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Thread: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

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    Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    I would be interested in learning about the production of handmade Dry Plates (or variations). If anyone would like to share their tips & tricks, or post examples of prints created from handmade Dry Plates, please do.

    I recently noticed that all of my cameras were designed to be used with Dry Plates. After some years of using standard film, X-ray film, and paper negatives, it was time to try something different and far more challenging. Wet Plate sounds interesting, but at this time I don't want to be tied to coating plates on-the-spot. After a fair amount of web research I ordered some Liquid Light, and last weekend I coated my very first 8x10 plates. I was surprised at the results.

    My very first try resulted in the emulsion on both 8x10 plates floating off somewhere between the developer tray and the stop bath tray. I can see now that providing a good substrate for the emulsion is important. With some research I went with Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane, clear/gloss. I cleaned and dried the plates, and sprayed on a thin layer of Polyurethane. After what I thought was ample drying time, I coated the plates with the emulsion. I suspect more drying time was required, as islands of small bubbles appeared in the dried emulsion. I now suspect that the Polyurethane outgassed to create the bubbles. But, I'm learning. Rating the new plates at ASA 1 was just about perfect. And yesterday I coated my first set of six half-plates (4.75x6.5). They are going to spend the next 24 hours in the homemade drying cabinet. I'll post images as they become available.

    I would also be interested in learning of ways to apply the emulsion. At this point I have found it necessary to use the old finger to move the emulsion around. I have considered using a brush, but hairs in the emulsion would be a concern.

    Dann
    Last edited by Ralph Barker; 30-Aug-2013 at 12:28.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    Have you been to Denise's site? Although she's moved on to flexible Estar film base, she was an early developer of techniques for dry plate production.
    http://www.thelightfarm.com/

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by don12x20 View Post
    Have you been to Denise's site? Although she's moved on to flexible Estar film base, she was an early developer of techniques for dry plate production.
    http://www.thelightfarm.com/
    Thank you for the reference to Denise's site.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    hi dannL
    i regularly make dry plates ( since about 1986? )
    and while i USED TO put a sub agent onto my plates
    over the last year i have stopped. the minwax will yellow and give troubles
    you can use gelatin ( either hard bloom from the formulary or food grade )
    put alum hardener into the gelatin.
    if you go without a sub ... get a cold stone into your darkspace you coat your plates.
    wash the plates so the water SHEETS OFF and dry them ...
    when you pour/flow your emulsion have it set-up on the cold stone.
    you won'thave the emulsion fall off the plate. use a strong developer, not warm.
    and use a hardened fixer.

    denise's site is great, have fun !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    Thanks John!

    I read elsewhere that as the emulsion cures on the plate that it's speed may gradually increase. I'm curious what I could expect with between a week and several weeks to a month of curing? Granted, that may be a question that is too specific.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    not sure dannL .. speed and contrast increase usually happens.
    i have shot plates that were made with 5 or 15year old liquid light
    and they were contrasty and fast ...
    i currently have a handful of plates that i coated in may? that i haven't had a chance to shoot
    ( school vacation &al.)
    i plan on shooting them soon i'll let you know.
    they aren't on glass but black metal to make ferrotypes ...

    have fun !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    Attachment 101080 Attachment 101081

    Bubbles from the 8x10's in the first batch. I'm suspecting the Polyurethane substrate caused these. But, I could be wrong.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    maybe ..

    just remember hand coated plates aren't going to be perfect ..
    there may be "flaws" some folks not like imperfections
    i don't mind them ...
    bubbles are annoying though ...

    FYI
    i have a little glass jar i pour my liquid emulsion into and pour my plates from
    enjoy your coffee

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DannL View Post
    Attachment 101080 Attachment 101081

    Bubbles from the 8x10's in the first batch. I'm suspecting the Polyurethane substrate caused these. But, I could be wrong.
    Interesting thread, those bubbles seem too localized to be out gassing, unless those areas had thicker pools of poly.

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    Re: Dry Plates (handmade) - Tips & Tricks, Experiences & Examples . . .

    This next batch of half-plates should help me isolate the cause of the bubbles. I gave them a full 24 hours in a ventilated drying box. If they are still there . . . I might try the gelatin/alum route.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856

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