Well the blog started with my first darkroom, this isn’t a sign that the blog is ending…but I now have a darkroom again! Well, kind of. A new camera store opened up in town and we stopped in on Saturday to check it out. Turns out they have darkroom supplies, so I couldn’t resist. We picked up some paper and chemicals and decided it would give us incentive to get a darkroom up and going! Read on for details about how we’ve pulled it off…kind of….
The first order of buisness was decided where to do it. We needed water and a room that could easily be made dark. Well, our laundry room almost fits the bill. It has water, but no counter space, and there was a BIG gap under the one door. But no windows.
The room on the other side of the laundry room, our 3rd bedroom and future master suite, only has one window. It also has its own A/C unit which works better than the main house unit, and two desks. One of which was covered with boxes.
So we decided to use both rooms. The laundry room would be the “wet side” of the darkroom while the bedroom would be the “Dry Side”. It’s not idea. There’s dryer lint to contend with in the laundry room, and the bedroom is where the dog door is so there’s lots of fur in there. It’s also carpeted and kind of big to try and keep dust free for an idea darkroom. But for occasional use it will be just fine. With that decided the big question was…how to make the rooms dark!
So a quick trip to Lowes to look for inspiration. I figure eventually I’ll make a custom blackout block for the window out of some styrofoam, weather stripping and aluminum foil. But for now the aluminum foil and a roll of foil tape did the job quite nicely. The dog door we just put it’s blocker panel in and toss a towel over it to take care of the small final leaks.
The gap under the laundry room door took a bit more work. But with a piece of 1/2″ poplar and a piece of 1/4″ poplar I was able to extend the door. It still needs some finish sanding and paint but works great! A bit of weather stripping and a small fox to the striker plate (that door never latched before) and the door is almost completely light proof:
We cleared the boxes off the other table, which resulted in the final empty bookshelf back there finally being filled with books. And then setup my old Durst:
It’s a little low for my tastes…but Amy likes being able to sit on the bed while working and I can live working from my knees as often as I print anymore. You’ll also notice the motel style A/C unit in the background, with some more foil tape we used to seal up the light leaks around it.
I also re-installed the shelf that was in the laundry room. We had to take it out to make room for the laundry tub. But I cut it down to fit the remaining space (slightly overlapping the tub so things can drain off of it into the tub) and remounted it. I wouldn’t lean on it or put anything heavy on it…but it can support a few trays or my Jobo processor just fine:
Space is tight…and the trays aren’t setup optimally. That’s developer in front, Stop in the corner, fix on the right and improvised wash in the tub. I also only had 2 real trays on me…but for $7 walmart had a Sterlite 3 drawer organizer and the drawers make very handy trays! The 2l bottles were also the cheapest option we found for holding the chemicals – $.67 each though, it was cheaper to dump out the soda than to buy real bottles and they work just fine for us.
On the other side of the laundry room I hung a bit of kite string which we use as a drying line. We both cranked out a quick print or two and it does indeed work. But without a safelight it’s very difficult to work in there. And we need a better processing timer. But with a bit more organization, a few things shipped out from my old darkroom at my parents house and a bit more time….it will be quite nice.
Now if we can just get the dog to decide if she wants to be in or out while we print 😀
I wonder if the large gap at the bottom of the door wasn’t there to supply make-up air for the dryer which, I assume, vents to the outside?
Based on everything else in this house…it’s more likely that he found the door at a second hand shop and used it despite it not quite being the right size.
Plus there’s a vent in the water heater closet (across from the washer/dryer) and a small gap under that door. A little bit of light gets in when it’s sunny out…but at night it’s more than dark enough.
And we pretty much never close that door. Other than once or twice during parties it’s always open. Partly so the dog can get from her door to her food/water…and party because we don’t really need to close it for any reason. The washer/dryer are quiet enough we don’t hear them in the living room with it open and if we closed it we’d never hear them beep to let us know they’re done 😀
I do want to pickup a cheap bathroom fan and rig a better vent over the trays though. The room does not have as much ventilation as I’d like.