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A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: May 18, 2011 08:17AM

Something about my wagon has bugged me since I built it. It was not very rinse friendly when it came to plates. I made a real effort to make the whole thing look period, only to have a plastic water jug waiting near the support leg so that I can rinse the plates.

My procedure was as follows....

Once I am happy with the level of development I pour water onto the plate which then falls into a tray inside of the darkbox, that water drains out the side of the box via a copper pipe. However, I always find that it is wise to give the plate a good rinse after you pull it out into the sunlight and before you put it in the fixer; just a way of ensuring that all of the developing chems are off the plate. Perhaps one doesn't really need to do this, but it makes me feel more thorough when I do so it has become a habit.

This is when the problem arises.

I can't use the barrel at the back of the wagon because I use that for rinsing the plates after fixing; so for the past few events I have been keeping a gallon jug of water next to the leg of the wagon for the after development rinse. It drives me crazy to have it sitting there, looking all modern, not to mention it means having to manipulate the plate around with one hand while I pour with the other, the whole time trying to keep the water going into the waiting bucket below. So I built this system as a new rinsing station. This allows me the use of both hands while rinsing, looks far more period and is "pretty" with all the shiny copper and brass.

The darkbox itself is new as well. I built a slightly larger one to accomidate my 8x10 plates. It was used as a prototype for the one I am currently finishing up for a client.

Photos are captioned.


An overall view of the wagon with it's new water rinse system. The whole thing; shelf, cistern, sink and pipes, all can be removed from the wagon's side in a matter of minutes and break down to fit in a small cubby inside the wagon for transport.



The copper water cistern was NOT an easy thing to find and I went through many an antique store to find one. It is solid copper with tin solder lining and a brass and wood spigot. According to the research I have done on it so far it dates from around 1860-1880, which works perfect. The basin is brass with a drain system made of copper pipes. Note: You can see the darkbox drain pipe to the left of the cistern.



Here you can see the piping system. Both the sink and the darkbox rinse tray drain into the same bucket. The cistern holds a little over three gallons of water.

I tested the system today in my yard with great results. No more plastic containers of water around my wagon, now I can make, shoot, develop, rinse and fix my plates without ever having to reveal anything that isn't period.

Thanks for looking!

Cheers!

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: May 18, 2011 12:13PM

I like it! Your developing/rinsing technique is similar to the way I work. Ill make you one suggestion. A proper wooden bucket is both handy and essential. Replace the galvanized bucket with a period one. The BEST maker is Norm Pederson, at Richmondtown Restorations in NY. His buckets are the real deal.
PS a nice home made ladle is great to have to scoop up water from your bucket and re rinse the plates.

[normpederson.tripod.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2011 12:43PM by Ray Morgenweck.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: May 18, 2011 04:29PM

Actually a galvanized bucket is perfectly period, they just were not that common and were expensive. England was importing galvanized products of all sorts (buckets, roofing panels, nails etc) to the States as early as 1850. The US started their own production of it in the 1870's, although there were already a handful of small companies producing galvanized wares in the states long before the Civil War. The Tremont Nail Company in Massachusetts for instance was producing machine made galvanized nails in 1819.

I worked on an exhibit a few years back on the history of galvanized metals. A boring exhibit to design but in this line of work you learn a LOT of stuff.

I don't generally use the galvanized buckets at CW events but for around the house or when I am at events that date from a later time period I find them very helpful.

I have a couple of tin buckets that I use at CW events that look nice and weathered but since I was only shooting in my backyard I just grabbed the nearest one in the garage. Judging by how the developing chems effect the metal buckets I don't think I would want to watch them destroy a nice $50 hand made wooden one. sad smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2011 05:56PM by Yaquina.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: May 18, 2011 08:30PM

I used one of Norms buckets for ten years and it always worked great. Quarter sawn white pine, it WILL shrink when dry, sometimes you actually have to put it back together it it gets desert dry...but a short soak in water and its watertight again.

Nice thing with a wooden bucket, aside from looking totally in keeping with the time frame is that you can lean a plate against the edge and it wont slip like it will in a metal bucket.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: May 19, 2011 01:08PM

Please dont take my thoughts as negative as to what you are doing here. I fully appreciate anyone who puts their own gear together and goes out with the troops.

Much more of an interesting use of the process than dragging your friend in front of your view camera and shooting a picture with his face filling the plate and then calling it art.

In fact Yaq if you would like you can come here to south jersey Ill give you a personal tutorial on making cases at no charge. You deserve it.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2011 01:11PM by Ray Morgenweck.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: May 19, 2011 04:29PM

Thanks Ray, but I'll pass.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: May 29, 2011 02:33PM

I think your portable dark box is a work of art in itself.
From the images I have seen on dark boxes, I don't think there was a standard darkbox.
Carelton watkins crawled in a A frame tent. Sullivan and Brady worked off the tail gate of a wagon, I have seen many like John Coffers setup and every homemade thing in between.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2011 02:39PM by Richard Mellor.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: May 30, 2011 12:47AM

Richard Mellor Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think your portable dark box is a work of art in
> itself.


Thanks for your kind words!

I put a lot of work into it and it seems to be a big hit at the events I go to. The wagon continues to evolve, much the same way I am sure the originals back in the day did. Its a fun project to tinker on and I have some other ideas that I will be incorporating into it as time goes on.

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: RobertSzabo ()
Date: June 02, 2011 05:52AM

Do you only rinse in hand? I've always let my plates soak in a tray and then use a final rinse. What do you fix with? The wagon is looking good!

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Re: A new plate rinse system installed on my Photography Wagon...
Posted by: Yaquina ()
Date: June 02, 2011 06:10PM

RobertSzabo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do you only rinse in hand? I've always let my
> plates soak in a tray and then use a final rinse.
> What do you fix with? The wagon is looking good!


Thanks!

The whole proceedure is as follows.

After the shot is taken I use the helper tray technique to develop. Then with a bottle of water that is already in the darkbox I pour water over the plate to stop the developing. The water falls into a tray in the darkbox which has a drain that goes to a copper pipe which drains the water into the waste bucket.

Then I bring the plate outside the box and give it a quick rinse in the basin/sink just to be sure everything is nice and rinsed.

Then I fix with Ilford fixer (most everything I do is public events and I don't like the idea of using KCN fixer around the public).

Once it is fixed I let it sit in the fixer for about 5 minutes or so, usually the amount of time it takes me to prep and put another plate in the bath for the next shot. Then I take it out of the fixer bath and give it a quick rinse in the basin and then set the plate in a tray of fresh water for about 5-10 minutes, although it usually just stays in the water until another plate is ready to go in to the fresh water tray.

Before I pull the tray out of the water I hold it with one hand (along the edges of course) and give it a minute or two of dunking and shaking in the water. This is probably not really needed but it makes me feel like I really rinsed the plate well.

Then I put the plate in a dry rack.

I have noticed that since I have adopted this proceedure I don't have the fading image problem that I had been having when my plates dried. They dry very clear and clean and varish nicely.

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