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Thread: Newbie with a question

  1. #1

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    Newbie with a question

    I'm in the process of setting up my darkroom, I started mixing the chemicals today. I bought Dextol and I bought enough to make 5 gallons. I thought it would be cheaper that way. I did not realize that it was 5 gallons all at once.

    My question is can I divide it into 5 equal parts and use freezer bags to keep 4 parts frozen until I want to use them? 1 gallon at a time sounds reasonable to me.

    Thanks, Bill

  2. #2
    MIke Sherck's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a question

    You can't really separate powders effectively: the contents are not mixed evenly and what you'll end up with are five different mixtures of chemicals. Who the heck knows what they'll do when you use them.

    A better idea is to get five one-gallon light-proof jugs. Oxygen is the problem for this stuff: it oxidizes and changes. You can tell it's oxidizing as the color changes to a darker and darker brown. If you have a way of mixing the whole 5 gallons at once then go ahead and do so, then fill four of the jugs to the brim and seal them tightly. They'll keep quite a while protected from oxygen that way. The fifth jug gets whatever's left and you use that one first.

    If you don't have the ability to mix five gallons at once then, frankly, I'd sell the five gallon package or trade it for four or five one gallon packs.

    Mike
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  3. #3

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    Re: Newbie with a question

    Mike, how long do you think it will last once it is mixed? Also, if I use the plastic bottles that the distilled water comes in, and keep them in a dark cabinet in the darkroom, would that work, and for how long?

    Bill

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    Re: Newbie with a question

    Bill you don't need to title every thread with " newbie...."
    We all gotta start somewhere.

  5. #5

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    Re: Newbie with a question

    According to Kodak, you can keep the Dektol solution up to 6 months in full tightly stoppered bottles.
    J. K.

  6. #6
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a question

    Bill,

    You might consider getting liquid concentrates rather than powder.

    The powders are economical if you use large amounts within the specified life span. But if you only process small quantities, then discard the chemistry because it's too old, you really don't save.

    The other concern is consistency. I use only one-shot developers for this reason.
    Mixing fresh developer for each processing session will give much more consistent results.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #7
    Large Format Rocks ImSoNegative's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a question

    For some reason my dektol does not seem to last that long before it starts turning brown, i guess its getting air to it or something maybe a couple of months is the best i can get out of it, i think i just need to print more.
    "WOW! Now thats a big camera. By the way, how many megapixels is that thing?"

  8. #8

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    Re: Newbie with a question

    OK, you have had the "Counsels of perfection". Although I would never do this with a powder Film developer,it would probably work for Dektol.
    Invert the sealed bag,over and over,to ensure the heavier particles are well mixed. Weigh out a portion and dilute into solution.
    Seal the bag well and repeat this every time you mix.

  9. #9

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    Re: Newbie with a question

    A lot of good ideas, I agree with Leigh that consistency is a really important element. I'm not sure if Dektol comes in a liquid, but mixing before each printing session to ensure freshness sounds great... in the future I'll probably go that route. In the meantime I found someone who I can donate a couple of gallons to.
    I looked it up again, it's only $26 for the Dektol so this was not the most expensive mistake I've ever made, and if I keep it in a dark cabinet, with bottles filled to the top, I am definitely supplied for about the next 6 months. When I see it turning dark, then I'll be buying a liquid concentrate.

    Leigh, which liquid product do you use?
    Bill

  10. #10
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gordon Bilson View Post
    Invert the sealed bag,over and over,to ensure the heavier particles are well mixed.
    Very bad advice. You cannot mix any powder uniformly.

    The instructions for most powdered chemicals tell you not to mix partial quantities.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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