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Print Washers (Gravity Works vs. Calumet)

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Post time: 2013-6-5 20:39:39 |Show all posts
I am contemplating getting a "real" print washer (rather than my current glorified tray-cum-hose cheapo print washer), and two of the models I am considering are the Gravity Works model (sold by the usual online suspects) and the Calumet model (sold, well, by Calumet). Does anyone have experience with them and comment on relevant differences between the two models? Also, my darkroom setup only allows me to print 8x10 prints, so should I get a 8x10 washer or the larger 11x14 model?Thanks in advance,Mike

Post time: 2013-7-21 06:54:07 |Show all posts

I share your interest and need for information. I recently acquired an Oriental print washer which will handle 16x20 if I can ever figure it out. It has three intake/output connections but cannot find any instructions on the Internet to help set it up properly. I see an Oriental owner's response and would appreciate any help. Mike


Mike Snyder

Post time: 2013-6-6 09:18:36 |Show all posts
Another recommendation for the Versalab. Way less expensive than the fancy clear plexiglass models, it's pretty indestructable, and does a great job.

Post time: 2013-6-6 07:51:44 |Show all posts
I'll also suggest the Versalab.  The only sizes are 11x14 and 16x20 (no 8x10, drat).  I had a 8x10 Calumet, and I also have a Zone VI print washer.   The Calumet, while beautiful, was a bit too convoluted to use.  It has two drain hoses with clamps that had to be constantly fiddled with or the water level in the tank would drop too much leaving the tops of prints dry.  When emptied, if I didn't wipe down every surface I'd see hundreds of water spots and large areas of the tank aren't accessible to clean.  The Zone VI is similar, only it doesn't have the fiddly drain clamp system of the Calumet.   The Versalab works exactly as advertised and it's very easy to drain, store away (I have limited counter space) and keep clean.  Every part of the tank is accessible, and the print rack is one big piece that can be pulled out and set on a clean towel to dry. All three washers work perfectly for what they were designed to do; wash fix out of prints.  HT-2 tests came out fine and prints haven't stained when I tone in selenium.  But don't completely dismiss trays - even with the 11x14 Versalab, for a handful of 8x10's I like to just rinse and dump in a tray with a slow running hose in the sink; simpler still and very quick cleanup.

Post time: 2013-6-6 05:57:54 |Show all posts
The Archival Rain, if still in production, is a superb instrument.I use a Versalab 11x14. Not a beautifull device, but a very functional one, and cheap. Helcio

Post time: 2013-6-6 04:19:58 |Show all posts
I'll second the Versalab. An excellent washer and great value. Probably totally unbreakable to boot. Get the 11x14 so you have capacity to do more prints at once.

Post time: 2013-6-6 02:55:31 |Show all posts
Take a look at the Versalab printwasher.  It is a very strongly made product, easy to wash, and significantly less money than other similar products. www.versalab.com.  I have also had good luck with aused Zone VI washer, but it is very hard to clean.

Post time: 2013-6-6 01:30:45 |Show all posts
Spelling correction: should be "Cascade"

Post time: 2013-6-5 23:31:53 |Show all posts
Look at Cascase made by Summitek at  http://www.summitek.com   They use less water compared to Gravity Works, Calmumet, Zone VI, etc on the market today.  Their print washers will use anywhere from 1-2 liters of water per minute compare to 2-2.5 gallons per minute for others.  I have their 11x14 washer with pattern dividers - $50 extra.  I really like the washer and plan to get a 20x24 later on.  It is not how fast the water is running but the soaking of the print to diffuse or dissolve the fixer. Good luck.

Post time: 2013-6-5 22:19:03 |Show all posts
Mike, I have two print washers, Nova (16X20) and Oriental (11X14).  Both do what all print washers do; bathe prints in water, and depending the flow, exchange the water at different rates and keep prints separate.  The design differences between washers affect the efficiency very little if at all.  Regarding the size of the washer:  if you are only printing 8X10 a larger washer will just use more water.  If you feel you will eventually print larger prints, then buy an 11X14 washer.  As washers get larger the volume of water to fill the unit seems to expand exponentially.  I thought I read that the Calumet washer is now made by Gravity Works with the Calumet name.  Calumet had a lot of returns with the Zone VI washer when they acquired Zone VI Studios and went with a different manufacturer that they felt had a superior design. Paul
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