A bunch of old paper. Might it still be good?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nsurit, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I have a bunch of old paper that I've accumulated in anticipation of having a darkroom in my home. The darkroom is now up and ready to run (well, there are a few finsihing touches, however it is dark and wet.) When I say a bunch, I mean a bunch. It ranges from 20X24 down to post card size. The question is, "What is the best way to test the paper to see if it has become fogged from age?" Would developing and fixing an unexposed piece give me the answer or some other method? Thanks, Bill Barber
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would go to developing and fixing is the easiest route.

    Jeff
     
  3. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Yup, just see what develops. Develop to completion.

    Next step, if it's relatively okay, is to 'step-wedge' it in time increments with noted enlarger height and aperture all the way to max black. Those figures would come in handy for making contact prints.
     
  4. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    You might want to use a bit of restrainer if it has some base fog to it that shows up with your normal exposure and development times.

    Restrainer will clean up the base fog, but it also cuts into your highlight details and will reduce the overal usable contrast of the negative. If you have a ton of the paper with the same characteristic, you can run a couple step-wedge tests to see where the break-point is. Then what you do is preflash the paper to sensitize the threshold just beyond the point of the base fog.

    I have a similar situation. I got my dad's old paper stash. There is some dupont and kodak papers going back to 1948. I did a couple of tests and some of it is pretty severely fogged. I tried restraining to see where the failure point is, but PrintWa and restrainer don't seem to behave well together. I'll try it again with some more traditional developer. My stash of 40-60 year old paper fills up an entire cooler.

    ken
     
  5. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    It's been mentioned several times before, but even old papers that are hopelessly fogged can be used for lith printing. Last weekend I lithed onto Dupont Varilour, Kodak Ektalure, Luminos Portrait lignon (exp: 1956) and Agfa. All of them are worthless in conventional processing.
     
  6. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Ken, my stash isn't that old, however it may have been stored next to a furnace. Bill Barber
     
  7. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    It might be, though it's unlikely. The only way to tell is to try some. Make a print on the old paper and on a similar paper that you know is good; then compare them to see if the print on the old paper is OK. It may not be quite up to the new paper, but it may still be OK for routine use. If the fog levels are just a bit too high, try adding some benzotriazole to the developer and try again.