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ben_hutcherson
4-Jun-2017, 15:01
I'm itching to "get my hands dirty" with wet plates and tintypes, but I've hit a bit of a road block with the collodion.

In general, all the reagents needed are NOT an issue for me. The Br- and I- salts are not an issue, nor are the ether, absolute alcohol, AgNO3 and even the KCN(should I want to use that, although I don't want to if it will work with a thiosulfate fixer). I have two 4x5 plate holders and a bunch of high grade optical glass sheets I can easily cut. I can even make my own nitrocellulose if need be, but I'm not particularly keen on doing so.

I've been thinking of easily available sources of nitrocellulose. The first one that comes to mind is smokeless powder, although even slow single base rifle powders tend to have a bit of nitroglycerin and also burn retardents so I don't think it would be an ideal source. Magician's flash paper comes to mind(obviously dissolved in alcohol/ether) but I don't know if there's anything else on it.

Does anyone know of another commercial source of collodion? Like I said, I can certainly make the nitrocellulose, but I don't want to go through the drying process before dissolving it.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
4-Jun-2017, 16:35
Don't make your own collodion. Danger aside, start simple and reduce some of the many variables that can (and will) go wrong:

http://www.artcraftchemicals.com/products/products-page/general-chemistry/a-m/collodion-usp-plain-part-1675/
https://www.bostick-sullivan.com/cart/323/372/377/
http://stores.photoformulary.com/collodion-class-3-ground-ups-only-choose-ups-ground-at-checkout/

I suggest a workshop before doing much more.

Fr. Mark
5-Jun-2017, 04:20
As a former organic chemist it's hard for me to imagine making collodion safely in useful quantities in a normal commercial lab. Highly energetic materials demand special safety equipment. Doing this at home? Wow. No. Please don't! Just buy it!

goamules
5-Jun-2017, 05:36
I hope you enjoy the learning part of the journey. Wetplate is a very fun endeavor, and for me I appreciated the fact it was something that took quite some time to learn and become skilled at. Like golf, flying, or oil painting, you will start out uncertain, but get better after each session. I recommend you buy a good manual (I like John Coffers or Quinn Jacobson's) to learn from a skilled expert, not a bunch of random comments on the internet. If you can take a workshop, even better.
I've noted the time to create a clean wetplate is proportional to the learning method:
Self taught, reading facebook groups - 8-15 sessions
Self taught, reading a quality guidebook - 2-5 sessions
Workshop - 1-2 sessions

ben_hutcherson
5-Jun-2017, 05:58
As a former organic chemist it's hard for me to imagine making collodion safely in useful quantities in a normal commercial lab. Highly energetic materials demand special safety equipment. Doing this at home? Wow. No. Please don't! Just buy it!

Mark,

Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of doing it at home! I do have the appropriate safety equipment and know how to do it in a proper lab environment. I do also have training in organic synthesis including spending nearly 2 years of my graduate career in an organic synthesis lab(although ultimately my degree is in analytical chemistry).

In any case, I will heed others advice to take a step back, learn, and buy commercial materials.

Jim Noel
5-Jun-2017, 15:10
There is a supplier of collodion in Florida who sells in small quantities. I have lost the link which I originally found by simply googling it.

jnanian
5-Jun-2017, 16:37
just make sure you don't purchase FLEXIBLE collodion
it has camfor and and castor oil in it and it is not what you want //
for years you could get flexible collodion at a regular old pharmacy but not anymore ..
the usual suppliers jason posted are well known ...