October 17, 2010

Water, water everywhere …

S. T. Coleridge wrote:

“Water, water, everywhere,
     And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
     Nor any drop to drink.”

My version:

Water, water everywhere,
     Since all the fittings leak;
Water, water everywhere,
     I hate this god damned sink!

I had anticipated announcing in this blog, this very weekend, that my darkroom was fully functional, if not totally complete. It may never be totally complete, as many of us are always tinkering, but that’s another issue. However, I thought I had finished all of the plumbing and once I turned on the water, I could at least process film! This was to be a milestone! Well, it was not to be.

Sometime in 2008, I bought out a commercial photographer who had gone completely digital and was selling his darkroom – everything but the room itself. I got a Beseler 4x5 enlarger, several Componon lenses, trays (up to 20x24), tanks, reels, washers, timer, and a partridge in a pear tree. Actually no birds, but there was a 4 ft. temp control sink! The sink was filthy, but I cleaned it up and put it in storage, since there was no room for it in the old house’s darkroom. Someday I would expand. I sold the enlarger lenses and got all my money back, so all this stuff was, well, free.

Beware of cheap/free stuff. The enlarger and lenses were fine, actually, but much of the rest of the stuff was in various stages of decrepitude. All of the trays are/were filthy, but I still have them, just haven’t cleaned (or needed) them yet. I threw out half of the steel developing reels, since they were bent. I actually left several boxes of stuff at the guy’s studio that were in such bad shape as to only be described as trash.

Anyway, the sink, I thought at the time, was a steal. These things are expensive. This is why I held on to it even when I had no room. When fate stepped in and caused me to have to build a much larger darkroom, the sink’s true purpose was revealed.

As you can see from the photo, there is a hot and cold mixing valve, an inline thermometer, and three faucets. All of this is connected in back of the sink by standard faucet supply hoses. Now, I am thrilled to have another 4 feet of sink, and the hot/cold mechanism is just bonus – especially considering that I am not even going to have hot water initially.

The metal stand was badly corroded. (Should have been a sign.) I took it all apart, sanded and repainted, and replaced all of the connecting bolts with brass, to avoid corrosion problems in the future. The stand looks fabulous! There was a pinhole in the sink that I repaired with a little epoxy. It seems to be fine and does not leak. What I did not do, is any rehab on the plumbing. I definitely should have done a check of all this stuff before I installed it upstairs in the darkroom. When I put water to this thing, it was squirting everywhere!

OK, pulled the sink out from the wall and determined that the leak in back of the sink was in the vicinity of only in one hose, it was just a lot of water. After cleaning up the water, I re-did the connection, which appeared loose, and tried again. This time I could see the hole in the hose! Cleaned up the new water and called it a night.

Things often look better in the morning, and that morning I got a new hose and installed it. When I turned on the water, no leaks! That is, there were none that weren’t going into the sink. The mixing valve was dripping, but at least it was going into the sink and down the drain. OK, I can live with that. When I turned on any of the faucets, the thermometer leaked. OK, live with that, too. But the worst was the faucets themselves. All three leaked out of the handle when turned on and sprayed at weird angles.

The weird angles was because of the anti-siphon valves installed on the end of each faucet. Not only did these leak and reduce the water flow, but when I put a hose on one of then, there was no water at all. OK, I’ll just take them off. They are not needed. There is a set screw on the valve. The first one I attempted to remove broke off rather than turn! All of this stuff is corroded! I give up.

I am still going to use this sink! It holds water and the drain works fine. But, I am going to start from scratch as if I had just the sink and it was not already plumbed. This will be simpler and cheaper than trying to fix and/or replace all of the corroded hardware built into the sink, and will be more versatile and practical for what I need anyway. I should have done this initially, but it seemed easier just to use what was there. The mistake I made was not testing “what was there” in the first place. Oh, well. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! I hope you wore gloves when washing that sink!


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