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Lesson Plans

Setting up a darkroom

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Larson (mlarson)
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:46:35 -0500

I agree that the Beseler 233CIII is the best you can get for class. My
program uses 13 that are used constantly and hold up well. Lots of easy to
use repir parts are available too. Be aware that you will need to locate a
fixer recovery system to process all used fixer because the silver nitrate
left over is a hazerdous waste. Mine costs about $100.00 per year. All
other chemicals are ok to be returned to the waste stream because they are
pretty much neutralized by the time they're dumped. Paper scraps cannot be
cycled becuase they contain silver. Ventilation is very important for
fumes, espcecially stop bath. Be sure to provide safety glasses and rubber
gloves. In Wisconsin, we MUST provide them by order of the Dept. of
Industry, Labor, & Human Relations. I sell safety glasses fo $4.00 apiece,
and run a buy back system and sell used ones as well. Rubber gloves are the
responsilbility of the student. If you want to provide a "class set" of
goggles or gloves, however, you are responsible for disinfecting them after
EACH use! There are ultraviolet booths that do this- check w/ your science
teachers, maybe. It's too much hassle for me, so I make them totally
responsible and save lots of time. I am also required by law to use a full
face mask and plastic or rubber apron and gloves whenever I mix full
strength chemistry. Also don't forget a temperature control system for all
darkroom water and possibly a water filtration system for accurate control
and purity.

My suggestion for chemistry is to use liquid concentrate instead of powder.
I use Heico Chemicals in 5 gal. cubes. I don't like inhaling the dry powder
(dangerous!) and I don't need to mix with hot water so if we run out, I can
make a batch and use it right away becase it is mixed at working
temperatures. Also the film developer is less likely to oxidize because the
students take it right from the cube and dilute before use, so the
developer isn't really exposed to the outside air like pre-mixed.

Don't forget print dryers -heated ones for fiber based paper and screens
for RC paper. I use big silkcreen frames stretched with plastic window
screen from the hardware store. They can stack on top of each other to save
space. A rotary cutter for prints ---the guillotine cutters just don't make
it (tho you will need one of those around for cutting mat board) And last
but not least, a laminator for dry mounting.

Anyway, this turned into a long post, so good luck. Buy the best equipment
you can afford, because it will definitely pay off in the future!

Mark Larson, Art Teacher
Lincoln High School
1801 16th Street So.
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
School: 715.423.1520
e-mail: mlarson

  • Maybe reply: martha moses: "Re: Setting up a darkroom"