From: Rod Smith on
In article <slrnfo6cbu.u39.gsm(a)>,
gsm(a) (Geoffrey S. Mendelson) writes:
> David Nebenzahl wrote:
>> Gloves are for sissies.
> I found that in the 1980's skin problems I had went away when exposed to
> developing chemicals, but other people have had severe reactions.

My understanding is that the most common darkroom skin allergy is to metol
(or perhaps manufacturing impurities that get into metol; I've seen
arguments on this point). Using a metol-free developer can help minimize
the risk of developing such allergies. For film, neither XTOL nor Rodinal
contains metol, but many others (such as the popular D-76) contain metol.
Most commercial paper developers contain metol. Agfa (now A&O) Neutol Plus
and the Silvergrain Tektol line are both metol-free paper developers.
(Note that some other Agfa Neutol developers do contain metol, though;
it's only Neutol Plus that's metol-free.) There are also quite a few
mix-it-yourself paper developers that lack metol.

Rod Smith, rodsmith(a)
Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking
From: Rod Smith on
In article <13o682g53fl2id9(a)>,
"G.T." <getnews1(a)> writes:
> David Nebenzahl wrote:
>> On 1/7/2008 7:46 PM G.T. spake thus:
>>> With the drums can I agitate manually or is it too inconvenient to
>>> agitate it myself? Do I need to get a roller, too?
>> I'd spend the extra fifty cents and get the motor base.
> I should have read this post before sending my last one. So these days
> the used motor bases are quite cheap?

They're fairly cheap on eBay. On average, they probably cost more than
$0.50 (if only for shipping -- the motor base weighs more than a drum),
but the nature of eBay and the current market for darkroom equipment is
that if you're willing to wait, you can find what you want pretty cheaply
-- maybe even for $0.50. Unfortunately, eBay's not responding for me right
now so I can't check on current auctions and prices. Do a search on "drum"
in the photo section; that'll give you an idea for the current market.
(Note that there's a check box along the left of the screen to show
completed auctions, so you can tell what items actually sell for rather
than what the high bid is hours or days before the auctions end.)

>> It also uses a *lot* less chemistry, since you don't have to fill a
>> whole tray.

Yes and no. My 8x10 drum seems to work well with 70ml of chemicals. That
70ml will be close to exhausted by a single sheet, though, so it's best to
use the solution one-shot. When I use open trays, I use 1l (1000ml) of
developer in an 8x10 tray, and I typically get at least 20 8x10 prints out
of that, which works out to 50ml per print. Of course, it would be
possible to extend the life of the chemicals when using the drum -- say by
using a replenishment scheme. That adds to the hassle, though.

Ultimately I guess it depends on what's important to you and how you
prefer to work. If you want to mix up small quantities of chemistry (for
easy storage) from liquid concentrates, the low solution volumes required
by a drum might be appealing. From an economic standpoint, there's
probably not much difference, or open trays might get the nod. If you're
using a powdered developer (such as Dektol), you'll need to mix large
quantities anyhow, so the need for larger volumes to fill trays won't be
much of an issue.

Rod Smith, rodsmith(a)
Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking
From: Ken Hart on

"G.T." <getnews1(a)> wrote in message
> Ken Hart wrote:

> Excellent advice. I assume the roller is just a base that makes it easy
> to manually roll the drum in place? Or is it motorized?

Motorized. Be advised: the drum tends to 'walk' on the base, so it can fall
off if you aren't paying attention.
> I have my own easel, filters, grain checker, and a couple of trays so let
> me get a list together here of the rest of the stuff I would need:
> enlarger, lens, neg holder, timer
> safelight
> paper developer
> 2 drums
> I can use my two trays for the initial wash and hypo clearing?
> something to use for washing

The housewares (kitchen stuff) at WalMart is your friend! Various
plastic/Rubbermaid containers will work for a washing tray. You can slao get
containers for your chems. Pick up a Sharpie brand marker to label the
containers (waterproof).

> print wiper
> dryer?

If you are using RC papers, don't fret wiping the print. Just lay it face up
on a towel to air dry. You could also get some sort of plastic-covered wire
rack-- again the housewares department. There are numerous dryer 'machines'
on the market for RC paper-- most all work on some sort of air drying.

From: Ken Hart on

"Geoffrey S. Mendelson" <gsm(a)> wrote in message
> G.T. wrote:
>> enlarger, lens, neg holder, timer
> I started out without a timer, I used a watch.
> Before that I used the the old "one-one thousand" method for
> timing exposure and developed by inspection.
>> safelight
> That's a touchy subject here. Safelight type, color and position vary a
> lot and as long as they don't fog your paper, it's a matter of money and
> personal preference. If you can figure out the electrical wiring a
> connection that turns off the safelight while the enlarger is on will
> make setup and focusing easier.

It is easier to focus with the safelight off. Most enlarger timers have an
outlet for the enlarger and another outlet for the safelight. When the
enlarger is on, the safelight is off.

From: Ken Hart on

"David Nebenzahl" <nobody(a)> wrote in message
> On 1/7/2008 11:28 PM G.T. spake thus:
>> Geoffrey S. Mendelson wrote:
> >
>>> Tongs, stop bath and fixer. Gloves if you have skin problems
>>> with the chemicals.
>> Yeah, got those except for the gloves.
> Gloves are for sissies.

Generalization. I don't use gloves in the black and white darkroom, but I do
use tongs-- to minimize chemical contamination.
I found out the hard way to use gloves when cleaing the color (RA4)
processor. I reached down in the color developer tank and within a day or
so, I had several nasty rashes on my arm that took weeks to clear up.
Developers basically attack the oils in the skin and for some people,
especially with dry skin issues, it can cause problems. Don't sweat it, wash
your hands and maybe use a skin moisturizer after a darkroom session.

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