"archival" washing of paper and film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jnanian, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi -

    i was wondering if anyone out there can eniighten me :smile:

    i try to process "archivally" for the most part, and i follow
    instrucitons on fixer remover for final wash times. i have been using
    perma wash and haven't had any problems ( knock wood! )

    15 years ago, i worked for a portrait photographer and used to process all her film & make all her prints. when i was done with the fixer - i would take all the film in hangers and put them in another tank in the sink. i would just run water for maybe a 1/4 hour and then hang them to dry. no " fill/dump" no fixer remover .. just run the water. is that good enough for " archival" ?

    for film i don't think i am as footloose as i thought she was ... i usually do 20 fill/dumps after the perma wash ( film and paper ) and dry.

    i have read different places that there are a few different ways to cut washing times -
    one is to use sea water
    another one is to just have a tray of water that you leave your film / paper in overnight - by the morning all the "bad stuff" is out of the film / paper but ... i have no idea if this whole thing is an urban legend :smile:


    anyone else hear of these washing methods? are they " a crock of bull" or a "pot of gold"?
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    I make a verison of hypo clear out of sodium sulfite and water (one tea spoon per liter of water) and soak for 5 minutes for paper. I just use an extended time for film since film is acetate and nothing much soaks into the rebate. And I am using PMK and it is rumored that hypo clear will reduce the stain. All that to say that sea water is simular to sodium sulfite.

    lee\c
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi lee:

    do you just soak everything ?

    i'll have to think about doing that. seems a lot easier than the film/paper shuffle i do with perma wash :smile:

    -john
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    John,
    I still shuffle the prints and for the film I have a little washer that was given to me that I load the 4x5 film into and it fills and dumps the water automatically. Usually for film I rinse about 20 minutes and for paper I have a Zone VI washer that I use for about 1 hour after the hypo clear. There are chemical tests that you can make or buy from The Formulary that can be used to test the level of thyosulfate left on the film and on the paper. This will help you determine the length of time you need to wash your film or paper. There is some talk that paper does not need to have a total 0% clear wash to be safe. I can not speak to that at this point.

    lee\c
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    John:

    You're going to get a lot of different opinions here just like on photonet about this subject.

    On the subject of paper, only fiber paper needs long wash times. THere is something that you didn't mention, that needs to happen for archival prints, you also need them fixed properly. That means not using depleted fixer. So some people use a two fix bath, approx 30-45 seconds in each, discarding the first after X number of prints and making the second bath the first and mixing new stuff for the first.

    The wash times for fiber are somewhat dependant on the time the paper was in the fix. The longer in the fix, the more the fix gets into the fiber backing of the paper. SO, the wisdom seems to be 5 min running water, 3-5 min HCA with agitation, 45 min - 2 hours in archival washer.

    www.unblinkingeye.com has his archival sequence which is a good start.

    Some people say that you don't need running water all the time but by soaking, the fix will leach out of the paper , thereby reducing the waste of water. Others will say that by using alkaline fixer your was can be very short.

    Bottom line, fix properly, and find a system that you can work within and test with a residual fix test kit.


    Michael McBlane
     
  6. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    I've described this many times before but here goes:

    My "archival" washer is a 5-gallon bucket with an aquarium recirculating pump. I let the prints soak in the gently swirling water. The number of water changes and intervals between changes is determined by the number of prints I'm making.

    Before dunking the prints into the bucket I do use some form of hypo clear. I've used Kodak's stuff. Currently I'm trying Alta's.

    To improve efficiency I've recently added a second bucket and pump.

    The whole mess sits in the bathtub of our spare bathroom, where my darkroom is.

    Is this truly archival? Dunno. I think so. I've been torture testing a fiber print prepared this way last year. For the past six months the print has been taped to a sunny window, facing outward. No degradation or changes so far.