Hi John, I like your innovations, I have long thought there are improvements to be made on the old style printing frame, but have never gotten around to trying to implement them. Not too long ago, I made some traditional ones for QCC in Atlanta. I found them to be a lot of work, but do-able. Shown below, four 11x14 frames in White Oak.
Very nicely made Tracy - looks like very carefull mitreing and finishing. While mine do work well, they are quite "butch" in construction due to a "need for speed" while constructing. I can think of several improvements that I will make in my next one, including one that I see in yours. In mine, the depth of the glass from the top of the frame is too deep, making it hard to easily do accurate test strips. On my next one the supporting material will be much thinner as is yours. I think that hardwood is the way to go also for the next one.
As a matter of fact, I have wondered just how clear glass really is. If anyone knows of a good on-line distributor for quality glass, I'd love to know. My local dealers are kinda difficult.
Schott has a web site, I believe -- they came up a while back (somewhere) in a discussion of making your own glass plates; they can apparently supply high quality glass in the 1 mm thickness needed, precut to size, for quite a reasonable cost per piece. Among other things, they list a "crystal clear" glass as suitable for optical windows, but sell the same material in a "float glass" form made the same way as window glass.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.