View Full Version : Boosting it a grade or so?

Allen in Montreal
24-Nov-2008, 20:02
I have often gone down a touch by split developing with Selectol Soft, but now, as I get the near end of some old paper emulsions, a few have lost a 1/2 grade or so.

What I can use to boost it a half grade or so?

I do use Platinum ll which seems to be a bit harder than dektol, but I need more for a few sheets of one stock.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

26-Nov-2008, 08:51
Try various dilutions of selenium toner, starting at a 1:1 dilution. More effective, yet, and without the change in color, is to selenium tone the negative. But of course, that is permanent. You might try benzotriazole as well, which will compensate for the aging of paper and developer, but be prepared for significantly longer developing times.

26-Nov-2008, 09:01
I have been using Dr Beers developer for years. I mix my own from scratch, but you can buy pre packaeged kits from Photographer Formulary. You mix up an A and B solution - depending upon your mixture, you can go up or down in contrast about 3/4 grades in 1/4 grade increments.

Merg Ross
26-Nov-2008, 09:54
Have you tried adding Hydroquinone? Make sure your developer is at least 70F.

26-Nov-2008, 11:40
I agree with adding some hydroquinone to your developer.

26-Nov-2008, 11:58
To bump up contrast, add alkali, sodium carbonate, and/or potassium bromide to your developer. Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook recommends a 10% solution of each of those if you want some flexibility with printing paper.


Agfa 108 HARD PAPER DEVELOPER For High Contrast

Warm Water 125 F or 52 C) - 750.0 ml
Elon - 5.0 grams
Sodium Sulfite, desiccated - 40.0 grams
Hydroquinone - 6.0 grams
Potassium Carbonate - 40.0 grams
Potassium Bromide - 2.0 grams
Add cold water to make - 1.0 liter

Use full strength; develop 1-2 minutes.


Edwal 120 high contrast pyro paper dev

Stock A
water 500 ml
pyrocatechol 20 g
sodium sulfite 40 g
water to 1 L

Stock B
water 750 ml
Potasium Carbonate* 120 g
Potasium Bromide** 1 to 3 g
Water to 1 L

To use:
1 part A
2 part B
1 part water

*134 g Sodium Carbonate will result in a less warm tone
** more bromide will cool the tone - less will make a more neutral tone



Allen in Montreal
27-Nov-2008, 07:39
Thank you gentlemen,

I will look into a few of these, I think I have potassium bromide kicking around and will pursue some Hydroquinone.

Any tips on how much to add to working solution to get a half to a full grade more?
Some of these boxes are my last, and the amount of sheets availabe to test unchartered waters are limited!

Amazing how fast what was second nature just 10 years ago has become dust in the memory cells! I made all kinds of notes and tables and bellows draws charts on shooting etc, but darkroom was second nature and not enough notes were made.

Merg Ross
27-Nov-2008, 10:28
A full grade is asking a lot. Mix up 10% solutions of the three additives mentioned, and experiment. Cut the precious paper into strips for your tests. Good luck. Is the paper by any chance an Agfa product?

Chuck Pere
27-Nov-2008, 11:03
I recall from an old Howard Bond workshop that Edwal G was recommended to boost paper contrast. I've never tried it but looks like it's still available:

Allen in Montreal
27-Nov-2008, 20:53
..... Is the paper by any chance an Agfa product?


And then some I fear.

I was standing in my darkroom, attempting to determine if getting a big Durst in there was like forcing a square peg in a round hole when the urge hit me to crack open a new pack of 16x20 insignia. It was flat by at least a half grade.
But stored along side it were a half dozen packs of Seagull Warm Tone, fiber in double weight.

Time to get cracking and use that paper up.

Allen in Montreal
9-Dec-2008, 05:37
A forum member has very kindly sent me some hydroquinone and Merg has given me some good reference points to start experimenting with.

It is greatly appreciated gentlemen, thank you!
This will be Sunday evening' mission.