Everything But The Darkroom Sink!

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I am building a darkroom in my basement. I am done with eveything but the sink. All of your prior answers have been very helpful on other subjects. I want your opinions on what type of ABS sink I should go with. I am basically set on Delta based on my research and the variety available. I don't want to make a sink. I can comfortably go up to 72" in the space I have. What I am having trouble deciding on is what type? There are convertibles, deep on one end, etc. I am confused about what I will need, and being an example of why "Murphy's Law" was written, I don't want to make an expensive mistake.

Although I currently don't develop color, I have in the past and I want to be able to expand into this. My primary will be B&W up to 16 X 20 prints and 20 X 24's once in a blue moon. I process film (35mm, 120 and 4 X 5) in Jobo tanks w/o motor (I use the manual roller). I want to start C-41 and E-6 processing and color prints up to 16 X 20's. Usage will be light. In the past, I have always used a laundry tub or what ever was around for washing prints. I used larger trays for temperature of print/film trays. I am ready to have a darkroom as I've always dreamed of!

I have seached for recommendations on the web and haven't been too successful. The folks on the Graflex website have provided me with some answers. I thought a posting here may also do the trick. What do you guys recommend? Thanks.

Best regards,

J. P. Mose

-- J. P. Mose (j.p.mose@lmco.com), February 27, 2002


I recommend you be patient and kind of watch what comes along becasue more and more people are abandoning darkroom work and I see sinks coming up for sale more and more often.

-- Kevin Kolosky (kjkolosky@kjkolosky.com), February 27, 2002.

I recently installed a 6' Delta-1 ABS 6" depth. I've been very pleased with it. It will accomodate 3-16x20 or 4-11x14 trays.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), February 27, 2002.

A few years ago I experienced a similar situation. A friend/workshop teacher suggested I contact a local restaurant supply company and look for a used but not too abused steel sink or contact a local metal fabricator company about having one built. I print up to 16x20s process 35-4x5 in a Jobo/Uniroller combination. I decided I wanted an 8 footx2-3 foot by 8-10 inches deep sink. Ultimately I found that his suggestions produced better prices than I could get if I opted for a sink from a darkroom specialist--B&H, Calumet,etc. Leedal in Chicago often has seconds that are priced competitively, but they were still a bit high. The local restaurant supply house had nothing AT THAT TIME that I wanted. A local fabricator made the sink to my specifications, and I had a stand built for it.

So i would suggest you at least investigate thaqt possibility. You might be pleasantly surprised.

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@insightbb.com), February 27, 2002.

Delta-1 makes a wide variety of sinks, but unfortunately they don't have a website. You can contact them to get a catalog. B&H Photo also sells most of their sinks. I would recommend getting an ABS sink with a high back (about 13"). This makes it easier to clean with a spray hose without water spraying against the rear darkroom wall. It comes in a variety of widths. You can the buy drain kit from Delta-1, but all the other custom drainpipes can be easily made from parts at Home Depot.

Delta 1, 10830 Sanden Drive, Dallas TX 75238, (800) 627-0252, Fax (800) 627-0267

-- Michael Feldman (mfeldman@qwest.net), February 27, 2002.

Build your own sink. I used plywood and drywall screws to build a sink to my specs, then covered the inside with epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth on the seams. I cut a drain hole and used PVC pipe. It ain't purdy but it gets the job done for a fraction of the cost.

-- Bruce Schultz (schultzredfish@aol.com), February 27, 2002.

I purchased a 7 foot Arkay fiberglass sink. If you use stainless steel 16x20 trays, you can get 4 in the sink. 3 trays really isn't enough for b&w processing, unless you have a separate out-of-sink holding tray. It was about $1000, and more than the Delta sinks, but I couldn't find any Delta that would handle 4 16x20 trays. One of them looked like it would, but it had a faucet mounting area that protruded into the sink, which cut down on the real working area.

By the way, if you have a SS sink fabricated used 316L steel. Kitchen grades of stainless will rust with some B&W photo chemicals.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), February 27, 2002.

hi there i would second bruce's suggestion. while regular plywood is cheeper, i would suggest getting marine plywood. it will hold up better. good luck!

-- jnanian (jak@gis.net), February 27, 2002.

If you go the plywood/fiberglass route, consider topping all surfaces as a final step with GelCoat (spelling approximate). This is the product used as a final coat on fiberglass boats, etc., and it easily fills rough areas and sands to a nice smooth surface. Best of all it is available in basic white, which will considerably brighten up your sink area.


-- Hank Pennington (hjpenn@ptialaska.net), February 27, 2002.

I agree with Bruce: build it with Plywood. I built an 8ft sink that has not given me any problems during its 5 year life.

-- John Elder (celder2162@aol.com), February 27, 2002.


I recently built my sink out of plywood and lined with PVC sheeting as suggested to me by Bruce Barnbaum. The PVC was cut by the plastics place I purchased it from, and small pieces I could cut with a power saw and table saw. The pieces are joined using PVC cement. This is the third sink I built, and by far it was the easiest, fastest, odorless, and cheapest, of them all. I have had no problems with leaks, and it looks great. A 72 inch sink could be built in a day.

If anyone is interested e-mail me and I will send detailed directions.

-- Michael Rosenberg (mprosenberg@earthlink.net), February 27, 2002.

I agree with previous posts about either building your own from wood or checking with a local sheet metal fabricator about making one from stainless. Wood and fiberglass is cheap and pretty easy, I have not thought about lining with plastic but makes good sense. While the stainless route is more expensive, the fabricator will make it exactly to your specifications. I had one made that is about 8' by 26" with 6' about 6" deep and then a 14" deep tub on the last 2'. the biggest advantage was dropping off the specs and picking up the tub one week later and just dropping it into the frame and hooking up the fixtures.

One other option if you live in or near a fairly good sized city, is looking for used sinks at restaurant or commercial fixture supply houses. A common prep sink design is 8' by 26" with a tub sink in the middle and shallow prep drain sinks on either side. Easily adaptable for photography as you could put a removable cover with a drain over the tub part and have the whole 8' for trays. I have seen a couple of these at a used fixture store for $350.

-- James Chinn (JChinn2@dellepro.com), February 28, 2002.

I would just add to my previous post that you definitely want a deep portion, about 16" deep by 20"-24". This allows you to clean trays and equipment, provides a temporary print washer, water temp bath etc. For my sink if I need the space for trays, I have a piece of stainless with a drain hole that I can cover up the tub.

-- James Chinn (JChinn@dellepro.com), February 28, 2002.

The plastic sheeting the post above was talking about may be the product called Sintra. This is a solid, compressed sheet of PVC that is sold in 4x8 pieces usually. It's a great fabrication material--we use it in our shop--but it's waterproof as well. The housing for our wing-lynch machine is made of this, and we use scraps as duckboards in our sinks as well....anything you can do to plywood, you can do to Sintra. You can cut it on a tablesaw, route it, drill it, form it with heat, glue it, paint it...whatever. Runs about 100 bucks or so for a quarter to half-inch sheet, from a plastics supplier. The same company makes some other similar, more durable products as well. I would just buy a PVC sink, but if I had to make one, I'd use a sheet of this stuff and just be done with it. Good luck, MY OPINIONS as always.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), February 28, 2002.

Here's the manufacturer's site...


my opinions as always, in no way an endorsement.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), February 28, 2002.

I've been using the delta 6" sink for about eight years now and I'm about ready to put it at the curb for trash collection. The problem is it will only handle four 11x14 trays, I now use seven trays for an acchival process, I am going to install a ten foot by thirty inch stainless steel sink. my recommendation is build a sink of marine grade plywood and cover it with fiberglass. make it 30" wide by as long as you possibly can. if you haven't got one yet, good luck

-- Vince Pulvirenti (zone7@massnet1.net), April 20, 2002.

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