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Thread: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

  1. #1

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    Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Since Freestyle dropped Nacco's liquid version of D-76 from the catalog I've gone back to the stuff in the yellow envelopes. My issue with powdered chemicals is mixing and I've been looking for a quick, efficient way to "get 'er done" for some time and I took the opportunity of recently mixing some D-76 and Fixer to play around with various techniques (the most obstinate darkroom chemical I've mixed is Dektol, but I no longer use the stuff so I can't say if this would work on Dektol)
    Going through my stuff, I found three "swizzle sticks" two Kodak yellows and a Yankee blue. I recollect misplacing the Kodaks and getting the Yankee as a replacement (the souvenier swizzle sticks that come with Mai Tais generally aren't long enough to reach the bottom of my graduates) and so I was amazed that all three somehow mystically united within the dark confines of a utility drawer! But these were also reminders of the drudgery of stirring darkroom chemicals ad nauseum I also came across my two Patterson 2-liter/litre graduates.
    After a visit to Patterson's website I discovered that what I'd been caling graduates aren't--- Patterson calls them Mixing Jugs. A lightbulb could have appeared over my head---maybe one did, but I wasn't looking for one so I couldn't tell you.
    I put half an envelope of Fixer into one of the mixing jugs along with half a gallon of distilled water (the temp was within the range Kodak recommended) and started pour the slurry fron one jug into the other over the sink, back and forth until no soiids were evident then into the amber glass gallon storage jug. I repeated this with the remaining distilled water and chemicals ad within a few minutes had my Fixer all mixed, labelled and stored!
    I did the same with the D-76 after heating the distilled water up to the recommended temperature range, and the results were to my satisfaction.

    OK this is pretty sophmoric stuff you say. True, but I thought I'd post it for the benefit of the new guys.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  2. #2
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    I put half an envelope of Fixer into one of the mixing jugs along with half a gallon of distilled water (the temp was within the range Kodak recommended) and started pour the slurry fron one jug into the other over the sink, back and forth until no soiids were evident then into the amber glass gallon storage jug. I repeated this with the remaining distilled water and chemicals ad within a few minutes had my Fixer all mixed, labelled and stored!
    I did the same with the D-76 after heating the distilled water up to the recommended temperature range, and the results were to my satisfaction.

    OK this is pretty sophmoric stuff you say. True, but I thought I'd post it for the benefit of the new guys.
    This is not a good way to mix your chemistry as unwanted oxygen is added with each pouring. The only way to mix without using the mixing paddles is to get a lab stirrer/warming plate. I think Corning sells one for under $200 new that will mix/heat 1 liter. However I use Xtol and one that would handle 5 liters would be way out of my budget.

    I've eliminated the drudgery associated with mixing the fix by switching to Formulary TF-5. Not only is is essentiall odor free but you can simply measure out the volumn that you will need and toss afterwards. For regular fix (Sodium Thiosulfate), you may want to consider the product sold by Bostick & Sullivan. It's not a powder but crystals - little bars which readidly disolve in room temperature water. I have been using it for alternative processes which call for regular fix and really like it. You can easily see the little bars disolve but again you must keep stirring until all the little particles disappear.

    Thomas
    No art passes our conscience in the way that film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
    Ingmar Bergman

  3. #3

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Another option is to buy a suitable weighing scale and mix your own D-76 (ID-11). That will allow you to make as much or as little developer as you require.
    The formula for D-76 film developer is well known as is D-72 (DEKTOL) paper developer.

  4. #4

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    While I don't know how much oxygen I introduced to the solution, smooth clean pours with minimal bubbles I think minimize the risk involved--it only take 6 or 8 transfers to dissolve the powder---perhaps 15 seconds for each 1/2 gallon or 1/2 a minute total compared to 5 or 6 minutes of stirring with a paddle in an open container.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  5. #5

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Tapscott. View Post
    Another option is to buy a suitable weighing scale and mix your own D-76 (ID-11). That will allow you to make as much or as little developer as you require.
    The formula for D-76 film developer is well known as is D-72 (DEKTOL) paper developer.
    The gallon yield envelopes are a good amount for me since I shoot mainly 8x10. Should Old Yellow throw in the towel I'll be using ID-11 or mixing my own. I do want to support Kodak, but sadly, the chemicals are the only Kodak LF products I can still afford to purchase!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  6. #6

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    John,
    I mix my own D-76H and it's great!
    Pete.

  7. #7

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Not totally related but I just bought a case of "grolsh" style beer bottles with flip tops for holding my XTOL and fixer and it's awesome. Each one holds 1/2 a liter, which 1+1= one round of development for me. I'm going to get another case. With the fixer, I bought some bags of cheap marbles, so if there's a little space in the bottle I can drop a marble in and take out all the air.

  8. #8

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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    I mix a liter D76 in about 3 minutes with a stick blender and I have two Corning heated hotplates. Room temp water, buzz buzz and it's done, I mix it right when I'm going to use it. You can buy a nice 250g scales with .01 accuracy for about $20..

  9. #9
    funkadelic
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    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Quote Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
    Not totally related but I just bought a case of "grolsh" style beer bottles with flip tops for holding my XTOL and fixer and it's awesome. Each one holds 1/2 a liter, which 1+1= one round of development for me. I'm going to get another case. With the fixer, I bought some bags of cheap marbles, so if there's a little space in the bottle I can drop a marble in and take out all the air.
    You bought a case of empty bottles?
    Disposing of the full bottle is the best part!

  10. #10

    Re: Mixing chemicals quick & easy

    Quote Originally Posted by evan clarke View Post
    I mix a liter D76 in about 3 minutes with a stick blender and I have two Corning heated hotplates. Room temp water, buzz buzz and it's done, I mix it right when I'm going to use it. You can buy a nice 250g scales with .01 accuracy for about $20..
    The scale you describe isn't worth $20!! I can get them for under $15 from Amazon.

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