Film reels jamming (Developer tank)

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Christopher Loffredo, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    When I try to reel film onto my developing tank reels (Jobo and
    Patterson, both 35mm and 120), the film jams and, even tapping or
    knocking the reel, I often can't get the whole film loaded.

    And, yes, the reels are perfectly dry.

    Any other suggestions or tricks?

    Christopher Loffredo, Mar 15, 2008
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  2. And also, when I have time to, I don't rewind the film completely and
    carefully cut the leader off and bevel the corners - which doesn't seem
    to make any difference.... :-(
    Christopher Loffredo, Mar 15, 2008
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  3. Christopher Loffredo

    John Guest

    I would try cleaning them with a toothbrush and some ammonia. They
    might have a buildup of some sort. Usually a wetting agent.

    John, Mar 15, 2008
  4. You may as well give that a try. I always wash my reels off with hot water
    after each use and very much doubt there is a build-up of wetting agent.
    Fear of wetting agent causing loading or developing problems seems
    widespread. When Dr. Henry tested this by severe cleaning methods, it did
    not affect irregular development he experienced with some size film (120 I
    believe). So it was not the cause of that. PhotoFlo seems very water soluble
    and it should wash off quite well with hot water if you do not allow it to
    dry first.

    I never have trouble loading Nikor reels. I have Jobo 2600 series reels and
    they are usually (but not always) trouble-free. Sometimes I can just push
    the 35mm film in from the end all at once without "rocking" the sides of the
    reels. And once in a while I must remove all the film and start over. Grrr.
    I usually nip the corners and perhaps this helps, but I do not know.
    Jean-David Beyer, Mar 15, 2008
  5. Christopher Loffredo

    ____ Guest

    Cut the film corners off at the beginning of the roll.
    ____, Mar 15, 2008
  6. Christopher Loffredo

    Rob Guest

    Hi Christopher,
    Try rounding off the corners of the film instead of beveling them.Also, if
    your darkroom is in a damp basement, even the moisture in the air can cause
    problems loading those reels.Try drying them with a hair dryer.This helped
    Rob, Mar 15, 2008
  7. Christopher Loffredo

    Ken Hart Guest

    You've already mentioned dry reels, and beveling the corners of the film, so
    there's the first two suggestions! Along the line of dry reels, how's the
    humidity in your darkroom? Any chance that moisture is condensing on the
    reels or the film? Maybe bringing film in from a day of winter cold outdoor
    shooting and immediately trying to load it in your warm, humid darkroom?

    Do these have the little steel ball bearing at the point where you start the
    film in? I have a couple reels where the ball has some rust/corrosion on it.
    My trick is to not use those reels-- sorry!

    Without getting into a stainless steel vs plastic war, The only time I use
    the plastic reels is when I have more film to develope than my largest
    stainless tank will hold. The only problem I've ever had with stainless is
    if you drop a reel on the floor, you may as well trash it- the slightest
    misalignment and it's toast.
    Ken Hart, Mar 15, 2008
  8. ... > [film jamming in plastic reels]

    I found it is critical to feed the film into the reel
    so it is perfectly perpendicular to the spirals. If the roll
    of unloaded film is off to the side then the film jams.

    Another problem is wobbly reels: plastic reels aren't as well
    fixed as SS reels and the two reels aren't necessarily parallel -
    try wiggling the reels and see if this allows the film to
    continue to slide in.

    If the camera winds the film inside-out then the film can have
    reverse curl that makes loading a problem. But then neither
    should the leading edge of the film be tightly curved inwards.

    I find the same film perpendicularity issues with SS reels. If
    the film isn't perfectly centered in the reel or isn't feeding straight
    in then the film will buckle in the first turn or two. Hewes reels
    superiority is, I believe, down to the hook arrangement that
    grabs on to the sprocket holes - thus insuring the film is centered
    and straight.

    Centering 120 film under the central clip is, IMO, a real PITA.

    I have never encountered photoflo residue. I have been using
    the same reels with photoflo for 40+ years, and all I ever
    do is rinse them in hot water. No residue yet.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Mar 15, 2008
  9. Christopher Loffredo

    jch Guest

    Many years ago i built a film drying cabinet that features an air filter
    and a heating element. I would put one or more plastic Paterson reels
    to be loaded in the cabinet, and preheat them on maximum heat for five
    minutes or so. The reels will attain a temperature of around 100F to
    130F. Both 120 and 35 mm film (with beveled edges) would load perfectly
    every time. I suppose that you could use a hair drier to preheat the reels?
    jch, Mar 15, 2008
  10. HI,

    I've been using Paterson reels for about 10 years now. The film gets
    stuck occasionally, maybe a doz times in ten years. Those I mark and
    put aside. The usual cause of jamming is because the reel is not
    completely dry.

    Cheers, Bogdan

    Bogdan Karasek
    Montréal, Québec

    "I bear witness"
    Bogdan Karasek, Mar 15, 2008
  11. Christopher Loffredo

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    March 15, 2008, from Lloyd Erlick,

    I use Jobo 1501 plastic developing reels that
    adjust to accept either 35 mm or 120 format
    film. I find the problem you describe occurs
    with both, but mostly 120. I think it is
    caused by the leading corners of the film
    binding against the spokes or ribs that make
    up the structure of the reel. The sharp
    pointy corners at the leading edge of the
    film strip are the culprit, I think.

    I have found the (more-or-less) fix for it. I
    use a variant of the corner-snip -- I fold
    the leading corners of the film just before I
    feed it into the opening of the spiral groove
    (this way we remain groovy even in the
    digital era ...).

    The 'amount' of film folded up is the
    smallest possible to grasp with my bare
    fingers. ('Up' meaning the folded corner
    points away from the centre of the reel, or
    away from the emulsion side of the film.) I
    try to create a little equilateral triangle
    at each leading corner. I squash it flat, but
    do not expect it to stay there. However, it
    slopes 'backwards' (towards the hand)
    slightly, and that is enough to permit it to
    slip nicely under the 'top' of the groove.
    There is discernable resistance when the fold
    goes into the spiral, but it is only slight.

    Since adopting this procedure, I've had close
    to zero snags while loading film.

    Making the small folds is quick and easy in
    the dark, since the film is right there in
    the hands. I don't know if the snipped corner
    method works as well or better. I hate the
    fumble in the dark of finding the small tip
    of the corner with a pair of nail clippers.
    I'm also not thrilled to fantasize about
    where those little corner snippings have got
    to. I worry about Murphy ...

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Mar 15, 2008
  12. Christopher Loffredo

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    March 15, 2008, from Lloyd Erlick,

    I haven't used wetting agent since 1969 ...
    and I have no residue either.

    Lloyd Erlick, Mar 15, 2008
  13. Hi,

    I've been using Paterson reels (off & on) for about 30 years. :)

    It's just that I've had a 10 year pause, and now in a different country
    and with developing tanks recently bought through internet actions, I
    find this problem being regular instead of very occasional as you mention.

    I'll soon try some of the more produtive suggestions:

    I normally never rinse my reels & tanks after using Photoflo; in the
    past that was never a problem, now it might be since I am using a
    different (and very old) type of wetting agent (possibly also the cause
    of spots on my negatives - will change imediately). My reels are now
    soaking in hot water.

    Also, my bathroom is very humid, I will certainly keep my tank out of it
    until just before loading the film.

    I'll post the results of the "new regime" in a couple of days....

    Thanks for all input so far.

    Christopher Loffredo, Mar 15, 2008
  14. Humid weather and/or sweat on the hands is a guaranteed jam,
    crinkle and crease when loading film.

    I haven't tried loading film with latex/nitrile gloves but
    it might help in hot weather. My fix is to wait for the
    cool of the evening. That's not much of a wait this time
    of year.

    I've been promised global warming for 20 years now, but
    the weather is as cold and miserable as ever.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Mar 15, 2008
  15. If you think the sticking is caused by some sort of
    residue you can try cleaning the reels with a toothbrush and
    toothpaste. Toothpaste has a very mild abrasive in it along
    with a detergent and will clean and polish surfaces without
    damaging them (except don't use it on lenses).
    Although sticking is very often attributed to residue
    from wetting agent I suspect it is mostly due to the reels
    being slightly out of parallel or not being quite the right
    width. Hot water washing after use should eliminate any
    residue and, if the film is washed on the reel, there really
    shouldn't be any residue at all.
    I have used stainless steel tanks for many years and
    seldom have loading problems. When I do they usually happen
    in hot weather or when loading in a changing bag where
    moisture from my hands makes the film limp and perhaps
    swells it slightly. It helps to trim off the corners even
    when using stainless steel reels.
    I use a final rinse composed of Photo-Flo at half
    strength and isopropyl alcohol. For a liter of rinse add
    about 30ml of 70% rubbing alcohol (make sure it doesn't have
    oil of wintergreen or anything else in it). The amount is
    not critical so you can use the same amount of 91% or
    anhydrous alcohol. Photo-Flow at half recommended strength,
    half a capful for a liter. Soak the film in this for about a
    minute before hanging up to dry.
    Edwal wetting agent appears to be the same stuff as
    Photo-Flo plus some alcohol.
    I usually wash out the tanks and reels in hot water as
    soon as I finish using them.
    Richard Knoppow, Mar 17, 2008
  16. Christopher Loffredo

    br Guest

    This works first time every time


    br, Mar 18, 2008
  17. Christopher Loffredo

    br Guest

    This will work ... First time every time

    br, Mar 18, 2008
  18. Christopher Loffredo

    gloray77 Guest

    If these are self feeding reels check to see if the BB is missing out
    of one side of the reels. That drove me crazy for a while until I
    realized that one was missing. Hope this helps.
    gloray77, Mar 18, 2008
  19. Christopher Loffredo

    ____ Guest

    Is there a good reason you are top and bottom posting, as well as
    reposting his entire response without snipping -twice?
    ____, Mar 18, 2008
  20. Christopher Loffredo

    br Guest

    no ... simply made a mistake
    br, Mar 20, 2008
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