Improvised film drying : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

In about two weeks I'll be returning to school. This year my 8x10 will be coming with me and I plan on shooting a good amount with it. Processing the film isn't a problem, though drying is. The only film drying facility afforded us is an old, dusty, and overcrowded film drying cabinet that we have to share with the fine art students. I can get away with drying my 35mm, 120, and usually 4x5 stuff in there, but 8x10 is a definite no-go. The obvious question is, then, how do I dry my 8x10 film? Theoretically, I could keep the film in a tray of water or something and carry it the quarter mile back to my dorm room and rig up something there, but I can think of all sorts of things that could go wrong with that. Anybody have any ideas/suggestions? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

-- David Munson (, August 18, 2001


Have you considered making your own cheap drying cabinet?

Only thing I can think of being a problem is then the other art students would use the thing.

Perhaps a combination lock and a sign?

-- edward kang (, August 19, 2001.

Ok, buy plastic clothes pins, get shirt hangers (The wire kind) and hang them from your shower rod, once the film is washed hang the film with the clothes pins on the hangers. The clothes pins have two holes, you can put the wire in the smaller hole, so you can move the film. I have been drying film this way for years, also I run the hot water in the tub for a little while to create steam and prevent dust from adhereing to the film. Good luck and good grades.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, August 19, 2001.

Hmmm. Interesting problem. Film is pretty tough, relatively speaking, once it is dry, and can always be rewashed. I would give it a quick wash and then dry it in the dust-bin room, put it in sleeves, carry it to the dorm room, and wash it again, thence hang it in the shower as above.

Seems like a pain in the neck though. You sure it's too dusty in there? I'd try it out first.

-- Erik Ryberg (, August 19, 2001.

Thanks for the responses. Problem with the shower idea is that there is but one bathroom on my floor (5 shower communal sort of thing), so that won't work (good idea otherwise, though). As for that film cabinet, I mean it is really bad. I've come to where I usually develop film in the last hour before the darkroom closes so it can dry overnight and I can pick it up in the morning before things get busy again. Not only is dust a huge problem (once had to rewash/rehang a strip of 35mm six times before there wasn't too much dust), but since it is so overcrowded it's not uncommon to only have a spot or two open. There have even been times when I've found my film on the bottom of the cabinet after someone apparently decided my film wasn't as important as theirs. It's often a challenge to find enough space to hang 4 4x5 sheets or 120 rolls, so 8x10 sheets would really be on the verge of impossible. I'll keep these suggestions in mind, though. If I come up with something in the mean time, I'lll be sure to post it.

-- David Munson (, August 19, 2001.

David, What a horrible situation! Complain to the Dean. Then, find a sympathetic teacher and hang one of those garment bag "closets" in the teacher's office when you have film to dry. You know, those cheap ($25) flexible coffin-shaped things designed to hold a few dresses or suits. I use one in my darkroom and zip it closed to keep dust off the film. Better yet, if they make shorter ones for shirts, that would be more practical for 8x10. It is very light and has its own hanger. Use clips or clothespins to hang film inside it. I got mine from that catalog company Hold Everything but they sell them in dept.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, August 19, 2001.

Sorry David I did not know you where in a dorm, so here is the next best thing, go to The Container store, there they have rectangular hanging bags used for storage of clothes etc, the good thing is that they have zippers so you can close them :-)). get one of those and use the hanger idea, you can hang the bag in the lab and inside the bag your negs.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, August 19, 2001.

I've dealt with similar problems in motels. Buy a Tupperware container that will hold 8x10. I've seen them approx. 9x14x2" high with top. Lay the film in the container emulsion up, one on top of the next. Seal the top on and carry it to your dorm, being careful to angle the container so it is not carried horizontal, thereby keeping the film edges against the lowest side so they don't shift back and forth over each other. Add PhotoFlo to the water in the appropriate amount when you arrive home and agitate as in tray processing (lift out the bottom sheet and place it emulsion up on top) for one cycle. Hang to dry on a line in your room or in a contraption like one above. I've blown a hair dryer into a dress bag on NO HEAT with some sort of filter material over the intake. And I stress NO HEAT (people have burned many dorms down this way and it isn't good to heat your film). I've dried hundreds of sheets successfully this way. I processed in my room in BTZS tubes or even a Jobo, and carried groups of processed film down the hall and dried in my assistant's room.

-- Rob Tucher (, August 20, 2001.

How about getting a "cloths garmet bag"... the type you can get from Kmart or Walmart with a clear front, a zipper and the hangers to hang on a pole. ($5.00+-). Punch a hole in the top for a hair dryer and a few slits in the bottom to let the air out. I used to use one of these for years! When your done it folds up flat!. Scott

-- Scott Walton (, August 22, 2001.

Just a bit of follow-up now that I'm back at school. I figure I can carry my freshly washed 8x10 film back to my room (about a 3 min. walk) in a tray, covered with something if needs be. I've already figured out a good way to string a line in an out-of-the-way part of the room that I could even close off to minimize the chance of stirring up dust. I'll put the film on the line, let it sit for a few hours, and voila, I've got dry 8x10 negs. The system should work pretty well, and if it doesn't, I'll make the necessary adjustments and note the problems here. Thanks again to everyone for your help.

-- David Munson (, September 02, 2001.

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