View Full Version : How to process FIBER PRINTS after the wash step?

Andre Noble
21-Mar-2001, 00:37
While we're talking about fiber prints, what is the proper processing steps afte r the archival wash for them. I've played briefly with fiber, but after they dr ied, they resembled 8x10 potatoe chips... I'd like to start doing this fiber th ing now that I'm consistantly shooting large format (over 35mm). Thanks very mu ch for your knowledgeable feedback. Andre

Tony McLean
21-Mar-2001, 04:43
An unusual drying technique perhaps but it works for me... remove surface water fron both sides of the FB print and place it image side up on a clean sheet of glass, Using water activated, one inch gummed tape stick the tape around the perimeter of the print with half of the tape width fixed to the glass (and half on to the print margin) Place the glass somewhere cool and allow the print to dry. When dry, the print will have been stretched 'drum' tight and there will be not be any 'dry down' of tonal values. The surface of a glossy print will have a very fine textured finish rather than a full gloss. Cut along the edge of the print/tape with a sharp knife, there will be a 'pop' as the tension is released, and trim the excess tape from the print margins. The resulting print will be flatter than the paper was from the original packet (and slightly larger too!)

If all this seems too much trouble, then you could place your print between sheets of archival quality blotting paper under weight. Move the print down the stack until almost dry and leave overnight, still under weight. A simple but effective technique but does require many sheets of clean blotting paper.

Gene Crumpler
21-Mar-2001, 10:12
After the final wash, I squeege the water off the face of the print and place face up on screens. Placing them face down, as is so often recommended, will some times imprint the screen pattern on the emulsion. After they dry, I heat my drymount press to 220F and place each print between two mat boards and release sheet. Press for about 1 minute and you will have a pretty flat print. Drymounting followed by an overmat is the final step.

If you are serious about FB printing, a press is a must. I'd tried to do without one for a long time, trying all kinds of tricks to handle FB paper. I finally got one. IMHO, I should have gotten one thirty years ago!

Ed Buffaloe
21-Mar-2001, 10:55
I used to dry face down on fiberglass screens (per Ansel) but recently began having problems with the screen imprinting the gelatine (as noted above), so now I dry face up after squeege-ing carefully. To flatten, I simply place the dry prints under something heavy for a day--a couple of full boxes of paper or a volume of the Oxford English Dictionary.

John Sarsgard
21-Mar-2001, 11:04
Tony, where do you get water activated tape?

N Dhananjay
21-Mar-2001, 12:54
John, this tape is available at art stores - this is the typical way you stretch watercolor paper before you start painting on (to prevent buckling when the paint is put on) i.e., wet it thoroughly and then tape it down so it dries flat as a drum. Alternatively, you should be able to get it through art suplly houses (http://www.utrechtart.com/, http://www.aswexpress.com/ - I'm sure there's heaps more). Good luck, DJ.

Steve Wiley
22-Mar-2001, 08:23
The method described by Tony sounds like lot of work, particularly if you do more than one print at a time. I'm also highly suspect of the claim that there won't be any "dry-down". "Dry-down" is really about the amount of light reflected from a wet print vs. that of a dry one. Fiberglass drying screens are very easy to make, or can be purchased from Calumet or B&H. The blotter paper works just as well. A dry mount press, in my opinion, is a necessary investment if your going to using FB paper. There are lots of second-hand presses around. Use the method described by Gene, but allow the flattened prints to cool under a heavy sheet of glass.

Tony McLean
22-Mar-2001, 19:49
I do agree with Steve that it is quite a labour intensive approach and not really suited for any 'commercial' applications. However, to dismiss my claims of non dry-down out of hand without bothering to test this approach, I find quite saddening.

Dry down is the general darkening of image tones caused by the shrinkage of the paper. If the paper is not allowed to shrink then the tones will remain constant albeit a little duller as the print will reflect less light.

Go on Steve... have a go! Try something new. If you don't like it then you can always return to the tried and tested.

William Marderness
22-Mar-2001, 23:18
Put the prints face up on archival drying screens. When completely dry, press them in a dry mount press. The prints will come out beautifully flat. This works for me.

24-Mar-2001, 08:27
I have enclosed my drying screen rack and placed a humidifier in the enclosure. This slows down the rapid drying that is part of the curling problem.

Gene Crumpler
27-Mar-2001, 14:19
To handle dry down, I now use a microwave oven to dry FB 8x10 work prints in one minute. Works great. Don't do RC paper that way or it will look like cheese on a pizza.

MTFTD-(my tip for the day):)