I spent the evening coating. They are drying right now.
I'm about to start writing the manual for calibration and use.
Pictures are posted elsewhere here on APUG. Please refer to them until I can do more. I've been very very busy as you can imagine. I hope to have a complete writeup within a week or two along with prices.
Basically a 4x12 sheet of paper uses 6 ml of emulsion to coat. An 8x12 sheet uses 12 ml of emulsion. The 4x5 (4x12 sheet) yields nearly 100% usable material with 2 4x5 prints on each sheet, and the 8x12 yields about 90% usable material as one 8x10, but 100% if you are willing to cut out defects in the other 10% and use that as 5x7 or 4x5 or as test strips. The quality is very nearly equal to what you buy across the counter at your photo shop. Hardness is good, with prints withstanding up to 75 deg F. I use Dektol, stop and hardner fix.
The plate and film coatings are more of a problem due to the glass and film support. The 11x14 blade uses paper bigger than my coating area by 1" on one side and 1/2" on the other, so I'm running at less than optimum there. Give me some time to work things out. I have to build a new coating area to give the 11x14 blade a fair workout. In the mean time, it is klutzy for me to use and so my coatings are less than optimum. Give me some time and I'll be doing 16x20.
You should know that this method has been used in the industry to machine coat up to 40" paper and film about 100 years ago, so it is nothing really new, I have only modified the method to allow several different types of hand coatings of high quality to be made by the average darkroom worker.
There is a similar blade available for the paint industry for testing paint layers. It is made of aluminum (unsuitable for silver gelatin) and is only 4" wide. They wanted $1200 for it. Mine are going to be a LOT less expensive, if the figures I have work out the way I think. The price and the aluminum construction are what started me down this path, as I knew it could be done.
One other thing. I have found how to 'retouch' the wet coating and this will improve the yield on the 8x10 coatings. I'll be teaching that method as well. I don't have to use it often, but it does work and you cannot see it in the prints.
Construction is 308 stainless steel. All ancillary parts such as screws and end caps are stainless as well. Contact surfaces are highly polished for elimination of scratches, and every blade is symmetrical. That means that when you buy one, you actually get 2. So, if one side gets scratched or dented, flip the blade and keep going, you have 2 blades in one. The 8x10 blades have two surfaces to the end caps, so that you can coat with a wide or knife edge for finer tuning, and the end caps are removable so that if they need replacing you can get new end caps at very low cost. Our blades at EK were not like this, so if they got dented, we continued coating with streaks or got a new blade. Also, they were not adjustable, so we had to keep a shelf full of individual blades.
I've tried to keep everything in mind to make this simple, convenient and as inexpensive as possible. IDK if I have, but if I have not, I'm in deep s**t with my wife for spending so much on this little project of mine. lol
We will end up using them as door stops in that case.
Thanks for the support.