Analog Photography

Tools & Supplies List

Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. at Hodgson Mill For Darkroom Underground Episode 1 08/28/2021Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. at Hodgson Mill For Darkroom Underground Episode 1 08/28/2021 On this page, we list a fairly comprehensive listing of the tools, materials, and supplies that we use to make our analog fine art prints.

In the Darkroom Underground, I provide you specific instructions and lists for the various types of prints we make in each episode or video workshop. 

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GENERAL TOOLS & SUPPLIES

We use a variety of general tools and supplies when making analog prints and in this section, we list some of our favorite tools and supplies for you.    

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Hot Plate & Magnetic Stirrer

Recommended Unit 

Mid-Grade Smaller Unit 

Having a hot plate with the integrated magnetic stirrer is a foundational tool for all darkrooms.  I use my hot plate/magnetic stirrer daily. 
Digital Timer (commercial grade) This commercial-grade digital timers comes in a variety of different formats.  I use the 12 timer version because I have complex workflows that have as many as 10 or more steps.  Being able to set timers and alarms for the entire workflow is a huge benefit. 

Digital Scale

Having an accurate digital scale in another foundational tool for the darkroom and emulsion makers. If you are going to splurge on a couple of items, this is one that I suggest because you are constantly weighing very precise amounts for your emulsion formulas.

Glass Beaker Set I have 3 sets of these glass beakers.  They are cheap and I use them all the time in the darkroom and emulsion making. 
Blue Shop Towels I keep lots of these blue shop towels on hand at all time.  I have a standing order to replenish my stock every two months. 
Nitrile Gloves I go through a lot of nitrile gloves every single emulsion making session. 

 


BASIC EMULSION MAKER TOOLS & SUPPLIES

I have listed the supplies, materials, and tools that we use when making any kind of silver gelatin emulsion and I consider the list below to be the essentials and beginning emulsion maker list.  

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Hot Plate & Magnetic Stirrer

Recommended Unit 

Mid-Grade Smaller Unit 

 

Having a hot plate with the integrated magnetic stirrer is a foundational tool for all darkrooms and emulsion makers.  I provide links to the one I own as well as some less expensive options. If you are going to splurge on a couple of items, this is one that I suggest. 
Magnetic Stirring Bars I have many different sizes of these magnetic stirring bars (peanuts) on hand because I use different sizes based on the size of the beaker.  Getting a couple variety packs is a good place to start and then over time, you will figure out the sizes you use the most.

Digital Scale

Having an accurate digital scale in another foundational tool for the darkroom and emulsion makers. If you are going to splurge on a couple of items, this is one that I suggest because you are constantly weighing very precise amounts for your emulsion formulas.
Glass Beaker Set I have 3 sets of these glass beakers.  They are cheap and I use them all the time in the darkroom and emulsion making. 
Blue Shop Towels I keep lots of these blue shop towels on hand at all time.  I have a standing order to replenish my stock every two months. 
Nitrile Gloves I go through a lot of nitrile gloves every single emulsion making session. 
120ml Brown Eye Dropper Bottles I keep a stock of these on hand at all times because I use them for many different things.  Start with at least 8 to 10 and then add more if needed.  This will become obvious when you start making emulsions.
Glass Stirring Rods I have several different lengths of these on hand.  I like glass because they can be sterilized easily and this keeps our emulsions from being contaminated. 
Filters For Emulsion I use these filters for every batch of emulsion I make.  I like these because they are disposable which helps with contamination management and they are inexpensive for a large amount of them. 
Glass Pyrex Bowel With Lid I use the 7 cup 1.65 Liter pyrex glass bowel with lid as a water bath when making my emulsions.  You will need at least 2 on hand. 
Digital Thermometer  If your hot plate/magnetic stirrer does not have a temperature probe, then you will need at least 3 or 4 good quality digital thermometers on hand. 
Digital Laser Thermometer I keep two of these on hand at all times for making our emulsions.  I use them to verify the exact surface temperature of emulsions and also the current temperature of our coating rods, and much more. 
Plastic Kitchen Utensils I use plastic spoons the most, but sometimes a fork or plastic knife is also handy.  Get a jumbo box and keep it in your emulsion making kit. 
Plastic Kitchen Wrap I use this to cover beakers, especially when swelling gelatin.
Strainer Bags You need to put your chilled emulsion noodles into this mesh strainer when washing them.
Glass Lab Funnels I keep a set of glass lab grade funnels on hand for a variety of emulsion making tasks. 
Disposable Plastic Measuring Cups in a Variety of Sizes: Small, Medium, Large I weigh out all of my chemicals in plastic disposable measuring cups and discard them after use.  Chemical contamination is unacceptable when working in the lab making emulsions. 

Syringes

5ml, 10ml, 20ml, 30ml, 60ml

I keep 5ml, 10ml, 20ml, 30ml, and 60ml syringes on hand at all times to use in the emulsion making process. 
Digital Timer With Alarm I have several digital timers with alarms in use at any given time when making emulsions.  Don't use your phone that emits light! The Paterson triple darkroom timer is literally 3 timers in 1. 
Non-Skid Fabric I place non-skid fabric under my glass coating plates when coating my emulsions. 
Glass Plates (3/32") or thicker I use 16"x20" glass plates for coating paper up to 8x10 and larger sizes for my bigger papers and films.  Start with 16x20 because you will be coating smaller papers, films, and plates up to 8x10 first. 
Darkroom Trays Keep plenty of darkroom chemical processing trays on hand in all of the sizes you need.  For example, to coat 8x10 paper, you start with 11x14 or 11x15 paper and then trim to size after the coating process.  
Gralab Universal Darkroom Timer

I use this exact timer mounted above my sink area.

Chemical Storage Bottles

250ml, 500ml,1000ml

I have both sizes in these chemical storage bottles.  I decant and store emulsions in these and also use them for everyday processing chemical storage and use. 
Potato Ricer Used for "noodling" and washing emulsions that need to have the chemical by-products washed out.  All negative emulsions coated on film and glass must be washed. 

Stainless Steel Lab Beakers

2000ml1000ml, 500ml

I like to use these stainless steel lab beakers to store my emulsion in the refrigerator.  I simply put a light safe bag over the top and rubber band it in place.  If you have ever tried to clean gelatin emulsions off of glass beakers, you will understand the genius behind this approach.  
Stainless Steel Mortar & Pestle I have two of these mortar and pestle's to grind up a lot of different chemicals when making emulsions and processing solutions.  This significantly helps with getting the chemicals dissolved. 
Stainless Steel Chopper For negative emulsions that must be chilled, noodled, and washed, you need to chop up the emulsion into small sections before re-melting and coating.  I keep a couple of these stainless steel choppers on hand at all times. 
Stainless Steel 8 Qt. Bowl and Strainer I use this large bowl for washing my negative emulsions along with this strainer.  
Pyrex Food Storage Oblong Dishes I use these oblong Pyrex food storage dishes to chill my emulsion in the fridge before getting to the noodling and washing stage.  
Black Opaque Window Blackout Material If you need to black out a window for making a temporary darkroom, this opaque material works great.
Light Safe Bag This Paterson Light Safe Film Changing Bag works great for storing your emulsion in the refrigerator.  Instead of using disposable opaque bags that can be difficult to source, use this for chilling your emulsions as well as using it as a film changing bag. 

 


SILVER CHLORIDE EMULSION CHEMICALS

In this section, I list the exact chemicals that I use to teach you how to make a Silver Chloride emulsion in the Darkroom Underground

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Distilled Water

 

Distilled water is an absolute must when making emulsions and the associated processing chemicals.  Eliminating local tap water is simple and a very good step in the right direction. 
Photo Grade Gelatin Photo grade 250 bloom gelatin is a staple for emulsion makers.  Do not use Knox food gelatin from the grocery store. I keep a good amount on hand because it is literally used in every emulsion formula.
Potassium Chloride (KCl) There are other salts that can be used for making a silver chloride emulsion to include Sodium Chloride (NaCl), and others.  In the Darkroom Underground, I teach you how to make s silver chloride emulsion using Potassium Chloride (KCl). 
Sodium Chloride (NaCl) Reagent Grade In a second silver chloride emulsion that we make in the Darkroom Underground, we use Sodium Chloride (NaCl) Reagent grade vs. Potassium Chloride (KCl).  Do not use regular table salt.   We also make a bromide emulsion with NaCl too later in the course. 
Silver Nitrate (AgNO3) Silver nitrate is a staple for silver gelatin emulsion makers.  I keep a good amount on hand because it is literally used in every emulsion formula. 
Alcohol (EverClear 190 Proof, or 95+% Isopropyl Alcohol)  Alcohol is a staple for almost every silver gelatin emulsion formula.  I keep plenty on hand.  I like to use EverClear 190 proof pure grain alcohol, but some people can't source this because of laws.  If not, just get 95+% Isopropyl alcohol and you will be fine. 
Kodak Photo-Flo 200 I keep Kodak Photo-Flo 200 on hand in the darkroom anyway for dipping my film in before handing to dry, but we also use it in just about every batch of emulsion making too. 
Glyoxal 40% Glyoxal is a modern day harder for emulsion making and I use it frequently in various dilutions.  
Thymol (C10H140) I use a 10% solution of Thymol as an anti-fungal agent in my emulsions.  I teach you how to properly dissolve and mix it for making emulsions in the Darkroom Underground. 

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon
 


CHEMICALS FOR PROCESSING SILVER GELATIN EMULSIONS

In this section, I list the exact chemicals that I use to teach you how to make a Silver Chloride emulsion in the Darkroom Underground

A typical developer formula for processing gelatin emulsions has the following elements: a reducing agent (metol/hydroquinone), an alkaline accelerator (ammonia or sodium carbonate), a restrainer (usually potassium bromide) and a preservative such as sodium sulfite.

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Distilled Water

 

Distilled water is an absolute must when making emulsions and the associated processing chemicals.  Eliminating local tap water is simple and a very good step in the right direction. 
Metol Developing agent
Sodium Sulfite Preservative for developing agents
Borax Accelerator in developing formulas
Potassium Bromide Restrainer in developing formulas
Sodium Thiosulfate (penta) - Hypo Fixer
Sodium Carbonate Alkaline Accelerator
Hydroquinone Developing Agent
Glyoxal 40% Hardener

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon


CHEMICALS FOR MAKING HANDMADE SALT PRINTS

In this section, I list the exact chemicals that I use to teach you how to make a handmade salt contact prints in the Darkroom Underground

For the tools and equipment, refer to the top of the page in the Basic Emulsion Maker Tools & Supplies section.  You can ignore the items suggest for washing silver gelatin emulsions.

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Distilled Water

 

Distilled water is an absolute must when making emulsions, sensitizers, and various formulas.
Photo Grade Gelatin Photo grade 250 bloom gelatin is a staple for emulsion makers.  Do not use Knox food gelatin from the grocery store. I keep a good amount on hand because it is literally used in every emulsion formula and for a variety of other processes. 
Sodium Chloride (NaCl) Reagent Grade Sodium Chloride NaCl is a salt that is needed in the salted paper sensitizer formula to react with the silver nitrate. 
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) We use sodium Bicarbonate in the gold toning formula.  
Sodium Thiosulfate (penta) - Hypo Fixer
Gold Chloride 1g Ampule I gold chloride tone all of my salted contact prints to help with the archival permanence and I also like the tonal change as well. 

Morton Natural Sea Salt, Diamond Kosher Crystal Salt

Sodium Chloride (salt) comes in many different forms.  Only use the following salt for making salted prints because other salts have undesirable additives that will cause you problems. 
 
Distilled Water Distilled water is an absolute must when making emulsions and the associated processing chemicals.  Eliminating local tap water is simple and a very good step in the right direction. 
Silver Nitrate (AgNO3)
 
Silver nitrate is a requirement for making salt prints.  I keep a good amount on hand because it is literally used in every sensitizer formula. 
 

Syringes

5ml, 10ml, 20ml, 30ml, 60ml

I keep 5ml, 10ml, 20ml, 30ml, and 60ml syringes on hand at all times to use in the emulsion making process.  I tend to use 5/10/20/30 the most. 
 
120ml Brown Eye Dropper Bottles
 
I use these bottles to store my silver nitrate in and then I use a syringe to extract the amount I need for each size print that I am making. 

PAPERS FOR MAKING SALTED CONTACT PRINTS

In this section, I share a few of the quality papers that I like to use when making my handmade large and ultra large format salted contact prints.  Based on the size of your contact print, some papers may or may not apply.  For example, I love Fabriano Bristol+, but I routinely make 20x24 ultra large format contact prints and this paper isn't available in that size.  I always like to use paper one size larger than my image when I can.  For example, I like to us 11x14 for making 8x10 prints. I have never had good luck with Strathmore papers with Salted printing, so I would avoid these. 

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Fabriano Bristol+

 

This is a fantastic paper for making salted contact prints.  It is smooth and shows very little paper texture and fibers. 
Canson Bristol This is very similar to Fabriano Bristol+, but it is available in larger sizes.
Rives BFK This is an amazing paper if you want a hand torn and handmade look and feel.  I have this paper in various tones (white, cream) and different weights (115gsm, 280gsm)
Hahnemühle Platinum Rag I love this paper for platinum and palladium coating of course, but it also works great for the handmade salted paper prints too.
Arches Platine Arches Platine is another classic paper that should be explored as well.  
Other Papers Other good papers include Bergger COT 320 and Revere Platinum.  You can find these at a variety of suppliers where you find alternative photography supplies. 

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon


CHEMICALS FOR MAKING CALOTYPE PAPER NEGATIVES

In this section, I list the exact chemicals that I use to teach you how to make 19th century style Calotype negatives in the Darkroom Underground

For the tools and equipment, refer to the top of the page in the Basic Emulsion Maker Tools & Supplies section.  You can ignore the items suggest for washing silver gelatin emulsions.

Photographer's Formulary Chemicals and Supplies on Amazon

Recommended Item My Notes/Comments

Distilled Water

 

Distilled water is an absolute must when making emulsions, sensitizers, and various formulas.
Whey You need 100% pure Whey isolate powder.
Lactose You need a lab grade lactose powder to make the calotype negatives.
Potassium Iodide  
Potassium Bromide  
Glass Baking Dish This is a 4.8 Qt 11"x17" glass baking dish used for processing Calotype's.  I have several of these.
Bienfang 360 Paper This is my favorite paper and I know it works with this process. 
Canson Marker Paper I am in the process of testing this paper. 

 


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