Archival Print Washing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by brYan, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. brYan

    brYan Subscriber

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    I was reading about the soaking method of washing prints.

    Here's the link where I read this:

    http://www.fineartphotosupply.com/printwasherpage.htm

    Anthony Guidice (Fine Art Photo Supply) advocates one exchange of water during a one hour and fifteen minute soak. That is how much time he says is needed to wash a print to archival standards. Shorter times can be used if you use an alkaline fixer. He used HT-2 to verify that the prints were washed (soaked) adequately.

    Any comments?
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have heard about other's tests on the matter of soaking versus a running water wash. The indications are that soaking does work with the proper amount of water changes during a given period of time. It certainly serves to conserve water. I just have not tried it myself since my system is already established with the print washers that utilize running water. I have, however, reduced the volume of flow since I read the testing that has been done.
     
  3. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (brYan @ Feb 24 2003, 01:56 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> He used HT-2 to verify that the prints were washed (soaked) adequately.

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    What is HT-2 and how is it used?
     
  4. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    It is known by various names from different manufacturers. But basically it is a test for residual hypo on the print.
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    brYan:

    I read the same thing and asked the same question on Photonet a while back and everyone seems to confirm that it is correct. I too use a print washer but learned that I can put the prints in the washer and let them soak, then run the water for a few minutes, then let them soak again etc. instead of running the washer for a couple of hours steady, using a lot of water. Apparently the soaking leaches out the fix and a few exchanges of water will do the trick. It seem to work.

    Michael McBlane
     
  6. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    It makes sense, actually. There is probably relatively little fix compared to the volume of water involved, so recontamination would not be as big of a thing. Leaching makes sense.

    dgh
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    Ansel had recommended 5 changes of water while soaking for 5 minutes per tray change.

    This is HT-2:
    You can use Kodak's HT2 for a test of residual hypo - HT2 has 7.5 gms of silver nitrate and 125ml of 28% acetic acid and water to a litre. Place a drop on a blank piece of paper that has been washed with the other prints, flush with a salt water solution after 2 minutes. Anything more than a light yellow stain indicates residual hypo (i.e., insufficient washing).

    I think this is attributed to our own Ed Buffaloe.

    lee\c
     
  8. Dave Mueller

    Dave Mueller Member

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    Check Ilford's site, they recommend a similar procedure for film washing. They state that removal of fix is by (insert chemistry term for chemicals moving from high concentration to low concentration - osmosis? diffusion?), and not by the flowing water. For film, they recommend 3 water baths: 10 inversions (agitation for small tanks), 5 minute rest, change water, 20 inversions, 5 minute rest, change water, 30 inversions, 5 minute rest.
     
  9. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    This makes me wonder if we overdo it, in the sake of being "on the safe side". I wonder if anyone has tested a MINIMUM wash for film and FB paper, and how that is from what we do.

    dgh
     
  10. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Soaking times are presupposed on the type, amount and time of fix used and if a wash aid is incorporated in a post fix bath as well as volume of water used.

    The reason fiber paper needs to be washed so long is to remove to final few percent of fixer that setttles in the paper base. Most fixer that is in the emulsion is cleared with a wash agent and in the first few minutes of a rinse in running water or a print washer. That is why the original Ilford archival sequence used a rapid fixer (ammonium thiosulfate) for only 30 seconds at a 1-3 dillution. the purpose being to prevent as little fix as possible to penetrate the paper base. Ilford at one time used a 5 minute final wash with constant water flow over the surface. I think the current time is more. Ilford later modified its fix times to 60 without changing the amount of fix taken up by the base.

    As far as soaking vs constant flow of water over the prints I have read several articles in Photo Techniques, in books and on line about the subject. Here is what the consensus seems to be.

    Removing fix from a print is a diffusion process. Once fix is leeched from the paper it does not re-enter it. therefore the only purpose of keeping prints apart during the wash is so they don't stick together. it doesn't matter is you add new prints, the old ones will not abosrb the additional fixer.

    However, the more fix is in the water, the less efficient the process becomes. The key is the interface between the water and the paper surface. I won't bore you with the chemsitry because I don't remember it all but simply put the less fix in the water at the interface, the more fresh water for fix in the print to leech into.

    That leads to the third point about agitiation. If there is no agitation or water flow, to constantly move fresh water over the surface, the longer the procedure takes.

    Finally, you don't need to constantly add fresh water and remove the old water. You do need to have a sufficient supply of water to keep it fairly clear of fix for that volume. However, large water volume is of no use in a system that exchanges water since you are constantly replenishing the water at the interface. The most efficient system would be to have a constant sheet of water flowing over both sides of the paper without a resevior.

    So for the original question it depends on how big a tray, and if you agitate it any and use an HCA. I don't think one change is enough. If I wash a big print I run it under a shower head front and back for about 10min after HCA and then soak for 45 min with occasional agitiation and 15 min intervals in 20x24 inch tray.

    I also have a 20x24 tay which I drilled holes in one end to allow very slow drainage and a very slow water flow to sort of exchange the water volume every 15min. Don't know if it is any better, but it is what I use nowfor large prints.
     
  11. lee

    lee Member

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    There is some talk now that it may be better to not totally wash all the fixer out of the prints. There is some thought that thiosulfate may actually help protect the paper from outgassing and the like. I am not up on it totally and I am not sure I believe it but I have had one print go bad in 35 years of fiber base printing.

    In my new darkroom I will have two archival washers and a washing machine (zone6) that is sort of a holding tank for prints. I am gonna make a tray to fit into the washing machine to wash 4x5 and 5x7 negs.


    lee\c
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Isn't this just one more example of the trade offs in everything? By soaking you're trying to use the least amount of water. If 5 changes is all that's required why not just use 5 trays? The first tray would end up with the max amount of hypo. All the way down to the last try which would be much cleaner. Lots of trays but cheaper then even the 5x7 washer.
     
  13. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I LOVE this thread. It should be called Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Archival Print Washing.

    So here's my question...if you tray wash (and I like the idea of the tray with holes), how many prints can you have in the tray? Do prints touching each other stop, reverse, or severly hamper the diffusion/leaching process? Let's say we're talking about 8x10 prints in a 16x20 or 20x24 tray.

    dgh
     
  14. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    For 8x10 and 11x14 I use a home made washer that consists of a fish tank with lexan partitions and holes drilled in the bottom to allow a slow drain and a rubber hose that runs from the faucet and has five brass nipples that empty water into each compartment. Two prints per slot, 5 slots all together.

    I also have used several of the el cheapo plastic trays, 11x14 size for 8x10. I would put 4 prints in each tray and change water at ten minute intervals for 50 min. During the ten minutes i would agitate or rotate the prints top to bottom. Now I use the trays with holes and just let it run for 40 minutes after HCA.

    Trays work fine, the disadvantage is you have to be there every ten or fifteen minutes to change the water or move the prints to a fresh tray. "Archival" washers have the advantage of turning it on and going about your other business, but wasteful of water.
     
  15. brYan

    brYan Subscriber

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    An excellent series of articles on this subject can be found in "Black and White Enthusiast" magazine.

    Tim Ruddman wrote all three articles. He did mention that leaving a trace amount of fixer in the print was beneficial for longevity of the print.

    If you decide to tray wash, I would do a test for residual hypo to test if the prints are washing adequately. I would think prints that come in contact with each other continuously would take longer to wash. Just taking a WAG.

    It seems to me that critical here is the amount time in the water.

    As everyone knows: TEST, TEST, TEST!!!
     
  16. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    In one of Bruce Barnbum's book, he discusses using a series of trays, moving the prints from tray to tray. If I remember correctly, he soaks each print for 10 minutes in each tray moving prints from tray to tray. I will look this up tonight when i go in for my class.