View Full Version : Need help with using Tray siphons for final wash

brian steinberger
10-Mar-2006, 16:29
I just got two kodak tray siphons off of ebay. I also just got a 5" deep 20x24 tray. When I hook up the two siphons it works great, but the water level get's VERY high in the tray til the siphons kick in which is understandable. How much water (how deep) do I need for a final wash in a tray? This is like 4" now. I'll have no more than two or three prints washing in the tray at a time. I'm planning on washing 11x14 and 16x20 prints in this tray. Also, has anyone drilled holes at the bottom of the opposite end of the tray to help drain the hypo? Or would this mess up the siphon cycle?

Keith Pitman
10-Mar-2006, 17:00
I've found that the Kodak siphons don't work well in deep trays. I'd suggest using a normal processing tray where the siphon will reach the bottom of the tray. I think part of the theory of the siphons is that they will set up a flow of moving water around the tray; I don't think they will do that effectively in a deep tray. I also believe the siphon should be in a corner of the tray so it sets up a circular flow pattern around the tray.

Christopher Nisperos
10-Mar-2006, 17:03

Just adjust your flow rate so that you have a complete change of water ever 5 minutes. This aspect --along with wash temperature and assuring that your prints move around during the wash cycle -- is more important than the depth of water in the tray.

Water depth doesn't matter as long as the other parameters of good washing are met. You could wash a 2x3 foot print in a two inch deep tray, if you wanted.

Don't forget to agitate. This will mean carefully and rather continuously pulling the bottom print out and laying it on top. These being big prints, your arms will hurt, but you'll sleep better knowing that your prints won't yellow in the future.

Lastly (at the risk of repeating something you may already know), using a wash aid will cut down your wash time, save water ... and reduce pain in your arms!

Ralph Barker
10-Mar-2006, 17:10
Hypo settling to the bottom of the tray or washing tank is a myth - at least within the context of circulating water and normal washing times. You need only enough water for the prints to move around in and maintain some inter-print space. Two to three inches is enough, but 4" is OK, too. The tricks are to maintain a balance between the water inlet and the output of the siphons and the prints submersed. The total water volume of the tray should be replaced by the in/out-flow at least 5 or 6 times during the wash cycle. Most siphon arrangements will use more water than that, so some folks prefer the fill-soak-dump method (repeated 5 or 6 times), circulating the prints during each cycle.

Oren Grad
10-Mar-2006, 17:59
I use a Kodak tray siphon, at the moment clipped to a Paterson 12x16 tray for washing prints on 11x14 paper or smaller. It's important to understand that the tray siphon doesn't allow for an unattended wash, even if you have only two or three prints going at a time. You need to be manually shuffling the prints; left to themselves they'll find a way to clump together and some of the print surfaces won't get fresh water. On processes that involve long wash steps - for example, the final wash for FB paper after toning and Perma Wash - I'll also dump the entire tray and refill at ten minute intervals.

Whatever setup you end up with, you need to test it with a residual thiosulfate test (e.g., Kodak's HT-2 formula) to determine how much time is needed in the wash, given your particular fixing and toning habits, water supply, water flow, print shuffling habits, etc.

And per Christopher's point, yes, my arms hurt. (I was printing late into the night yesterday.)

10-Mar-2006, 19:19
Like all siphons, it will work better (start sucking at a lower water level) if you prime it. Stick your finger over the hose end and fill the thing with water.

Conrad Hoffman
10-Mar-2006, 19:40
I use my tray siphon on a pretty deep restaurant type dish tray. It works fine, but obviously the water level will stabilize up where the outlet holes are. I adjust the flow so the siphon produces a detectable jet across the water, to keep the prints moving. Most tray siphons tend to shoot at a slight angle, so I arrange it to shoot towards the center, rather than the edge.

brian steinberger
10-Mar-2006, 21:44
How can I run a test to find out if I have a change of water every 5 or 6 minutes? And Oren, I looked up the HT-2 test kit, and it looks like a test kit to test the exhaution factor of hypo. How will this help determine effective washing?

Oren Grad
10-Mar-2006, 22:31
Brian, take a look at this article:

unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Archival/archival.html (http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Archival/archival.html)

Scroll down a bit and you'll find boxes which explain the different formulas used for residual silver in prints/negatives, residulal thiosulfate in prints, and fixer exhaustion.

Easiest way to get it is to buy a pre-mixed kit of that or a similar formula. If you look in the Photographers Formulary catalog, what you want is "Formulary Residual Hypo Test". The fixer exhaustion test is the "Formulary Fixer-Test Solution".

brian steinberger
11-Mar-2006, 10:10
Oren, so you put a few drops of the tester across the paper and if it doesn't leave a stain then you've washed to completion? Is it that simple?