View Full Version : Is the Nova "Clubmate" Processor Ilfochrome Safe?

Andre Noble
27-Jul-2010, 13:05
Hello, to anyone with definitive experience with the Nova Clubmate processors, I have a question:

Ilfochrome is a caustic process due particulalrly to the bleach, as you may know.

Is it safe to use Ilfochrome chemicals in the Nova Clubmate processor?

Some of the Nova processors state that they are NOT Ilfochrome safe, such as the four-slot Fiber paper processor.

But Nova also made some of their other slot processors to be Ilfochrome safe and I want to know if the Clubmate was one of them.

Thanks in advance for any knowledgeable info.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2010, 13:52
Ciba bleach is mainly sulfuric acid which will not attack any typical plastic, but virtually
all types of metal. What is safe for a processor is not necessarily safe for your lungs,
however. I'd rather use a drum, mix up as little of the chemistry at a time as possible,
and dispose of it each print. The bleach is easily neutralized with a little baking soda.
Good ventilation is a must.

Andre Noble
27-Jul-2010, 16:11
Drew, thanks for the theoretical answer, but this is a new $700 device and hard to come by and I need user feedback.

But I appreciate the reminder on the health warnings of the bleach.

By the way, I have tried the Jobo CPP2 using the Jobo print drums and its a no go for Cibachrome for me due to the drums ribs - they lead to yellow and/or brown stains on the back of my Cibachrome prints.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2010, 16:28
If you're getting brown stains on the back of the print it means it's not adequately rinsed between chemicals. Try either two rinses in between or double the volume of water. Unfortunately, the Jobo has a small motor which might not handle the heavier
weight of more volume (depending on drum size, of course), and the RPM is really too
high for ideal Ciba processing. Even at the lowest speed setting it agitates the bleach
excessively, plus the oxidation problem of the developer you're getting. Still, quite a few people have sucessfully used Jobo for Ciba. I personally prefer drums with smooth
walls or very shallow fins. If I were experimenting with the Nova, I'd keep an extra
couple of trays of rinse water nearby for exactly the reason I've noted above. It's
important not to transfer any dev into the bleach, or bleach into the fixer.

Andre Noble
27-Jul-2010, 19:29

Thanks for taking time for the reply, but:

I tried troubleshooting this Cibachrome paper browning a few years ago with the help of Photo.net folks.

We figured, the extra rinse volume and duration that I was using actually contributed to the staining.

I must say in college photography 12 years ago, we used Jobo drums with ribs, and the staining was minimal from those prints. It could be difference in water and agitation.

I don't want to go back to the Jobo for Ilfochrome. I never got it to work for me without staining.

Anyway, I score a brand new Nova 8x10 Clubmate and a brand new Nova 12x16 FB fiber 4 slot processors this weekend for $143 total at Samy's Camera garage sale in Los Angeles.

I just want to use the Nova Clubmate for Ilfochrome (Cibachrome) if it is safe to do so.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2010, 19:48
At that price, I don't know how you could go wrong. But you'll have to be very careful how you use those four slots, so you don't contaminate the adjacent compartment as you pull the prints from one slot to the next. Altogether, you've got
six step before washing the print: prewet, dev, rinse, bleach, rinse, fix. So you're
going to need at least two extra trays around for the intermediate rinses. Temp
control within the slot gradient should be around plus/minus 2 deg F, for the dev
at least. Not as fussy in this respect as some color processes, but needs to be
consistent within the verticality of the slot itself. Good luck!

Andre Noble
27-Jul-2010, 20:07
OK, thanks for the tips, I'll keep that in mind.

Are you sure it is critical not to get any developer at all into the bleach? I can understand the other way around, but...?

Thanks again.

Now i just have to figure out if the Clubmate is Ciba safe. An email on the question to Nova darkrooms in England has gone unanswered so far.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2010, 20:16
The pH of the bleach is so strong that a drop or two of developer probably won't affect the general chemistry, BUT if any is still on the print, or if a drop clinging to the walls of the slot somehow gets onto the print as it slips into the bleach, then you can end up with a blemish. Same with bleach to fixer contamination, where with drums at least, I always double rinse. Adding an extra step of mere rinse water is a
good idea given the formidable expense of Ciba paper in the first place.