Monthly Archives: August 2013

Troubleshooting problems with the enlarger

So when the enlarger first went “up” we found that some things had become mis-aligned from moving it and it was impossible to set the enlarger head into the unit. We looked at it, my BIL looked at it and none of us was brave enough to attempt anything to crazy for fear of breaking it. A tiny circular disk fell out of the head that is silver and has loads of holes in it. It apparently goes inside and is for when the setting is changed on the head, I believe to allow less light through. We need to have that put back inside but it is totally possible to make prints without it inside.

Its all very exciting though, because a friend of my fathers, who previously owned one of these enlargers, and is very mechanically inclined spent about half an hour with it and fixed it! Next thing you knew we had it up and running and the light came on. Incredibly exciting to see that the lamp inside still works, and that the timer works as well. I’ll post many more pictures once we get the space cleaned up a bit and post some details about what was wrong and how he fixed it. I had forgotten that you have to hook the timer up to the enlarger to get things working properly. As soon as I saw him do it, memories flooded back from 1995 of the darkroom in my high-school.

Next up is setting the space up, hanging the safe light and ordering chemicals from the B&H Darkroom catalogue.

Setup Step 1: Installing the shelf for the enlarger

Growing up in my fathers darkroom, he had no chairs. Simply a very long shelf made out of some cheap kitchen top sold at Lowes, held up on steel braces my grandfather made, drilled into the studs to hold the weight of the enlarger. It ran along the back most wall for the entire width of the bedroom he had converted. Tinfoil covered the rooms only window. I wish I had a picture. To the left on the floor lay a gigantic steel “sink” which to me as a young child looked like a gigantic steel bathtub of sorts. It was nearly as long as the back wall and had trays inside. I rarely saw it in a used state because with young children around my father was careful to put everything away when he was done. I remember the smell of his hands after he would come out of the darkroom, the tart smell of the chemistry.

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