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Darkshop Posts

Kelty P1 hacks

Needing a bigger pack for 5×7, I settled on a modified Kelty P1 from A nice upgrade from my Kelty Redwing- better suspension, more room, and still lightweight. But the full  zipper allowing total access to the main compartment was the main attraction. The zipper on the Redwing stopped about 6″ from the bottom of the pack, making access to the stuff at the bottom a hassle. Continue » Kelty P1 hacks

Bellows blow…

But I found if I don’t whine too much and just do it that bellows only take a few hours. I had just enough of the old Porter’s fabric for one more set of bellows, so no point in asking me where to get the cloth these days- I wish I knew.  For the patterns I’m using 90lb Revere Platinum paper- they need to work out the manufacturing issues with this stuff before I waste any more precious metals printing with it… glad I only bought 10 sheets. But 22″x30″ is a good size for 5×7 bellows patterns. Plus the sizing helps keep it from buckling and deforming when the glue hits it. And hey, the bellows should be archival. @-]

Continue » Bellows blow…

5×7 conversion back

Rear standard and base frame for  5×7  conversion back. I use a stone ‘reference’ table to check parts for flatness. The Lie-Nielsen rabbet plane in the back is perfect for truing up small parts. Excuse the crappy 5am picture…@_@

I came close to selling my first home made 5×12, but instead decided to make a conversion back for it so it would see some more use. I missed using this camera and have always wanted to try 5×7, so I started making a new rear standard for it this past weekend. Continue » 5×7 conversion back

Slosher trays

[Note: With slosher trays such as these there’s a risk of denser development in the film margins with certain developers, probably due to excess turbulence around the partitions. A stainless steel wire basket design would probably work much better. ]

The saga continues. So much peripheral crap needed for every format jump. An easy way to develop the negatives consistently and painlessly is pretty important to sticking with a format.
Continue » Slosher trays

Separation anxiety

Going through serious gum withdrawals so I spent a couple of days reliving the agony. I’ve been going round and round with the separation technique, but finally proved to myself the multichannel and RGB give identical results (at least on CS4), while the CMYk ( K layer as needed) method tends to give more saturated isolated colors. This duck image illustrates that pretty well in the yellows, oranges and reds- note the duck body and bill. The channels are in order left to right- C, M, Y. I do print the K channel with ivory black, to build the shadows back up.
Continue » Separation anxiety

Nesting adapter

filmholder adapter

Instead of making an entire new 4×10 back for my 5×12 camera, I just made an adapter the size of a 5×12 holder that the 4×10 holder fits into. This allows me to shot either format with the one back.  Since the new 4×10 holder’s T-dimension is exactly 1/16″ less than the 5×12 holder, that allowed me to use a piece of 1/16 garolite for the bottom of the adapter. The adapter has a slot for the 4×10 riblock to fit into, and a riblock of its own to fit into the original back’s riblock slot…

I do have an obvious issue with pulling the darkslide when only one of the slides is reversed and the pulls are then aligned, making it difficult to grab the pull that’s tight to the back. I might have to redesign the pulls a little so they will always offset each other, regardless of orientation, but that is more difficult than it sounds. For now just using a spring clip to extend the pull.


This is my second go at a tripod- same three-stage design, but much lighter- the first one was ash and dramatically overbuild. I hesitate to mention that this was built out of Spanish Cedar- yes, cigar box cedar. Not only does it smell great (?) but it’s very light. Spanish cedar is much like Honduran mahogany- open grained, lovely to work, and has a durability and stability that belies it’s lightness. The cam levers are yellowheart. Continue » tripod

film cutting

modified Dahle paper trimmer

I used to set up a rather elaborate system of fences, squares and clamps to cut 5×12 film down from larger stock, but if this move to 4×10 is to be sustained I realized I’d need something a little easier to setup. Continue » film cutting