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Thread: Your Crucial Chemicals

  1. #1

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    May 2019
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    Question Your Crucial Chemicals

    Disclaimer: I am a newbie, who's just learning the ropes. This forum, the post here and the knowledge within them have been an invaluable learning resource. At more times than I can count, my answers have been easily found with a little digging.

    I'm in the process of setting up a more permanent bathroom darkroom, a space of roughly 6 x 3.5 feet.
    It will be equipped with a LPL 6700 enlarger, on the dry side, along with film and paper. Will try to fit in another table to handle cutting, coating and serve as a barrier/gap to the sink.

    I will be mostly working with 4x5 and 120 mm BW, contact printing the 4x5 for now, onto variable paper and start experimenting with salt printing.

    Readymade developers, fixers, toners or anything for that matter including films and paper are not available in Pakistan, import duties are prohibitively expensive, so my priority is always to source equipment and material locally.
    However, raw chemicals are available. If not all, most required in the darkroom are easily available. The rules are not too strict in terms of health hazards and those chemicals which may no longer be easily accessible in the Sates or EU, can be obtained here, if available, without too much of a hassle.

    So far I have been using D76, the formula available on the massive dev chart, and a modified version of Agfa-304 fixer. (as I can not source ammonium thiosulfate locally) with Artista Edu Ultra 400 in 4x5 and HP5 in 120mm.
    D-23 with Fuji Hr-U

    Having said that, what chemicals would you recommend, would be helpful to begin with and be beneficial in the long run?

    Importantly what chemicals are a must have in your own darkroom and alt-process arsenal?

  2. #2

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Sounds like you have it pretty much worked out already. Nothing wrong with D-76 or D-23 for film development; I use 'em all the time! Paper developers, like D-72, can be easily mixed from raw chemicals. You mention ammonium thiosulfate for fixer is difficult to obtain...can you get sodium thiosulfate? Will take a little longer to fix, but it works.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    https://petapixel.com/2020/03/30/mak...usehold-items/

    Read down the comments also

    Swimming pool chems or salt can be fixer
    2022

  4. #4
    Foamer
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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    Sounds like you have it pretty much worked out already. Nothing wrong with D-76 or D-23 for film development; I use 'em all the time! Paper developers, like D-72, can be easily mixed from raw chemicals. You mention ammonium thiosulfate for fixer is difficult to obtain...can you get sodium thiosulfate? Will take a little longer to fix, but it works.
    Ammonium thiosulfate is easy to get in the U.S. I'm now using it 3:1 for all my b&w film, dry plate, wet plate fixer. Have a gallon jug sitting in my basement.




    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  5. #5

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Ammonium thiosulfate is easy to get in the U.S. I'm now using it 3:1 for all my b&w film, dry plate, wet plate fixer. Have a gallon jug sitting in my basement.




    Kent in SD
    Yes, I know. But, didn't the OP say he was located in Pakistan?

  6. #6

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    https://petapixel.com/2020/03/30/mak...usehold-items/

    Read down the comments also

    Swimming pool chems or salt can be fixer
    Thank you for that! Have had a go with parodinal but have not tried caffenol. I am tempted as I was not able to find pyrogallol or catechol locally and have read the stain being beneficial for making alt process negs from film.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    Sounds like you have it pretty much worked out already. Nothing wrong with D-76 or D-23 for film development; I use 'em all the time! Paper developers, like D-72, can be easily mixed from raw chemicals. You mention ammonium thiosulfate for fixer is difficult to obtain...can you get sodium thiosulfate? Will take a little longer to fix, but it works.
    Yes for now I am sorted and was also more interested in what others may be using and why.

    Sodium thiosulfate is easily available and have been using that. The Agfa-304 uses ammonium chloride in its formula to form ammonium thiosulfate ions. Its not perhaps as fast a pure ammonium thiosulfate but with a bit of modification to the published formula, thanks to a thread on Photoria, I get clearing times of around 35s. My knowledge of chemistry is rudimentary at best, so following advice and seeing if it hold true for my own setup is where I am at.

  7. #7

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Silver nitrate and accompanying sources of halides (chloride, bromide, iodide) for emulsions, salt printing, and developer recipes.

    Potassium ferricyanide (K3[Fe(CN)6]) for C-22 bleach / farmer's reducer, cyanotype, and iron toners.

    Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) for B&W reversal bleach.

    Sodium sulfite as ingredient and bleach/hypo clearing bath.

  8. #8

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Metol
    Hydroquinone
    Phenidone or dimezone-s
    Sodium or potassium carbonate
    Sodium sulfite
    Potassium bromide
    Acetic acid/vinegar and/or citric acid
    Sodium or potassium hydroxide is sometimes convenient to have around
    Sodium metaborate
    Thiourea
    Potassium ferricyanide

    The above covers many bases for b&w film and paper, including sepia toning.

  9. #9

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    Re: Your Crucial Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by lanactoor View Post
    Silver nitrate and accompanying sources of halides (chloride, bromide, iodide) for emulsions, salt printing, and developer recipes.

    Potassium ferricyanide (K3[Fe(CN)6]) for C-22 bleach / farmer's reducer, cyanotype, and iron toners.

    Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) for B&W reversal bleach.

    Sodium sulfite as ingredient and bleach/hypo clearing bath.
    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    Metol
    Hydroquinone
    Phenidone or dimezone-s
    Sodium or potassium carbonate
    Sodium sulfite
    Potassium bromide
    Acetic acid/vinegar and/or citric acid
    Sodium or potassium hydroxide is sometimes convenient to have around
    Sodium metaborate
    Thiourea
    Potassium ferricyanide

    The above covers many bases for b&w film and paper, including sepia toning.
    Thank you both exactly what I was looking for

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