July 26, 2010


Finished the plumbing installation in the darkroom proper.  Another minor milestone, of sorts.  One must take the small victories when they present themselves, after all.

I had given a lot of prior thought to how to do the plumbing, then as I was into it, had multiple second thoughts about it all. The overriding concept was to have everything exposed, both for maintenance and potential future changes. At times over the past few days, I wished I had done proper in-wall design, but I did not, so “oh, well”.

I had planned from the beginning to have the two sinks. (see the floor plan in the Feb. 28th post) The water supply lines come out of the wall near the corner and to the left of the wet side. This location was dictated by where the lines come up from the lower floor. Once out of the wall, they move laterally along the wet side to supply both sinks.

The shorter, 4’ sink on the right has three faucets built in. The 8’ sink has no built in faucets. In the old darkroom, the long sink had 3 faucets mounted above it on the wall. I could still do this, but with the addition of the 4’ temp control sink (not present in the old darkroom) multiple faucets on the 8’ are not necessary. I have gone back and forth about even mounting a faucet on the 8’ and at this point have not, but there are stub-outs in the water line directly under the sink and I can add one at a later date. In the meantime, I plan on just having a long enough hose from one of the 3 faucets in the other sink. The longer sink is for print trays. The short sink, with it’s temperature control (given the later addition of heated water) will be for all chemical mixing, film processing, and washing.

Although faucet-less, the long sink still has a drain. Once into this, I really wished I had roughed in a proper drain pipe in the wall for both sinks. However, in the “design” stage, some months ago, I envisioned hooking up both sinks just like a double kitchen sink into the one drain. What I did not consider, was that in a kitchen sink, the two drains are about 18-24 inches apart, generally symmetrical and on the same level. In this case, the two drains are a bit over 6 feet apart, the long sink bottom is higher than the other sink, and the drain is further from the wall. So, there was a bit of improvisational engineering as I installed this. For one thing, the drain pipe was very heavy in that long of a span, and had to be creatively supported. Also, this long of a drain span needed to be off-level a bit to ensure that it drained properly. (Both would have been easily facilitated had I put it in the wall.) A “tee” and a 45 degree connection and I got it done. But, let us all learn from my mistakes!

I did have enough foresight to put a union connection in the drain pipe between the two sinks so that either sink could be removed separate from the other for maintenance. This has already proved useful since one of the supply hoses for the faucets had the wrong fitting and I had to pull the sink back out to get to it for exchange.

The hot water side is still “prepared for”. The lines are there, but no water – yet. The hot side is capped off below the floor. If and when I put in a heater, all of the lines, electrical and space is there, waiting.

Still have to get the water line to the building and the rain barrel set up for the drain. The rain barrel has been purchased and the drain is run, just need to install and hook-up. I’ve changed my mind about the supply line, at least for now. I had intended to run a pex line underground from the main house. I may do this eventually, but for now, there is a main junction of the sprinkler system not 3 feet from the darkroom building. I am going to tap in there for the time being.

So, it will be operational as it sits, with potential changes in the supply lines, addition of hot water, and maybe another faucet all possible down the road.

July 18, 2010

The vision thing.

Actually hit a lick on the darkroom this morning. Not much, but at least I started.

In June, I had three consecutive weeks of business travel scheduled and I knew that would put the darkroom project on hold for a bit. However, in the second week, I had some visual symptoms that I recognized from past experience. The following Monday, I visited my ophthalmologist and was promptly sent over to the surgeons. (Didn’t make the third week’s trip.)

I had surgery for a detached retina in my left eye four weeks ago. I am fine, now, but there has been all this time where my vision is effected and my energy level reduced. The vision will clear up and there should be no long term effects.

But, in the meantime, there has been six weeks total with no progress on the darkroom! Re-starting will be slow (still can’t see as well as I’d like), but at least I’m moving again.

I also apologize for not keeping up with the blog. I had an un-moderated comment from a month ago! I’ll do better. (Also, to the commenter: Sorry, but I can’t help you at this time.)

Stay tuned.

July 16, 2010

The Woodpecker

A few years ago, at the old house, there was an incident with a woodpecker who attacked rotting siding on the building housing my darkroom and my wife's studio.  We had built this building on the back of our lot.  The siding was an alleged high-tech engineered material that would not rot or deteriorate.  Yeah, right.  Note the green mold, as well as the holes.

The rot attracted the bird, and the bird drilled numerous holes.  I filled the holes with expanding foam sealant as a temporary measure, and then had to cover the rotted area with cedar boards.  At least the cedar matched the rest of the trim on the building and once it weathered it looked as if it had always been there.  Just before we moved last year, we painted the building and it looked super ...

The incident, for some inexplicable reason, awakened the inner plagiarist in me; and I re-fashioned Poe's The Raven into The Woodpecker.  See the link to the right under "pages".

Only tangentially related to building the new darkroom, but hey.  Enjoy ...