Looking for a fuming box

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Pollywog 5 years ago.

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    I am slowly getting ready to enter the world of daguerreotypes. To get going now I’d “just” need a fuming box. Does anybody have pointers to where to get one in Europe – or maybe even has a used one for sale?




    I do have one prototype which is a reference for me to produce more finished piece in the future. I have to thank CBW (drdag) for his guidance for the improvements and advises for me experiencing dag world.


    Hopefully, when all are done, they’ll be ready and be able to accept modern plate size films (4×5, 5×7, & 8×10) and old film plate size (Full plate, half plate, & quarter plate).


    If there’s enough interest from the CDags community, I would be able to supply a decent number of fume boxes, hopefully by this winter. I do hope in the future I could build more and being encouraged enough to do more of a proper “Dag Kit”.


    What I have now is still unused fume box and still need some modifications. I could sell this to you if you’re in the UK if still interested, currently I am staying in London, UK, for a few months.


    Here’s some images of the current prototype box I have.


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    Thanks, I might be interested – would help me to get going! I am not in the UK, but I’d pay shipping to Italy. What would you be selling this prototype for? Feel free to take it over mail (check my site for contact). Also, what plate sizes does this prototype take?



    Nice looking fuming box, i had one similar once that i had to modify just slightly – the semi circular area to lift the plate – it let the iodine flow stronger over that part of the edge of the plate and gave uneven sensitization, so i filled it in and problem solved. Attached is an image of the box open, back when I used cotton wool to even the fumes. Its the underside of where the plate sits but you can see the semi circular part filled in. Also has a format reduction frame sitting in there, which makes it look a bit cluttered


    You must be logged in to view attached files.




    Hi csant,

    In response to your inquiry, the fume box’s opening is at 15cm x 14 cm. It is meant to take in a DIY template (not provided).

    The description of the box:

    -The box is secured firmly for iodine process, which works fine and should work quite efficiently.

    -The internal Part dimension is 23.5 cm (L) x 14 cm (H) x 17.5 cm (W), it should be able to take in a suitable 2.3 litre Lock & Lock air tight tupperware for iodine storage or Pyrex dish that is

    – It’s made with white Meranti cabinet wood, clear coated. It’s solid & quite thick.

    -The slide is made of acrylic, could be replaced with glass piece easily and measured similarly with local glass stores. Plus, it’s suitable for weight purposes & to deliver without anything breaking.

    However, there’s a few weaknesses I should address honestly:

    – There’s no brass latch provided to secure this box, should be easy to get those in any hardware stores locally.

    – The screws needed to be replaced with brass, as this was intended to be a mock-up prototype. However, the hinges are made of brass.

    -The hole is limited from going bigger plates, it’s suitable for 4×5 & smaller

    As this is only a mock-up and it had a few weakness in it’s design, I am willing to part with it for £120 + FedEx posting: (roughly £25-30). This barely covers the cost of making it plus woodshop time.

    However, if you could hold on till somewhen in September-October this year, I will be able to come-up with finished pieces, which I had discussed the design with Christopher Brenton West in overcoming the flaws and further internal rectification, plus the larger opening for templates to fit modern film plates (4×5,5×7 & 8×10) & traditional film plates (Full Plate, Half-Plate, & Quarter Plate).

    It is estimated that those boxes would be around £180/- each. The first batch should be around a dozen or so by then, I’ll try to make them consistently as far as I could.

    Since the preparation in making dags takes time and certainly on the equipments, even for myself included, I would like to recommend to hold on from getting this prototype box until I manage to finish the proper fume box in September. However, if you’re still interested, I could still sell it to you.

    As far as I know; the fuming box doesn’t come by easily, plus it’s quite competitive when announced, limited by the regional delivery restrictions by the sellers, and certainly not cheap. Please do correct me if there’s one available in Europe that I had missed asking.

    I had asked for many months to several practising daguerreotypists on acquiring these type of boxes since February, with many had kept silent or almost no lead, I suppose it’s mostly DIY thing, it was a disadvantage for those without proper garage with tools, (I live in a flat apartment, as most Londoners) that had lead me to outsource to a woodshop abroad with this project to keep my cost of making low.

    However, as I mentioned, I will move out to find a compatible place to start working on my dags and certainly the equipments in the next few months, as I will need more space to do this. The dag-bug really got my heart, how could one deny it’s beauty…

    I would love to see this practice spread out again like how it was in the past, and certainly it should start from the equipments’ accessibility, or at least made available.




    Thank you CasedImage for your kind comment,

    Your works on the Morroco cases is something I truly admire and quite a distance for me to even try to compete. It would certainly push one harder to find an original concept of beautiful simplicity for daguerreotype cases.




    Pollywog, thank you very much for your reply and the honesty! I would like to get going rather sooner than later – however, it is unlikely I will start before the end of august: I have lots of things going at the moment, and then I will leave on vacation 🙂 Last but not least, I am already running into fogging issues while doing calotypes because of the heat, would like to avoid having to struggle with dags, too… So I am happy to wait until September. If, by that date, however, you foresee some delay in the boxes, I’d like to take this prototype to start with. I’ll get back to you beginning of September to check on progress of your boxes. The design looks simple and nice. And pricing is fair! Have a nice summer!






    Not a problem csant, I’ll keep you posted and also I’ll announce it on the board once it’s available.




    I’ve seen this box and in my opinion when they are on the market will be an excellent value investment for any Daguerreotypists out there.



    Summer is over and I am starting to think ahead… Pollywog, any news on your fuming boxes?





    Hi Csant,

    The box is still in production, it should be done by the end of this month. It's about 80% done as we speak (as the image shown)

    They are re-adjusting out for few more components like the brass hinges attachments. The slight delay was due to the woodshop was on a break for a few weeks last month.

    I'll certainly post it up here once it's completed.




    Sorry, had trouble uploading the image. I'll try to upload the image again



    Here's the link to the image:


    I can't seem to upload my image here, hopefully this works.



    Thank you for the update! Looking forward to it – I am waiting ! 🙂






    Any news?



    Sorry for the long wait, I had to manage quite a number of difficult papers in the last few months (doing PhD and all).

    In any case, back to the Dag world. Yes, good news, the box is ready and it's currently on the ship to London. I had to manage to have them built in Malaysia just to keep the cost low. I'm going up to London by the end of the month (31st October) to receive them and hopefully, if there's interest, I'll reserve a few as enquired by some members earlier.

    The box's design was prepped with an arm rest at the back to prevent the top part from falling all the way to the back and risking the its hinges from breaking off. It's slightly bigger to accommodate to the slightly larger 8" x 10" opening, so one could fit similar or lesser size catch frame.

    I hope this news would ease to those waiting for it.




    Again, I had trouble uploading the images here.

    These are the links to the finished fuming box:







    Hope these shows up.

    Take care.




    Dear Pollywog,

    You have produced some beautiful sensitizing boxes that have a wonderful old-school (19th century) look to them.

    I have a couple questions. I can't tell from your photos how a plate is prevented from falling through the opening in the nesting plate holders. I'm assuming you have at least two (hopefully four) rails or rabbets in the openings of each of your plate holder sizes, or small wires in the corners, but they aren't visible in your photos.

    I ask this because it's aesthetically more pleasing when the sensitized area of the plate has an even border of non-sensitization around the entire perimeter (all four sides) of the plate instead of just on two sides or with a corner holding method. Can you post another photo that shows how the plate is held in?

    Also, there doesn't seem to be a way to prevent iodine from leaking out of the boxes when not in use (and while in use) which is usually accomplished by some type of screw-clamp from above, or spring pressure from underneath, the iodine dish. Do you have an idea for accomplishing this? I don't know of any glass or Pyrex dishes that have airtight lids and I'm not sure how suitable the Tupperware you mentioned will be for long-term iodine or bromine storage.

    Have you come up with a final price for your new boxes; is there a discount if someone purchases two boxes to accommodate their iodine and bromine? What are the dimensions of the plate holders that will come with each box? A shipping price per box to the US would also be helpful.

    Thanks for taking the initiative to produce new sensitizing boxes and make them available to the many potential new daguerreians who have become fascinated by the process and want to produce images for themselves.


    Rob McElroy

    Buffalo, NY



    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for asking a few, but very important questions.

    I thank you for the compliment, but I have to tribute the design which I had observed across the gallery of the CDag's significant members; Ivan Rose, Marc Fish, Mike Robinson, and certainly highly appreciated advise from Brenton West.

    On the box:

    As on how the plates would be held, there's four rails to hold the plates/smaller frames. I suppose it'll give the desired effect that you had mentioned.

    The fume boxes are located in Malaysia, or at the sea as we speak, heading towards London right now. And I am currently located in Plymouth, which is unfortunately I would not be able to produce anymore images other than the ones I had shown earlier. I promise I'll upload the details as requested by the end of the month.

    The sizes of the frames, as seen in the pictures:

    (1) Whole Plate: 8 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches

    (2) Half Plate: 6 3/8 inches x 4 3/4 inches

    (3) Quarter Plate: 4 1/4 inches x 3 1/4 inches

    The sizes of the frames were based from Chevalier's dimension on Daguerreotype's plate sizes, which it was based to English plate sizes, I think the French plates had slightly different sizes for their whole, half and quarter plates.

    In any case, other sized frames shouldn't be hard to make and quite fast to lash out in the woodshop here in Plymouth. If anyone have different sizes, like modern film sizes, I could do those if requested. The largest opening of the box is 8" x 10", so it'll be anything smaller of frames (i.e.: 4" x 5", 5" x 7" etc.).

    In terms of leakage, I had recalled speaking with a lab technician in regards for keeping resublimed iodine crystals in a tupperware like Lock & Lock, he mentioned it might work if its tested with regular smoke first and observed for any signs of leakage before committing to iodine crystals, the discussion was brief but requires proof that it must work safely.

    In terms of the box being a used as a storage, from what I had seen, won't be a perfect tool for it. What I had observed previously from Christopher Brenton West's workshop, is to put the iodine crystals back into its original lab bottle containment,

    The iodine fumes would raise significantly at 18-20 degree Celsius. The temperature in the UK requires a bit of help warming up the crystals as it's always on the lower side in most of the shaded environment, hence it's just safer to have those crystals in the bottle rather than in the box.

    In my previous (prototype) box, I had made an extra internal box, where its lips touches the glass/acrylic. This might work to evenly distribute the fume (theoretically at least), but I had noticed that it runs the risk of the wood expanding if the humidity goes high, it was a component that I had to let go for this batch until I find some way suitable to fit this kind of design.

    I had tried bottom spring, but I ended up having a hard time shoving the glass/acrylic sheet back in as it tilts the dish inside. Probably another member could advise me on this.

    There's a ton of ways modifying the box to suit the users, I believe this fuming box would work for quite a while.

    In terms of price, I had mentioned it'll be at GBP 180/- each, I suppose a pair would go at GBP 350/-. I know I won't be rich doing this, but at least it's something for future daguerrean to maintain the practice. Who knows, I might go all out making a basic "Dag Kit" in the future.

    The shipment to the USA, I'll have to calculate first where exactly it'll go to in the US once I have the box at hand (it's roughly around 4 kg, packed should be around 5kg with foams and box). I wonder what to write it off as? A small furniture? Lol.

    I hoped these explanation answered some of the enquiries. I'll put up the following images of the fuming box soon.




    Thank you Pollywog for answering Rob's questions – they were also mine but I refrained from just asking the same… Let us know when you are ready – and you'll have at least my order flying in!



    The boxes finally arrived!

    I will be uploading the images and its details later tonight.

    On the side note, I hoped and pray for the well-being of any CDags members, friends & families that was hit badly by the Sandy Storm in NY.

    As much as disasters as such brings about great images, which I think will be part for those affected by it, I do hope all are in good health and recover well.

    Take care and I'll post an update soon.




    Here are the recent images of the box that was unpacked today:









    Hope these images would show, but I had them on imageshack just in case.

    Details following in the next post



    The top opening is at 8 inches (width) x 10 inches (length).

    The frame's width is at estimated at 20.80 mm thick, these will come in two sets, one of the set is for 5"x4", 5"x7", and the other will be for full plate, half plate & quarter plate. These two sets of frames are something I had made just to throw in for this first batch of fume boxes, I suppose one could quickly build any suitable frames for their dag plates for something smaller than 8" x 10". (i.e. – oval shapes, or any odd sizes perhaps)

    The internal volume's dimension is estimated at : 21.5 cm (width) x 27.5 cm (length) x 15 cm (height). You would need something suitable to hold the iodine crystals or bromine, pyrex dishes or lock&lock, whichever one feels comfortable to work with.

    The transparent sliding panel for releasing the fumes is made of acrylic sheet, which could be easily taken out with the attached screws at the handle if needed to replace with glass if desired. I prefer to ship them off with the acrylic sheet than glass as not to risk them from breaking and it would be much safer and lighter.

    It was suggested that brass latches could be installed with it, but I would prefer the user to supply their own as there are tons of designs and shapes at their local hardware stores or online (it's more of personal taste and practicality really) and it could be place anywhere comfortable for the users on the box (left-handed people usually have different preference as to where to reach for the latch). Most of the nice designs for these sort of latches are designed for boats or small cabinets.

    It's ready to be shipped out and arranged for shipment, payment could be made via Paypal at this moment, I'll update further if other form of online payments arranged (Google Checkout etc.)

    The price for the box is at £180/- each, and for a pair would go for £350/-.

    The price for shipment is separate, please do inform me on your exact address for shipment for me to come up with the quote, and any form custom fee or taxes would be on the buyer. In terms of description of the item for shipping declaration, I suppose I would call it as "darkroom tools" rather than "fuming box", which I know would cause trouble to over explaining to these customs.

    Hope these explains well and please do shoot away any questions about it.




    Hi Polly

    Can you post the link to the images on imageshack?



    Hi Captivelight,

    Sure, I think the previous post had the images shown, but just in case:










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