The Online Darkroom Store

Wednesday, October 5

Darkroom Update



I've had a few emails requesting some details about the ongoing work on my darkroom so here they are. Apologies for the quality of the photos. They're iPhone pics again because I can't find the charger for my Nikon DSLR. The darkroom space is the area you can see in the first pic. It measures something like 9ft x 5.5ft but isn't the easiest space to work with as there's only about 18 inches of normal ceiling before it slopes down to the rear wall about 4ft high.

The initial plan had been to build a darkroom in the garage but I was worried about the effects of a less than bone dry environment on the enlargers and lenses. The space I'm now working on is in an upstairs bedroom, smaller than the garage darkroom would have been but much better and with the possibility of plumbing in a sink.


The first thing to do was to build a wall to partition off the sloping-roofed section and hang a door. That's now been done - not by me as originally intended but by a joiner. I don't mind having a bash at joinery work but there was some rerouting of wiring to be done and I always steer clear of electrical stuff.

There are four double sockets and a ceiling light within the darkroom space but no sink yet. An en-suite bathroom adjoins the end of the darkroom and I thought it made more sense to have the sink installed when we had a plumber in to fit a new bathroom suite. The wall that you can see in the third pic (below) has to be plastered and painted on the bedroom side. I'm just going to paint the darkroom side.


I have a few kitchen-type units for storage space that I've built up but not yet fixed in place as I'm still trying to work out the best layout. With one or two enlargers it would be straightforward but adding a third in such a small space is not easy. I think the Durst L1200 might have to be sacrificed leaving the Leitz 1C and Philips/Paterson PCS150 to handle 35mm and 6x6 respectively.

The biggest issue just now is finding a suitable sink for the darkroom. Typical kitchen sinks aren't really big enough for print washing. A Belfast-type sink might do the job but most proper darkroom sinks I've seen are just too long for the space I have available. There's no obvious solution apart from building one myself but that's a tall order. Does anyone have any ideas for a sink?

Making a return to printing isn't too far off then but, annoyingly, there always seems to be more to be done than I'd anticipated and it always takes longer than I'd thought as well.

6 comments :

SCKStef said...

Hi Bruce,

just about your sink, why not just use an old fashioned showertray, these with high "walls" ? I did got my from the scrapyard...

St├ęphane.

Bruce Robbins said...

I thought about one of those, Stephane, but they're too wide for my darkroom. Ideally, I'd like a sink no wider than about 45cm and about 1.5m long. I've been reading up about making one from plywood and might go down that route. Thanks for your comment.

David McCormack said...

This could be of interest to you Bruce?

Long narrow sink on preloved.co.uk

marty said...

Hello, Bruce. Nice to see progress in your darkroom build. I'm sure you're stacking exposed films in need to be developed and properly printed :-)... comes to mind your previous post, beautiful photo there... i'm sure there are others on film too ;-)... about your inquiry about a darkroom sink what I use is a laundry room ceramic sink, the deep type thought to hand wash clothing with a board... that fits my needs, very seldom print bigger than 24x30 cm and I'm using my diy print washer... my darkroom is shared with the laundry room and, yes, I do have a washing machine, of course :-))))))))))))))... regarding diy building comes to mind the website of a Swiss gentleman who did such a build, among others sink ... i hope that might give you some ideas... cheers and good luck with the build...

Bruce Robbins said...

David Mc,
That's a nice one but too short. Am I hard to please or what! I don't have enough worktop space for both trays and a decent sink so I need a long enough sink that I can put the trays in when processing. But the sink can't be too wide because then it would eat into the space I have to move around in! Thank you, though.

Marty,
That's what I have in mind for a sink. It seems straightforward enough to build a plywood sink and, from what I've read, nobody is reporting disastrous leaks everywhere so I should be OK.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Plywood sink probably best Bruce, at least it can be custom built. You think your darkroom is small, but I can beat you - I have to kneel to print!