View Full Version : Old Varigam and HC-110 - tips?

Scott --
11-Jul-2007, 10:16
Ok, I know this is ill-advised, but I want to contact print today, and all I have is some circa-1953 Varigam and HC-110. I ran a test, 40 seconds under a 40W bulb from about 20", 4 minutes in HC-110 dil A. Black paper.

Anyone have a suggestion? I'm going to extend the exposure time - how far? I'm ordering some new materials today, for sure... ;)


Alan Rabe
11-Jul-2007, 10:36
I would think that if you have black paper that you have over exposed it and all the silver content has been completely exposed. Try a test print with say 3 second incremental exposures across the paper to see what would be close. If it is stll black I would suspect the paper.

Mark Sampson
11-Jul-2007, 10:52
You're going pretty far off the map here. But you might get to someplace interesting... First, process an unexposed sheet to see just how fogged the paper is. If it's at all usable, then remember that Varigam was enlarging paper- pretty fast. So less exposure than your first try, not more.

Scott --
11-Jul-2007, 11:07
Thanks, Mark - didn't know that about Varigam. I'll process an unexposed sheet, then do the progressive exposure test. I'm hopeful... :D

Kevin Crisp
11-Jul-2007, 11:35
Why are you developing paper in a film developer? I would start with a standard paper developer like Dektol, and mix in some anti-fogging agent and try that. Start with a small part of a sheet of unexposed paper. Just put it in the developer for 90 to 120 seconds and see how fogged it is. I suspect fogging will be so extreme the material will be useless, but good luck with it. This was a great paper, I don't think there is anything like it today.

Mark Sampson
11-Jul-2007, 12:34
It's true, film developers usually work very poorly for developing paper, but if you're desperate, you'll try anything; and it might work. If nothing else, you'll remember the lesson about keeping fresh materials handy.

Scott --
11-Jul-2007, 13:14
Kevin, it's what Mark said. I have the HC-110 and ancient paper; I'm-a usin' 'em.

Here's the kicker - it's working. My exposure is about 3 seconds, but it's working!

Kevin Crisp
11-Jul-2007, 13:21
Define: "working."

Scott --
11-Jul-2007, 13:46
Well, I got a picture. It's dark, but I made my first contact print!

Just playing today. I get some new materials, I'm gonna be dangerous.

See what you started, Kevin? ;)

Donald Qualls
11-Jul-2007, 13:52
HC-110 is a reasonably effective paper developer, though it's expensive to use that way (Dilution A is a lot of syrup to fill an 8x10 tray with working solution). I used it that way about 1975, and liked the results. It tends to a very cold tone compared to Dektol, but it does work.

Scott, I'd suggest either putting a dimmer in circuit with your 40W bulb, or better yet getting a 15 W to replace it, as well as moving the easel further from the bulb if possible. That should get you usable exposures in the 5-10 second range.

Longer term, you might want to consider making a contact printing light source, with a 7W night light bulb inside a steel can, which will let you fit an aperture (that can be replaced with a larger or smaller one as needed) on the open end; that, in turn, will give exposures long enough to have some faint chance of doing a little dodging and burning if needed, as well as simplifying use of contrast filters if you use a VC paper.

Given you're shooting 5x7 now, contact printing is a very good way to go... :)

Kevin Crisp
11-Jul-2007, 14:35
Try something more modern, like a box of Medallist, maybe. I'm amazed you can get an image.

Scott --
11-Jul-2007, 17:03
Well, here ya go.

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/th_crop008.jpg (http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j185/bliorg/crop008.jpg)

It's way low contrast, but the detail's there. I'm going to harrass the local pro lab and see if they'll sell me some 5x7 paper tomorrow (they'll probably laugh and tell me that all their B&W is digital now...).

Too much fun. Look out - I'm officially dangerous now!