How tall is your sink?

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matt miller

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We have recently moved to a new home. I now have room for a permanent darkroom in the basement. I am enjoying planning the darkroom and reading all the threads about it.

One question I have is about sink height. I am building the sink base out of wood. I will build the sink liner out of stainless steel. When standing at the sink for long periods of time, I don't want to get a back ache from leaning over. I'm 6'0" tall. I was thinking about building the sink so that the bottom of the sink would be 40" from the floor. The sink walls will be 6" high. Does this sound ok? How tall is your sink?
 

David Ruby

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I'm 5'11". When I was building my sink, I had the "tub" done and I simply put it on some saw horses and tested the feel of it before figuring out the final height for the base. I have a leaning rail that my arm rests on as I'm agitating the trays, and I made sure that everything felt comfortable. I think 40" sounds a little tall though, but I guess it depends on how high your sides will be. I'll measure mine tonight and get back to you.

I finished my darkroom late last year, if you're interested I've just posted some photos to accompany the drawing at:

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Have fun with it.
 

bmac

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Mine is too short. I need to build new legs for it. At the College I print at once in a while, the sink bottom is right at my waist, and has 10" sides. Very comfy!
 
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matt miller

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David Ruby said:
I finished my darkroom late last year, if you're interested I've just posted some photos to accompany the drawing at:

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Have fun with it.

Looks like you've managed your limited space very well.

The space I'm taking for my darkroom is 8' x 11'6". I'm building a 7' x 2'6" sink. That should be plenty big enough for the 8x10 contacts that I'll do in it.
 

Jon King

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I'm not going to be building a darkroom sink for several months ;(, so I am not speaking from the experience of building, but from the experience of being 6'4", and getting a sore back from bending over low darkroom sinks!

I just spent a few minutes drawing 40 and 46" marks on a wall, and I think those heights would be very comfortable for me, but that may make it an inch or two too high for you. The advantage of building your own is that it can be customized for your height and arm length, so if it seems right, try it.

One thing to try is to put the sink legs on sideways 2x4 'feet'. That way, if it is too tall, knocking off 1 1/2 inches is simple.
 

Dave Miller

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I think you should try standing at trays placed on your kitchen worktop and getting a feel for the best height that way. My feeling is that the sink base should be a few inches lower than normal worktop height.
 

wfwhitaker

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My sink is set atop prefab kitchen base cabinets from Home Depot. At the time it was the simplest means of putting a base together. The installation has worked very well and was economical. I'm also 6'0" and I've not found a sink height of 34 1/2" (bottom of the sink) to be too low. I was afraid it would be, but it's been OK. Were I to build a sink stand from scratch, I think I'd raise it up a couple of inches or so. 40" sounds a bit high, though.

What I did find to be a problem with the initial installation was the lack of a shelf at the back of the sink. I pulled everything apart and put it back together with a wide shelf at the back. If the sink were higher, everything mounted to the wall behind the sink would have to be higher, too. If the front-to-back dimension of your sink is fairly wide, you may find yourself with some difficult reaches if the sink is too tall. Even now I sometimes need a footstool for higher items.

-Will
 

Max Power

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My darkroom is a little under 6x6 square.
I built a sink and a work table using the instructions in that famous 'Build Your Own Home Darkroom' book.
What I did, quite simply, was to build the sink itself as per the instructions, which gave a 'shallow end' depth of about 5 inches and a 'deep end' depth of about 7 inches.
After that, I set it up on saw-horses of different heights and played with developing trays to see what I liked best. It worked really well and am pleased to report that all of my work is done without stooping and my arms are at a very natural angle.
I did precisely the same thing with the table that I built for the 'dry-side' of my miniscule darkroom.
I would, thus, humbly suggest that you do the same thing and experiment a bit to find out what height works best for you.
 

noseoil

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As a cabinet maker, I was trained by a man who had a simple rule of thumb for sinks. You should be able to stand comfortably at a sink and place your hand with the palm flat in the bottom of the sink. This is a fun experience when shopping for a bathroom vanity at Home Delay.
 

Jorge

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I used noseoil's technique, just stood and figured out the height that would be confortable for me both standing and sitting on a stool.
 
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EVERY darkroom that I ever worked in had the sink too low for the average height of the users that shared it.

When the time came for building the cabinets for my darkroom sink, I propped up trays to the final height that was usuable for me... Now, I enjoy working at my sink... No more sore backs hovering over a sink that at the wrong height.

I'd have to measure it, but I'm sure it's at least 6" higher than standard counter height.... After all, you want to stand and work, not hunch over...

joe :smile:
 

steve simmons

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The outside/front lip of the splash panel is about 2" below the height of my bent elbow. The sink bottom is then 5" below that level.

steve simmons
 

John Cook

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After forty years of doing this for a living, I can give you the absolute definitive answer.

(1) Take up beer drinking as a hobby.

(2) Visit every bar within a ten-mile radius of your lab. Twice.

(3) Take a tape measure and make careful note of the more comfortable dimensions.

It is extremely important to be able to lean your forearms both on your favorite neighborhood bar and on your darkroom sink rail. For every hour you spend in the studio or on location, you will spend a working day in the dark.
 

Jorge

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John Cook said:
After forty years of doing this for a living, I can give you the absolute definitive answer.

(1) Take up beer drinking as a hobby.

(2) Visit every bar within a ten-mile radius of your lab. Twice.

(3) Take a tape measure and make careful note of the more comfortable dimensions.

It is extremely important to be able to lean your forearms both on your favorite neighborhood bar and on your darkroom sink rail. For every hour you spend in the studio or on location, you will spend a working day in the dark.

LOL, funny how some advice that might sound outlandish is actually right on the button. I never thought of this, but you are right, some bars are very comofortable.....guinnes anyone?
 

Lee Shively

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I'll drink to that!

My processing sink is the kitchen sink and it's the height my wife likes it. I get to use it if I'm nice or I beg enough.
 

GreyWolf

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During the early spring I built a fiberglass sink to improve my darkroom. I use to work off a 36 inch counter top but found that this was too low for my tastes.

I prefer to stand while doing the wetside and decided to raise my sink to a comfortable height for me. The top lip of my sink (where I rest my arms) is at 43 inches and the sink bottom is at approximately 40 inches.

I also have a stool in the darkroom which I sometimes sit on and the height of the stool works very well with this sink height. I have always felt that standard kitchen and bathroom cabinets are too low for my personal comfort. I believe the standard makes it easier for children and shorter people but does not address the comforts of taller folks and those who do not wish to bend over that much.

Just my opinion and what works for me. Also by raising my sink a bit higher, I now have more storage area below to hold the 20x24 trays and a variety of other things.

Kind Regards,
 

Aggie

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You should also think about your back in another sense. Those old foot rails in the old time bars/pubs were a very good idea. We tend to bend over or brace ourselves in such a way that it is the worst position for our backs. With the foot rail, we put one foot up and stand in such a position that it is the optimum position for our backs. Leave a space at the bottom ot simulate the foot rail ro do the real thing and instal a foot rail. Your back will love you for it. This besides getting the correct height.

BTW I am only 5'8" and most counters are too short for me too. I agree they were made more for a pre teen child.
 

ElrodCod

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Matt Miller, Try this...While standing straight with your arms at your side, have your wife measure from the floor to your elbows. That measurement, minus 6 to 8 inches should be about right for the bottom of the sink. By bottom I mean the working surface where your trays will be.
 

Loose Gravel

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I'm 6'1.5" The sink is 39", The top of the edge of the sink is 45". The shelf and footrail underneath is 9.5" I can slop around in there pretty good and not mess the place. Good height for slouching over the trays. Can still do it okay on a stool. Front to back is 36". Eight feet long. Made of 1/8" PVC.
 

Deckled Edge

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I, too, used the famous Build Your Own Darkroom book to construct my sink. I used fir and ply throughout and finished it with waterproof paint. Much cheaper than metal, and your saw determines all dimensions.
Mine is 41" high at the front rail and is 7" deep at the drain end. I'm 6'1" and this is just the right height for me. No fatigue, back ache or "jimmy leg"
 

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raucousimages

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I have built 11 darkrooms for myself and others including the university of utah and I find the best sink is 5 inches deep, 32 inches front to back, as long as possible and set the height if the rim even with your elbow to prevent bending. I injured my L-5 many years ago so I understand back pain, everything in my darkroom is tall the only problem is my children use a stool at the sink.
 
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