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I have the opportunity to buy a fibre paper drier. This is unlike any I've seen before. There's a blower unit on one end and a "pole" that sticks out about 25 inches from the blower. Around that is a woven material that is wound up aroun d the pole. I assume that the material is unwound, photo blotting paper is plac ed on both sides of the wet print, the material is wound up again and the blower is turned on to dry the print.
I'd like to know if anyone has ever heard of or used such a product, and if the photo blotting paper is still available in rolls.
Robert A. Zeichner
I would advise not to buy such a contraption. The problem with any dryer that relies on absorbant material to wick away moisture from the print is that it also wicks away any chemical impurities that may still be present in the paper. However small this might be, the cumulative effect results in relatively clean prints being contaminated by "dirty" blotters or webs. One the most effective ways I have found to dry prints is with fiberglass screens such as the type sold by Calumet under the Zone VI brand. You simply squeegee the print on both sides, lay face down on the screen and walk away. A few hours later (give or take depending on local weather conditions) you have a perfectly dry and relatively flat print waiting for you. Most times, my prints are so flat that I can tack dry mount tissue to them and trim without pre-flattening them in the press. The screens are easy to hose down and last a long, long time. And it's economical as well! Good luck.
Adam D. DeKraker
I would have to agree with Robert. The risk of print contamination is too great a risk. I currently use a canvas belt drier for drying down test prints only (or a microwave....I just don't like the smell!) Another problem with belt driers is the "fuzzy" effect. Small pieces of dust and lint can become embedded into the print emulsion while it is wet, creating an etching nightmare. Fiberglass screens work great, and are extremely cheap. Also, they can be washed easily if contamination is suspected. The only down side to air drying is a slight amount of print curl, but it's nothing a few seconds in a dry mount press won't cure.
I had my drying screens made by a local window screen maker..and they go into a rack I built to go under a work counter. I've also made a "hammock" by buying the fiberglass screen material @ Home Depot , stapling a 1x2 piece of pine on either end, and using screw eyes and hooks, stretching it wall to wall accross my darkroom. I could take it down when I wasn't using it. Another problem with this blotter arangement is that you're going to get a nasty curl in the dry prints. Don't bother with it
It never ceases to amaze me what complex solutions many people use to solve simple problems. Prints can be dried quite effectively by simply hanging them on a line. The risk of contamination via this method is nil and the cost and time expenditure for buying or building specialized equipment is almost nothing. A fan and/or space heater can be used to speed up the drying process, if desired. After they are dry, a few hours under a heavy book will flatten them quite well. Putting a print in a dry mount press to flatten it will work-- temporarily. But after the moisture level in the print and that of the air equalizes, it will curl once again. Prints flattened under a weight at room temperature, however, will stay flat--at least as flat as FB prints ever get.
I have to disagree. I have put 11x14 fiber base prints in a mounting press, for maybe 20 minutes, after they came out of the drum dryer, and they are still flat after 5 yrs.
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