicator stop bath. If it is yellow and you neutralize a little dilute bit of it (carefully) with a little dilute base or developer, it should turn purple if it is indicator.

  3. #3

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    Definitely check out the darkroom portrait sticky threads.

  4. #4
    ROL
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    There are many, many threads to be searched on the subject on APUG . You might also be interested in this: A Darkroom Portrait.

  5. #5
    mr rusty's Avatar
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    Thanks guys so far. I have read the darkroom portrait thread, I am just trying to find out what lessons those people who have very small darkrooms have learned!

  6. #6
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    I got one of those cheap utility sinks from just about any hardware store (though you're in the UK I guess) and I get the water by splitting my washer & dryer hookups. I'm in a rental, so I can't do much that's very permament and this setup works very nicely for me.

    I've used some really old acetic acid and indeed it keeps indefinitely. Be advised to pour it outside though, and don't spill it on yourself. It's incredibly concentrated & smelly.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  7. #7
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    You may get even more use out of the Bathroom/temporary darkroom thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/4...darkrooms.html

    Here is Kodak's take on the matter: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...bs/ak3/ak3.pdf

    With the space you have available, you may wish to consider a darkroom without running water - especially if you can access something like a laundry or other largish sink nearby.

    If you can include things like pull-out drawers/shelves you can really add to the efficiency.

    A purpose built paper-safe drawer is also great - there are plans available at various locations, including Ralph Lambrecht's site (near the bottom of the page): http://www.darkroomagic.com/DarkroomMagic/Darkroom.html

    Keep in mind that one of the nicest things about having a dedicated darkroom is that it gives you a place to keep everything that you use regularly right at hand. Don't forget to incorporate things like a place where cleaned but wet equipment can dry before the next use.

    Have fun!
    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

  8. #8

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    That sound like too small a space for both a wet and dry area. It is not necessary (but desirable) to have running water in your darkroom. You might consider the washing part outside of the darkroom. If you build your own sink you can design it to have a couple of removable panels to cover it when not in use to hold trays. Tray stackers will let you have as many as six trays in just over the space of two.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  9. #9
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    If you build your own sink
    Do you think this is a good idea, rather than installing just a kitchen style sink with drainer?. I can arrange to have a central outward opening door on a long side with a sink to the left and enlarger to the right with a 350-400mm deep worktop along the back wall plus shelves over. Outside the darkroom will be a general office with lots more storage so I am not too bothered about that. As I have no experience I want to get the sink right. is it really worth making one as I have read elsewhere?

  10. #10

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    By "a sink", for darkrooms, we mean a long (wide) waterproof surface to contain spills. It doesn't have to have a drain or a drain that is always open. For example, you can drain at the end of the clean up to a bottle or bucket for disposal in a regular sink or toilet. (Don't dispose heavy metals or active developer down municipal drains or sewers).

    Some people have deep sinks and some have shallow.

    If you have children, put a locking cabinet in the darkroom for chemicals.

    You can use the office for the dry room: print spotting, trimming, matting, mounting, signing, certifying, etc. If the office can be made light-tight, then it can also be used for film loading, developer reel loading, and paper preparation.

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