View Full Version : Fluting in Fiber Paper After Dry Mount Press

Andre Noble
14-Jul-2006, 13:53

I am having problems with both Ilford MGIV and Kentmere Bromide fiber papers recently.

I use Ilford in past under following conditions without problems, but now problems. What is the cause?

I am getting 'wrinkles' or fluting in all areas of the paper when I place air dried prints in my calibrated dry mount press for 1 minute at 200F. Press is calibrated, so I am not exceeding pressure. This fluting appears permanent. I went back to 3 month old fluted prints and they remain fluted.

I can avoid the fluting if I press & release the paper periodically for the 1 minute duration instaed of keeping press down.But as far as I know, this fluting should not be happening at all.

My process: Bromophen or Ansco 130, acid or water stop, Ilrord rapid or TF-4 fix, wash (few hours), air dry w/out squeegee. Following day: re-soak, selenium tone (few sheets at once with constant 'leafing' in tray, re-wash, air dry (days), and finally dry mount press flattening at 200F for 1 minute. Museum board and release paper sandwich employed between press.

Both the Kentmere and Ilford exhibit the fluting. Kentmere Bromide, additionally has funky stuff going on w/emulsion - like a sloughing or flaking.

Thanks in advance for any constructive input.

Louie Powell
14-Jul-2006, 14:01
Are you sandwiching your prints between other materials when you place them in your press?

Are your prints thorougly dried before you place them in the press?

What is the age of the press? Have to checked to determine if the temperature of the press is reasonably constant across the platen?

Allen Rumme
14-Jul-2006, 15:49

I have experienced exactly the same problems with Kentmere Bromide. The dimensional stability of the paper base leaves a lot to be disired and the flaking emulsion has ruined many prints. For these reasons, and others, I no longer use Kentmere Bromide.

I was able to minimize the impact of the fluting by not printing within an inch of the paper edge. Subsequent flattening in a drymount press at 180F yielded an image area that was flat enough for drymounting. Since I trim the borders off my prints for drymouting, the flaking emulsion was the kiss of death.

I have no experience with Multigrade IV, so I can't speak to any problems your are seeing with it. I do use Oriental, both graded and VC, and while it exhibitis some very minor fluting, it is more a result of the extermely dry climate here than anything else.

15-Jul-2006, 03:41
Allen: you are possibly over washing the Kentmere: Kentmere recommend 45 mins only wet time for some of their papers.

Using release paper will increase the fluting as it will not allow moisture to get away from the print surface. In general, the trick seems to be to warm the paper in the press with no pressure, possibly between two sheets of mountboard, for a few minutes to drive out any residual humidity. Take it out and leave for a minute or so before pressing as normal.


Henry Ambrose
15-Jul-2006, 05:00
What does the fluting look like? Can you describe it or post a picture that shows it? Are the prints fluted as soon as you take them out or later after they cool? How are you cooling them?
In any event, Bobf's suggestion sounds like a good thing to try.

Robert A. Zeichner
15-Jul-2006, 06:10
Is it safe to assume that you are first squeegying the wet prints to get rid of as much moisture as possible before drying them on fiberglass screens face down? If so, it has been my observation that just how flat the prints air dry will depend on the RH and temp. of the room. Some times of the year, my prints dry very fast and others, much longer. When they dry slower, they also seem to dry flatter. I've had some sessions where the prints dried so flat that it seemed unneccessary to flatten them in a press. This is with Ilford MG IV, Kodak Polymax FA and Kentmere Fineprint. The only time I've had what I believe you refer to as fluting (wrinkling of the print toward the edges where there were warps or scallops due to uneven drying prior to putting them in the press?) is if I rushed the process of flattening them in the press. What I have found often helps, is if I flatten only about a third of the print at a time, leaving the remainder hanging out of the press and then going around the print doing each side, with a final press of the entire print. As far as what I use to protect the prints in the press, 2-ply museum board on top and bottom. It helps wick away any residual moisture and results in a perfect print surface when I'm done mounting. I change these every few months.

Hans Berkhout
15-Jul-2006, 06:36
I have always had some fluting, but much much less since I shortened the "wet time": I don't let prints sit in the washer overnight anymore. I always leave a 1/2" margin around the print beacause I know there will be some warping. It makes no difference if I flatten the prints in the drymounting press or under a stack of large books etc.- there is always some degree of waving/fluting/warping.

Andre Noble
15-Jul-2006, 10:20
Some very good starting points here. BTW, my fluting is INSIDE, I wish it were restricted to edges.
BTW 'Fluting' looks like: someone taking a flat edge and wacking your print with it multiple times while it sits in a matress.

I will try:

1)Taking out more moisture before allowing airdrying. (Like New Mexico, it's very arrid here in S. California)
2)Non Pressure in press
3) remove release paper.

I'll ley you know how it works out. Thanks

Brian Ellis
15-Jul-2006, 21:31
I'd suggest that you try putting the print in between two pieces of mat board and then drying it in that sandwich. You'll need to increase the temperature and probably time since it sounds like you now only have release paper on top of the print but I've done a lot of dry mounting and I never found the time or temperature to be critical in terms of damage to the print. As I think someone else suggested, it's a good idea to warm the mat board first to eliminate moisture but I don't think that's an absolute necessity either, I used to do it sometimes and not do it others without noticing any difference.

bob carnie
16-Jul-2006, 06:48
Andre 941

I think your problem as others have pointed out is a humidity issue.

We have problems here, in the winter months between Late November till Early May.
the humidity drops very low. when the prints go into the hot press sandwiched as others note we get very wrinkled edges going into the print.
Right now the humidity is very high here and there is no wrinkling problem.

To solve this problem , we do a couple of things.
Humidify the rooom where the hot press is in.
As well in severe cases we mist spray the back of the print , sponging off excess water and then hot press between two clean rag boards..
The water is absorbed by the fibre paper and basically its like steam ironing your white shirts or blouses.

hope this helps

Ed K.
16-Jul-2006, 16:07
Hey Andre -

Not to disagree with anyone else ( all good ) - however,

Are you using a hardening fixer? Acid fix?
Changing the fixer may help a lot. Perhaps your prints are too hard.
Softer emulsions are easier to flatten or keep flat in the first place,
plus moisture can escape them easier.

Obviously, you're handling prints carefully, and the damage is not
being caused while wet...no evidence of issues at all prior to
using the press?

The heat seems too high. Perhaps considerably less heat for
a longer time would be better. Try 110 or so.

Drying out your press / cusion materials before use?

Also do check the cleanliness of your press and the materials
you use to sandwich the print in the press.

Andre Noble
17-Jul-2006, 12:27
I really need to figure out how to upload a photo to this site (if it's possible). Perhaps? my term fluting is not an accurate term to describe my problem. I am not getting 'scalloped edges'.

My prints looks fabulously flat, except it looks like they were placed on a hard wood floor and run over with a tractor - there are perfectly straight, roughly parallel stess marks only visible at an oblique angle.

Will also try spraying with H2O mist. This defect is a real problem and it's keeping me from wanting to print.

Thanks all for your suggestions.

Ralph Barker
17-Jul-2006, 15:02
When you post, after entering the text, scroll down a bit farther. You'll see an "Attach Files" section and a "Manage Attachments" button. Click on the button and you can upload image files from there - either directly from your PC or by URL reference.

The only catch is that the image should be in JPEG format, and must be no larger than 650x650 pixels, and the file must be smaller than 180KB.

Andre Noble
17-Jul-2006, 19:20
O.K. Thanks.