Positioning photo paper
Old 01-19-2017   #1
Whateverist
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Positioning photo paper

Bit of a beginner question: I have an enlarger with a bare wooden baseboard. For focusing and sizing my images I have cut out a piece of cardboard that's the same size as the paper I use. Once I have the enlarger set up I mark the position of the cardboard with electric tape and swap in the paper under safe-light.

However, this is pretty... inaccurate. My paper is usually not quite level with the projection or off in one or two directions.

Are there tricks or tools that can help position the paper?
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Old 01-19-2017   #2
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Yes, you need an enlarging easel. Its a metal base with a hinged metal frame that holds the paper flat. The base has rubber on the bottom to keep it from slipping out of place as you open it to insert the paper.

Inexpensive ones work for one paper size; higher priced ones have adjustable borders to allow custom cropping and multiple paper sizes.
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Old 01-19-2017   #3
sevo
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You need a darkroom easel. The common kind, with a sliding mask, still is being made, and used ones are all over ebay. For edgeless printing you'd need a easel with cover glass (dust magnet) or a vacuum easel - these are inherently two-piece, so working ones are more rare, but the missing glass or vacuum pump can be replaced at a pinch.
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Old 01-19-2017   #4
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http://www.freestylephoto.biz/8501-B...ng-Easel-11x14

When I had my darkroom, Saunders made the best adjustable easels, and I had one. This is the closest equivalent I can find.
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Old 01-19-2017   #5
sevo
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Kienzle would be the brand to go for in Europe. The last that still make pro grade easels, and for many decades the maker behind Leitz and Agfa pro lab equipment, as well as many other vendors' heavy duty easels, so these sold under many brands. Second best are used pro grade Durst easels.
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Old 01-19-2017   #6
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Also, when you use an easel, make sure you focus on the easel, not the enlarger baseboard. The easel elevates the paper a centimeter or so above the baseboard, so your prints will not be critically sharp if you focus on the baseboard.

Using an easel will improve your print sharpness anyway since it holds the paper flat. RC paper is usually really flat anyway, but if you use fiber base paper, it usually has a slight curl to it that the easel will counteract.
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Old 01-19-2017   #7
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Thanks for the info. I picked up a box of darkroom equipment with the enlarger, perhaps there is an easel in there somewhere (I saw something with a scale but thought it was a cutting board).
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Old 01-19-2017   #8
Whateverist
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Turns out I had an easel all along.

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Old 01-19-2017   #9
sepiareverb
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That's the ticket!

You should actually focus on a sheet of paper in the easel, not on the easel itself. I've always used a scrap sheet of paper or the back of an old print as a "focus sheet".
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Old 01-19-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
That's the ticket!

You should actually focus on a sheet of paper in the easel, not on the easel itself. I've always used a scrap sheet of paper or the back of an old print as a "focus sheet".
And you shouldn't forget to remove the focusing paper (like I do) before putting in the paper you will print on.
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