View Full Version : Fixing and toning

Fred Braakman
31-Aug-2006, 19:16
Hi all,
What procedure do you follow with regards to selenium toning after fixing? Should one rinse thoroughly after fixing, prior to toning, or tone directly after the fix? I read a David Vestal article where he recommends to not rinse after fixing. I would have thought that it would be automatic to rinse after the fix, so as to not contaminate the toning solution.


Brian Ellis
1-Sep-2006, 11:52
This one should get some interesting answers. Some people say to rinse for a few minutes before toning, some say to mix the selenium in with the fix and avoid the separate toning step altogether, and some (including Ansel Adams who usually knows about such things) say to keep the selenium as a separate step but don't rinse, just go from the fix to the toner. Then there's Kodak, the maker of the selenium toner I used, which IIRC says in the instructions on the bottle to "wash" thoroughly before toning (my best recollection, I don't have a bottle of KRST handy to double check and it's been quite a while since I used it). I'll be interested to see what others have to say. FWIW, I followed Kodak's instructions (at least as I interepreted them) and washed for half an hour before toning.

1-Sep-2006, 14:27
As I understand it, Kodak Selenium Toner is essentially some small amount of selenium mixed in with fixer - so what's the point of fixing, washing and then toning?

Doremus Scudder
1-Sep-2006, 15:38
Normally, I do not rinse before the selenium toning bath. The carried-over fixer precipitates out after it, too, has been toned, and used very little of the toner. I always replenish my selenium toner and re-use it. I have a gallon that has been going great for more than five years this way.

Lately, however, I used some paper that quickly turned overall pink in the toner. Although the pink washed out, it made it difficult to judge the toning progress, so I rinsed for 10 minutes after the fix and before the toning. This solved the problem. This only happened with one brand of paper that I was using (Bergger Prestige NB) and not with others. The problem also cleared up when I changed fixer brands. I suspect, since I was using an older fixer, that pH difference or some other chemical difference between the older and newer fixing baths was the cause.

At any rate, with fresh fix and most papers, just go ahead and move your prints directly to the selenium toner from the fix. No worries.


Jim Rice
1-Jan-2007, 16:36
Kodak puts a spin on it in technical data G-23. They say you can dilute rapid selenium 1:20 in hypo clearing agent and go straight into it from the fixer. Has anyone tried this?

John Cahill
1-Jan-2007, 17:19
Kodak puts a spin on it in technical data G-23. They say you can dilute rapid selenium 1:20 in hypo clearing agent and go straight into it from the fixer. Has anyone tried this?

That's the way I have always done it, and never had any problems with staining. As I understand it, the print must be either totally free of hypo, or else inundated with it. Anything in between gives stains.

I use two fixing baths )Ek F-24--without hardener, then into selenium toner and hypco clear to plate the image and strengthen the blacks. Then hypo clear alone, then wash in an archival print washer.

Jim Noel
4-Jan-2007, 10:29
I go directly from the second fixing bath to the toner. I have never had a problem with this method. Thisis the method I teach also.

On rare occasions when students have washed and then toned, if the wash was not complete enough the prints dried with yellow spots.

william linne
4-Jan-2007, 10:35
I've always rinsed first. After reading a similar thread a few months ago, I tried going right into the selenium from the fix. The paper got really stained and threw down particulate matter in every single case. No amount of washing could wash out the blotches or yellow color from the prints. Obviously, this was not a scientific test and I'm sure to be faulted for my method, but I did try numerous papers. Among them, Ilford warmtone, Fomatone Classic, and Bergger warmtone. I do tone in fairly strong dilutions, always for a dramatic color shift. Perhaps the water here in the Bay area is suspect. Perhaps my method, who knows? Empirically though, I find that rinsing between the steps gives the best results.

Keith Pitman
4-Jan-2007, 12:13
My understanding has always been that your prints need to be either loaded with fixer, or washed free of fixer. Unless I don't have time, I always tone at the end of a printing session. I fix prints for 1/2 the required time after printing, and then run them through the second bath just before the toner. Then I rinse, hypo-clear, and wash. Seems to make more sense to get the toning out of the way right away; then you can move on and mount the print, etc.

brian steinberger
5-Jan-2007, 16:48
You need to wash prior to toning to reduce the risk of stain from mass amounts of fixer remaining in the paper.

Here's the proper sequence. Out of fixer into wash for 5 minutes, into hypo-clear solution for 5 minutes with constant agitation, back into the wash for five minute. Then into the toner for how ever long you'd like, then brief wash (1 minute) then back into hypo clear for five more minutes, then wash for 30 minutes.

It sounds complicated but this is the recommend archival finishing sequence. So to reiterate:

fix-wash(5)-hypoclear(5)-wash(5)-selenium-brief wash(1)-hypoclear(5)-final wash(30)

BTW, this sequence is for fiber base paper. I assumed that's what we were talking about.