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Tuesday, November 15

Durst resurrection!

Talk about good fortune following bad. Cath's dad had a good look at the defective transformer/stabiliser that is supposed to power the Durst L1200 Laborator and concluded that it was fried. Some components on the PCB were badly scorched and, being a 30-year-old unit (the transformer, not Cath's dad - he's slightly more mature) there was little hope of bringing it back to life.

The alternatives weren't filling me with hope - either find another rare Durst transformer or buy an aftermarket one that would do the job but which I wouldn't be able to use with my RH Designs Analyser Pro. With nothing to lose, I decided to get in touch with the guy from whom I'd bought the enlarger, Ralph Swann. Ralph's retired now but had a business buying up photography and darkroom equipment from Scottish police forces and selling it on to people who were still using the technology. Ralph's a good guy and I formed a high opinion of him when I picked up the enlarger. I knew he had quite a collection of old bits and pieces so it was worth a shot.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Ralph had a look in his storeroom and unearthed another Durst transformer, the same as mine but without the stabiliser. That was no great loss as the power supply in Scotland is pretty good, although it will probably take a turn for the worse as we're headlong bound for an economically ruinous wind turbine program that will make renewable energy firms a packet and bankrupt the rest of the country - but I digress.

Ralph kindly offered it to me and threw in a spare CLS450 colour head for the Durst as well. And like the man who couldn't pronounce the "th" digraph, you can't say fairer than that then. Hopefully, I wont ever have to cannibalise the the colour head as mine will keep on keeping on. However, the in-built colour filters might come in handy and the spare head had the extended rods which attach to the filtration control knobs and make it easier to operate them when the head is at the top of the column.

Ralph also sold me a 20x24" RR Beard enlarging easel for a tenner because it had fallen over and the adjustable blades had become a bit misshapen. Five minutes pummeling them on the ironing board had them back in a fairly straight and definitely serviceable state. That will come in very useful as my own one was just a 10x12" and these big and beautiful SL66E negatives deserve to be blown up a bit.

That would seem to be me finally set up to print from the Durst - and not before time. It will be interesting to see if I can fulfil the promise I think I see in some of the negs.

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