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Thread: Print Washing

  1. #11

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    Re: Print Washing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Calwell View Post
    Informative thread. I think I'm washing my prints incorrectly. ... I think I should hold off on the Perma Wash until AFTER I've toned the prints.
    ...
    Ben,

    Yes! The wash-aid step should be just before the final wash. Maybe my answer to Philip below will be helpful.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    Doremus, thank you, as always, for your thoughtful and well-informed reply. n a couple of points:

    Although I have since switched to TF-5 from Ilford 1:4 rapid fix, I did run a residual silver test when I was starting back into the darkroom a couple of years ago, with approximately the same washing sequence as given here, and the same paper, and came out clean. TF-5 gives the same fixing times as the 1:4 Ilford. I'm no chemist and take their word for their process. ...
    Philip,

    Just to clarify: A residual silver test has nothing to do with washing; it tests whether fixation was adequate. The residual hypo test is the test for washing. Both are needed to really check your workflow. I'll address fixer capacity a bit later in response to your other post.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    ... As for the clearing agent right after the fix, I am simply out of room, at least for 11x14s -- three truly is a crowd, in my sink -- and 8x10s would be quite awkward with an extra tray. ...
    See below...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    ... Doremus, I meant to mention that I use the print fixer for 4/5 of its recommended capacity.
    Fixer capacity (and method) for fiber-base papers is a rather tangled subject. It depends on the degree of permanence you desire and what work-flow is convenient for you. To complicate matters further, manufacturers, like Ilford, give less-than-transparent capacity numbers. Let's look at what Ilford says, since it's easy to discuss and applies generally to other rapid fixers. I'll be referring to their tech sheet on Rapid Fixer here: https://assets.website-files.com/5ba...id%20fixer.pdf

    First, Ilford says on p.2 of their tech sheet that the capacity for a liter of fix, either at the 1+4 or 1+9 dilution is 40 8x10s per liter. That looks good at first glance, but WAIT... read on. On p.4, in the section on silver concentration, we find this (emphasis added):

    "If a high level of image permanence is required for commercial use the silver concentration in the fixer should be kept below 2 g/l when fixing FB papers. This approximates to 40 ... (8 x 10 inch) FB prints [per liter]. ... For prints that need maximum stability for long term storage the maximum silver level in the fixer should not rise above 0.5 g/l i.e.. approximately 10 ... 8 x 10in prints [per liter]."

    So, we can easily see that there are two standards here: "commercial" and "maximum stability" (or optimum permanence). As one who sells prints through galleries as art work, I can't justify anything else but striving for "archival" or "optimum permanence" standards. If you feel the same, then a one-bath fixing regime needs the fixer replaced with fresh after only 10 8x10s or equivalent (including test strips and prints!). That seems not only uneconomical, but extra work to me. Still, there are those, including the late Ron Mowrey, who simply use one fixing bath and replace it when the desired capacity has been reached. This is a perfectly viable way of working.

    As you know, I prefer and recommend two-bath fixing for fiber-base prints. However, I'm well-aware of the constraints caused by limited space. I've come up with a work flow that requires little space. Again, see below (sorry to keep stringing you along... this isn't an ifomercial ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    Two fixing baths is again an issue of space ... which could be conveniently solved only by fixing halfway, then holding in water, then, after cleaning up the developer and stop trays, completing fixing, then washing including a visit to the Permawash, then cleaning up those trays, then toning, then a final wash cycle, including Permawash. I think that would wear me down for the extra 30 seconds of fixing the prints would get, even if archival standards recommend it.
    So finally, here's my solution to limited space: I divide my sessions into a "printing session" and a "toning session." Each session uses only four trays. During the printing session, I essentially do what you do, develop, stop, fix (no wash-aid yet, but a running-water hold tray) and wash (for 60 minutes, as Ilford recommends without wash-aid - you could add a wash-aid step here, but I don't want the extra tray...) and then dry them. I limit my fixer capacity to 36 8x10s per liter (similar to Ilford's 40, but consistent with my tests) so my prints after this session are processed to "commercial" standards.

    I then live with them for a while, discard or reprint the ones that are less successful and collect a group of "keepers" that I think are worthy of display. When this group gets up to around 36 prints (but not more), I set up a toning session.

    For the toning session I have a water soak tray, a fixer tray, a toning tray and a tray with wash aid (again, only four trays). I soak the prints five minutes, fix (this is now fixing bath two, and is mixed fresh) and then transfer the prints directly to the selenium toning tray. I tone till I get the visual change in image tone I desire and then transfer the prints directly to the wash aid (draining well first, of course). Prints collect in the wash-aid tray and get shuffled every few minutes. They stay in the wash aid for at least 10 minutes, often up to 20 (no harm in going longer with this step) before they are transferred (again directly) to the washer. Washing is then 60+ minutes in slowly running water in a vertical print washer.

    I printed 16x20 prints this way in a small sink above a bathtub in my first makeshift darkroom. Space was optimized using a tray stacker (which I still have hanging around somewhere if you could use it). The print washer was under the sink in the bathtub. Lots of bending involved, but it worked just fine.

    Anyway, what I'm suggesting is that maybe something similar to my workflow would also work for you and solve your limited space issue. You could process as you do, but then do a toning session at a later date for those prints you find worthy of preserving/displaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    ADDENDUM: In the toning wash sequence linked by Doremus above, Ilford refers to fresh running water. Can someone refresh my memory as to suggested minimum rates of flow? As indicated in my OP, my wash tub works at about 1/2 gpm wish a appox. one gallon of water in the tub. At that rate, about 15 gallons in a half hour. Would a 1/4 gpm sufficce? Less. with, say, two complete dumps at 10 and 20 minutes? I don't know the math to figure out the asymptotic rate of washing (and truly am not asking for it!), other than looking at the charts in the Mysteries of the Vortex I recently linked in starting this thread.
    If memory serves correctly, I believe Kodak recommended one complete change of water every five minutes. Your method seems better than that. Even at 1/4 gpm you'd be completely changing water every four minutes. The dumps and refills are a good idea; I always drain my washer and refill it halfway through the wash as well.

    Best,

    Doremus

  2. #12
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Print Washing

    I did something similar, but often waited weeks before toning...getting enough final prints worth the selenium. I would tone three final copies (16x20) of 5 or 6 images in one session.

    Removing out all the fix is needed if one is toning later, so I do not suggest skipping the wash aid. It seems to be one or the other...into the toner from the fix, or a complete wash, and then tone later.

    Edited: I defer to Doremus. I am over-cautious.

    Doremus...a question out of curiosity. If one is making high key images (mostly high values) vs. dark prints...is the difference in exposed and developed silver significant when considering fixer capacity?
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #13

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    Re: Print Washing

    Thanks, Doremus. My reason for not taking the direct fixer-to-toner route is the same as for not taking the toner-in-wash aid route -- using up the toner. All this discussion has me rethinking things with respect to my limits. As with many, one is financial, especially since I no longer make even nominal money with my photography. The other, the time constraint, is more easily managed with the kind of process division that you and others use to execute various steps in separate sessions. I'll have to cogitate on it a while. Perhaps I'll get back to two-bath fixing.; that would not add much additional time, even in a single session, if I clean up the other trays while the prints are waiting in the washtub. I don't know that I'll get down to 10 8x10s/liter.

    I do recognize the difference in the two tests.

    Meanwhile, thanks also for the water-flow indication.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  4. #14

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    Re: Print Washing

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    ... Doremus...a question out of curiosity. If one is making high key images (mostly high values) vs. dark prints...is the difference in exposed and developed silver significant when considering fixer capacity?
    Vaughn,

    I'm sure it does make a difference. So does the practice of printing small on oversize paper and leaving large white borders around the image. I think the trick is to test one's workflow, i.e., working with "average" images in terms of tonal distribution, run your fixers till your tests show some stain, then back off that limit by about 20% or more. That way, one has a generous safety factor in terms of throughput capacity.

    Then, all one has to do is test the last print through the whole process for fixation and residual hypo. I do this every time for residual silver and spot check the residual hypo every 3-4 batches (I wash really too long, so don't worry so much about the washing part of the equation).

    Ideally, one would have a good way to check the fixer itself for dissolved silver content. I haven't found a sensitive enough and practical way to do this. There are test strips out there; maybe I'll get some someday.

    Best,

    Doremus

  5. #15

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    Re: Print Washing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    Thanks, Doremus. My reason for not taking the direct fixer-to-toner route is the same as for not taking the toner-in-wash aid route -- using up the toner. ...
    Philip,

    I'm not quite sure I understand your "using up the toner" issue. Are you saying that transferring directly from fixer to toner somehow exhausts the toner more rapidly? If so, I don't think this is the case. Selenium bonds to metallic silver; any non-image silver in a fully-fixed print is in the form of soluble argentothiosulfates and reacts only weakly with the toner.

    As for using toner efficiently and economically, I'm sure you've stumbled across one of my many posts on replenishing and reusing selenium toner. It's easy, just filter before and after use and replenish with a bit of the stock concentrate when toning times become too long. I like toning times in the 3-5 minutes range; when the image tone change I desire takes longer than that, I just add an ounce or so of concentrate to the tray. I have toning solutions that have been going for more than 10 years and all that on less than two bottles of Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner concentrate (I've still got half the second one to use up...).

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  6. #16

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    Re: Print Washing

    Doremus, topping up toner is another thing to perhaps try again, but what I was referring to is my assumption that transferring directly from fixer to toner, or mixing toner in wash aid instead of water (Adams-style) means the toner in the tray has become one-shot. Your indication is that fixer transferred to the toner is not a consideration. I know selenium toner has thiosulfate in it, but my lack of chemistry knowledge leaves the rest unknown to me.

    I did try topping up toner a while back, but I didn't seem to be able to control concentration, hence toning, well. I have challenges in my present set up comparing print color between two prints. If I am making a run of, say, five or ten prints that I wish to be the same, I use a thermometer and timer as preliminary guides to supplement my judgement of toner timing. My toner bottle holds 40 oz, and it just seemed to me that the economy was not appreciably greater mixing two ounces fresh to make my 1:19 solution than to top up when times got long -- plus the sudden change in timing. So, I returned to keeping "score" on the bottle, as I do with my fixers, and mixing fresh when my chosen solution capacity (that is, well less than published capacity for fixers) is reached.
    Last edited by Ulophot; 13-Oct-2020 at 14:15. Reason: typos
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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