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Thread: Water Woes.

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Louisiana, USA
    Multi Format
    My darkroom is what once was a small dressing area adjacent to a bathroom. It sounds like it has access to running water but it really doesn't. The bathroom is tiny and the shower stall is too small to use as a print washing area without removing the shower doors so put in a tray or washer. The good part about it is that it is "dark". Anyway, it's not really practical to use the bathroom for washing film or prints.

    I've actually had very few darkrooms that had running water. I process my film at the kitchen sink and carry my prints in a holding tray to the kitchen for washing. Since my wife occasionally wants to use the kitchen for cooking, I have also just ordered a Versalab washer that I expect will speed up the process and get me out of her way a lot faster.

    As long as there's water available somewhere in the area, you can always carry your prints and film to the water for washing. It's a lot easier than carrying the water to the prints and film and cheaper than plumbing work.

  2. #22
    Dave Parker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Multi Format
    Quote Originally Posted by Sjixxxy
    Thanks for the response so far, all I ask now is any thoughts on the final wash. Would an item like this washer suffice? Or do I need some big rig with the adjective "archival" attached to the description. What about the standing water method that I remember reading about a year or so ago where you just fill a tank with the prints in, and let it just stand so that the chemicals seep out, then drain and refill and repeat a few times. I have an unused fish tank around here that I could easily rig up dividers to let it accommodate multiple prints for this method.

    I used one of those for years and it worked quite well...

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass

  3. #23
    dr bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Annapolis, Md
    Medium Format
    Based on my experience in extraction, from a chemical engineering perspective, the smaller the “tank” the better as long as there is sufficient room for print movement. Several changes of water in a small tray or tank or whatever is theoretically superior to either constantly moving or large stagnant quantities for removing small concentrations of whatever, in this case fixer et c.

    It makes sense when one considers the concentrations involved. Final washing involves a lot of pseudo-diffusion where molecules of hypo et al. migrate slowly through paper fibers and emulsion layers into a less concentrated solution – wash water. In the case of fiber paper, there is a lot of hypo that is attached to print materials in a loosely chemical bonding called mordent. This is similar to the “bonding” of some dyes in cloth. Normal diffusion mechanisms do not apply in this case and the washing is more or less at a constant rate – whether the water is moving or not.

    As others have mentioned, I also use a modified siphon technique, filling and emptying about a pint per minute for an hour (after all the preliminary prep with HCA et c.) I guarantee my framed prints against all damage from “normal” aging and so far, except for one delaminating print due to a cleanliness error during mounting, there have been zero complaints. (Now said, watch the complaints come rolling in!)

    Thorough washing is very important. If you have doubts as to the effectiveness, wash again, and always use a HCA.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

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