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Thread: Selenium Toner

  1. #1
    Vlad Soare's Avatar
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    Selenium Toner

    Hi guys,

    I've read that toners, including selenium, use to stain prints that haven't been properly washed. Does this always happen? Is it certain? Or, to put it another way, if it doesn't stain the prints, does this certainly mean that they have been properly washed?

    I'm asking this because I don't have a print washer, and I'm not 100% sure that my washing method works fine with fiber papers. I've toned a few FB prints, and all of them came out fine. Is this a confirmation that my washing method was OK?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    It does happen. And it is very disappointing when it does.

    The problem is not a matter of washing, although thorough washing before toning will prevent toning. The issue really is a matter of the pH of the print when it is toned. In my experience, taking a print directly from an ordinary fixer directly to the toner greatly increases the risk of staining. Conversely, simply rinsing the print briefly, and then soaking it for a minute or so in a hypoclearing agent greatly reduces the risk of staining.

  3. #3
    Chuck P.'s Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    Brown stains that you may see on a FB print after toning means that the print was not fixed properly. Since fixing removes unused silver from the print, the stains indicate the presence of unused silver. I do not believe that it has to do with washing, but more with the fixing step.

  4. #4
    Andrey Donchev's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    As far as I know, the direct selenium toner like KRST or T55 could be combined with HCA and used before washing. I never had any issues with T55, which I make myself. Toner which are susceptible to stain prints due to inadequate washing, are the indirect toners (first bleaching the print and then redeveloping it in toner) as the PF Thiourea and the Dassonville T56 selenium toner.
    Full with mission!

  5. #5
    Vlad Soare's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    Toner which are susceptible to stain prints due to inadequate washing, are the indirect toners (first bleaching the print and then redeveloping it in toner) as the PF Thiourea and the Dassonville T56 selenium toner.
    I see. Mine is a direct toner. So I guess I can't use the stainless toning as a confirmation that the print was properly washed.
    Thanks.

  6. #6

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    Re: Selenium Toner

    I use two fixer baths (ilford rapid fix for 1 mintue each) before transfering the print to the selenium toner and have never had stains. After the toner, i put in hypo clear for 5-10 minutes, then to a water bath. I believe that Andrey is correct, the fixing is the important step.

  7. #7

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    Re: Selenium Toner

    The only time that I have ever experienced staining from using KRST has been when I have washed the print after fixing the print and before toning. This was not due to inadequate washing because I washed for over an hour in an archival washer.

    The best procedure that I have found, for myself, is to go directly from the second fix bath to the toning bath and then washing the fixed and toned print thereafter.

    First fixing bath is sodium thiosulfate and sodium sulfite combined and the second fixing bath is sodium thiosulfate only. Second fixing bath of one printing session becomes the first fixing bath for a subsequent session by adding sodium sulfite.

    So far as mixing hypo clearing agent with toner, I did that for a time until someone pointed out to me that KRST has sodium thiosulftate (hypo) as one of it's ingredients. So hypo clearing agent seems to be a wasted ingredient of the process.

    The only sure determiner for improper fixing is the test chemicals for that purpose...one for fixer exhaustion and the second for residual on the print itself.

  8. #8
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    Similar experience to mcfactor and Donald here. I use a mixture of the "Ilford 1 minute concentrated fixer" and the "2-bath fixer" methods:
    a) 1st fix one minute in 1+4 Ilford Hypam or similar rapid fix with an acidic pH.
    b) Short rinse or storage in water bath
    c) 2nd fix in odorless rapid fixer 1+4 (near neutral pH). From there it goes directly to
    d) KRST 1+9 - 1+19 depending on paper, with some sodium metaborate ("Kodalk") added to raise the pH.
    e) a few minutes wash
    f) 10 minutes in washaid (Ilford, HCA, or similar)
    g) final wash

    I never had any stains in 15 years using this sequence. And as Donald said, KRST contains hypo, so HCA before toning doesn't make any sense to me either.

  9. #9
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: Selenium Toner

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    So far as mixing hypo clearing agent with toner, I did that for a time until someone pointed out to me that KRST has sodium thiosulftate (hypo) as one of it's ingredients. So hypo clearing agent seems to be a wasted ingredient of the process.
    As stated above, I totally agree. It just occurred to me, however, that one reason this is recommended (St. Ansel comes to mind) is to buffer/stabilize the pH of the diluted toner, as HCA is alkaline. It would then serve the same purpose as the addition of sodium metaborate, which is what I do. HCA is of course comparatively expensive as an alkaline buffer.

  10. #10

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    Re: Selenium Toner

    One of the recommended methods for toning with selenium is to mix working strength hypo clearing agent with your preferred working dilution of selenium and transfer your prints directly from your second or final fix to the toner and then the final wash.

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