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common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: ChrisU ()
Date: June 30, 2011 01:27PM

Just wondering what common sizes for darkboxes suitable for 8x10 are? I am contemplating making mine (closed) 36Lx12Wx24H. How thick should the plywood be, to be sturdy yet lightweight?
It's a long weekend over here and I feel like firing up the old table saw ;-) . Any suggestions?

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: sean smith ()
Date: June 30, 2011 04:11PM

I just made one 36Lx11Wx24H I have not used it yet but it seems to be large enough for 8x10. I hope it is, thats what I made it for. I used 3/4 inch ply wood it's not light wieght but it's not to bad. I think you will be happy with that size.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: fly ()
Date: July 04, 2011 01:53PM

mine is 48x18x24h coffer style , a little big , but comfortable. I shoot 8x10 mostly.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: DougHarding ()
Date: July 16, 2011 02:27PM

I made my dark box out of 1 by 1 framing and covered it with painted canvas. It brakes down for easier traveling. The table is a 1 by 12 and I used the thinest plywood for the front wall where the red glass goes.

Douglas A. Harding

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam
A country without a language, a county without a soul.
Céad míle fáilte
A hundred thousand welcomes!

Douglas_Harding@nps.gov
[groups.yahoo.com]
[www.authentic-campaigner.com]

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: ChrisU ()
Date: July 23, 2011 04:40PM

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Doug, I like your idea of a foldable darkbox. How does your box look like (the link in your post appears to be broken).

Do some of you use the darkbox as "storage container" during travel? I could see that as being an advantage of the rigid box designs; but the weight savings of a canvas box is appealing too.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: fly ()
Date: July 25, 2011 01:30AM

I'm about to build a folding or popup. The big box for me, is too big and i do store my trays,silver box papertowels etc in it. That just makes it heavier.
go the folding rout or build the coffer style out of canvas or thin wood. Mine is 1/2 plywood. I built it fast because I just wanted to shoot. I also like the idea
of a folding frame that the cloth is draped over, I've seen that some where around here.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: DougHarding ()
Date: September 21, 2011 04:58PM


I will post better images later.

Douglas A. Harding

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam
A country without a language, a county without a soul.
Céad míle fáilte
A hundred thousand welcomes!

Douglas_Harding@nps.gov
[groups.yahoo.com]
[www.authentic-campaigner.com]

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: DougHarding ()
Date: September 21, 2011 05:05PM

Here are two more images of my box.




Douglas A. Harding

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam
A country without a language, a county without a soul.
Céad míle fáilte
A hundred thousand welcomes!

Douglas_Harding@nps.gov
[groups.yahoo.com]
[www.authentic-campaigner.com]

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: J0B00 ()
Date: September 21, 2011 09:33PM

Mine will process up to 5x7 and is roughly 24" wide x 18" tall x 8" deep.

I can fit my silver bath on the left, three 5x7 trays below, and my developer and collodion bottle in the upper right. Works great, and was built on the small side to save space. Only mistake: I used oak instead of pine.




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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: Mark Osterman ()
Date: September 27, 2011 09:11PM

France and I carry a piece of red and black cotton cloth sewn together along one end. There is a tab sewn on either side to affix a string around the back of the darkroom to prevent pulling out. This, along with a sheet of red glass is packed with our supplies when we travel. When we arrive at a location we find a cardboard box that fits in our rental car, tape it shut and then cut an opening from one of the long sides.

The extra piece is then cut and fitted to the inside of the box to act as a divider between the silver and developer sections. The bottom is lined with sheet plastic up to about two inches on the wall in case of spilling the silver bath.

The cloth and red filter window is attached with duct tape and we're ready to go.These can be used in the car, on cheap saw horses with elastic cords or on the ground. After the shoot, we remove the cloth and window and throw out the box. Have made plates all over the world with this system and the fastest we've been clocked putting one together is around 15 minutes. If I knew how to insert a picture here ...I would. Help. :-) contact me directly for a picture mosterman@geh.org

Mark

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: buckp74 ()
Date: September 27, 2011 09:31PM

Hi Mark - check out my post "adding images" - I had the same problem regarding inserting images, but got great responses from people.

Dave



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2011 09:32PM by buckp74.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: ChrisU ()
Date: October 28, 2011 05:58PM

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I've decided to opt for a semi-flexible foldable design - basically the bottom and and backwall being solid plywood connected with a hinge, and the remaining "walls" made of fabric. Should make for a large yet lightweight box that can be folded together like a clamshell.
BUT: what do you guys recommend for the fabric? I have a large sheet of canvas that I could "sacrifice"; but how to go from there? Painting it with a flexible latex paint and double layering it with something? I don't have a lot of money to spend on fancy space-age materials.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: J0B00 ()
Date: November 01, 2011 09:48PM

You could get by with three layers of cheap cotton fabric if you wanted to... A layer of something light with a nice design on the outside, a layer of black in the middle, and a layer of red or yellow on the inside... Don't over-think the fabric...it's just gotta block the Blue and UV. Think of it in terms of what they may have used back then.

I'm using some new military tent fabric that was donated to me on a box I'm making for a student... It's kinda thick, but has a blackout layer in the middle. Standard curtain blackout fabric would work I suppose, but this stuff seems really durable. We'll see how it handles.

Andy

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: phuphuphnik ()
Date: November 02, 2011 03:26PM

I have been using Empress velveteen with a yellow bottomweight liner. Works fine. I wait for the 50% off Joanns coupon before I buy the Velveteen, though, it is $12 a yard regular.
chriso

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: AmberMai ()
Date: November 18, 2011 09:55PM

J0B00: Do you think your box is big enough for 8x10 as well?

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: AmberMai ()
Date: November 18, 2011 09:56PM

Also, how are people affixing the darkcloth to the box? I'm going to have one like the one J0B00 posted, but am not sure if the cloth should be on the inside or outside, or how to attach it. Staples?

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: J0B00 ()
Date: November 19, 2011 10:04PM

I can shoot up to 5x7 in mine, but if I really tried, I think I could squeeze and do whole plates...I'd have to eliminate a tray, or do in-hand development and washing over one large tray placed on the table area. The way I deteremined size was to setup my darkbox area (three trays, silver bath, developer bottle, and collodion pour bottle) out in the arrangement I wanted them in the box and measure the footprint. After that, I built the box around those dimensions.

As for attaching the shroud, I stapled it inside where I wanted it, then I screwed some thin strips of wood around the edges to really hold it down. I also anchored it down at from of the table area with a strip of wood so that getting in and out didn't disrupt my trays gear and cause spills.

My biggest tip: make it out of something lightweight. I used oak - - BAD IDEA (the box weighs 42 pounds)! Use something cheap and lightweight like pine.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: ChrisU ()
Date: November 20, 2011 07:17PM

I've seen John Coffer's box during a recent workshop. It's about 30inch wide if I recall correctly and he claims to use it up to whole plate. The box was cramped, not a single inch of empty space anywhere. In his videos he shows how he loads the plate holder by placing it onto the trays. I really really really don't like that - for my clumpsy fingers it's a surefire way for a disaster in the waiting.
BTW, just do yourself a favour and get Coffer's guide (make it an early Christmas gift to yourselfgrinning smiley); it describes in detail how to build a darkbox other than just being a great reference. Most folks have the cloth attached to the inside; but I've come across a few photos that show the cloth attached to the outside. For my own box (in progress), I am going to attach the cloth externally.

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Re: common sizes for dark boxes?
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: November 21, 2011 02:36AM

hahaha If I hadnt made so much money out of this ol piece of crap Id be ashamed to post it!! My veteran darkbox, this is just thin plywood panels and it all stacks into a five inch pile, 27 inches by 18. I worked up to whole plate out of this box.

pretty much self explanatory...and NO, Im not making any more of them.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2011 02:39AM by Ray Morgenweck.

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