View Full Version : selenium toning- what am i doing wrong?

19-Apr-2006, 08:16
Im trying to selenium tone some slightly warm prints, everytime I do so, they come out very red instead of cooling down- ive diluted with 1:15, and 1:19 with water and both look good for 3 minutes and then turn very red-

any help?


Colin Graham
19-Apr-2006, 08:27
What type of paper are you using? I know Forte is very sensitive. You might try a 1:40 dilution instead.

Gary J. McCutcheon
19-Apr-2006, 08:30
What type of paper are you using? Silver chloride papers go brown, red usually some warm tone depending on emulsion formula and silver bromide papers cool off going to a purple or slight blue, to neutral. Some emulsions have chloride-bromide mix. When I use Ilford warmtone (silver chloride dominant) I get brownish prints, Ilford Gallery or VC tends to cool off.

With selenium you just need to know your emulsion content and then experiment.

19-Apr-2006, 09:43
Im using bergger warm tone and oriental neutral

19-Apr-2006, 09:50
make that forte neutral, not oriental

Eric Biggerstaff
19-Apr-2006, 09:57

I use warm tone paper ( Ilford MGFB Warmtone in my case) and find that warm tone papers will tone very easily. I tone in selenium 1+10 for only 1 to 1.5 minutes. You need to test to find the time vs dilution you like best with the paper you use.

I do a very simple test, take a work print and tear/cut it into 10 squares. On the back number the squares 1 through 10 and then get the squares wet, set your timer for 10 minutes and dump them all into your toner at the same time. When you reach 1 minutes, remove the square numbered "1", then at two minutes remove square "2", etc. all the way until ten minutes.

Once completed, place all the sqaures on a viewing board and determine which tone you like the best. For me, I never change the dilution, only the time.

Good luck and hope it works out well for you.


Ed Pierce
19-Apr-2006, 10:13
I selenium toned some Bergger paper last year; it toned much more readily than the other papers I was using. I had to go from my usual 1+15 dilution to a 1+40 dilution in order to slow it down enough for a reasonable level of consistency. I believe the time in toner was about 5 minutes.

19-Apr-2006, 11:05
mistake is to think that selenium is a cooling toner. It is a toner which will exagerate the tendancy of the paper being used. i.e. it will cool, cool papers and warm, warm papers and stay neutral on a neutral paper although finding a truly neutral paper is not so easy.

for expert advice on toning get Tim Rudmans book on toning.

Ken Lee
19-Apr-2006, 11:19
Temperature ?

19-Apr-2006, 12:51
I use selenium 1+39 for *about* 5 minutes at 20C to tone Forte PG V FB. At higher concentrations, I found that Forte was really quite difficult to control, but at 1+39 you have enough time to pull the print before it goes too far.

I would suggest that you make some test strips of an interesting area of one of your prints - something that covers shadows, midtones, and highlights. Make 5 or 6 test strips, all the same exposure. Develop, stop, fix, and then tone them as you would normally, except tone them for different times. Choose a dilution, set a start time, and go from there. Once all the strips have been toned, wash and dry them. You may want to flatten them as well. Once the entire process is complete, put all of the strips together and do a comparison.

It's much easier to see the effect of toning when you have something to compare the results to.

Al D
19-Apr-2006, 19:25
I'd echo the sentiments of most folks about Forte Polygrade V FB - which is basically my mainstay paper.

Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner begins to impart a purple tone after only about 50 seconds when used at 1:20.

On the other end of the spectrum would be Ilford Multigrade IV FB and Ilford Cooltone both of which show very little color shift even with extended toning at 1:10 in KRST.