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Thread: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

  1. #11

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Just two additions here and one to come.

    Toning some VC papers can yield a subtle split toned effect, because the two emulsions respond to the toner at different rates. I have not used the Fomabrom; the Fomatone Classic Warmtone seems to exhibit virtually no split toning effect but tones extremely fast. (I use a dilution of 1:80 to slow it down to allow pulling the print between 2-3 minutes, usually, for the kind of tone I prefer.) As someone above said, use practice prints first; they can be small ones or graduated test strips.

    Regarding the drying screens, I have followed the advice from others, of using a 10% chlorine bleach solution (washing machine stuff) to periodically wipe down my screens and then, of course, thoroughly rinse them. I am careful with my washing, because I want my prints to last, but I don't have a vertical print washer, and although I occasionally run a residual hypo test on a print or two and get fine results, washing my four screens twice a year takes less than a half hour.

    To come: I'll photograph my print flattener.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  2. #12

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornscharfsteller View Post
    Wow, thank you all! I am always astonished how deep the answers in this forum are. Thank you again, you are helping a lot!

    One more question on the toning:

    You have mentioned that it would be feasible to do the toning of the finished prints later, after all prints have been washed at the end of the day or maybe on the next day when all prints have already dried.

    Doing the toning later would have the great advantage for me that the whole printing process could become less stressful (one bath, one tray less) and that I would not have an open tray with selenium toner in my darkroom for the whole day, my darkroom is not very well ventilated when it is in dark-modeô. Toning could be done in well ventilated daylight.

    If this is a feasible approach, can I leave the prints in the water for multiple hours until Iím done printing for the day or should I start drying the finished prints and then at the end of the day or the next day, re-soak the prints in water and then do the toning?
    Keeping prints wet for hours is not a good idea. The emulsion softens, the edges frill and the paper base can actually swell too much and degrade. It would be better to give your prints fix 1, a thorough wash and then dry them on screens. If you wash thoroughly, you don't need an extra set of screens (one for "contaminated" prints, one for the clean ones), since the prints will be well-washed.

    As Neil points out, once you dry your prints from the printing session (in "dark mode"), then you can discard the prints that don't make the cut and have fewer to tone during the toning session. And, yes, you can do the entire toning session in well-ventilated daylight.

    Do note that if you reuse and replenish your toner, the unpleasant ammonia odor all but disappears. The toner is still just as active, thought.

    Again, during the printing session you develop, stop and give the prints the first fix, a good wash and then dry them. For the toning session, you soak the prints, give them fix 2, toner, a rinse of a few minutes and then treat them in wash aid before washing them thoroughly again. Note that the several minute rinse before the wash aid is important for a good wash. How long to treat the prints in wash aid is not so clear. Kodak recommends rather short times for its Hypo Clearing Agent, but Ilford likes 10 minutes. Since there can be no disadvantage to treating them longer, I go with the longer time.

    Best,

    Doremus

  3. #13

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    The issue of print "dry down" with fiber based print paper is and can be serious. As the fiber based paper dries, what appears as good tonal range and good whites can dry down into gloomy ick. Suggest setting up a print inspection area just after the fixer rinse tray with a Halogen or similar light source of intensity close to the lighting intensity of how the print would be displayed. Initially squeegee wet print, then apply a hair dryer or similar to the print to get the print dry enough to make printing adjustments as needed. The wet print never looks like the dry print.

    Print wash times can be reduced by using a wash aid like Heico "Perma Wash". It appears to work good based on prints made over three decades ago that show nil degradation.

    Do NOT soak a print for hour after hour as this will damage the base print paper/emulsion.

    Once an acceptable print is done, wash water squeegeed off, place the wet print on a drying screen emulsion up. Make absolute sure these drying screens are clean as they are a easy source of print contamination.. on the back side of the print where slow long term degradation can easily occur but not visiable.

    If the print is to be toned (selenium or etc), best to allowed the dried print to be carefully evaluated then re-soaked for the toning process, followed by another wash-dry cycle.

    IMO, best way to finish a fiber based paper print is dry mounting the print to a 4 ply acid free mat board. That is a skill and process all it's own. Then the print is ready for an outer mat, signature or print series numbering then framing.


    Bernice

  4. #14

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    I use watercolor tape to tape my best few prints to glass for drying. Its easy, it works amazingly well, and as long as the glass is clean, its a benign process.

  5. #15

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    My flattening press is made of two pieces of Formica-covered flat cabinet wood that I found one day in excellent shape. It's just over 15"x20". It was one piece, which my neighbor sawed in two for me and then screwed together. I bought a simple handle at the hardware store. This is one, flat heavy weight!

    It sits next to my dry-mounting press, atop a sheet of smooth-side-up Masonite. You can also see that I have a sheet of 2-ply archival card with a little tab for lifting. When I print comes out of the dry-mount press, it goes under here for a few minutes. I also use the flattener for print flattening, leaving dry prints underneath it for several days.

    As with dry-mounting, it is essential that all surfaces be pristinely free of any piece of grit that could make an indent in the print surface. I use a microfiber cloth to clean my top surfaces and, periodically, underneath the flattener. I also use a 4-inch anti-static brush on print, board, and mounting tissue before sandwiching for dry-mounting.

    I meant to add a caution in my previous post: Someone mentioned using a school darkroomís dry-mount press as a possibility. The potential red flag here is contamination or dry-mount adhesive from the pad and or heated platen. I would take with me oversized boards to sandwich your dry-mounting assembly in.


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    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  6. #16
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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    My flattening press is made of two pieces of Formica-covered flat cabinet wood that I found one day in excellent shape. It's just over 15"x20". It was one piece, which my neighbor sawed in two for me and then screwed together. I bought a simple handle at the hardware store. This is one, flat heavy weight!

    It sits next to my dry-mounting press, atop a sheet of smooth-side-up Masonite. You can also see that I have a sheet of 2-ply archival card with a little tab for lifting. When I print comes out of the dry-mount press, it goes under here for a few minutes. I also use the flattener for print flattening, leaving dry prints underneath it for several days.

    As with dry-mounting, it is essential that all surfaces be pristinely free of any piece of grit that could make an indent in the print surface. I use a microfiber cloth to clean my top surfaces and, periodically, underneath the flattener. I also use a 4-inch anti-static brush on print, board, and mounting tissue before sandwiching for dry-mounting.

    I meant to add a caution in my previous post: Someone mentioned using a school darkroom’s dry-mount press as a possibility. The potential red flag here is contamination or dry-mount adhesive from the pad and or heated platen. I would take with me oversized boards to sandwich your dry-mounting assembly in.


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    You might find a used book press that would do the job.

  7. #17

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter View Post
    You might find a used book press that would do the job.
    Also Ulophot can flatten a FB print in the dry mount press in a minute.

  8. #18

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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Yes, and he sometimes does that, too.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  9. #19
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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornscharfsteller View Post
    I need to make some 40x50cm prints on (preferably glossy) fibre paper from 4x5 b&w negatives for a small exhibition.
    Some of these prints should also be sold there in small editions (5 prints per artwork).
    Due to budget reasons, I will need to use some cheaper paper, probably some Foma fixed or variable gradation fibre paper.

    So far I have never made fibre prints this big only RC prints of this and larger sizes.
    Also, so far my prints rarely had to be gallery/archival quality that could also be sold.

    So I feel I really have some catching up to do and learn how to make gallery/archival quality fibre prints.
    Especially all the steps that happen after fixing probably need improvement.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Does it matter whether I use variable or fixed gradation paper when it comes to archival quality?
    2. How do all the steps after fixing look like? Should I tone the paper? If so, should I use selenium tone or something else? I heared selenium toner is somewhat dangerous, how is it properly handled? How long and strong should I tone? How often an long should I wash? Should I apply any other chemicals after fixing, e.g. anti-static, anti-fungus wetting agent and/or hypo clear? May I use a squeegee for fibre paper this size?
    3. How do I dry the prints?
    4. How do I flatten the prints? I donĎt have a press for this size. Do you have some build instructions how I could build a cheap alternative?

    You see a lot of question, maybe there are some general learning resources you could point me that help get from start to finish with halfway decent results?

    Thank you very much! ��
    the main thing I would add / stress is do your printing in small batches and have a "test print" that is your "testing for residual fixer" guinea pig". use a split fixer routine (1/2 your fixing in 1 bath and 1/2 in a 2nd bath ) to insure your prints are actually fixed (I'd also do the "clip test" to make sure you aren't fixing your prints in spent fixer whether you split the fixing or not ) and after you fix have your prints in running water that you exchange, not just a tray with water in it.. that will lead to you continuing to fix your prints in dilute fixer until you do your final wash routine. get fixer remover or heico perm-wash and follow their instructions on washing your prints. shuffle and dump your prints to assure front and back of the prints are getting washed, and don't introduce anything into the wash or you will have to start over again. do the residual fixer test on the test print and if it still has fixer in there monitor your washing so you know how much additional washing you need. its not good for prints or film to wash them too much and it doesn't need to be hours and hours ... the exchanges in the post fix and pre fix remove tray will remove some of the fixer through osmosis. I don't bother with selenium or other toners, they are difficult to get rid of, and their toxicity requires precautions and they can lead to problems down the road, I've been submitting images to HABS Collections and never had or the need to do toning. I use as few chemicals in the darkroom as possible.
    good luck
    John

  10. #20
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    Re: How to finish, wash and dry fibre paper prints for exhibition and sale

    Quote Originally Posted by jnantz View Post
    the main thing I would add / stress is do your printing in small batches and have a "test print" that is your "testing for residual fixer" guinea pig". use a split fixer routine (1/2 your fixing in 1 bath and 1/2 in a 2nd bath ) to insure your prints are actually fixed (I'd also do the "clip test" to make sure you aren't fixing your prints in spent fixer whether you split the fixing or not ) and after you fix have your prints in running water that you exchange, not just a tray with water in it.. that will lead to you continuing to fix your prints in dilute fixer until you do your final wash routine. get fixer remover or heico perm-wash and follow their instructions on washing your prints. shuffle and dump your prints to assure front and back of the prints are getting washed, and don't introduce anything into the wash or you will have to start over again. do the residual fixer test on the test print and if it still has fixer in there monitor your washing so you know how much additional washing you need. its not good for prints or film to wash them too much and it doesn't need to be hours and hours ... the exchanges in the post fix and pre fix remove tray will remove some of the fixer through osmosis. I don't bother with selenium or other toners, they are difficult to get rid of, and their toxicity requires precautions and they can lead to problems down the road, I've been submitting images to HABS Collections and never had or the need to do toning. I use as few chemicals in the darkroom as possible.
    good luck
    John
    Another reason fro making test prints is fiber tends to show more dry-down effect than RC, at least in my experience. It could be because of the brighter white of the RC base. That applies to Ilford papers, I don't know about others.

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