Darkroom Build Part 1…

I’ve always wanted my own darkroom. Actually…I’ve always NEEDED my own darkroom. Last time I had access to one was back in college, and that was full of idiots opening the windows (daylight, argh!) or putting unwashed fix covered prints through the print dryer. Still I loved it and used to spend most of my time there but it’s probably around 5 years since I’ve had ‘Fix Finger.’ Far too long I’m sure you’ll agree!

In the meantime I’d picked up around 3 darkrooms worth of stuff from some lovely folks on Freecycle with the intention of setting up somewhere when I could. It would have to be permanent setup though, I’m the kind of person who just won’t bother if it involves blacking out the bathroom every time I want to do a couple of prints. Way too much effort!

So…this all started with seeing one of those metal shed things on offer in a B&Q catalogue…and thinking it would be a nice space for a darkroom. But after a bit of thought I figured it would be cheaper to just reclaim the old outdoor netty in our 1930s former Jewish house. It had been used as an extra shed since we moved in and was overgrown, full of gigantic spiders, mice and lots of dampness. Once the paint was emptied out I evalauated the situation:

First step was to get all of the large insects out, trim back the foliage and get some paint on, in this case a tin of nasty yellow that was lying in the shed:

The walls went white, the floor red just to tidy things up and thankfully drainage for the sink was just a case of hammering through the thin layer of concrete that capped the old shitpipe:

Well the old toilet itself is reasonably small, probably around 4ft x 3ft. A darkroom in this space is possible I think, but not comfortable to be spending long periods of time in which I’ll ultimately be doing. So…it was negotiated that I’d build an extension onto the toilet and out into the garden, giving me a lot more space to work in. And a separate wet and dry area which is important in all good darkrooms!

So after a bit of thought and planning, it was decided to build a shedlike extension out into the garden, about 5ft x 6ft, plus the toilet itself, a nice amount of space. I’ve made a wooden base with decking fenceposts, the posts are concreted in and the sides are made up from 6ft square fence panels cute down to size. Bought the panels from a place down Ayres Quay, good quality stuff and delivered too.

So after relocating the small shed that was on the right, taming the Clematis and generally cleaning the area out this is the frame: 

One panel in, ground is sloping so it needed chocking up slightly. Cheap white Caulk is my friend!! 

And all the panels in now, starting to resemble something! Note the airbrick in the bottom framework, ventilation is key!

Speaking of which the glass is out of the window and this’ll be replaced with a piece of wood used to mount the extractor fan which will keep the chemical fumes down. And the light out:

More to follow tomorrow hopefully, weather permitting…