Seeing that I’m starting to work more with contact printing processes the need for a decent contact printing frame surfaced. At our latest Picto meet I saw one made by Rene Smets. He builds his own cameras, pinhole, wet plate, you name it, dark boxes for collodion / daguerreotype etc. and does a really wonderful job. He was more than willing to make me a contact printing frame in my desired size: 42 x 52 cm. Today I picked it up.
The design is really well thought-out. It’s, in short, a wooden frame holding a glass plate. On top of that you would place your negative. On top of that goes a sort of pressing surface which presses your paper to negative evenly and firmly so sharpness is overall equal. This pressing surface has been divided in three sections, each section being pressed down by a their own pressing bar. You can unlock the outer two to lift up the outer “flaps” of the pressing surface to check on the print while exposing. Since pressure is never lifted of the middle part the print should stay in the exact same position. Smaller printing frames usually have two sections but the three on this one is really nice because of its size!
It’s a very smart design and I’m really happy with it! If I need a different one (bigger for example) I sure know where to go! I might lacquer it although it’s not really necessary as the printing material is dry once put in there. If you’d like to have something like that made or maybe a camera or something else you can contact René Smets for more information: email@example.com. You can also follow his blog, which is very new right now, but hopefully he’ll post some great things soon.