Sorry for asking and then not finding the time to respond. My weekend didn't go well. Okay,...
Lee thank you for that clarification about the densitometer reading being in the "margins" I would have gone for a median using darkest/lightest. And thank you all for letting me know how to get started complying with the expectations you would each have of a lab. Also, Lee, the 133 line screen is the standard screen for lith printing. If lith prints generally meet your standards then so will these line screens. Usually linescreens are for printing as you say, but they can also be used easily for contact printing regular photographic material.
I agree films of all kinds including line films need more care than paper and I have been "winging" it fairly well with the same ideas and testing proceedures that you have mentioned. Not only do I generally develop more than the usual (depending on the job, some jobs scream for fresh developer, so I give it) but I also keep a few gallons of nearly expired developer because for some situations which call for excessive contrast reduction (ie a way too contrasty negative of artwork brought in by a customer who refuses to let me re-shoot the neg). I know I'm wicked but if it works. . . I use it.
Ed, Uhm I too have experienced the "oops, I got distracted and it processed too long routine." With film, I normally toss it, but paper is very forgiving. I always now on RA4 when it really over developed because it gets a goldeny orange cast all over it, yuck. If it is too short, I see too much majenta or even lavender.
David, I will try to find and read as suggested. Thank you.
KT- I am not setting up a standard commercial lab. Only large format. Secondly I am not "setting up" at all this company has been in business over 20 years, it is just that the services are now offered to professional photographers and artists directly rather than through other sources, like your local photo lab or printer.
I see and accept that to "prove" my work to my new clientelle I will need to incorporate certain tools in my editting procedures as well and I wll hop right on it, I really will. HOWEVER, you are wrong about technical assistance at Kodak and Agfa. My company is a long standing customer and I have direct contact with both salesman and techs. I call often and NEVER have I been asked to discuss a control strip. They are fully aware of all of the "unusual" things I do, like using flourescents for color printing and the unexpected results of over exposure with 36 in bellows, and they have always been delightful to brainstorm with. But my contacts are with the reprographic and aerial arena and they are a different breed.
Okay. I think I am all caught up here. Thank you again all of you for your considered input. PS. I didn't proofread this too well, cuz I getta get back to work, please forgive any oops's!