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Thread: Tray print washer question

  1. #1

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    Tray print washer question

    I've been eyeing tray-based print washers, since they're much less expensive than the upright models that separate the prints. Anyone use these? It seems to me that unless you're washing just one print, multiple prints would stick together requiring one to shuffle through the stack frequently to achieve thorough washes. Currently, I wash my 8x10 fiber prints in an ordinary 11x14 darkroom tray. I shuffle constantly through, say, 4 to 5 prints with running water, and I also dump all the water frequently and refill. This gets to be pretty tedious, so my question is, with a tray-based print washer, does one still have to stand there and shuffle through prints during the total wash time? Do the jets in these trays somehow negate the need to shuffle prints? If I have to stand there and chaperone the wash process, I'll just save my money and continue what I've been doing, as mind-numbingly tedious as it is.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    I would think that there has to be a reason why all the archival print washers I am aware of are vertical. The Zone VI tray is just that: a holding tray prior to the archival wash. The jets do not keep the prints separated. It is inadequate for more than one print at a time. Since I typically wash for around an hour or so, I'm not standing there and shuffling through the stack. Since I bough my washers over 20 years ago, they're all paid for and I have no idea what I even paid for them.

  3. #3

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    I would think that there has to be a reason why all the archival print washers I am aware of are vertical. The Zone VI tray is just that: a holding tray prior to the archival wash. The jets do not keep the prints separated. It is inadequate for more than one print at a time. Since I typically wash for around an hour or so, I'm not standing there and shuffling through the stack. Since I bough my washers over 20 years ago, they're all paid for and I have no idea what I even paid for them.

    Thanks. I suspected that the jets in those trays wouldn’t keep keep prints separated. I guess they’re nice for one print, though.

  4. #4
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    Re: Tray print washer question

    I use a good old-fashioned Kodak Tray Siphon for RC prints, one or two at a time... and a Versalab washer for a session's worth of FB prints that need a long wash. Yes, if you use a tray device for a pile of prints, you need to shuffle them manually.

  5. #5

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    Try the Ilford technique. Place the prints ina large tray of water. Shuffle through the m 3 or 4 times . Change the water and repeat. repeat until you have used 5 trays of water. Tye prints will be as clear of thiosulfate, etc as they will be withanhour in a vertical washer. Faster, cleaner and it saves water.
    Ihave an excellent vertical washer, but usually use this tray method.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    The time, agitation, total changes of water method that Jim outlines above is, if used with hypo clear and checked with residual hypo testing (as you should with any vertical washer) absolutely fine - all that vertical washers have in their favour is their need for less space (and in some models) the slots are isolated from each other so that prints already washing aren't affected by ones fresh from the hypo clear.

  7. #7
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Tray print washer question

    I would love to make a vertical washer for murals, kind of what I have seen of videos of Clyde Butcher has.. if anyone has plans for one of these I would love to see them... I would use the hard grey plastic like I used for my oversize sinks, the guy who made them is no longer in business.

  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Tray print washer question

    Once the film of chemicals is washed off the surface of the paper on both sides (which should be done before starting the wash, IMO), its all osmosis, baby!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #9

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    Try the Ilford technique. Place the prints ina large tray of water. Shuffle through the m 3 or 4 times . Change the water and repeat. repeat until you have used 5 trays of water. Tye prints will be as clear of thiosulfate, etc as they will be withanhour in a vertical washer. Faster, cleaner and it saves water.
    Ihave an excellent vertical washer, but usually use this tray method.
    Jim - excellent idea! I’ll try the Ilford method. For 8x10s, I’m thinking an 11x14 tray would be big enough?

  10. #10

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    Re: Tray print washer question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Calwell View Post
    since they're much less expensive than the upright models that separate the prints.
    You can DIY one, use any plastic box, this is $10 at ebay:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://www.ebay.es/itm/Heavy-Duty-P...-M5hP7H1FGHFNQ

    You can make several drills in the bottom to allow watter to exit to the sink, you may throw in water form several points, use acuarium hardware for that ... and with hot glue attach some plastic separators.


    If you print proffesionally every day you will want real pro gear, but if you print for fun like me then this DIY is perfect.


    Two additional things about washing:

    First, be careful with fixing, a too long fixing may end in fixer penetrating the base and later it will be very difficult to remove that fixer, consider two bath fixing, your fixing will be perfect and fixing time never will have to be too long.

    Second, if your water is hard enough then after washing consider a final bath in distilled water, it can be water treated with an ($100) rev osmosis device.

    Tap water may contain a lot of salts, when water dries salt remains. If you weight your paper when wet and when dried you know how much tap water dired in ml, and from your salt content in mg/L, so how much salt per m2 was incorporated in the paper from tap water.

    Not only fixer may leave salts in the paper, also tap water can, and that salt may rise salt content in a way long Life Expectancy is challenged.

    We are to place a rev osmosis filter in our darkroom, it is also useful to mix chem for long storage.

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