New Darkroom

After about a year of off and on work, I have finally completed my darkroom, in the corner of my basement.  The selected site is next to my woodworking shop and my wife’s pottery wheel, so separation from woodworking and pottery dust was a particular challenge.

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Entry door to new darkroom
I accomplished all work myself, to include framing in new walls and ceiling, plumbing for hot/cold water supply, installing a Liberty Pump drain pump for waste water (with venting into the main house vent), wiring for all required outlets and lighting (both white LED and red LED safe lights in recessed ceiling fixtures), entry door installation and light-proofing, installing light-proof filtered air inlet ducts and an exhaust fan, drywall hanging, taping, and mudding, cabinet installation, enlarger table construction, and all finish trim and painting.  Additionally I fabricated an 8-foot sink from Baltic birch plywood and epoxy resin, and installed a water temperature control panel from Rosy Products.

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Liberty 405 drain pump
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Water temperature control panel
To date, I have only processed film in the new darkroom, but will soon be printing with the Beseler 23C II enlarger, as well as some wet plate collodion work in the future.

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Darkroom Layout, about 8ft x 8ft
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Enlarger station
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Illuminated by 2 ceiling-mounted red LED safelights
Future posts will discuss darkroom use and any future projects.

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2 thoughts on “New Darkroom

  1. Mike,
    Wow, I was doing an internet search for some information on darkrooms since I am attempting to build one myself now, and ran across your posting. It looks like you did a great job! Mine too is in the basement, and right next to my wood shop as well.
    I am curious as to what kind of light fixtures you used for the red light? I contemplated building my own sink just like yours, but have decided to have one fabricated for me out of polyethylene plastic. Long story there. I would love to hear more about your experience and any pit falls that you ran into so I can maybe improve what I am doing. The analog thing is all very new to me, so I have limited knowledge as to what I am doing. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Greg: Sorry about this late reply, somehow your comment was not annunciated to me by WordPress and I have just now seen it. I used standard 4 inch can light fixtures from Home Depot in my darkroom ceiling, both for white LED lighting and for my red LED dark lights. There are a couple of different brands of can lights available, but any of them should work fine. I experimented with two types of red LED bulbs, one made by Feit (available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.) and the other by Optiled via eBay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/281638332811). I tested both of these red lights using the Kodak safelight test, you can search for this online, and confirmed no paper fogging with over seven minutes continuous exposure. I would still recommend testing yourself with your preferred photo paper. The big challenge for my darkroom was the drain system; I needed to install a dedicated pump for my sink drain to tie into my home drain system, as well as a vent line.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with your darkroom build!

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