Who works with a Dunco Masking easel?

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gamincurieux

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I've just bought a used Dunco 85/4 30x40 from someone in France (I'm in Australia) on Ebay for an OK price.

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At least I think 85/4 is the model I bought - mine looks to be perhaps a slightly earlier model than the ones you see being sold new in stores on the web - the knobs on mine are operated from the top/above and the blades are all black unlike the partly white blades of the newer ones... otherwise they seem to have the same features. I just hope the thing gets here first! Can't help but worry with such a relatively heavy large thing coming such a long way at the mercy of various country's postal systems. That, coupled with the fact that the seller is a crap communicator. Oh well, fingers crossed.

Anyway, I currently use a Saunders 4-blade of the same size. It's OK, a good solid easel, but they're really too basic, or old-fashioned if you know what I mean. I know there are better easels out there. I want something that is STRAIGHT and will allow me to place paper QUICKLY and ACCURATELY. What I want is to OPEN IT/PUT PAPER IN/SHUT IT/EXPOSE, all very quickly with minimum stuffing around. I believe that a Dunco easel will fulfill these requirements very well, so I sought one out on Ebay (Dunco is not sold anywhere in Australia). The idea is that it'll do everything just the way I want, will make darkroom life a little easier, allowing me to work quicker and be more productive. Above all the blades have to be straight, I print 35mm full-frame with thin black line and I really don't want to be spending time fiddling to get errant blades straight, using sticky tape to do it. I want all four blades to be straight like the edges of the neg!!!

I would like to know more about paper placement with this model please, if you know something about it. That said, I have managed to download an information sheet on it, but it's in French - I speak it better that I read it, and this info sheet is kinda technical (see the other image attached - anyone got this or similar doc in English, or even German??). Am I right in thinking that there are definite paper guides? All those 'dots' on the baseboard, what are they & how do they work? There's also what looks like a straight black guide coming down from the top of the easel. How does this all work together for paper positioning? The document mentions something about using the supplied screwdriver to do something with those 'dots', and it shows 6 different symbols (a star, square, triangle, etc etc) relating to different paper size settings I think. I mostly use 30.5 x 40.6 paper, which is the largest this easel will take anyway I guess - are there any considerations with using this paper size on this easel? What are your thoughts on the blades, are they good & straight?

Dunco%208050%20page%202.jpg


Sorry to bombard you with questions, but I'd be grateful to know some more about it, and hope it arrives in one piece to put your info into practice with it :wink:

Many thanks,

Paul
 

gamincurieux

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Well, the item number of mine is 250571561075 if you'd like to see how it slightly differs to the ones currently being sold.

Current version of the 85/4 30x40 has knobs operated from the side, and some kind of pronounced white marking on the blades.

Mind has knobs that look quite different and are operated from above, and the blades are all black.
 

tim rudman

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Well it doesn't sound like mine. I can't see the image but mine don't have these symbols.
The blades and straight (on mine) light and smooth and have never bent or warped. There is a unique 'squaring' adjustment that is useful but I can't tell if yours has it. Maybe later models than yours perhaps.
 

gamincurieux

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OK, here's the image of the one I've bought, again just to illustrate the diff between this and the current ones now being sold:

Dunco85_4.jpg
 
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naaldvoerder

naaldvoerder

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I own the one you bought. I like it a lot. The dots are springloaden little stoppers sunken in the baseboard. You can twist them with a little screwdriver and make them jump up some 3 millimeter to act as stoppers for the papersize you use. Sometimes you may have to replace "lame"springs with ballpointsprings depending on the age of your board. The symbols are designed to quickly adjust the arms to the papersize you use. Papersizes from different manufacturers are not always equal so I made my own markings as I did on my enlargercollumn. I hope the gasspring on your board is stil under enough pressure. I had to replace mine some time ago. They can be ordered from Dunco. Congratulations, it's a good board. You will never want another....

Jaap Jan
 

gamincurieux

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That's brilliant Jaap, thanks for your input. I was wondering about the gas spring, wondering if because it is under pressure it might be a problem for sending it to me by post (you know, can't put things under pressure in an aircraft, that kind of thing). BUT, first it has to get here :wink:
 
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gamincurieux

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It's arrived, very quickly, but broken.

The board and frame is intact, but all 4 blade-tightening knobs are broken. That in turn has broken the whole tightening mechanism. Snapped pieces of plastic. The gas pressure thingo is also out of gas.

Just plastic though they may be, this was poorly packed. Can't say I'm being too fussy, I've had bigger heavier more fragile things come to be from the US well packed & intact. He'll be getting Ebay feedback that I hope he regrets.

Now, to see if I can squeeze a few bucks out of someone for this, because I'm going to have to buy new blades from Dunco.
 

gamincurieux

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Actually the knobs are fine, it is the whole braking mechanism which is smashed, the bit under the knobs that goes around the frame & screwed onto the blades, all four.

He could have unscrewed the knobs for transit, the bare metal screws the knobs screw onto would've withstood the knocking about much better without the knobs. It wasn't packed well.

Sure, I'll buy new whatever's needed, once I resolve this through Paypal :wink:
 

gamincurieux

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I've just been playing with the easel. It might only have one semi-working blade, but WOW I am impressed!!! It makes paper placement SO EASY, this is exactly what I've been looking for! I can't wait til I have it working properly. That said, the very helpful people a Dunco are sorting me out with spares.
 

gamincurieux

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I have noticed something, when the frame/blades are lowered directly down onto the paper guides. Because they are spring-loaded they tend to keep the blades elevated a mm or two above the paper, the blades won't actually make contact with the paper. Specifically, this is the upper AND left-sided blades because that's where the paper guides are - the lower and right-side blades do (I imagine) make contact with the paper.

Not having the chance to try for myself until I get the spares, I was wondering if that means the black neg-edge borders I try to do on those two offending sides might not be sharp.... ???
 

pluto

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mine is 90/5 model, bought new two years ago. Despite istructions, I can't re-set a perfect 90 degree angles of masking blades and I've to use paper scotch for the purpose, above all printing 30x40 and 50x60 size.
I'm seriously thinking at Versamask system.
Joseph
 

gamincurieux

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Hmm, Versamask. NO, I've bought enough!

Any other Dunco user have something to add concerning my last post about blades coming down onto the paper guides making the blade sit slightly above the paper & if this means that border might not be sharp as a result???
 

spijker

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Hi gamincurieux,

I just read up on this thread and I'm wondering how things progressed since your last post. Did you get the Dunco fixed? Do you like it? Do you get the sharp edges that you were asking about? BTW does this easel support 11x14inch papers? Hope you can give us an update. thanks.

Menno
 
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