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Stainless steel reels for Paterson tanks

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I usually do a batch of 10-15 rolls on a Friday in large 8 roll SS tank but occasionally I want to do 1-2 when I am impatient. I have never got on with the Paterson/Jobo plastic reels so I bought the Hewes stainless steel developing reels that are made to fit the 1” core of Paterson tanks.

 

They are obviously thinner and slightly smaller in diameter than the plastic reels. The other difference is there is more space between the central pillar and the reel’s core. Hopefully giving a better flow of developer. Draining is much quicker as well. They also make them for the Jobo system.

 

Got mine from RK Photographic here in the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The metal reels can be reloaded straight away, if you have to dev in batches... no need to dry them, as with the plastic ones.

 

John

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Just a little tip. Unless the center of the stainless reels have an extended spacer, they will move up and down in the tank. With agitation this can cause surging at the edges and uneven development. I solved it by placing a just-right size bottle cap on top of the reel after loading. Leave a bubble about the size of the pour spout in the top of the tank to facilitate agitation.

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I cut the bottom off a plastic film canister to make a cylinder. This is laid on its side on the top reel, and acts as a spring between the lid and reels preventing their movement.

Pete

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Thanks, I tried inverting out of curiosity and there is some movement of the column up and down, the same as with the plastic reels. However, I have never used the inversion method of agitation I have always used the twirl stick in the Patersons or swirling like a brandy glass in the SS tanks.

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If you read the instructions that came with Patterson, the stick was to be used with first agitation immediately after pour in ONLY. Twisting causes more replenishment on the edges compared to the center thus you get uneven density across the negative. I am sure you must have noticed the light stripes across the top and bottom of the prints. If not photograph a uniform card and measure the density across to see for yourself.

 

And while we are at it, there is no such thing as surge marks. They are simply areas where agitation is locally insufficient. Change how you do it. Rotate and invert at same time, 5 to 7 inversions per cycle or rolling type. There are many workable schemes, but if you get marks you must increase the randomness of the agitation,not slow it down which causes other problems. Agitation must be vigorous enough to replenish across the whole neg with each cycle and random enough not to set up a pattern, ie surge marks.

 

One can not over agitate, consider the Jobo that is continuous. One can only not have enough randomness.

 

A little up down movement is actually good. I have done reels on a lift rod in a 4x5 open tank. I raise the reels half the width of the film, quarter turn, lower and reverse quarter turn. Do it right, and you get perfect negs.

Edited by tobey bilek

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Not sure if the OP is still active on this forum - but I just bought the same Hewes reels for my Paterson tank. They seem barely enough to hold a roll of film. While I was practicing, the roll I used was hanging out at the end because the reel couldn't hold its length. Have you had this problem? I am concerned that the film that is left hanging will interfere with the development of the film that is already on the reel by potentially touching it...

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I have Hewes reels for my stainless tank, if I load my own film from a 100ft roll then I have extra hanging out, but with prepackaged film it ends right at end of the reel. If there is and inch or so overhanging it shouldn't be a problem the film is stiff in that direction, if the film has enough overhang to be floppy, check to see if you bought 24 exposure reels. 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, tommonego@gmail.com said:

I have Hewes reels for my stainless tank, if I load my own film from a 100ft roll then I have extra hanging out, but with prepackaged film it ends right at end of the reel. If there is and inch or so overhanging it shouldn't be a problem the film is stiff in that direction, if the film has enough overhang to be floppy, check to see if you bought 24 exposure reels. 

I noticed online that the stainless steel tank Hewes reels have smaller cores. The Paterson Hewes reels have a bigger 1 inch core. The product is identical to the one in the photos (OP). I just measured and the reel can hold around 158cm of film before it starts "hanging out". Seems like almost enough with the risk of not being enough :) What do you think?

Maybe the best thing to do is to simply try it out, and also leave a Paterson reel in the changing bag in case it gets suspicious and have that as backup...

Edited by gabrielaszalos

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, gabrielaszalos said:

I noticed online that the stainless steel tank Hewes reels have smaller cores. The Paterson Hewes reels have a bigger 1 inch core. The product is identical to the one in the photos (OP). I just measured and the reel can hold around 158cm of film before it starts "hanging out". Seems like almost enough with the risk of not being enough :) What do you think?

Maybe the best thing to do is to simply try it out, and also leave a Paterson reel in the changing bag in case it gets suspicious and have that as backup...

So a roll of 36 exposures is a right around 158cm, I'm in the US so 63 inches x 2.5 for an approximate answer. So it should be just right on the reel as I said an inch or 2 (up to 5cm) overhang shouldn't be a problem as long as the film is relatively rigid. Just dung deeper into Google and a 36 exposure roll is 64 1/2 inch or 161.25 cm so yes you will have around 3-4cm of overhang which I wouldn't worry about. 

 

Edited by tommonego@gmail.com

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The Hewes reels for stainless tanks do have a smaller core, and easily hold a 36 roll. However, in past years of bulk-loading I sometimes loaded 40 frames. I used Nikor reels then, and often would have a few inches of film stick out the end of the spiral. I never noticed a problem, as the metal spiral still has a coil between the end hanging out and the next layer in. I can see where the back of that excess could scratch on the stainless tank wall, but I never noticed a problem, and a plastic tank would be less likely.

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I have always used Paterson tanks and reels. Do you have a reason for wanting to use a different brand of stainless steel reels in a Paterson tank?

i find that my oldest reels take film easier that the more modern ones, 40+ years old rather than just 20+.

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2 hours ago, Pyrogallol said:

I have always used Paterson tanks and reels. Do you have a reason for wanting to use a different brand of stainless steel reels in a Paterson tank?

i find that my oldest reels take film easier that the more modern ones, 40+ years old rather than just 20+.

I wanted to try out a different style of reels too. I really like how they load. The Paterson ones seem very unpredictable - they seem to become heavier to load as you progress with the roll and I have had jamming experiences in the past (a long time ago). And yes I have read everything and have done everything correctly - I'm sure! Perhaps they were better built in the past...

With Hewes at least you know that if it went wrong, it was because of you. With Paterson it might go wrong simply because it's Wednesday :) 

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I always found I could load a Paterson reel in a dark bag quite easily, whereas a metal reel was likely to get messed up - it worked far better if the film could hang under gravity as I worked it onto a metal reel and that meant standing in a darkroom to do it. These days I cheat, and always use a Rondinax (on a motorized base for sheer laziness!)

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I've been using Paterson reels for 43 years, never had a problem, and never recognised the problems other people seem to create with them. If they should start to stick or threaten to jam when loading just make very small quick twists to shunt the film onto the reel instead of the full rotation. Use delicacy and don't resort to your inner gorilla.

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I find 24ex rolls of 35mm or 120 film very easy with Patterson reels. I do often get problems with sticking when I try to load 36xp rolls though which sometimes means taking the reel apart and reloading it. 

I tried stainless steel reels years ago but was put off when film had stuck together where it hadn't seated in the rails properly. I think the Patterson reels are safer in that respect.

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Since the 70’s I have always home rolled 30 exposures rather than 36 as they load easier than the longer 36’s.

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You do have to develop a feel for loading stainless reels, but once you have it they are easy, and 36 just as sure as a 12, 20, or 24. (I tend to bulk load 20 exp these days.) I took about a 20 year break from darkroom work while raising a family, and found loading a Hewes stainless reel was still sure and easy when I started up again. Now I use a changing bag instead of a darkroom, but still have no problems (except when I forget to put the tank lid in the bag before I start...). A single reel Nikor tank uses little chemistry.

I also have Patterson and Jobo reels and tanks, but find no advantage except for 120 (and 127) film.

It comes down to personal preference - both types can work fine.

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