16x20 question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by winger, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I am finally ready to make some 16x20 prints. My first ones will be contact prints of some glass plates that someone is hiring me to print. :whistling: No, he doesn't have the camera, but I'd love to see that thing, and, yes, I've printed smaller contacts for him and warned him this will take more time and be way more expensive.
    Anyway, my question is this - how much liquid (developer, stop, etc..) do you usually use at this size? I usually use 1 liter for 8x10 and 2 liters for 11x14. Is 3 liters enough? I'm not really going to be able to slosh the trays much because they're on a rack (thank you, Jim), so they need enough to cover well.
     
  2. Marek Warunkiewicz

    Marek Warunkiewicz Member

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    I'd just put in water in the trays and see. You'll need to figure out about how many prints per liter the chemistry can take. I use three litres and change after 20 prints. Considering the price for the prints, the chemistry is dirt cheap. make sure you have fresh fixer and use two fixer baths.
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I use a gallon for 16x20 printing. It covers the paper very nicely.

    My developer of choice is replenished Ethol LPD. Its capacity is amazing, and I only need to replenish 300ml fresh developer every 7-8 prints (30 8x10 equivalent). And then top up the gallon as needed when it's poured back into its container.

    - Thomas
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Thanks, guys! I doubt I'll manage more than a few prints so I'm not that worried about developer capacity. I'm also doing RC. I guess I'll make 3 liters to start and see how it goes. The plates are actually 14" x 17" I remembered. My customer is paying for materials as well an hourly fee, so the minor cost of chemistry isn't too bad. I still need to find a stool so I can stand and be able to see into the top tray. This sink is bigger than my last darkroom's and it still isn't big enough.
     
  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Bethe,

    I use Ilford Multigrade developer on Kentmere fiber at a 1:9 ratio. 10 oz of developer lasts me all day with no degradation of quality that I can see. My set up is developer, Ilford stop, fix, fix and running water wash for a hour or more in a vertical washer.

    John Powers
     
  6. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Second what Thomas said, except I don't save and re-use diluted print developer.
    I would use LPD 1:2, and make a gallon. My advice would be to make the gallon, you'll like having the additional volume. If you save kinking one print, you've paid for the additional chems.
     
  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use 3L for doing 16x20 in the patterson trays. I level them up good too.

    With the larger area to oxidize, I find the dektol darkens notably quicker than an 8x10 or 11x14 tray.

    With 16x20 RC paper you really have to be careful handling it.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  9. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Bethe,

    When I do 16x20, I use a single tray and pour the chemicals in and out of half gallon/2 liter pitchers. This is very easy and takes up very little space in the sink.

    Neal Wydra
     
  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I use 2 liters of Dektol in a 16x20 tray.
     
  11. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Thanks, all! I used 3 L today (I have Cesco trays for developer and stop) and it worked fine. The rest of the process, now that's another story... Well, the prints turned out ok, mostly. But man is it a PITA to deal with paper that big! And then getting the liquid out of each tray afterwards without spilling everywhere (I'm not exactly musclebound). I don't like getting chemicals on my hands, so I used two tongs for each chem - only dropped or knocked 5 onto the sink or the floor. I think I only scratched one (probably with the glass plate when I put it down) and I think only one has a slight bend in it (and it's outside the image area). I got 9 16x20 prints (from 2 14x17 plates) and 3 11x14 prints (all the same) done in nearly 4 hours. Need to do some adapting and modifying before next week.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Sounds Great. Wow those are big. Imagine the camera.
    Please bring prints to show NE OH Gathering May 6-8.

    John
     
  13. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Bethe,

    Try using examination gloves rather than tongs for large prints.

    Neal Wydra
     
  14. Marek Warunkiewicz

    Marek Warunkiewicz Member

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    Agree with Neal about the gloves. I NEVER use tongs for any size over 8x10. Dimpled prints are such a shame. Also, if the trays are too big to lift, tilt them and use a beaker, like a one or two liter one, and take most of the liquid out that way first. Makes it easier to get the last bit out.

    marek
     
  15. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Yeah, use gloves with prints that large, as Marek suggests. Much more secure than tongs, especially with RC paper, which is slicker on the back side.
     
  16. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Yup, did that.
    The only problem with gloves is that I'd end up going through nearly a box and I don't have any right now. Gotta stock up before I do more. I'm also very picky about gloves having worked in a lab and they'll probably end up costing me more than the chemicals do.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I wear just one glove. That way I have a hand that I use to handle the dry paper, and another hand that I can get wet. The gloved hand gets rinsed regularly, and can hold a tong.
     
  18. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    I print only fiber paper at that size (Ilford MG warm tone). I use about 6 liters of ilford multigrade diluted 1+9. The larger volume of solution means I can get the print under the solution quickly during the initial development stages. I wear a fresh pair of disposable nitril gloves for each print to keep contamination from happening and to keep myself from developing sensitivities. I took a lot of printmaking classes during my undergrad and I value safety. It also allows me to handle the prints under the enlarger without worrying about leaving finger prints. It's easier than putting on cloth gloves to do the enlarging then taking them off to do the chemical baths.

    I develop the sheets face down for most of the process to prevent fogging from the safelights. I have about 1/2 inch of white edge around the paper giving me somewhere to handle it.

    I usually take advantage of the large 16x20 tray after running a 16x20 edition to bang off a ton of personal 8x10's on RC paper. I can develop up to 8 sheets at once if I don't screw up.
     
  19. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    This has been interesting to me as I want to move up to 16x20 as well. The only thing holding me back is not having trays or a print washer that large yet. I only have an 11x14.

    It's funny everyone mentioning about using gloves. I always just use my bare hands in the chemicals. How harmful could they possibly be? I do use gloves for toning though. I can only imaging how hard it would be to handle large paper like that though!
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    Use gloves. Just do it. 16x20 is actually not that hard to handle if you have the room. I have been unlucky enough to do them in a friends friggin bathroom and lucky enough to do them in a proper darkroom with enough space to line the trays up. Once the logistics are figured out it just works.
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I use one L for 8x10, two L for 11x14, and four L for 16x20. You just have to fill the tray from L graduates to find out in about a minute.
     
  22. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I figured out one difference in how I have the trays that should help next week. What's causing most of my consternation is that I'm using the trays on a rack, so the developer is on top, then the stop is below and then the fixer was in the sink under the rack. I figured out a way to get the fixer tray slightly higher, which might help to get the paper into it without having to shove it so far under everything where I can't see it.
    My problem with using gloves is that I would use a new pair for each print. I'm not going to wash them and use one in the developer that had been in the fixer - it's just not in this labrat to do that. When a glove comes off, it goes in the trash. And that's why I don't use my fingers, Brian - too much chance of getting fixer on a print that hasn't gone through the developer, yet. I've only slightly creased one print and that was an early one, so I'm not that bothered by the tongs now that I've had some practice. It's just so slow. It's also boring since I'm not doing my stuff, just some old glass plates. I know they're interesting to some people, but making 6 prints of each gets pretty dull pretty quickly.
     
  23. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Ok,our friend is having the following problems : paper handling/damage & chemical contamination concerns.
    I'll detail my workflow,which avoids these problems.
    Place exposed paper in a dry 16x20 tray.
    Pour in the tempered developer, just enough to cover the print with a few mm of fluid.
    You can prepare any volume of developer needed for your session,but use the minimum amount for each print.
    This avoids the handling of a heavy,fluid filled tray, and allows easy transfer of the developer back into the storage container.
    The fiber based print will stick to the base of the tray as it is drained,even when held vertically.
    The stop and fix steps follow as above, and subsequent hypo-clear or toning procedures.
    If needed,the print can also be archivally washed in the same tray,using the soak and dump method.
    Note the print has not been touched or moved during the entire cycle,so handling marks or creases are eliminated. And no more than a couple of liters of fluid has been handled,so operator fatigue,spills and splashes are unlikely.
    A hose and spray head are useful to prevent cross contamination,especially between stop and fix.