View Full Version : Kallitype and toning

Gabriele Campagnano
2-Sep-2017, 04:21
Dear All,

I am about to start experimenting with Kallitype printing.
I have read the many interesting articles on the web, especially the very informative one by Sandy King.
I would like to try to tone the prints with Selenium (to keep the cost down) but I have not been able to find
many examples of what a Kallitype toned in Selenium would look like.
I would be grateful if you can share images of your prints and possibly the process you have used.


Mark Sampson
3-Sep-2017, 19:46
I have never tried the Kallitype process, so can not claim any knowledge of it. But you might look at Ed Buffaloe's site, www.unblinkingeye.com. You'll find information there that may help. No pictures, though.

Jim Noel
3-Sep-2017, 20:46
Kallitypes are generally toned with gold, not selenium. If you give it a try, do it prior to fixing.

4-Sep-2017, 00:53
I have toned quite a few Van Dyke browns in selenium, but not kallitypes. Very brief toning in very dilute selenium can make a van dyke shift towards a slightly more neutral brown. Stronger toning shifts it to yellow-greenish brown, reducing dmax in the process. I understand the effect is comparable on kallitypes. Frankly, it's not really worth it. Just use gold toner. It's not as expensive per print as it may seem.

Gabriele Campagnano
4-Sep-2017, 12:27
Thanks all for replying.
Koraks how many, say 8x10, prints one can process with a bottle of Gold toner?
Here in Italy I can get Tetenal gold toner.

5-Sep-2017, 00:20
Generally you need at least 40-50ml working solution to tone an 8x10 in a flat-bottomed tray that is only marginally larger than the print. If you're patient, you may be able to stretch this by diluting even further and toning longer, but then it starts to come down to how much black there is to the print. A high-key image can easily be toned with less toner than I indicated, while a low-key image may need a little more. It also depends if you want to tone to completion or if you like the results somewhere halfway through the process. The 50ml I indicated is about right for a medium to quite dense print toned to completion.
However, I have to admit I've only used home-made gold toner, not the ready-made kind, so your mileage may vary.

Jim Noel
5-Sep-2017, 15:01
I tone 8x10 prints using 25ml of gold. I pour it on the surface and maneuver it around by tilting the tray. Of course, this is single use, but it saves wasting gold by mixing up large batches.

5-Sep-2017, 15:08
25-30ml per print in a flat-bottom tray sounds right. Palladium toner is another option, not that expensive (as say platinum) and gives very nice results as well. For me selenium was always too yellow-ish - you may try Moersch's "carbon toner" - which as far as i understand a combine sulfite-selenium toner - works much better than pure selenium toner. Generally gold makes cold kallitypes - excellent for some purposes, not for all.

Bill L.
5-Sep-2017, 17:31
Hi Gabriele,

Here is a print I just finalized in untoned (left) and palladium toned (right) versions. The toned version will be my final print. I use Sandy King's toning formula. Four grams of palladium cost me about $90 USD, add a little citric acid and distilled water - enough to make me 4L of toning solution - total of about 80 8x10s. And the nice thing about kallitypes is that you only have to use the toner on the ones you know are worth it! I'll try gold one of these days, but I was really looking for the "look" of the palladium toning here.

I hope that helps!
P.S. The model for this is Dakota Snow - definitely worth working with for those in the DC/MD/VA area.


Gabriele Campagnano
6-Sep-2017, 12:13
Thanks again all for the useful informations.
On flickr there are some kallitype selenium toned by Moersch that look
pretty amazing to me, probably his chemistry is far from trivial....

Bill thanks for sharing your image, very nice work. Am I wrong or the palladium version
has a lower density?


Bill L.
6-Sep-2017, 19:42
A little bit, but it is mainly lighting for a quick cell phone photo. I have the toned one scanned, if you want I can scan the ntoned one for a little more fair comparison. Probably would be the weekend, but will try to get it posted soon.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Sep-2017, 19:53
I would agree with koraks and say that selenium toning with Kallitypes is "not really worth it." You lose lots of dmax, and the resultant color can be pretty hard to control. Use gold, it is easy and not all that expensive.

8-Sep-2017, 21:23
I would agree with koraks and say that selenium toning with Kallitypes is "not really worth it." You lose lots of dmax, and the resultant color can be pretty hard to control. Use gold, it is easy and not all that expensive.

In my opinion selenium toning is not worth the trouble, and in fact likely to give very poor results if done with the Rapid Selenium type toners made by Kodak and others. These toners contain hyposulfite, which even in dilute solutions may bleach a kallitype print if toning is done prior to fixing.

Much better in my opinion to tone with gold, palladium or platinum.

If you must tone with selenium, buy selenium powder and mix the following stock solution.
Formula is from Dick Stephens, Making Kallitypes, a Definitive Guide.

1. Dissolve 100 g of sodium sulfite in 100 ml of hot water.
2. Dissolve 10 g of selenium powder in the sulfite solution.
3. Bottle and label the mixture as Selenium Stock Solution
4. To make a working toner, mix 100 ml of stock solution with 1000 ml of water. Weaker dilutions give more gray tone prints, stronger dilutions more brown prints.

As you use it the toner will give darker and dirty, and time of toning will increase. After toning, fix and wash the prints.


Gabriele Campagnano
10-Sep-2017, 09:59
Thanks everyone for the useful input!