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Thread: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

  1. #101
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by largeformatposer88 View Post
    Thank you!! This is encouraging!!
    Good to know exactly what Sunning does

    Thank you
    Tin Can

  2. #102

    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    The silver bath can last indefinitely, if properly maintained. John Coffer states that some of his silver baths are twenty-plus years old and still fully functional.

    You may know by now that "maintenance" involves regular filtering, monitoring of the specific gravity of the bath (to measure how much silver you've taken out) and replenishment of the silver nitrate content. You will also have to occasionally sun the bath to let the alcohol evaporate and prompt the debris to settle out for filtering. There are other maintenance actions you may have to take further down the road as well, but replenishing, filtering and sunning are the main ones.
    Note: I'm one of those practitioners who will warn you not to boil your silver bath for "heavy maintenance": you are in danger of creating silver fulminate in the process, and that compound is outrageously dangerous (explosive). There are alternatives to boiling your silver bath - get a good manual and learn the techniques. Quinn Jacobson's "Chemical Pictures" is a good option. (Quinn's not the most organized writer, so the book isn't the most coherent volume on the subject, but the actual information in the book is excellent, as long as you have the patience for his writing style)

    Regarding the cost of maintaining the silver bath: Replenishing the silver content of the bath is something that must be done regularly. Measure the SG and top up the bath as needed. Many practitioners add a gram of AgNO3 after every plate making session. If you make 50 plates and then choose to replenish, you may find you are adding 20 or more grams of Silver to top it up. So its still not cheap to maintain the bath - you have to replace the silver you take out every time you sensitize a plate. But yes, its far cheaper than making a fresh bath every time after you've made 50 plates! I'll say it again: get yourself a good manual that describes these practices in more detail. John Coffers "Doers Guide" is another excellent source of information.

    Thank you so much for this info. I will check out the "Doers Guide" for sure!

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