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Thread: Fiber paper print washing question

  1. #1

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    Fiber paper print washing question

    I'm asking this in a new thread because I had been using an older thread, but I think that the original topic may have obscured my concerns.

    Here goes:

    I have a Yankee tub-style print washer. Very simple. I use it in a casdade setup with a tray. Newly fixed prints go in the tray and get moved to the tub after ten munutes or so. It's a cumbersome setup, and has caused many a spill due to some unfortunate sink engineering for which I have myself to blame. However, I have been thinking of buying a Versalab print washer because I would like to save water and hassle. Before I do, I want to find out if I really need to go to that expense.

    Question: print washers separate the prints vertically. In my tub and tray system, they lay flat, stacked on top of one another. Is this a problem? I've used a residual hypo test, and hypo clearing agent, and usually have to wash well beyond the suggested time of 20 minutes (using TF4 or Clayton AFC Archival fixer).
    I shuffle the prints every few minutes. If my concerns are water savings and archivalness, would I be better off with a print washer, or can I merely re-engineer my sink and stick with the tub and tray system?

    Thanks!

    --Gary

  2. #2
    Large format foamer! SamReeves's Avatar
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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Being in a region where the water police are constantly watching us, I can say that a good print washer will be a welcome investment. Once you fill it up, it's ready to go wash on the next time you print. You will wind up saving some water. Though you may want to drain it out once in a while to bleach out any green stuff that may be growing in the bottom, but I do that perhaps every six months or so.

  3. #3

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    We have similar water wars here in Oregon. The water bureau gets testy when we use too much water.

    --Gary

  4. #4

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Laying the prints on top of each other will make it tougher to wash out the hypo, where as placing the prints in separate compartments will help.

    However, I think several other ways to reduce washing time:

    First, use hypoclear.

    Second, the force of the water is not what clears the hypo - it is simply a function of diffusion, which is itself a function of time as well as the concentration of hypo in the water. You can cut back on the amount of water used in the tub by instead simply letting it soak longer the dumping the water instead of continuously running the wateer tap. Perhaps warming up the water would help the diffusion process?

    Also, you can separate the prints in the tub. All you need is just a little bit of space between the prints, to allow the hypo to seep out. I have seen a photographer place a sheet of soft plastic mosquito screen between the prints.

  5. #5

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Mosquito screens. Interesting. Very cheap. Soaking the prints also appeals to me. I had been using the technique I read in the Ansel Adams book, "The Print:" Shuffling the prints in the wash water for extended periods of time, up to 30 minutes after a hypoclear bath. I changed water every few minutes. It's labor-intensive, and I hate doing it.

    How long would you suggest soaking the prints between changes of water?

    Thanks!
    --Gary

  6. #6

    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary L. Quay View Post
    ....Question: print washers separate the prints vertically. In my tub and tray system, they lay flat, stacked on top of one another. Is this a problem?....
    The advantage of vertical washers is that the sheets are kept seperate from each other, so the addition of a new sheet will not "contaminate" the wash water of previous sheets.

    Steve

  7. #7

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    A potential problem with extended soaking of paper is that the emulsion can begin to come off the paper, especially near the edges, if wet time is too long. David Vestal at one time advocated a short wash, an overnight soak, and then another short wash. His results are probably in "The Art of B&W Enlarging". When I tried it, about 15 years ago, the emulsion frilled off. Today's papers may be different, or the technique might be perfected; it's worth a try.

  8. #8

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    The Versalab is a very nice unit. You can set the trickle rate to the lowest amount that works for your prints. Keep in mind that there is some evidence that a small amount of residual hypo is a good thing for preservation ( I think it was Wilhelm and/or Kodak that discovered this). This is one of the reasons that the old Hypo Eliminator (not hypo clearing agents) chemical sequence is no longer used.

  9. #9

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Thanks for the input! I think I will buy the Versalab print washer. I am tired of fussing with multiple wash trays, and I want to be certain that my prints separated and get washed evenly.

  10. #10

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    Re: Fiber paper print washing question

    Before you order that Versalab I would highly recommend that you check out Summitek's Cascade washer.
    http://www.summitek.com/products.html

    I have one of these and it is fantastic! Kerik Kouklis has had one for years (I got mine on his recommendation) and there are probably others here that have them as well.
    Sadly, when I went to his site to get the url, I see that he will not be making any more of these and when he runs out of his current stock there will be no more. If you're thinking about one I would grab it quick.

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