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2017 December 10
Sunday

Film Developing

A reader asks "How do you keep the developer at the same temperature when you push-process?"

This is a very good question, and the answer is primarily "thermal mass".  Once you have all your chems and developing tanks at room temperature (let's say 68 Fahrenheit), they will pretty much stay there for the whole duration... if the room is also near that temperature.

The main challenge is when you have a room that's either much warmer or much colder (and it's basically winter now, so let's say colder).  For a push-process of an hour or more, you could start to see the temperature drop in the chems.  That, of course, will slow down the developing, which for extreme push-processing will result in even fainter, grainier images.  The solution there is to use a larger container of water at the correct temperature.  Set the developing tank in this to provide some thermal mass.  Make sure the water level is right, or you'll have buoyancy issues...

With black and white film, I've never noticed a problem as long as the temperature is within 2 degrees either way.  So, if it calls for 68 degrees but it's actually 70, that doesn't seem to make that big a difference.


Metalworking

The much-promised raft of metalworking articles are not ready yet, and I sort of got sidetracked when I used up the last of the acetylene recently.  Although torch cutting and gas welding are not the main tools of blacksmithing or even welding nowadays, there's always some critical step where you just need exactly that.  And those little tanks sure don't last long when you're having to cut metal.

If any of you guys do have a cold-cut saw, you know it's a bad idea to cut unknown steels because the wrong kind of steel can dull the blade very quickly.  Times like those, it's either cutting torch... or abrasive saw.  Not that I was cutting that type of steel, but you never know.  It's one example of why you need alternate methods around if you do need to work metal.

Another thing... before I try making a wrought-iron decorative wall sconce or something, I think I want to get a little better at shaping some of the basic items like "S" hooks, coat hooks, and very basic tools.  It is a continual source of amazement to me that these items are so labor-intensive to make, especially for a beginner or someone who's not tooled up for mass production.  Economies of scale and modern manufacturing have enabled us to take these sorts of things for granted.

I keep arriving at the same conclusion that it's probably not possible to have too many tools if you're into metalworking.  Just saw this lot, which at the moment has about five days to go.  Looks like a good assortment, and this is a great way to buy these things.


Coal Forge for Blacksmithing

If you want the classic solid-fuel forge, then it's going to be a coal forge with a firepot.  And one thing that keeps a lot of people from going this route is that the firepots are not cheap, and they're also not available at just any old store.  Well, today I noticed there's someone making ones out of steel, which you can buy through this link.  Significantly lower-cost that the cast iron ones, and they're not susceptible to cracking as cast iron is.








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