View Full Version : Toning and Bergger paper vccb

11-Sep-2012, 05:50
I am using Bergger Prestige glossy paper. I am having trouble with toning the paper. I process the paper completely including final wash. Let dry over night and start from the toning the next day. I soak the prints for about 10 minutes or so. They go into the Selenium toner for about 5 minutes then into a wash for 5 minutes then into a hardened (Kodak part b at 13 to ) for 5 minutes. Then washed for 5 minutes then into a wash aid for 5 minutes then finally into the final wash for 30 minutes. The last step is into a print flattener for two minutes. They are then air dried on screens. They look great wet but when they dry down they are mottled and extremely soft. A cotton ball will scratch the paper. This is not true of them before toning them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

11-Sep-2012, 07:53
If you're just Selenium toning, you don't need to go through all that. I've never used other toners, so no comments there. I Selenium tone most of my final prints an the way I do it seems to work just fine without the issues you're talking about. I have used the same Bergger paper too, but usually use Oriental Seagull VC FB these days...

Dilute a batch of toner to about 4 or 6:1 (it will be fairly noxious at this strength, so make sure your fans are working!)
After your final fix, print goes into the wash for about 10 minutes, then Hypo-clear or better, Heico Permawash bath for a minute or two and then directly into the toner bath for however long you need depending on the results you're looking for, or to get the tone you want.
Usually 3 or 4 minutes at this strength should give you a barely perceptible change in print tones, but good archival stability. Longer times (at this dilution) should begin to show a distinct change in the print tone toward the typical brownish / purplish changes in the dense shadow areas. Less so in the highlights. More time and the whole print will start to take on a rich brownish tone. Pull the print when it looks the way you like and go directly into the wash. It's a good idea to have your 'viewing light' on the toner bath during this process and also an identical, untoned print on hand to compare to, until you get the hang of it. When you're satisfied with the toning, into the wash for an hour to hour and a half.
Hang up or set on screens to dry.

It is possible to tone prints later, after they're dry, but if you know you'll be toning and have no need to wait until later, there's no need to dry first, press, etc..before you do your toning.

After your print is toned, washed and completely dry, THEN stick it in your mounting press to flatten it out. You shouldn't need to do this at all with RC paper, I'm assuming all we're talking about here is FB. I don't think you should ever hot press a wet print, this is probably the main thing causing your problems, it's probably permanently ruining your prints doing this. I also don't think you need to use any additional hardeners at any point either, or at all, for that matter. Sometimes you need it with certain films, but even that's rare anymore and I don't know much about it. I may be mistaken in this, but I'm pretty sure that Heico Permawash (the best as far as I know, or have ever heard) has some kind of hardener in it already, in addition to the fixer remover.

Look up Tim Rudman. He has several good books on toning and general darkroom printing. I think his is about the only book dedicated to toning and has lots of great info. It's probably out of print, though, so you might have to do some searching. Otherwise, Way Beyond Monochrome by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse is the next best thing. WBM is, in my opinion, the single BEST book out there covering basic and advanced B&W darkroom practices, just not dedicated to toning and not as in-depth on the topic is Rudman.

11-Sep-2012, 11:19
Hi Celtus,
First let me say thank you for your reply. The problem I am having is the prints after Selinium toning are both mottled and scratch very easy. The emultion is very soft and a cotton ball will scratch the surface. I use the toner at 1 to 20 for about 5 minutes and get a change or shift in color at that point. They are then washed in running water for 5 min. and then into a hardner for 5 min. I use Heico Permawash bath for about 5 minutes and where we differ is I then wash for about a half hour so. I do not put them in a heat press when wet. They are dried on screens. I use a two part developer that works great. I have recently added 5.5g of potassium bromide to te "selectol soft" for a warmer tone with a bit more of a punch. I have been printing on Bergger paper for a few years and without the hardener the prints are so soft I almost can't touch them. Just for the record the person at Bergger also told me the prints did not need to have the hardener added but could if I wanted to. I with I could figure out what I am doing wrong, as I like the end result. Again thank you for your help

11-Sep-2012, 12:27
Hm. Definitely strange. I wonder why none of the local experts here are chiming in on this.

What kind of selenium toner are you using? I wouldn't think it would matter anyway - I've used Kodak Rapid, Berg and Harman and they all seem to be about the same as far as I can tell. Are you using home-brew developer? Could be some kind of issue with one or more of the individual chemicals you're using, but I know so little about process chemistry I wouldn't know where to start. That seems unlikely anyway.

You say you've been printing with the Bergger for several years and this problem didn't show up until you began using the toner? I'd think that would be the most likely culprit, or whatever change you made to your normal process when the problem started. Any change to your darkroom water source? I'd try to figure out what you changed when this first started happening and process of elimination from there.

Let us know what you find out if you figure out what it is.

11-Sep-2012, 12:50
It is strange, so strange that bergger wants no part of me. Actually told me to try another paper. I would but I have been using Bergger ever since Forty elagance was stopped. Everything now is the same basic tone and to change now would be to start all over. Consistence would go right out the window. I am useing Kodak toner. The water supply is pretty much the same and I double filter the line that comes into the darkroom. The developer is From photography formulary TD-31 with 5.5g of potassium bromide added per 1000ml for warmth and a bit more contrast.

Gem Singer
11-Sep-2012, 12:54
What are you using as a hardener?

11-Sep-2012, 13:14
Kodak Part B at 13 to 1.

11-Sep-2012, 13:23
I know what you mean about familiarity with materials and not wanting change anything. I just started whole thread on changing developers when it looked like Kodak might be discontinuing XTOL. Not so by the way.

Not sure I'd give Bergger the pleasure if they're gonna talk to you that way though. Why not try Oriental Seagull and see how you like that? It's backordered too, at some suppliers, but really nice paper. Extra heavy wieght, excellents blacks and pure white highlights. I've not know anyone who's tried this paper and didn't switch to using it.

Hope you can get your troubles worked out.

11-Sep-2012, 13:28
Thank you very much. Is Oriental Seagullsuper coated? I was thinking of using Foma but is makes me nervous that it might be like Efke film. Thank you though for your understanding, that does mean a lot.

Gem Singer
11-Sep-2012, 13:56

The OP states that he is using a 1:13 solution of Kodak Rapid Fix Liquid Part B, in a separate step, to harden his prints.

That container of hardener (Part B) is intended to be used, optionally with Kodak Rapid Fix. It's sulphuric acid, and !:13 is a strong acid solution.

Bergger's recommendation (which probably did not come directly from the Bergger, since Bergger is now made by Harman Tech.) is the proper one.

Try another brand of paper. If the problem persists it is probably caused by operator error, not the Bergger paper.

Bergger vccb paper was my paper of choice when I was printing in the darkroom. It did not require a hardener.

11-Sep-2012, 14:23
I have used other papers Ilford warmtone fiber, Forte Elagance. No problem. In the directions to use Kodak Selenium toner they show the use of part be at 13 to 1. They also highly recommend using it when Sepia toning a print. I also wax the finished prints. Without the hardener and the use of johnson and johnson cotton balls the print would show hair line scratches. The use of the hardener stoped that from happening. I also had another printer try and came up with the same end result. We did the test at my darkroom with everything new. The only think I can add to this mess is if you just wash a print with no defects for maybe 10 minutes there is a great possiblity of it showing the same defects as the other prints. As to berggers recommendation it was a bailout on there part, just didn't want to get involved.

11-Sep-2012, 14:33
Can you recommend a paper that is simular to bergger or the Forte? I use a 2 tray developing, and would like an uncoated paper in case I have to etch a print. Thank you.

Gem Singer
11-Sep-2012, 14:43
Try Kentmere Fineprint Fiber Base. It's similar, but not exactly the same as Bergger vccb

From your description, the problem seems to be in your wash water. Possible, but not probable.

Waxing a print? Does the mottling show up before or after the print is waxed?

11-Sep-2012, 15:07
I somehow agree with you that it is in the wash cycle. What I did is bought a inexpensive wash tank and tried that. I used a print that had no mottling at all. At the end it did. All I did was wash the print for maybe 10 minutes. What bothers me most is the softness of the emulsion. I left a print on top of my drier overnight and it had some dust on it that was enough to put hair line scratches in the print. It "feels" like the paper has lost it's harding. It does no0t have the snap or crackle like it did before. Yes waxing the print is the old way of doing things. It helps with the finger prints and gives a little protection. You can't wax coated prints Just the uncaoted ones. Same as etching a print. The plastic coating will not tolerate it. The wax will make a mess. the uncoated papers the wax fills the pores and adds both a little protection and depth. They use to use car wax. I use Renaissance. And no I don't wax the prints that are mottled they end up in the trash.

11-Sep-2012, 15:54
Forte makes the papers but the Forte WT is it's own beautiful paper. Bergger has the formulations made to their specs by Forte. The great thing about analog is that you have to try it. I would buy some of each. Never go on someone elses say so. They are all nice papers-you can always sell off the rest to someone else.