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Thread: Fiber base print drying racks

  1. #1

    Fiber base print drying racks

    I'm going to have some drying racks built for fiber based paper and I'm trying t o figure out what I need. It occurs to me that in a window screen, the plastic screen itself is on one side. For a drying rack, I would put this screen face up , put the print on it and then put a second screen - with the screen down, on to p of the first screen. The two sceens together should hold the paper flat while it drys. Yet all the photographs I've seen of drying racks seem to suggest that the wet prints are squeegee'd and then just left on top of a screen.

    Could I get some opinions of what I'm looking for?

  2. #2

    Fiber base print drying racks

    I dry 'em in the traditional way, face (emulsion) down on a clean screen, without the other screen on top. far as I know that's how it's always done but that doesn't mean your idea is bad. To take the curl out, I put the prints in for a little time at a fairly low setting in the drymount press between archivally sound boards

  3. #3

    Fiber base print drying racks

    I think I'm on my third set of fiberglas drying screens. I get them made at the local combination window place, with extra heavy-duty frames and heavy-duty screening. They fit into racks that I had built years ago. The screens are large enough to hold two 11x14's or one 16x20 with extra room. The racks were designed so that there's only about an inch between screens. The prints [face up] do tend to curl some, and I correct for that by putting in the mount press or in two very large books presses with inter-leaved archival boards. Prints go in face-down, with the backing board slightly moistened. The whole thing is screwed down tight and left for a couple of days. Voila, no curl.

  4. #4

    Fiber base print drying racks

    Forget the top screen..it won't even begin to hold the print flat. I had a screen company make regular 'window' screens with fiberglass mesh and flat, low profile enameled (any color you want!)aluminum frames. I then built racks under a counter in my work area where the screens slide in and out on simple plastic "L" channel rails. The sides and back of the cases are not solid..to allow air to circulate. I sized the screens so 6 8x10's, 4 11x14's or 2 16x20's fit comfortably on them..and they fit neatly under my work counter. RC prints are dried face up, fiber based prints face down. I then flatten fiber based prints in my drymount press (about 20 sec on low heat)and use a steel platen (from Light Impressions) to draw the heat out of each print. This keeps them really flat. For fiber based prints..use an absolute minimum (or no) hardener in your first fixing bath (none in the second)..do not mix the stop bath too strong; and keep the wash time (and total wet time) to an absolute minimum. This will minimize the tendancy of the paper to curl. I have also used "hammocks" made of fiberglass screen material..a piece of 1"x2" pine stapeled on each end. These can be stretched accross the darkroom (or work room), wall to wall; and taken down, rolled up and stored away when not in use. They work really well; and are ok for limited space, or occasional use.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    65

    Fiber base print drying racks

    Don't do it, drying racks will disappoint you. You will never get your prints real flat. If so, it would happen only with Ilford, especially Galerie. But then, the papers will not curl, but it will still show bubbles when dry. Drying on a rack has also the risk that the rack-pattern will show on your print too, especially possible after special toners.

    The only right way in my opinion/experience is drying on a glass plate, emulsion up. Print on a large paper so that the image has some space. After the squeegee, glue the paper to the glass with white paper tape, which you have to wet to get the glue active (available in every art-shop - I think it's aquarel-tape - not expensive). You can blowdry to get a more glossy surface.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    145

    Fiber base print drying racks

    Racks will dry your prints fine they just wont' be flat .. condition your prints by using an unhardened fixer and a washing agent then dry them face up on a plastic screen. They will curl, some papers more than others..print undersized so 11x on 16x20 paper 8x on 11x and so on you'll need the space maybe not that much but you can trim the edges to relax the curl. Use 2 acid free matte boards and stack books evenly on top if you don't have a seal press or print weights. Drymounting is the only way to protect and flatten your fiber prints. Even drum dryers leave some curl just realize that with fiber it is a fact of life. Lot... bubbles under the gel-coat between the paper base? Or bubbles after dry mounting?

  7. #7

    Fiber base print drying racks

    LOT....(you've got to be kidding??)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    65

    Fiber base print drying racks

    What do you mean C Matter? Did you ever try to dry Portriga Rapid on a rack? The best way is to dry the paper under tension. Curling and bubbling is and effect of shrinkage, which will result in reduced image-quality. You can only solve this by drying under tension.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    65

    Fiber base print drying racks

    Maybe I chose the wrong word in English for what I mean, Blake (C Matter?). I should have spoken about th ebulging of paper perhaps. I certainly did not mean bubbles of the emulsion from the fiber base. But this bulging will reduce sharpness-impression and contrast-impression even if you have the curling under control.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    145

    Fiber base print drying racks

    I know Lot ...I know I'll be wrestling the curls and swells out of some 11x zone vi brilliant tonight. That stuff scares me. I'm used to Cachet(the gel is a little more durable than the brilliant). I'm gonna try your method though. I wonder if beseler ever made a printaflat? A frame-like dryer with teeth to grab and tension the print while it dries. Get to work on that would ya Doc?

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