Home printing suggestions

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by G.T., Jan 23, 2008.

  1. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Ok, so I found an Omega B-22 with safelight, timer, lenses, neg carriers and
    a couple of 11x14 trays for $75.

    I'll be doing both fiber and RC so need some ultra-economic ideas (both
    cost-wise and space-wise) for washing, squeeging and drying.

    Homegrown solutions for washing?
    Convert a leaky aquarium, set up a tray washer, buy a used vertical washer,
    or ?

    ....for squeeging?
    Necessary? Or just get as much water off as possible while holding the
    print? Or get some stainless steel sheet or plexiglass to lay the print on
    for squeeging?

    ....for drying?
    Can 8x10 fiber prints be hung? Or do they need to be laid flat? I've seen
    suggestions on my past posts for grabbing various plastic trays from a place
    like Target.

    Thanks for all your suggestions on home developing and printing these last
    few weeks. Some of this is probably pretty tedious to the veterans here.

    G.T., Jan 23, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  2. Drying fiber prints-

    1. Nothing works better than a blotter roll. Tough to locate these days.

    2. Second best is blotter books - check Freestyle, B&H, Adorama, Porters.

    Caution with blotters is to make sure your prints are truly washed and free
    of excess water. And in the case of the books, weigh the book down...some
    books/magazines do the trick. And be advised that over time they will -
    despite your best efforts - become bedraggled and stained.

    3. Plain ordinary window screens. Place the washed prints (with excess
    moisture removed) face down and air dry. They will curl somewhat (plenty if
    single weight, but I don't think you can readily get single weight fiber
    paper these days) such that your next challenge is to straighten them out.
    Different people have different approaches.
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jan 24, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  3. G.T.

    ____ Guest

    A soft sponge works well instead of a squeegee.
    A tray actually works well, you'll need to dump it quite often to make
    the prints wash correctly. Back in school that's how I did fiber. Three
    minute perma wash + toner soak, 15 minutes of washing and dumping. Fill
    the tray and dump, fill the tray and dump.

    Plexi works best.
    Get some nylon screen at home depot. Unroll it and place weights on the
    ends between two tables you leave a space under the prints for air. Saw
    horses work well too. I always put sponged FB prints right side up.
    ____, Jan 24, 2008
  4. G.T.

    Ken Hart Guest

    Washing RC doesn't take much water, so it would be difficult to economize
    there. For fiber, there are various wash aids available-- taek your pick and
    follow instructions.
    WalMart is your friend. In the housewares section are lots of different size
    containers, many of which would be good for washing. For tray washing, I
    like my trusty old Kodak tray siphon. Go to the local hardware and get a
    fitting to replace that cone shaped, fits anything hose end. It tends to
    fall off.
    I don't like squeegees, sponges, etc. Too much chance of scratches. For RC,
    dry the prints at an angle so that the water runs off. For fiber, you could
    blot the print.
    Hanging fiber prints can 'distort' them as they dry. Also the clips used to
    hang them can leave surface marks. If you can find window screens that are
    nylon instead of metal, get some of those to lay the prints on. Rig some
    sort of holder so they can lie at an angle so water will run off.
    My method for washing prints now really isn't appropriate to most people
    here. I put RC prints in a holding tray, then run them through the wash
    racks of my color processor. They get a six minute wash, a forty second dry,
    and they're done. Fiber prints get a twenty minute tray wash, then go
    through the wash racks. They come out damp and I lay them on plastic drying
    Ken Hart, Jan 24, 2008
  5. One of the best squeegees in the years past was the worn - not new - wiper
    blade from the venerable VW bug of the 1950s - 70s...the ones with the flat
    as versus curved windshields. Worn smooth through all that use, straight,
    and rigid - rather than curved/flexible as wipers for current cars - it did
    an excellent job as a squeegee. So if you know of anyone driving around in
    a 30, 40, or 50 year old bug, offer to buy him/her a set of new wipers in
    return for the old ones.
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jan 24, 2008
  6. G.T.

    Guest Guest

    That would be me. '58, and '72 Bugs (standard).
    Guest, Jan 24, 2008
  7. I strongly disagree -- see below.
    So if "over time [blotters] will...become bedraggled and stained", that
    means that over time _something_ is transferring from the prints to the
    blotters. In other words, the blotters are becoming contaminated. Even
    if it's just with tiny amounts of gelatin from the emulsion, and the stains
    are fungus that likes to eat the gelatin, this is not an environment you
    want to put a new clean print in.

    Blotter books are cheap. Use each page *once* and *once only*. They
    are not an acceptable means of drying for prints intended to have archival
    permanence otherwise.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Jan 24, 2008
  8. Dunno what the disagreement is, this statement of disagreement being so non

    a. Easy to find blotter rolls these days? If that's what you are saying,
    then please cite where I can buy one new.

    b. Blotter roll doesn't work well? Please - references/citations/links to
    studies. I have prints dried back in the mid/late 60's into the 70's on
    blotter rolls used multiple times, which prints are still in excellent
    Of course. Take your underwear. It too over time with use will become
    bedraggled - and given your own personal proclivities, perhaps even stained.
    Yet dollars to donuts you don't use each piece of underwear "once" and "once
    only". Don't like the underwear analogy? Then take your white socks.
    Don't like the socks? Then take that brand new car of yours...over time it
    will become less reliable, dented, perhaps even involved in an accident or
    two. Most folks don't use their brand new car "once" and "once only". But
    surely enough, most folks have the sense enough to get a new car after
    enough use from their current one. Ditto underwear. Ditto white socks.
    And ditto photo blotters.
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jan 24, 2008
  9. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Thanks for all the tips.
    Clarification about fixer since at school the fixer was provided by them
    so I didn't know much about it. I'm using a fixer from Freestyle that
    clears film in about 30 seconds. Do I use the same fixer for prints?
    And is the time in the fixer the same for film? And I absolutely need
    to get some Hypo Clear for fiber prints, right?
    It was an Ebay Buy-It-Now so we'll see when it gets here. At $75 I
    won't mind replacing the lenses if necessary.
    Thanks, I really enjoy it and I'm hoping that there are more people like
    me out there that are giving it a shot in this digital world.

    G.T., Jan 24, 2008
  10. Except that, and excuse me if I missed something here, one cannot wash
    photo blotters the way one washes soiled underwear, socks, etc. I think
    that's the point being made here. And if blotters are still available,
    and presumably relatively cheap (compared to other photo supplies), why
    take the risk of contaminating your lovely new prints that you've been
    so careful with up to that point?
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 24, 2008
  11. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Thanks, guys, I'm definitely going to go the blotter book route.

    G.T., Jan 24, 2008
  12. Yep, unless you want to use (and waste) vast quantities of water and
    take hours washing your prints.

    By the way, you can use plain sodium sulfite, easily available, as HCA.
    It's the main and most important ingrediment. You don't really need the
    other stuff (EDTA, etc.) that's in commerially-available hypo-clearing
    agent (or "wash aid", if you prefer, though that usage is chiefly
    British, I believe).
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 24, 2008
  13. Of course, that's where the analogy breaks down...as with most/all
    analogies. But the point is use "once" and "once only"...not with washing.
    Should you be so wont as to use your underwear "once" and "once only", then
    far be it for me to dissuade you to do otherwise. Similarly if you are dead
    set on using photo blotters "once" and "once only" - then go right ahead.
    In fact, if enough folks use the blotters "once" and "once only"...who
    knows - there may enough demand such that the blotter roll returns!

    Here, by the way, is what Adorama says about its 11x14 blotter books - "50
    year ARCHIVAL quality, museum use approved. Each book holds 21 prints."
    Presumably not with use "once" and "once only", but the curious can seek
    clarification from Adorama.

    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jan 24, 2008
  14. Yes, but at the risk of beating an already deceased horse, as you well
    know, the blotter sheets are no longer archival quality once they're
    contaminated with fixer, etc. How many times they can be used is, of
    course, up to you, but if you really are after "archival quality", use
    once only would be the way to go.

    That "archival quality" bit reminds me of another absurdity I wonder
    about from time to time: my shaving brush (yes, I'm that old-fashioned)
    which has "STERILIZED" proudly stamped upon it. Well, it *was*
    sterilized once upon a time, but that was a looooong time ago.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 24, 2008
  15. Not always. It could have been impregnated with something to kill
    bacteria. Silver for one, would still continue to work.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 24, 2008
  16. Sure saves on water if you use it.

    The problem with Hypo Clear is it goes off without
    any indication that it is no longer working.

    If you use hypo clear then you also need to use
    a wash-test reagent such as Kodak HT-2. You make
    HT-2 yourself:

    Water 80 ml
    28% Acetic acid 25 ml
    Silver Nitrate .7 gm
    Water to make 100 ml

    Photographers Formulary sells 100ml kits of the HT-2
    for $10. But for $20 you can buy 25gm of silver nitrate,
    enough to make 35 100ml bottles of HT-2.

    I only make up 8ml at a time: 1 ml Acetic acid and a
    bit of Silver Nitrate about the size of a saccharine
    tablet. You might use 2 or 3 drops every time you
    wash so 8ml lasts about 100 washing sessions. I figure
    my 25gm of Silver N. will last me the rest of my life.

    In my testing Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent (KHCA) works
    a lot better than any of the various orbit/perma-jet/etc.

    If on a budget, a teaspoon of Sodium Sulfite in a liter
    of water works just about as well - since you mix it before
    use there is no danger of it having gone off. A 5lb jar
    of S. Sulfite is about $15, less if you buy it from a swimming
    pool supply house.
    Folks get all insistent that you need an Apo-Ultra-Supergon
    lens and then go and take pictures with a Diana or Holga.

    Most any lens will make perfectly fine prints.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 24, 2008
  17. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Hahaha, speaking of which, much of the stuff I want to print is from my
    Holga. I also have a Mamiya 645 Pro, though.

    G.T., Jan 25, 2008
  18. I second that emotion. However, seeing how cheap enlarging lenses are
    on, say, that little bitty on-line auction site these days, no reason to
    skimp there: go for the Rodenstock, the Nikkor, or the Componon.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 25, 2008
  19. Its pretty common to hear that photo blotters or the
    apron on a drum dryer can cause prints to become
    contaminated. However, I've never seen any testing of this.
    Obviously if one dried very inadequatly washed prints some
    material would transfer to the blotters or apron but
    generally the prints are well washed and have only the
    tiniest traces of hypo in them. IMO this is a very much
    exagerated danger. I would not use a blotter book or roll
    forever but I think a good many prints can dried in them
    without fear. Eventually the separators will become
    wrinkeled which will leave marks on the surface of the
    prints at which point the blotters should be discarded.
    It would be interesting to see the results of sensitive
    residual hypo testing on prints dried in well-used blotter
    books or rolls.
    BTW, the same thing was said of screens. Modern screens
    are usually made of fiberglas or some other plastic so can
    be washed easily. The older form of drying screens were made
    of cheese cloth stretched on a frame. These are more likely
    to absorb contaminents from prints but can also be washed
    out periodically. I repeat that I think this is an overblown
    Richard Knoppow, Jan 25, 2008
  20. G.T.

    Guest Guest

    My little two-bits worth:

    I dry RC prints by wiping them with a clean, cotton cloth and then lay them
    on a flat surface. NOTE that some prints (for some reason that someone
    might explain) have a slighly veiled surface. When I wipe the surface with a
    clean cloth the veil goes away. I kid you not.

    For fibre prints I use Hypo-Clear and wash too long.. I've fibre prints
    from the last forty years that show no issues. But what's forty years? Not
    much, eh?

    Dunno, folks. Thats's just my tiny contribution.


    and newer work is hidden but opening Real Soon Now (as they say)
    Guest, Jan 25, 2008
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.