It’s a New Year

This week, I spent some time working on the darkroom, not in the darkroom.

Technically, I was working in the darkroom – not on film or prints, but on the room itself. That’s where my distinction of “in” vs. “on” comes from.

A couple of years ago, I found the painter/spouse a large 20 drawer flatfile for her studio. (Gotta love Craigslist) There was already a smaller 5 drawer (also from CL) and it became redundant, so I moved it to the darkroom.

I had built the original cabinets for the darkroom, and so I built a matching support for the flatfile. The blog post in my old darkroom construction blog is here.


Original Configuration, 2010


Flatfile and support, 2013


However, the small flatfile’s functionality proved to be better suited elsewhere and so it came out of the darkroom.

This left a hole. Build another cabinet? Maybe?

As it turns out, after thinking about it for several days, I elected to simply re-arrange the furniture, and spent nothing on materials, or do any new fabrication.

I have a spare (read: unused and for sale) Beseler enlarger and the adjustable stand. The enlarger is likely spoken for, but the only folks interested in the stand were on the West Coast, and frankly, I didn’t want to bother dismantling and shipping the thing. Why not just use it?

So, both of the enlargers are now on their purpose-built adjustable stands. The reason I had not used both in the first place was that I don’t “use” them for making large prints. Maybe some day, but not so far. If I ever did, I had one stand for the procedure.

Well, now there are two, and I gained some other things besides facilitating larger prints.

1) I did not have to buy or build anything.

2) The enlargers sit lower on the stands than they do on the cabinets (I had the one stand elevated to match the counter height) and this allowed me to push cabinets and enlargers back a few inches closer to the angled ceiling.

3) Moving everything around allowed me to tack up some black cloth on the wall behind the enlargers. It would have been a much bigger project without the cabinets out of the way temporarily. Flare has never really been a problem, which is why I had not gone to the trouble before, but with the space open this took ten minutes (and I already had the cloth).

4) Sitting on one of cabinets between the two enlargers was my timer and the electrical controls. They ended up on the small table that had become surplus when I changed out the sink a few months ago. It was the stand that the print washer sat on, and now the washer is in the newer sink. The table was just in the way in my shop, and now it’s useful again.

I haven’t “flight-tested” the new setup yet, but that will come soon. Other than the afternoon of heavy lifting, I’m not out anything if I don’t like it and change it yet again. Oh, and the floor got mopped.

cabinets 2015

As it stands, 2015


I’ve never been one for resolutions. It seems that if one wants to resolve to do something, the timing of a date on the calendar is arbitrary. Want to change? Then change.

This darkroom fix-up would make for a good New Year’s resolution to do more film work and/or printing of existing negatives. Well, I do resolve to do that, but the timing is just coincidence. I have the film from the Big Bend trip to print (it is processed) and I really want to put together another portfolio or two. Busy, busy, busy.

Happy New Year, y’all!





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