Project Darkroom has begun

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#1
Finally, after months of procrastinating, I’ve finally cleared my outbuilding (attached to the house), blacked out the windows, sealed the door and fitted a little worktop for an enlarger. Will take a while as I’ll have to add power and re-route the water feed to a tap, add a sink and another couple worktops for trays, etc.

Then I need to buy all the hardware but it feels so good to have begun!
 
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Charlotte
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#4
Woo hoo! I've got an enlarger, trays, small easel and a couple of other bits. Need to get chemicals, a safelight and paper, then I *think* I'm ready to go with my mini darkroom (big cupboard) too. Looking forward to seeing your progress :)
 
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#5
I don’t actually have running water in my darkroom - I just place the fixed prints in a big tray of water and then carry them over to the sink outside for rinsing/inspection. Obviously getting running water would be great but don’t let the lack of it stop you from jumping in!
 
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gazmorton2000
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#6
what do you need :)
All the hardware, pretty much.

You can use camping kit to give you a temporary electrical supply. The linked bit of kit is designed for outdoor use, is 15m long, RCD protected and has 3 sockets, so enough for your enlarger, safelight and possibly chemical heating device? You'll need a short adapter from outdoor socket to 13 amp plug as well.
https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/3way-mobile-mains-reel-15m-2usb-p444817
Thanks. I won't need anything to heat chemicals I don't think as I will probably keeping it to just B&W, at least for now. My scanning is the biggest weak point so I will leave colour to the labs.

Woo hoo! I've got an enlarger, trays, small easel and a couple of other bits. Need to get chemicals, a safelight and paper, then I *think* I'm ready to go with my mini darkroom (big cupboard) too. Looking forward to seeing your progress :)
Thanks, and yours!

I don’t actually have running water in my darkroom - I just place the fixed prints in a big tray of water and then carry them over to the sink outside for rinsing/inspection. Obviously getting running water would be great but don’t let the lack of it stop you from jumping in!
Ah that's good to know. Putting in a tap is the easiest thing, actually as it already has a water feed to a toilet that was put in there previously and is now redundant. So re-routing the pipe and adding a tap should be simple.
 
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gazmorton2000
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#8
LIST LIST LIST !

I have loads of stuff I'll never use, over time you get settled on bits of gear you use all the time and end up with dupes you have no use for.
Erm.....B&W enlarger, sink, developing trays & tongs, timer, safelight, grain focus thingy. That's the essentials off the top of my head. In the future maybe a lightbox (because I like them).
 

wontolla

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#9
Don't forget some sort of security to keep the scrotes off your equipment!

(That doesn't sound quite right!)
 
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#10
Hi Gareth,

although you have no intentions at this stage of processing colour, when it comes to an enlarger it may well be worth considering it and save an upgrade at a later date.

I used to use an LPL C7700 which was fantastic - it breaks my heart no thinking I almost let it go and it was mint!
 
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gazmorton2000
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#11
Don't forget some sort of security to keep the scrotes off your equipment!

(That doesn't sound quite right!)
If someone breaks into my house, I’m sure an enlarger is the least of my worries.

Hi Gareth,

although you have no intentions at this stage of processing colour, when it comes to an enlarger it may well be worth considering it and save an upgrade at a later date.

I used to use an LPL C7700 which was fantastic - it breaks my heart no thinking I almost let it go and it was mint!
Thanks, Fraser. I just honestly can’t see myself ever wanting to print colour in the darkroom despite me shooting mostly colour negative. Just seems very tricky to get the colour balance right.
 
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gazmorton2000
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#13
Have you decided on an enlarger
what size negs you're gonna print
what size prints
Been looking today but haven’t decided on a make. I’ve used Durst before and preferred that to another one in the same darkroom. I’d like to print up to 67 ideally.

Prints up to 12” on the longest side I think. Or the paper will be that big so slightly smaller......oh wait, the digital people say you need 1,000,000 MP to print above 6x4, right? So because 35mm is teeny I’d better stick to postage stamp size.
 
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#15
Been looking today but haven’t decided on a make. I’ve used Durst before and preferred that to another one in the same darkroom. I’d like to print up to 67 ideally.

Prints up to 12” on the longest side I think. Or the paper will be that big so slightly smaller......oh wait, the digital people say you need 1,000,000 MP to print above 6x4, right? So because 35mm is teeny I’d better stick to postage stamp size.
16 on the longest side I would have thought

I've got some 10x8 trays, enlarger lenses, a test strip easel, contrast filters and other bits and bats I can't remember that need to get gone
 
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gazmorton2000
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#16
16 on the longest side I would have thought

I've got some 10x8 trays, enlarger lenses, a test strip easel, contrast filters and other bits and bats I can't remember that need to get gone
Cool beans. Let me get a tap and sink sorted and all my worktops in then perhaps we can talk.
 
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#17
There won't be much to say besides sending me an address tbh
just give us a shout when you've got yourself organized...:)
 
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#18
If someone breaks into my house, I’m sure an enlarger is the least of my worries.



Thanks, Fraser. I just honestly can’t see myself ever wanting to print colour in the darkroom despite me shooting mostly colour negative. Just seems very tricky to get the colour balance right.
The Colour filtration a colour enlarger uses is also very handy for printing on multigrade b&w papers.
 
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gazmorton2000
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#19
There won't be much to say besides sending me an address tbh
just give us a shout when you've got yourself organized...:)
Oh I see. Erm, I shall send you a PM shortly then. Many thanks. :)

The Colour filtration a colour enlarger uses is also very handy for printing on multigrade b&w papers.
Yeah I know. I will see what deals come up for enlargers I guess.

First couple of things I need to sort now are a sink of some sort, whether that's a dedicated proper dark room sink or just somewhere to dump chemicals and wash prints, I am not sure. The former seem expensive and I can just put the trays on a worktop which I have done previously I guess. The other is ventilation. Not decided how I am going to do this but have a few ideas. So if anyone knows where I can get a reasonably priced, second hand sink, I would be most grateful.
 

ChrisR

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#20
First couple of things I need to sort now are a sink of some sort, whether that's a dedicated proper dark room sink or just somewhere to dump chemicals and wash prints, I am not sure. The former seem expensive and I can just put the trays on a worktop which I have done previously I guess. The other is ventilation. Not decided how I am going to do this but have a few ideas. So if anyone knows where I can get a reasonably priced, second hand sink, I would be most grateful.
@thedarkshed has an un-plumbed sink fitting in his, erm, dark shed, and might share some suggestions on how it works...
 
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#21
B&Q sell stainless steel kitchen sinks from just over £30. You would need a waste and tap.
https://www.diy.com/departments/gamow-1-bowl-stainless-steel-square-sink/1310478_BQ.prd


You could get away with draining into a bucket.

Gumtree is another option for 2nd hand sink/tap but there is no telling the condition of them and how much you would have to clean them up.
At least buyong new all the fixings are there.

A mixer tap is not a lot of use to you in this case - you would have to seal off the hot inlet.
How are you planning on heating water? A kettle?
 
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#22
@thedarkshed has an un-plumbed sink fitting in his, erm, dark shed, and might share some suggestions on how it works...
B&Q sell stainless steel kitchen sinks from just over £30. You would need a waste and tap.
https://www.diy.com/departments/gamow-1-bowl-stainless-steel-square-sink/1310478_BQ.prd


You could get away with draining into a bucket.

Gumtree is another option for 2nd hand sink/tap but there is no telling the condition of them and how much you would have to clean them up.
At least buyong new all the fixings are there.

A mixer tap is not a lot of use to you in this case - you would have to seal off the hot inlet.
How are you planning on heating water? A kettle?
Doesn't need to be un-plumbed. There is currently a toilet in the room that someone fitted previously so there is waste and a water supply. I am going to re-route the pipe to a tap instead of to the cistern. Should be pretty straight forward to be honest. It's just the actual sink and what kind that I need.

I will only be doing B&W so won't be needing to heat the water at this stage. I have always developed at room temperature.
 
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#23
Don't forget to fit an isolator if there isn't one already at the W/C supply. It makes life easy if there is a problem later.
 
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#24
Doesn't need to be un-plumbed. There is currently a toilet in the room that someone fitted previously so there is waste and a water supply. I am going to re-route the pipe to a tap instead of to the cistern. Should be pretty straight forward to be honest. It's just the actual sink and what kind that I need.

I will only be doing B&W so won't be needing to heat the water at this stage. I have always developed at room temperature.
This is the setup I use, a semi-mobile unit that does the job and the sink part only cost £24 ;)

Table made from some left over C16 timber and plywood, the sink is a gardening tray 1mx1m:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Garland-GP112B-1m-Square-Tray/dp/B004WY1QIU/
With a drain hole cut and fit with a waste fitting from B&Q.

Less relevant if you've got drainage, the waste then drains into a container with an electric alarm telling me when the water level gets high:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/NRS-Healthcare-Liquid-Indicator-Eligible/dp/B006H4RDHG/
(Normally used by visually impaired to alert when a cup is nearly full)

Not having running water is a pain and I'm hoping to resolve that this year.

 
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#27
Oh I see. Erm, I shall send you a PM shortly then. Many thanks. :)



Yeah I know. I will see what deals come up for enlargers I guess.

First couple of things I need to sort now are a sink of some sort, whether that's a dedicated proper dark room sink or just somewhere to dump chemicals and wash prints, I am not sure. The former seem expensive and I can just put the trays on a worktop which I have done previously I guess. The other is ventilation. Not decided how I am going to do this but have a few ideas. So if anyone knows where I can get a reasonably priced, second hand sink, I would be most grateful.
I don't have a dedicated darkroom sink, I kinda want one but I just don't think I need it.
It would be handy to have a deep sided sink for actually processing negs, with all that emptying and refilling and water/chems sploshing about all over the gaff, but for printing for me I don't find it worth the effort since I already have a kitchen type sink.
Course, if I was building a darkroom from scratch and it didn't need to be shared with household cack, and if I didn't want to spend £250+ on a DR sink I'd be looking for a Belfast type thing, something with deep sides and plenty of room.
I have a tray and a vertical print washer up to 12x16, a DR sink would be nice, but a bit overkill.
 
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#28
The postman just came with a very generous package from @joxby . Thank you very much! Put them in my new darkroom which is slowly taking shape, although I am currently trying to find a cheap worktop locally as well as an enlarger that can go up to 6x7!
 
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#29
Darkroom with an ensuite bog for mammoth developing sessions. Sounds like most F & C crusties dream lab :)
Hey, that's actually really practical...my darkroom curtain is a beast to take down once it's up, so having a toilet three steps from my enlarger has been a bladder-saver on many occasions!
 
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#30
Hey, that's actually really practical...my darkroom curtain is a beast to take down once it's up, so having a toilet three steps from my enlarger has been a bladder-saver on many occasions!
You guys are all too fancy nowadays. I started off developing and printing in the bathroom with the window blacked out and a board across the bath for the enlarger, so that was great for me. Wasn't so good for the rest of the family banging on the door and pleading to be let in to use the facilities though. :angelic:
 
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The postman just came with a very generous package from @joxby . Thank you very much! Put them in my new darkroom which is slowly taking shape, although I am currently trying to find a cheap worktop locally as well as an enlarger that can go up to 6x7!
Hi Gareth - I use a Durst M707 and can highly recommend it. They're very sturdy and well built. Covers everything up to 6x7 and has built-in condensers for 35mm and medium format that you can change with a simple slide switch. There's also a switch to swing the colour filters out of the light path.

A few things I'd recommend:

1. Whatever enlarger you buy, try and find one where the seller is throwing in loads of negative carriers and anti-newton glass etc. These can end up costing more than the enlarger itself if you're not careful.

2. I use a RH Designs analyser as an f-stop timer. Again, highly recommended, but maybe something you want to look at later if you really get into darkroom work. Makes life much, much easier, saves a ton of paper and does neat things like automatically turning your safelight on and off. Details here: http://www.rhdesigns.co.uk/darkroom/

3. Buy a new safelight. The filters do wear out, and for the money it's not worth ending up fogging a load of paper before you realise your safelight is a dud.

4. Buy a decent easel. Cheap lightweight ones can be a pain to use in the dark. RR Beard ones are great.

5. Get hold of some Ilford under-lens multigrade filters. They're a lot simpler to use than dialling in the filter values using a colour head.

6. Durst Neonon enlarger lenses are great value and very good quality.

Good luck with getting it all up and running. Don't hesitate to PM if I can help with anything.
 
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#32
You guys are all too fancy nowadays. I started off developing and printing in the bathroom with the window blacked out and a board across the bath for the enlarger, so that was great for me. Wasn't so good for the rest of the family banging on the door and pleading to be let in to use the facilities though. :angelic:
LOL - been there, done that, and had the earache from the missus ;)
 
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gazmorton2000
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#33
Hi Gareth - I use a Durst M707 and can highly recommend it. They're very sturdy and well built. Covers everything up to 6x7 and has built-in condensers for 35mm and medium format that you can change with a simple slide switch. There's also a switch to swing the colour filters out of the light path.

A few things I'd recommend:

1. Whatever enlarger you buy, try and find one where the seller is throwing in loads of negative carriers and anti-newton glass etc. These can end up costing more than the enlarger itself if you're not careful.

2. I use a RH Designs analyser as an f-stop timer. Again, highly recommended, but maybe something you want to look at later if you really get into darkroom work. Makes life much, much easier, saves a ton of paper and does neat things like automatically turning your safelight on and off. Details here: http://www.rhdesigns.co.uk/darkroom/

3. Buy a new safelight. The filters do wear out, and for the money it's not worth ending up fogging a load of paper before you realise your safelight is a dud.

4. Buy a decent easel. Cheap lightweight ones can be a pain to use in the dark. RR Beard ones are great.

5. Get hold of some Ilford under-lens multigrade filters. They're a lot simpler to use than dialling in the filter values using a colour head.

6. Durst Neonon enlarger lenses are great value and very good quality.

Good luck with getting it all up and running. Don't hesitate to PM if I can help with anything.
Very kind and thank you for the info. Been looking today at an LPL7700. Any opinions? Comes with loads of stuff including easel, safe light and a tonne of paper!
 
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#34
Very kind and thank you for the info. Been looking today at an LPL7700. Any opinions? Comes with loads of stuff including easel, safe light and a tonne of paper!
I haven’t seen one in the flesh, but heard good things about them. That model was on my shortlist when I bought my last enlarger, but the Durst won out because I already had a load of Durst accessories. As far as I remember they have very similar features to my Durst, such as the selectable mixing box for 35mm and MF. I see plenty of accessories advertised for them on eBay too. I’d say go for it if it’s a good price and comes with the accessories you’ll need.
 
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#36
I use an LPL7700 and it’s a good enlarger (and I’m used to my Leica V35 and the DeVere 504s at the local darkroom). The only thing I don’t really like is how the universal neg carrier crops off a mm or so from the edges of a neg (it’s max size is like 54.5mm x 66cm) but it’s not a huge issue for me since I end up cropping with the easel to tidy up the edges anyway, plus the standard neg carriers don’t have that issue.
 
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#37
I use a C7700, I feel the decent Dursts are a shade more robust, but I have no complaints about the LPL although I do fancy the condenser version.
Umm, what can I say about it, well the universal carrier is good, keeps the negs flat sandwiched between two bits of anti-newton glass, but the glass adds so many extra surfaces to de-dust I just use a 6x6 glass-less carrier instead.
I had heard that it can't quite manage grade 5 with the colour mixer, not that I do much grade 5 but I got a set of ilford under lens filters just in case.
There is a fine focus accessory that comes in handy if you can get one.
For big enlargements where the head is way up the post, its a bit of a struggle to look through a short focus finder and reach the focus knob at the same time, so I'd recommend a tall focus finder.
Apart from that, its a decent bit of kit.
 
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gazmorton2000
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#38
I haven’t seen one in the flesh, but heard good things about them. That model was on my shortlist when I bought my last enlarger, but the Durst won out because I already had a load of Durst accessories. As far as I remember they have very similar features to my Durst, such as the selectable mixing box for 35mm and MF. I see plenty of accessories advertised for them on eBay too. I’d say go for it if it’s a good price and comes with the accessories you’ll need.
As far as I remember, the LPL easels are worth having, if that’s part of the package.
I use an LPL7700 and it’s a good enlarger (and I’m used to my Leica V35 and the DeVere 504s at the local darkroom). The only thing I don’t really like is how the universal neg carrier crops off a mm or so from the edges of a neg (it’s max size is like 54.5mm x 66cm) but it’s not a huge issue for me since I end up cropping with the easel to tidy up the edges anyway, plus the standard neg carriers don’t have that issue.
I use a C7700, I feel the decent Dursts are a shade more robust, but I have no complaints about the LPL although I do fancy the condenser version.
Umm, what can I say about it, well the universal carrier is good, keeps the negs flat sandwiched between two bits of anti-newton glass, but the glass adds so many extra surfaces to de-dust I just use a 6x6 glass-less carrier instead.
I had heard that it can't quite manage grade 5 with the colour mixer, not that I do much grade 5 but I got a set of ilford under lens filters just in case.
There is a fine focus accessory that comes in handy if you can get one.
For big enlargements where the head is way up the post, its a bit of a struggle to look through a short focus finder and reach the focus knob at the same time, so I'd recommend a tall focus finder.
Apart from that, its a decent bit of kit.
Thanks chaps. It comes with a LOAD of stuff so I am gonna go for it, even if it's more than I wanted to spend. Going to pick it up this weekend. Just need to install a worktop now and I can actually print.....still no sink installed though.
 
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#39
Thanks chaps. It comes with a LOAD of stuff so I am gonna go for it, even if it's more than I wanted to spend. Going to pick it up this weekend. Just need to install a worktop now and I can actually print.....still no sink installed though.
Very exciting! If you do end up with some colour printing accessories, don't be tempted to throw them out or sell them. You'll be surprised how easy and enjoyable colour printing can be. That could be a project for 2020 :)
 
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gazmorton2000
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#40
Very exciting! If you do end up with some colour printing accessories, don't be tempted to throw them out or sell them. You'll be surprised how easy and enjoyable colour printing can be. That could be a project for 2020 :)
I haven't ruled it out. Most of my photography is colour....it's just printing looks a tricky beast, with colour matching and temperature.
 
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