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Thread: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

  1. #11

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    Jul 2016
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiemcclaran View Post
    2 bath system
    2 fixer bath system is necessary for high LE jobs. If not we have to dump fixer very soon. Fixer contamination depends on how white are the prints, very dark prints exhaust/contaminate less the fixer.

    ... so with a single fixer bath it's difficult to track if the fixer is good enough for high Life Expectancy job.

    Two fixer bath it's the perfection, fixer is exploited until exhaustion and at the same time job is perfect. It looks less convenient than a single bath, but the peace of mind compensates.

    I guess that the absolute perfection is a fast water bath between first and second bath, in this way we avoid moving several ml from the very (potentially) contaminated 1st bath to the 2nd each time we move a print. After dozens of prints the amount of fixer moved from one bath to the other can be important and the impact is great because first bath can be very contaminated.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Greenwood Lake NY USA
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    211

    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    to the OP

    nothing complicated

    do not skimp on materials
    purchase good quality paper and chemicals (hint Ilford paper and Ilford chemistry)
    obtain and study the instructions
    follow them to the letter especially the stuff about shelf life, unopened and opened (write the date of purchase on every bottle and the date of mixing of working strength) and also the stuff about developer working capacity and fixer working capacity (keep a log while printing of the quantity and size of the sheets processed)
    there is a test strip product for fixer silver content called AG-fix that can be bought here http://www.ctlscientific.com/cgi/dis...item_num=90741
    the prints will outlast you sleep easy

  3. #13

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    Sep 2018
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred L View Post
    hmmm. I'e never noticed any difference in water levels/flow between the slots when filling my Kostiner. Doubt it would change much when full either but ymmv Wonder if your washer could use a 'wash' and there might be some calcium buildup in the jets ? can't recall what the flow I use is, but once you find out a proper flow rate, then just take the hose and fill a container and time how long it takes to fill, say a one qt or litre beaker.

    as for prints sticking, I guess you could move them around now and then with the print fishing/retrieval wand. Also do you have the plexi lid that keeps prints down ?

    I'm sure others with Kostiner experience will chime with their experiences.
    I checked it last evening, and I think I misspoke when I said the flow was not equal. It is the rate of air bubbles in the slots on one side of the washer, that are supposed to agitate the print during the wash that is slower or less than. Will try a thorough cleaning and inspection.

    As for the "sticking to the side" I'm considering taking a divider to Tap Plastics and asking them to rout some 1/4" wide x 1/16" deep vertical channels in the divider and see if that improves the flow.

  4. #14

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    Sep 2018
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted R View Post
    to the OP

    nothing complicated

    do not skimp on materials
    purchase good quality paper and chemicals (hint Ilford paper and Ilford chemistry)
    obtain and study the instructions
    follow them to the letter especially the stuff about shelf life, unopened and opened (write the date of purchase on every bottle and the date of mixing of working strength) and also the stuff about developer working capacity and fixer working capacity (keep a log while printing of the quantity and size of the sheets processed)
    there is a test strip product for fixer silver content called AG-fix that can be bought here http://www.ctlscientific.com/cgi/dis...item_num=90741
    the prints will outlast you sleep easy
    Wow, those test strips are spendy. I've always used Edwal Hypo check, kept a print log, and mark mix dates on the containers.

    Not so worried about the prints outlasting me, as I'm old and crusty. But for placing work in collections I feel an obligation to due diligence.

  5. #15
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario,
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    4,560

    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    I always use a FRESH Rapid Fix two bath system.. followed by water rinse, - hypo clear selenium tone then wash sequence... I use vertical washers to separate the prints during the final wash , then air dry facedown on screens.

    I think this is pretty typical for other Silver Printers as well.

  6. #16

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    Aug 2000
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    California
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiemcclaran View Post
    Forgive me if this topic has been covered to death. Admittedly my past practice has been sloppy at times as I was rarely printing for permanence. Also admittedly, I am not a chemist and have only the most basic understanding of how these chemicals react. So I'm interested in learning more and paying closer attention to the way I process and wash my silver prints.

    FWIW, I typically use Ilford Fiber Based Multi-grade paper. Ilford Rapid Fix, 2 bath system. Kodak hypo Clear. And use a Kostiner 16 x 20 Print Washer. I've recently begun selenium toning, using Ilford's recommendations.

    I have at times questioned my print washer, whether it is pushing enough water past the prints to adequately wash them.

    Was just reading the Ilford recommendation for fiber based papers and was surprised to see their recommendation of only 1 minute fix time. From my days using Kodak Rapid Fixer, I recall using a longer time, more like 2-3 minutes in each bath. So either I've been over fixing prints in the past, or Ilford Rapid Fix is far more effective.

    So a couple of questions: Is in fact 1 minute adequate using Ilford Rapid Fix?

    Any reason to use Ilford Wash Aid over Kodak Hypo Clear?

    Does anyone have any experience using the Kostiner print washer?

    Is there some way to test the effectiveness of your wash?

    My goal is permanence for collectors and posterity. Thanks for any thoughts and advice.

    Cheers,
    Robbie
    Adequate washing is not a matter of "pushing" a large amount of water through any device. Washing film and paper is more a soaking out process. I have had a Kistiner washer since before the were introduced to the public. It was a gift from Mr.Kostiner. If the water s running fast enough to flow over the ledge in the output side, iti s doing a good job.

  7. #17
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    Winona, Minnesota
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    After fifty years of B&W darkroom printing with much of it spent making archival prints my advice is to just forget about it. It a waste of time. Make your negatives archival just in the unlikely case one of your images proves to be worthwhile then you can then go through the fuss of archival prints.

  8. #18

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    Sep 2018
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    Re: Best Practices for Archival Silver Printing?

    Hey all, just circling back to this. I purchased residual silver and residual hypo test solutions form Photographer's Formulary (I know, it's expensive but I'm not a chemist) and ran tests after processing and washing test sheets of paper using my normal process, and following the Ilford "optimal permanence" recommendations. I'm happy to report both test results were perfect! That relieves much of my concerns, so now will move forward. Thanks to all who chimed in.

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