View Full Version : Print Artifacts from Paper Pre-Soak?

John Layton
27-Jan-2018, 14:56
OK...so I did my first 30x40 in my diy "single tray" system - which worked great logistically. But...there are some distinct artifacts on the finished print - in the form of areas of slightly different densities which are bordered by slightly skewed edges which themselves are not perfectly straight, but "straight-ish." There are two of these areas in succession, parallel to each other but again, not quite parallel with the edge of the paper. A bit subtle to show here with photos, so bear with me a bit. And before I go further, know that the negative is fine.

To back up...I'm cutting this paper from a roll...and while my easel holds things nice and flat - the paper rolls up again as I release it after exposure, so I then lay it in the dry tray and run water into this for a bit...then work the curl out of the paper. Paper gets nice and flat in about a minute, but I give about a minute extra to be sure prior to dumping the water and pouring in developer. The paper does sit still for about fifteen or so seconds until I can get enough water into the tray to start agitating.

The developer covers the print nicely (and quickly), and I find that tray-rocking works great for agitation.

I went back through my entire process...from feeding the paper from the roll into my diy cutting jig - loading into easel... etc. Looked for any sources of stray light but could find none. Thought for a bit that my safelight might be a bit close but could see absolutely no shadow pattern from this.

Two thoughts. One - that this paper roll is nearing its end and is well over a year old...so possibly the factory supplied black plastic sleeve has not been protective enough over time. But then the slightly skewed shape of the density shift borders, and their slightly "liquid" edges, don't quite support this suspicion. So my second thought is that the density shift edges are formed as the still-rolled print sits momentarily in water prior to my actively agitating it to facilitate flattening. But again, this is water. I'd understand something like this happening if I went right into developer - or perhaps if I were using some developer incorporated paper...but this is Ilford Classic fiber, and I'm giving the paper a good extra minute in the water after it becomes flat - so I'm really scratching my head over this.

Perhaps I should have water in the tray prior to placing in the rolled print...and then try to be quick about getting it to unroll, doing my best to attain water coverage as quickly and evenly as possible? But trying to be so "quick" while wetting out a dry roll makes me nervous about creating creases.

Long question short...has anyone here experienced anything similar to this - specifically...artifacts on a print related to a paper pre-soak?

27-Jan-2018, 16:37
longer in the water longer in the developer my first thought

Graham Patterson
27-Jan-2018, 16:46
Pre-soaks have to be long enough to 'soak' the paper (or film for that matter). Otherwise the chemistry take-up can be uneven because of absorption differences. The other possibility is uneven chemical flow when the developer is poured in - back and forth at one end is probably better than a single spot - which will show up if the development time is less than 'completion'.

Air-bells under the paper can affect development on fibre-base.

Doremus Scudder
28-Jan-2018, 03:13
I'm with Lloyd on this. Minimum five-minute pre-soak, don't let the paper sit and dry out any more than absolutely necessary before adding the developer. Use a more dilute developer and a longer development time (5+ minutes, if you're not already) and see if that solves your problem.

If the problem persists, you may want to give a test strip(s) a just-slightly-more-than-threshold exposure and develop it to see if the artifacts are already there.



John Layton
28-Jan-2018, 06:33
Great suggestions folks...thanks! I can see where a pre-soak would influence the characteristics of developer absorption...and thus this pre-soak would need to be quite thorough. I'm already using the Moersch 4812 developer at the high range of suggested dilutions/times...so the variable I'll change first is the timing of the presoak, and if this does not completely solve this issue I will then try diluting the developer further and adding more time. Thanks Again!

John Layton
30-Jan-2018, 14:13
Success! A five-minute pre-soak did the trick. Thanks again Doremus!

John Layton
30-Jan-2018, 14:14
....and thanks also to Graham and Lloyd!

Drew Wiley
9-Feb-2018, 12:47
This particular paper is fussy in this respect, and the Cooltone version is even worse. What I do is first place or tape it onto the big squeegee board and gently hose it down to get it evenly wet.

10-Feb-2018, 12:58
Paper can be funny, because it absorbs differently from the front, back, edge, and if it were rolled or handled, as there is different "soak through" areas that will soak more or less, so when this hits the developer, there are different states of penetration (or local dilution) that can happen...

Either the paper needs to be dry, or the long soak that evenly soaks everything completely, for an even penetration/diffusion of developer...

This does not happen with non-permeating bases like film or RC, but DWFB can be like a sponge that can be half wet or soaked at the same time, and areas that have been squeezed/touched/rolled can be "wetter" than other areas...

Steve K