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Thread: Selenium Toner for Archivability

  1. #1

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    Selenium Toner for Archivability

    What's the least concentration of Selenium one one can use, and still make a print archival?

    I've come to decide that I don't care for the color of prints made with Ilford Fiber Warm Tone paper when toned 1 minute in selenium mixed 1:20 with water. Yet, selenium toned prints are more archival.

    At the very least, as A.A. recommends in his books, I can do a 2nd Fix, put it in Hypo Clearing Agent for 3 minutes, and wash for 1 hour. But, it would be nice to do a little "invisible" toning as well for the archival improvement.

  2. #2

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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    Toning for longevity only makes sense when toning is taken to completion. Good news though- a properly processed and untoned print has a really long lifetime. You won't see them fade and likely your kids won't either.

  3. #3

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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    No idea how accurate this is, but over the years I've heard you can do 1:40 for about 5 mins and still get some benefit from selenium toning with very little, if any, change in print color. Take that with a grain of salt because I have no way of testing that theory.

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    I thought that selenium toning for increased archivability was debunked. I can't tell you where I heard that but it was sometime around 2000 or so. Henceforth my selenium toning was liberated from any intentions save aesthetics.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  5. #5

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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    Get a bleach and test it. I can’t bleach a print that’s been toned 4 minutes at 1:20, so something happens in that time. What you have with partial toning is two images, one part is metallic silver and the other part is silver-selenide, so if one image degrades due to contaminates in the air you have a backup. I would say if you treat it long enough that bleach still leaves a visible image, you have toned enough.

  6. #6

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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    It was Doug Nishimura at the Image Permanence Institute (at RIT) who reported this. His tests showed that a print would have to be toned to completion for full archival permanence. Most of us don't want the brick-red color that comes with toning to completion. So I, at least, am happy with whatever protection is achieved when my prints look like I want them to (following Mr. Gittings here).
    Last edited by Mark Sampson; 23-Sep-2020 at 15:41. Reason: added context

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    It was Doug Nishimura at the Image Permanence Institute who reported this. His tests showed that a print would have to be toned to completion for full archival permanence. Most of us don't want the brick-red color that comes with toning to completion. So I, at least, am happy with whatever protection is achieved when my prints look like I want them to (following Mr. Gittings here).
    cool thanks
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    What koraks and Mark Sampson said - complete protection requires toning to completion. which does things to image character that most of us will find unpleasant. But partial toning does provide partial protection, to precisely the extent that the image silver is converted.

    See also this thread:

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...erimental-data

    Ctein's tests, reported in his Post Exposure book, suggest that even partial toning provides meaningful protection against the kinds of light-driven image deterioration that are distinctive to RC paper because its combination of titanium dioxide whitener and polyethylene coating.

    I (partially) selenium tone all of my RC keepers, for both esthetic and conservation reasons. FB is a tougher call because of the extra work involved, and often I won't bother.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    I use all toners only relative to intended tone per se (final image color). I presume that this gives some extra protection from pollutants like sulfur dioxide; but I wouldn't want to live and breathe the air anywhere that would be a serious issue anyway. I just don't see the point of toning a print all the way to where it comes out looking unacceptable to my own esthetics. Maybe if deep brown is to your taste, you could go all the way with it; but it doesn't suit me. "Archival" is a very plastic term in any event, with no fixed definition. I gold tone more often anyway. The selenium and sulfide toners are accessory.

  10. #10

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    Re: Selenium Toner for Archivability

    Some printers will tone in Selenium long enough to obtain D-max, and after a complete wash, will bathe the print in Sistan.

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