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Converting a garden shed into a darkroom
Dave Miller
Dave miller
28th September 2008
Many of us donít enjoy the luxury of having a spare room in our house which can be converted into a darkroom. When I moved to my present home I was faced with the question of where to set up a new darkroom, as my house is small, but the garden I inherited was a wildness; did the answer lie there...
  #20  
By Dave miller on 9th September 2009, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter Hogan View Post
Lovely job Dave. Having seen it in the flesh I can testify as to how good it is.
Just need some pictures now...
Peter, I know these technical issues are sometimes a bit of a trial for you, but if you use the wheelie thing on your mouse to scroll to the other end of this thread, then you will find my original pictures.
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  #21  
By Phil on 10th September 2009, 11:50 AM
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Well Dave, I have only just brought myself to read your article, and it makes me hang my head in shame. I work in a long, narrow but tall Victorian understairs cupboard - about 8ft long, 3.5 wide and at it's highest point 11ft tall (only 4ft at the low end though!). Believe it or not I have my Devere 504 in there - it's a bench model and it's on the floor
Trays are precariously balanced on original Victorian shelving and the whole thing is a total dog's dinner. My safelight is one of those wonderful little RHDesigns torches; there's no running water, electricity is run in from an extension cable, and yet it is my wonderful little haven where I manage to print quite nicely thank you! Fortunately we also store the wine in there too (as it was originally a butler's cupboard and has a flagstone floor and a totally even temperature) but I haven't been tempted to drink and drive the Devere yet . . . .
Maybe a 'darkrooms from hell' thread might be extremely amusing!
Anyway, I've been meaning to sort mine out for a while, and having read your article have concluded that I need to do it SOON.
Thanks for the kick up the pants
Phil
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  #22  
By les dix on 11th September 2009, 02:31 PM
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'Darkrooms from hell'. Yes. Mine is in the loft. No running water and I cannot stand up - everything is done kneeling or sitting. Too hot to spend much time in there over the summer. I have been using it since 1998 but I am starting to have doubts as to how much longer I can take it as I am not as supple as I used to be.

Les
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  #23  
By Dave miller on 11th September 2009, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by les dix View Post
'Darkrooms from hell'. Yes. Mine is in the loft. No running water and I cannot stand up - everything is done kneeling or sitting. Too hot to spend much time in there over the summer. I have been using it since 1998 but I am starting to have doubts as to how much longer I can take it as I am not as supple as I used to be.

Les
That doesn't sound too good Les; it's difficult to do your best work if you aren't comfortable.
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  #24  
By TomHayward on 15th October 2009, 12:20 PM
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Outstanding! May I enquire as to the cost, and the time involved completing this project?
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  #25  
By Mike O'Pray on 15th October 2009, 01:47 PM
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It was a great idea, Dave and well executed. Most of us, well me anyway, would have thought it too difficult to insulate the shed sufficiently for both summer and winter use but you proved otherwise with added ingenuity for the water supply.

As a matter of interest what is the winter season( say November to April) heating bill? I presume that there is low level background heating on all the time or is it the case that it can be heated up to a comfortable temp within an hour or so such that a switch-on at say 5:00pm means it's ready for use at say 6:30 - 7:00pm.

Can you get away without aircon in the height of summer? My shed, strictly for garden use only, so hardly comparable I suppose, would boil me in summer and freeze me in winter.

Mike
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  #26  
By Dave miller on 15th October 2009, 02:13 PM
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I shall attempt to answer both recent posts together.
The cost of construction is mainly in the structure, this will vary with the quality of the shed, the type of base, and the provision of water and electricity. I fitted it out with cheap kitchen furniture bases and an eBay sink unit. I cannot remember how long the fit-out took, maybe a month of weekends. I used a high efficiency rigid board insulation that could also form the internal surface which then only required a couple of coats of emulsion paint to finish it I didnít have to line it.
Iíve no way of monitoring electricity consumption, but suffice to say the oil-filled radiator I use is only 500 or 600 watts and is controlled by a room (wall) type thermostat to stop the place over heating. I maintain it at a minimum of 20ļC. The problem is that the space has to be ventilated, and it is this that causes most difficulty since the replacement air is obviously at external ambient temperature, and has to heated or cooled. Here in Middle England that ambient can vary between -10 ļC and +35 ļC, and it is the make-up air that must be heated, or cooled, hence the need for summer cooling in the form of an air-conditioner, but only when the darkroom is in use. At this time of year it is unusual for the heater to come on when Iím using the space since my own body heat, and that of the equipment, maintain the temperature to comfort levels.
I hope that helps.
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  #27  
By photomi7ch on 28th January 2010, 05:56 PM
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It is a great looking darkroom.
I have a question about the water taps you have in a line are they elbowed washing machine taps or standard isolation taps?
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  #28  
By Dave miller on 28th January 2010, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by photomi7ch View Post
It is a great looking darkroom.
I have a question about the water taps you have in a line are they elbowed washing machine taps or standard isolation taps?
Elbowed washing machine taps.
They aren't intended for the job since they are only designed for occasional isolation use, so I have to replace them every few years, which is a nuisance, but I like their rapid action.
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  #29  
By photomi7ch on 29th January 2010, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Elbowed washing machine taps.
They aren't intended for the job since they are only designed for occasional isolation use, so I have to replace them every few years, which is a nuisance, but I like their rapid action.
Thank you Dave, when I saw it I thought it was a great idea. I know from experince that these valves can have a use once failer rate. It is just as well they are relitively inexpensive to replace, but a pain in the neck to have to do so. It beats my idea of the garden tap on price and being able to switch the water off immediately.
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