looking for a good paper safe

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I find myself longing for the convience of a paper safe. I've looked through all the ads in photo magazines, but they only list the name and the price...that leaves me with a few questions. I would like one with shelves in it so I can separate paper by size/type/grade, preferably sturdy and one that does not have the reputation of developing light leaks after it's been opened and closed a few times! Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

-- KL Vance (kmdrum@home.com), April 10, 2001


I've been printing about 35 years and have never had a proper safe. I've used a couple of cardboard containers that once contained 11x17-inch sheets of litho film used in a printing plant. The containers consist of a box about an inch deep with a lid. The box and its lid slide into a snug sleeve, like a matchbox does. The inner lid is hinged in the middle so you can lift it when the box is slid out of the sleeve halfway. I bummed these off a printshop technician and have used them steadily ever since. I doubt that today's litho-film boxes are as well made as these and probably are of different design, but you can't beat the price. I'd check it out before buying something.

-- Keith Nichols (knichols@iopener.net), April 11, 2001.

I think Premier is the one that makes the large one your referring to. B&H, WB Hunt and others carry these.

-- Scott Walton (f64sw@hotmail.com), April 11, 2001.

I like the "three compartment adjustable" sold by Arkay, Doran, and Premier. It is a box with shelves and a hinged door on the front.

-- Chris Ellinger (chris@ellingerphoto.com), April 11, 2001.

I think mine is a Premier, but I'd have to check to make sure. I got it with a bunch of other darkroom stuff I bought at an estate sale. It will hold 3 boxes of 11x14, and the lid is light-tight. I've had more than one person walk into my darkroom and open it to see what's inside.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), April 11, 2001.

I've used two 8x10 Premier paper safes for about the last 28 years and don't know how I'd function without one. This model has 3 shelves, and a metal body with plastic front and rear covers (including the hinged front door.) The front hinges open from the bottom, and is closed by springs. I've never had any hint of a light leak, although there have been one or two times (honest, that's all!) when I forgot and opened the door with the room lights on. As they say, there's no cure for stupid.

My first one lasted about 22 years before the plastic around one of the hinge pins broke and the door wouldn't stay closed reliably any more. That may have happened, in part, because I used to let the door fly shut under spring power, thinking the slight compresseion of air as the door swung shut would cushion the impact of it slamming against the light trap grooves. Now I'm careful to control the door as it closes, and expect my current safe to last as long as I continue to print pictures.

-- Kip Babington (cbabing3@swbell.net), April 11, 2001.

If you can find a Brumberger, buy it. I had an 11x14" in the 70's. When I set up a darkroom again about four years ago I found an identical one in a Shutterbug ad: $35 I think. It has 4 or 5 shelves. It's metal, with a tambour type door that lifts and slides back into the unit on a track. If you give it a sideways flick as you lift it, the door will stay open. Great unit. njb

-- Nacio Brown (njb@naciobrown.com), April 11, 2001.

As Nacio said...Brumberger is the one!

-- Jim (p645n@hotmail.com), April 12, 2001.

Not to be sarcastic...but I think the best paper safes are the boxes the paper comes in. Never a doubt about what is what. Fewer problems with dust. I make sure they all open up the same way, with the open end of the plastic bag in same place for all. Stored emulsion side down. Take 'em out and never turn emulsion down again until exposed. Dust is the enemy.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), April 12, 2001.

I take paper boxes and make them into safes. it woks real well for 8x10. I have not seen a box in a bigger size that was thick enough to make one.-J

-- josh (devil_music@usa.net), April 13, 2001.

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