Bulk loading woes, please help
Old 1 Day Ago   #1
Smaug
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Bulk loading woes, please help

I started bulk loading again recently. Bought a Watson loader from ebay.

I'm noticing the back of the film is scratched the whole length of it.

I AM remembering to open and close the gate properly.

I took the film out in a dark bag, put it in the tin, and checked the inside of the bulk loader, were it bears against the back of the film. It's not PERFECTLY smooth, but I don't think it's rough enough to have scratched the film. Nevertheless, I smoothed it more with nail file, then burnished it with the rounded edge of a screwdriver; it's super smooth now.

I loaded another roll.

I checked the parts of the camera (N90s) that bear against the back of the film; all smooth.

I don't really know how to check the cartridges. (Kalt plastic, with the screw-on caps) I guess I could sacrifice some film by loading it in, then pull it out and check it, then roll it back into the cartridge, then load it into the camera and shoot it, and see at which point it gets scratched? (I'm not sure the scratch is deep enough to see until processed)

Meanwhile, I fogged the film when I put it in the tin, as I don't think the tin was quite light-tight enough. (The camera is light-tight and I've never had fogged film from the cartridges before)

I guess that's a no brainer then, since the film's fogged....

What has been your experience on what most often scratches the film the whole length of the back?
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Old 1 Day Ago   #2
CharlesDAMorgan
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If the camera wasn't doing it before, eliminate that.

If a small length is unscratched when dispensed (don't bother loading it into a cartridge) it's not the loader.

If it's scratched after that, it's the cartridge.

About 1 in four of the cartridges that came with my old but fine bulk loader (a gift from a neighbour) are decaying. Buy new.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #3
yossarian123
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For your cartridges, just check the felt and see if their are any obvious pieces of dust or objects that might scratch the film. Most likely it's the loader but you may need to load a couple of short rolls to verify. Just keep in mind that the plastic cartridges will eventually degrade and you'll need to replace them - I typically use a silver sharpie and put a tick mark every time I load one. If I start getting leaks/scratches and it's been used enough times then I toss it and use a fresh one.

I also started out using a bulk film loader but eventually I bought a Leitz AGRIF - an outrageously expensive metal rod that lets you hand spool your film (in complete darkness of course). I think TomA posted a few times here on his loading process and it's been my preferred method of loading for years now.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #4
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I tossed all 10 new Kalt plastic carts, some of them not used, the ones I did use all shed threads of fabric (not felt) into the film gate. Bad quality, just saying.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #5
Ko.Fe.
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Back is not this critical if you focus at emulsion under enlarger.
But I took single use film cassette, after use, and used its felt, or whatever it is called, to super glue at in the balk loader edge where film comes out to loading area.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #6
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Back is not this critical if you focus at emulsion under enlarger.
But I took single use film cassette, after use, and used its felt, or whatever it is called, to super glue at in the balk loader edge where film comes out to loading area.
Usually strips of velvet. Of the currently widely available types the Kodak strips tend to peel off the cassettes the cleanest, if desired for re-purposing.

I've always recycled emptied pre-loaded cassettes when loading bulk film. Labs give them away for free: it's a form of recycling; and each light proof cassette has only seen one prior roll of film. Zero issues to date. Avoid obviously damaged or externally dusty or filthy specimens naturally. I've seen other people's films affected by scratches and/or light leaks when "re-loadable" cassettes have been employed. I can't believe people actually buy them when one time use cassettes are better, and available in almost unlimited quantities, free. It's a no-brainer.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #7
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yossarian123 View Post
...I also started out using a bulk film loader but eventually I bought a Leitz AGRIF - an outrageously expensive metal rod that lets you hand spool your film (in complete darkness of course). I think TomA posted a few times here on his loading process and it's been my preferred method of loading for years now.

I use an AGRIF too, it's one of the oldest tools in the box alongside a spanner for my bike by King Dick and - also pre-war - a Lindstrom pair of pliers.



Regards, David
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Old 1 Day Ago   #8
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One thing that I used to do was to brush the cartridge felts with a toothbrush (unused one of course!) and it seemed to help reduce the possibility of scratches resulting from the felts (brushing in one direction, usually towards the ‘open’ end before you load it with film). Other thing I did was to use the metal cartridges - somewhere I heard that static could result from using the plastic cartridges. Not sure if that is in fact the case, but I generally avoided the plastic cartridges. Never had any light leaks etc from the metal ones, but that’s just my personal experience.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Usually strips of velvet. Of the currently widely available types the Kodak strips tend to peel off the cassettes the cleanest, if desired for re-purposing.

I've always recycled emptied pre-loaded cassettes when loading bulk film. Labs give them away for free: it's a form of recycling; and each light proof cassette has only seen one prior roll of film. Zero issues to date. Avoid obviously damaged or externally dusty or filthy specimens naturally. I've seen other people's films affected by scratches and/or light leaks when "re-loadable" cassettes have been employed. I can't believe people actually buy them when one time use cassettes are better, and available in almost unlimited quantities, free. It's a no-brainer.


Velvet!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icfq_foa5Mo


I have twenty or so re-loadable cassettes which I use for hundreds of loads and dozens for bulks since 2012. No issues. Way better than bugging for cassettes somewhere, be dependent on it and dinking with short ends, scotch and scissors.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #10
Ko.Fe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
One thing that I used to do was to brush the cartridge felts with a toothbrush (unused one of course!)
I only brush , but you never know, right?
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Old 1 Day Ago   #11
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I always used some canned air on the open cartridge and blew through the felt trap just before attaching the leader and winding on.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #12
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The Watson bulk loader doesn't touch the film if you open the gate. It is easy to forget to do it. Even after all these years I occasionally forget, usually while I'm watching tv. There should be no resistance at all to winding the film into the cassette aside from the clicks.

I'd suspect you either didn't open the gate or the camera scratched the film. Finding the area in a camera that is scratching film can be difficult sometimes since it isn't always obvious. If it was only one roll that was scratched, then the cassette could be the culprit. I reuse cassettes from minilabs which makes bulk loading much simpler and the cassettes are higher quality in general. I've had some now 15 years. I must have a couple hundred of them. Only trouble these days is finding a minilab...
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Old 1 Day Ago   #13
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PRJ. I’m not a minilab but I can offer them by the pound to those interested.
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