Wanted: Print Washer

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Joined: 10 Oct 2020, 06:46

Wanted: Print Washer

Postby timcooper » 03 Jan 2023, 10:10


I’m after a print washer, ideally 20x24 but I’d be interested in anything from 11x14 up.


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Joined: 27 Jul 2012, 16:02
Location: Noosa

Re: Wanted: Print Washer

Postby Maris » 04 Jan 2023, 16:29

I've always printed on fibre based photographic papers and inevitably have experienced a range of print washer miseries.

The Gravity Works 20x24 washer I used years ago belonged to a colleague but I had permission to use it. It taught me a 20x24 washer is huge, it takes ages to fill and empty, and it can weigh over 150kg when full. Serious support engineering is needed to prevent flexure and fracture. My friend would not have it in the darkroom but rather outside so if it ever broke the resultant tsunami would not result in an insurance catastrophe.
The washer worked well but only for 20x24. Loading it up with routine 8x10s meant quite a job of fishing out those "tiny" pieces of photographic paper from the deep recesses of the washer.
The few 20x24s I've made in recent years have been washed in trays by soaking and changing the water. Hypo Clear or equivalent chemistry speeds up this tedious process.

My next washer was a Paterson Major 12x16 with a beautiful clear acrylic tank. First shock was it's not 12x16; 12x15 yes, 12x16 no. It worked well for years doing a dozen 11x14s at a time or 24 8x10s in one load. But the acrylic eventually became brittle and broke. Result: mini tsunami but contained in the darkroom sink.

Present print washer is another Paterson Major with a different tank that looks to be crack resistant. It's worked well for more than 20 years. I think this washer is available new in Australia for less than $400 if you shop around.

Summing up the bellyaches and complaints; smaller washer, Paterson Major or equivalent up to 11x14, tray soak method for anything bigger.

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Barry Kirsten
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Joined: 27 Feb 2015, 11:13
Location: Brookfield, Vic.

Re: Wanted: Print Washer

Postby Barry Kirsten » 05 Jan 2023, 13:04

I've toyed with the idea of getting a print washer in the past, but never succumbed due to tales of woe like Maris describes. But for me the main consideration is the number of prints I might make in a session. I rarely print in large quantities and am happy to wash prints in large trays with long soaks in several changes of water, concentrating on only those which might have promise; the rest I discard. In the past when I've wanted to thoroughly wash several large sheets, I'd hold them in a tray with a couple of water changes, then thoroughly wash them all at the end of the session in the darkroom sink with several long water soaks and changes. I must also add that for much of my previous life I've lived in the country and at times with rainwater as the only household water supply, and that has made me frugal with water.

Mick Fagan
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Joined: 24 Sep 2015, 21:20
Location: Melbourne

Re: Wanted: Print Washer

Postby Mick Fagan » 27 Jan 2023, 10:43

For anything that size, you really need to be looking at tray (or dish) washing.

Kodak made an automatic tray siphon. This was great as it attaches to a tap for water inlet, and had a siphon for water outlet. The major downside is that you will need to elevate your tray in the sink by about the depth of a house brick. Four house bricks was the go, cheap, stable and they never absorbed water.

Unfortunately the Kodak automatic tray siphon, will go through water like you wouldn't believe.

Maris I had one of the early Paterson units with the clear exterior, a myriad of hairline cracks appeared over some years until it eventually started to seep water. At this point fearing it may crack, it was removed. I believe Paterson took their dimensions from the outside of the tank, not the inside as one would expect.

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Joined: 10 Oct 2020, 06:46

Re: Wanted: Print Washer

Postby timcooper » 15 Mar 2023, 21:10

Hey all - I apologise for not replying earlier. I read all your messages and ended up tray washing - works fine and much less stressful than worrying about 150kg of water spilling everywhere!

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