View Full Version : Film Aprons

14-08-2011, 8:35pm
Hey peoples,

I've recently started developing my own 35mm black and white but am having problems with getting the film onto the SS reels. Upon closer inspection, it appears that they're both slightly bent (the top and bottom aren't parallel). I can feel the film threaded properly on half the reel, but the other side just all clumps together so I lose around a third of the frames per reel. I did a little research on the net and found something called a film apron which is essentially a plastic strip with raised edges that the film is rolled up in which apparently is easy as and reasonably idiot proof, which is what I'm after.

The problem is, the only ones I can find are on Ebay from a fella in the US. Does anyone know if these might be available here in Aus? I've checked Vanbar and a few other Australian based online stores, and also some reputable overseas ones such as Freestyle, Adorama and B&H but with no luck. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and if so where I might be able to buy a couple?

Cheers - Zac

14-08-2011, 9:27pm
G'day Zac

While it's been a while since I did my own D&P it does bring back memories ...

I realise you're asking about a loading device [apron] but I wonder whether you really need it

From memory, s/steel reels are loaded from the centre of the spool, whereas plastic are loaded from the outer ring of the spool
Again from memory, the s/steel spool had a spring-clip arrangement in the centre column of the spool, designed to take a cut & shaped leader [from the already exposed camera-loading leader]

The film was then gently withdrawn out of the cassette about 3-5 frames at a time, squeezed between the fingers to make it curl across the film width as the spool was slowly rotated - thus feeding the length of film into the continuous slot as the film straightened itself from the curling process

Like all loading, it took 1/2 dozen goes with a dummy film [in daylight] to see what was happening

If it was plastic spools, over time they get microscopic cuts in the outer-face of the film groove, thus giving the film a 'grab-point' and making life difficult
It then needed some very careful work [after disassembling them] to 'polish' the outer face of the groove to remove these very small 'nics'

Dunno whether this helps - hope it does in some way
Regards, Phil

18-08-2011, 6:15pm
Hey Phil,

Thanks for your reply.

Yeah, I mean the steel reels. I've actually worked out that the two I own are bent (ie. the top and bottom aren't parallel) and am thinking that I may have to fork out for another couple of reels. I have had a crack at straightening them, but they spring back to bent as soon as I release the pressure. It's kind of frustrating, as on one side I can feel the film line up perfectly between the reels but opposite that it just all bunches together.

I have tried probably ten to fifteen times in daylight with a cheapo colour roll, but it just doesn't want to line up even when I force it where it needs to go (ie fingers on the emulsion)...

I just figure that if I need to buy some new reels I might give the aprons a go as it seems like they could remove any potential for this to hap[pen in future... Either that or buy a new tank and Patterson or similar reels, but that's an added expense that I can't really afford at this point.

Cheers - Zac

18-08-2011, 7:20pm
Okay zac ....

If you consider that the reels are "generally okay but just bent out of alignment" ...
See if you can find a welder fella with an oxy-flame kit to heat them up slightly so that when you put some tools onto then for straightening, they won't spring back again [the heat will slightly soften the reels to allow 'fixing' but will return to full hardness once cold again]

Might cost you $10-20 but it might work :rolleyes:
Regards, Phil

19-08-2011, 2:23pm
Thanks Phil, that's a fantasic idea! I know that with steel its generally possible to bend something back but that its best to do it in one hit which is my issue as I wasn't sure how to maintain proper alignment, but heating it up could be the go. I'll have a hunt round and see what I can arrange...

Again, thanks so much for the reply.

Regards, Zac

19-08-2011, 10:53pm
zac, i have never used the ss type of reels but find the plastic ones very easy to use, and if the film is not winding on you can pull it out and start again, if you cant fix the ss ones then i would suggest you give the plastic ones ago, if you ever make it near coorparoo in brissie i would be more than happy to show you my setup and let you have a go.

regards richard