Darkroom Doors- are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Some Dude, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    I've had a darkroom for years and its basically involved a light-tight
    seal around the door, etc...It works fine, period.

    I'm dealing with stuff now, however, where it would be more efficient
    for me to have one of these doors (e.g. I want to leave paper,
    emulsion, things that are photosensitive out). They are very pricy.
    BH is talking $1,500 to $5,000.

    Does anyone here have these installed and if so, what was the main
    reason for you to go to this expensive solution? I definitely want
    one but the price is unreal (at least to me).


    Some Dude, Aug 14, 2004
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  2. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    I'm sure it was probably obvious but, I'm talking about revolving

    Some Dude, Aug 14, 2004
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  3. Some Dude

    Nick Zentena Guest

    If you've got the room then why not two door setup? Basically the outer
    door leads into a small room. You turn 90 degrees and you've got the second
    door that really goes into the darkroom. You can use the small room for
    storage. Have a film fridge,chemicals whatever.

    Nick Zentena, Aug 14, 2004
  4. Some Dude

    jjs Guest

    I worked several years for outfits that had _great_ darkrooms and in two we
    had the revolving door. They are okay only if you never have to routinely
    bring large things in and out. In other words, the if darkroom was
    completely self-supporting. One of the pains was bringing in a vacuum and a
    mop and bucket to routinely wipe the floors and walls (we were meticulous),
    stocking large paper and mixing chemicals. (It's a Bad Idea to mix powdered
    chemicals in the print room.) The better solution was to have the revolving
    door _and_ a conventional door which you use occasionally for the things
    mentioned above.

    If you have the room, there are alternatives to the revolving door.
    Somewhere on my archive disc I have some drawings. If you like I will search
    for them.
    jjs, Aug 14, 2004
  5. I used to use a darkroom (in high school) that had a double door
    arrangement. What made this effective was that the doors had plywood
    sectors mounted to the bottom, interfaced with a cut out plywood recess
    in the floor between doors, such that only one door could be open (even
    just a crack) at a time. To enter the darkroom, you'd push open the
    outer door, step into the tiny vestibule, let the door close behind you
    (the doors swung into the vestibule, with spring closers), and then open
    the second door and enter the darkroom. Coming out worked the same way.

    This was built by the photography instructor, I believe, and could be
    recreated by any reasonably competent homeowner grade carpenter (I could
    probably make one myself, and likely will once I have a permanent
    darkroom of my own) for the cost of materials and hardware, and with
    less effort than simply installing one of those rotating cylinder doors.

    Bringing large items into and out of the darkroom is still best handled
    with a second light sealed door, preferably with a deadbolt lock that
    requires a key from both sides.

    I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz!
    -- E. J. Fudd, 1954

    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer
    Lathe Building Pages http://silent1.home.netcom.com/HomebuiltLathe.htm
    Speedway 7x12 Lathe Pages http://silent1.home.netcom.com/my7x12.htm

    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
    and don't expect them to be perfect.
    Donald Qualls, Aug 15, 2004
  6. Problem is those door can limit the tray size you can take
    through them. Personally I installed a second door with a
    light lock space between the inside door. Kind of an
    L -shaped configuration.....will be this way in my next
    darkroom (coming soon in a 200 sq foot variety).
    Gregory Blank, Aug 15, 2004
  7. Some Dude

    Dan Quinn Guest

    Now that you mention it, I deserve better too. This thought
    just popped into mind. Half a shower curtain inside, the other
    half outside. That's the very basic idea.
    I just checked my door-frame's outside dimension and screw
    holding potential. Looks OK. The correct width fabric should need
    only be hemed top and bottom with perhaps pocket room at top for a
    rod. Rings, shower style, may work well. The rods themselves may
    be a bit of a hassel. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Aug 15, 2004
  8. How much room do you have? I once owned a camera store with a rental
    darkroom; for obvious reasons, there was a LOT of traffic in and out.

    I wound up building sort of a maze, with four 90 degree turns, to get
    into the darkroom. The plywood walls were painted flat black. It was
    bulky, but we had the room in the store basement; and it was a LOT
    cheaper and more convenient than one of the commercial doors.

    Uh, after the first day we realized we had to put a small safelight in
    the maze, and paint a white stripe to follow on the floor...
    Scott Schuckert, Aug 15, 2004
  9. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    I love that maze idea. LOVE IT. But no, I don't have the room for
    it..My darkroom measures about 10x12' and there's no room to build out
    too far. I could *probably* do a double-door setup although it would
    look sorta funky as I would not want to build a second door "inside"
    the darkroom as there is simply not too much space (in otherwords i'd
    build it outside the current door and grow it in such a direction
    where I have a lot more room. Thats ok if it looks weird..I'm not a
    person for aesthetics...

    Cheers and thanks for the info folks

    Some Dude, Aug 15, 2004
  10. Some Dude

    Dan Quinn Guest

    With that much room you may be able to achieve a maze effect
    with rearangment of the darkroom equipment and one 2x7 foot sheet
    of plywood.
    Keep in mind that it is what your photosensitive materials see.
    What you see is of no consequence. I see light leaks in my darkroom
    which I think might fog film. I do not handle film where it can see
    those leaks. Paper with it's little sensitivity is immune to a
    little white light. My guess; you worry too much. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Aug 16, 2004
  11. Maybe you could re-arrange things a bit... or not. Just so you're sure
    what I was talking about, I drew a quick sketch. BTW, this was in a
    basement; there was a small anteroom at the bottom of the steps before
    entering the maze.
    Scott Schuckert, Aug 16, 2004
  12. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    Better safe than sorry.

    Some Dude, Aug 16, 2004
  13. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest

    Can you post a url to the gif or email me? you can find my email by
    going to my website listed and clicking on the link. (spam prevention)


    Some Dude, Aug 16, 2004
  14. Some Dude

    AnonyMouse Guest

    It depends upon your working style and the style of the lab.
    For a single-user home lab it is usually not necessary, since the user
    tends to complete a task without the necessity to leave the room.
    For "gang" darkrooms, such as in professional labs or school environments,
    multiple users tend to enter and exit the room while others are mid-task,
    making it necessary to maintain light-proof or safelight integrity.
    Arkay has a revolving door that could be pushed out from a frame mounted
    on the doorway opening. In that way, large equipment, etc. could be moved
    into or out of the room unencumbered during maintenance and other
    non-working time. It also eliminated the need for a separate emergency exit.
    for an example.
    Darkroom entry mazes, mentioned elsewhere, tend to take up lots of floor
    space, as do door-vestibule-door solutions.
    AnonyMouse, Aug 17, 2004
  15. Some Dude

    jjs Guest

    Of course, otherwise darkroom illumination would be called "risklight".
    jjs, Aug 17, 2004
  16. I have used a revolving door, which seems most appropriate for a group
    darkroom, like a school, where people may randomly enter and leave. The
    ones I have used work fine. However, they are expensive, and the two door
    system suggested below would get my vote for situations with "controlled"
    access like one person entering or leaving. You don't want the situation of
    both doors being opened at once (two people going opposite directions) by
    random chance.
    Pieter Litchfield, Aug 18, 2004
  17. In the old days, back when I was at college :-( where I first got
    the two door idea:

    We had a light which came on when someone entered from the other
    side....there were two lights,.... one on each room side of the
    Gregory Blank, Aug 18, 2004
  18. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest


    Some Dude, Aug 20, 2004
  19. Some Dude

    John Garand Guest

    The maze is amazingly effective and functional and I think all of us
    would have one if we had the room. :)

    In the last couple of years there has been the odd darkroom door on
    the market as various commercial operations go digital or close their
    doors (no pun intended). I picked one up nearby for $101. I'm not
    the only person to use my darkroom and the door was easier than
    coordinating when someone will be coming in or going out.
    John Garand, Aug 22, 2004
  20. Some Dude

    Some Dude Guest


    How hard was it to install? Imagine my skills pushing it by building
    a room in the first place. Plumbing the door probably took me 1/2 as
    long as it did to build the entire room.

    I can definitely set an alert on ebay for used darkroom doors :)


    Some Dude, Aug 22, 2004
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