Archiving Process for FB Paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Contrastique, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Having used FB paper for more than 3 years now I think it's time to improve my archival printing. My teacher showed me a method I will describe below but I would like to have some comment / tips as an addition.
    I have ordered "the Print" from Ansel Adams but it hasn't arrived yet so I thought it might be useful starting here. Here we go:

    1) Developer

    2) Stop (just water, because the acid in for example Amaloco S10 is supposed to open up the fibers which makes it harder to get rid of the fix)

    3) Fix 1 bath, dillution 1+3, 1 minute. Dillution so heavy so it does its job quicker and 1 minute so the fix does not penetrate the complete paper which would make it harder to wash out, if not entirely impossible.

    4) Water to collect multiple prints in it.

    5) Hypo Clearing to wash out the fix.

    6) Selenium Toner, in order to enrich the black a little but mostly for archival purposes.

    7) Hypo Clearing to wash out the toner

    8) Rinse intensively with running water for like half an hour.

    Would this be sufficient enough to do the trick or am I still missing something crucial here?
    Do galeries generally ask for something as a Kodak certificate to prove your prints are archival-worthy enough?

    My darkroom will soon be rebuild as my current one does not have running water and I have to go through a lot of hassle to wash my prints sufficiently.
    Anybody maybe some advice on that?
    Thanx in advance!
     
  2. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Step 2: remember to change this bath frequently and use a large volume
    Step 3: use a two bath and keep track of the number of prints processed or test the bath frequently. There are tests for undisolved silver in the paper. Run a test strip once in a while.
    Step 4: change this water on a regular basis and have a nice deep tub for lots of volume
    Step 4.5 : rinse in clean water before HCA
    Step 5.5: rinse in clean water AFTER HCA, 5 to 10 minutes, maybe more depending on flow rates and diffusion rate. Requires testing.
    Step 7 : not necessary, that is what step 8 is for

    Add a fixed but not developed test strip to your batches. This strip receives the same processing as prints in that batch and on it you perform the residual fixer test at the end of step 8.

    The upshot is you should test your work flow after fixing for un-fixed silver and again at the end for residual fixer.

    Next up, PE will beat me about the head and shoulders with a bag of hypo crystals... :smile:
     
  3. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Thanx for your comments! How do you test for residual fix and undissolved silver in the paper? I have never ran any tests in the darkroom like this before so mind the perhaps stupid question...

    What do you mean by that "Next up"?
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Please understand that there is no single absolutely right way to process prints. The term "archival" has an exact scientific meaning that is too abstract to be practical, but in general it means processing in a fashion that leads to the longest possible life of the final print.

    That said, I use a process that is quite similar to yours - developer, stop, quick fix (ammonium thiosulfate in a single bath, "film strength"), rinse, hypoclear, tone in dilute selenium, hypoclear, wash, dry. The only essential difference is that I do use an acid stop, but I dilute it more than the normal recommendation.

    Incidentally, the traditional rationale for selenium toning is archival permanence, but the recent book by Tim Rudman argues that unless the print is fully toned in selenium (to the point where there is a noticeable color change), the degree of archival protection is actually quite limited. On the other hand, brief toning in dilute selenium tends to lead to slightly deeper blacks, and slightly cooler tonality - effects that I often want in my prints.

    Also, to be exact, hypoclear doesn't actually "wash out" fixer (or toner). Instead, it converts the thiosulfate into a form that can be more easily removed by the water wash that follows. The reason for the second hypoclear treatment is that selenium toner itself contains ammonium thiosulfate.

    You will find published recommendations in a lot of good references, including Ansel Adams' books, to take a print directly from the fixer to the toner. My experience is that the risk of staining in the toner increases dramatically if the print is not rinsed and neutralized in hypoclear before being toned.
     
  5. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    I was kinda afraid of that :smile: My teacher for example said that for selenium a dillution of 1+4 or 1+40 does not make a difference for archival purposes. They have the same result. So I guess I'll have to find out myself then.

    I know Hypo doesn't wash out, was just easier to put it that way, although I didn't know what exactly it did convert so thanx.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    just be careful if you add hardener into your fixer.
    it is not needed with modern films and papers,
    and if there is hardener it will lead to troubles when
    you do your wash ... and trap 'stuff' in your emulsion.

    there is a lot written here on washing fixer out of paper ...

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/38442-survey-fb-hand-washing-methods.html
    ( one of countless threads on the subject :smile: )

    good luck!

    john
     
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  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Selenium toner contains a HUGE amount of ammonium thiosulfate, a.k.a. rapid fixer. Hypo clearing after toner will reduce subsequent final wash time. Half an hour for a toned print without subsequent hypo clearing is a little bit on the short side.

    To the OP: get a residual hypo test solution from Photographer's Formulary, and if possible an old Kodak Darkroom Dataguide. The residual hypo test will help you ensure that you washed your prints properly. The Kodak dataguide has the color patches to which you should compare the stain on your test print.
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    there are hypo test kits, or you can count prints. Figure the surface area of the print and keep track of the number of prints that go through each fixer bath.
     
  9. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    What's a hardener? I just use Amaloco AM89 without any additions to it.

    That test kit, is that to measure for pH? I'll see if we have that book at where I work. We have a lot of old stuff so maybe I'm lucky...

    Do you also make a distinction in testing for fix and testing for hypo??
     
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  10. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Archival/archival.html

    Read article and there are formulas at the bottom for test solutions.

    I can't find a formula for the stuff that Kodak or Ilford sells but the formula's I do know of for mixing Selenium toner from scratch don't contain ammonium thiosulfate. The "Rapid Selenium" toner formulas may however contain ammonium thiosulfate (not sure why because residual fixer is what causes the ugly staining all the instructions warn you about) and I'm pretty sure they contain ammonium thiocyanate (as a silver reducer / bleach?). You could use a low dilution of one of the prepared selenium toners as a residual hypo test, looking for stain. But I have no feel for its sensitivity.

    And yes, there is a distinction for testing for residual hypo and complete fixing. Testing for residual hypo is just that, you are looking for fixer (hypo) left behind in the paper. Testing for complete fixing, you are looking to see that all the unreacted silver has been removed.
    "hypo" is a nickname for fixer, left over from when sodium thiosulfate was the primary photographic fixer and was also known as sodium hyposulfate. Rapid fixer formulas rely on ammonium thiosulfate which acts more quickly and has a higher working capacity.
     
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  11. ijsbeer

    ijsbeer Member

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    Hi everybody
    I use this wash-method.
    source
    Optimum permanence for fibre based
    papers
    There are several ways of achieving prints which will
    have optimum permanence under long term storage
    conditions. Essentially, prints must have minimum
    levels of residual silver (adequately fixed) and
    minimum levels of thiosulphate (adequately washed).
    Where short fixing times can be given, the
    following sequences give extremely low levels of
    retained fixer and silver compounds. This is
    achieved by the combination of a very short fixing
    time and the use of ILFORD WASHAID. These
    sequences replace the standard fixing and
    washing sequence.
    Optimum permanence sequence
    Fixing ILFORD RAPID FIXER (1+4), 1min
    intermittent agitation
    First wash Fresh, running water 5min
    Rinse ILFORD WASHAID (1+4), 10min
    intermittent agitation
    Final wash Fresh, running water 5min
    Processing conditions: 18–24ºC/65–75ºF including
    wash water.
     
  12. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Thanx rwyoung for that article. I think I know how to begin now. Interesting to see that the seleniumtoner-dillution does seem to matter.
    I'll start out with 1+9 and see how I like the coloration.
    I'll add a rinse after the selenium before dropping in the hypo and see where that gets me. A long way I guess ;-)
    Have to see where I can buy the tests in Holland and that book and we're good to go.

    @Ijsbeer;
    Ilford Washaid is an alternative for HypoClearing I assume.
     
  13. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    For what it's worth, the folowing advice was given by Masters such as Ansel Adams, Fred Picker, et al:

    For FB prints

    -Don't use anything that includes the word "rapid" (Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner being the exception)
    -Fix for 5-10 minutes using two fixing baths (AA recommended at least 5-6 minutes total fixing time)
    -Rinse for 1 minute
    -Hypo Clearing Agent solution for minimum 3 minutes
    -Wash for a minimum time of 1 hour with a flow-rate of at least 60 gallons/hour (correction) at ambient temperature
    -Selenium tone (optional) before final rinse.

    These are the important steps - all the claims associated with time saving formulas and methods are just allot of deceptive marketing.

    It's my feeling that the Masters did all the testing for us, already.
     
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  15. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Panastasia -

    Something to think about - when the "masters" like Adams and Picker were developing their techniques, water was perceived as an unlimited entitlement.

    Since that time, a lot of excellent photographers and chemists have invested a lot of time improving the general state of our understanding of photographic processes and our understanding of the environment around us. One of the things that has been learned is that water is a precious resource that has to be treated with respect.

    While I don't doubt that Adams' methods worked for him, I happen to believe that Ilford and others have developed alternative methods that are just as good - and perhaps even better. A one hour wash at 60 gal/min is 3600 gallons of water. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in the 21st century, that's grossly wasteful.

    I also seem to recall that Fred Picker is the dude who recommended cutting down trees that interfered with the photographic composition he was trying to create. Today, that is also viewed as unacceptable.
     
  16. david b

    david b Member

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    I am with Louie on this one. There is no reason to WASTE 3600 gallons of water. Aside from the ecological waste, imagine what the water bill will be.

    I really think you need to look at current methods and listen to the current masters.
     
  17. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    They did a lot of the testing yes, but not all. They are not gods although I greatly admire Adams. Due to changes in the substances of a chemical compound it could very well be that their testingresults are no longer correct for todays used material.
    5-10 minutes fixing seems overkill to me as it's not supposed to penetrate the paper itself but merely the chemical layer on top of it.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hmmm

    i am not sure if your fixer contains or has an optional hardener.
    it is usually something that is added later ("part b" ) ...
    it was used because older emulsions were soft and required hardening
    to make them less likely to scratch &C ...

    your teacher will probably know if your fixer is a hardening fixer ..
    in any case ... fill soak dump and you should be OK ... :wink:

    good luck!

    john
     
  19. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I made a mistake, it's 60gal/hr (typo), sorry about that!
     
  20. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Yes, 60gpm is a bit high. Washing with a firehose? :smile:
    I haven't gone looking for the links on APUG but there have been some long posts about the Ilford wash method and it comes down to difusion rates for getting the stuff back out of the paper.
     
  21. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    That sounds better indeed :smile:

    The water shouldn't run too hard as it's supposed to get rid of the chems in the paper and with water running too hard it just keeps cycling in the tub instead of getting out of the tub.
     
  22. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    The materials they were using are still on the market. I use them.

    Reducing fixing time was never recommended, but neither was extending it.

    Not gods, yes, but they did know what they were talking about, and I trust that they knew what they were doing.
     
  23. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Still on the market yes, but from this article, appearantly there has been changes in the formula of the Kodak toner which AA also used:

    "Doug Nishimura cautions that partial toning or split-toning with selenium will leave the untoned portion of the print unprotected, as the selenium preferentially tones finer grains of silver in high-density areas of the print first. Untoned portions of the image may be subject to future deterioration.* This flies in the face of longstanding advice from Kodak which, as repeated by Ansel Adams and many others, said that selenium provides protection even in very high dilutions which do not cause color changes. Apparently at one time Kodak Selenium Toner may have contained “small amounts of highly active sulfiding agents” which provided protection that selenium alone cannot provide unless toning is carried to completion. At some point in the 1980’s manufacturing changes eliminated these agents. Doug Nishimura indicates (in a letter to Jennifer Scott) that complete protection with Kodak Selenium Toner requires a dilution of not more than 1:9, and a toning period of 3 to 5 minutes at 68º."

    It's not only shorter fixing but also making the dillution stronger, so the effect is the same only it does not penetrate the whole paper.
    I've read about that a couple of times now and my teacher advised the method so there has to be some truth in it.
    He once had to send his prints to Kodak to let them test if it was archival worthy for the gallery who asked for a Kodak-certificate. He finally got his process right and that was partially due to the fact he fixed shorter but with an intenser dillution which made it easier to get rid of the fix in the paper.
     
  24. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Toning was considered an option when archival processing was discussed in the literature they provided.
    They also recommended testing for residual fixer after the final wash, which I'm sure they did, extensively, until they had their process worked out.
     
  25. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Contrastique,

    It might interest you that I have in my possession fiber prints produced more than 120 years ago that show little deterioration, and I'm sure the methods used when they were produced were not so strict as today.

    The so called experts of today must wait that long to prove their claims. I don't believe everything I read unless the person has a good track record of providing sound information, and I surely don't trust that all new products are better than what came before, regardless of what someone else believes. I know I sound like a cynic, but I have my reasons and I've been around for a long time - more than half a century.

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  26. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Yeah, you're right about that.

    120 yr old prints, that's old ! I was not trying to question your knowledge nor do I believe everything I read but it's hard to figure out what's real and what's bogus since everybody seems to have their own opinion on the same matter.

    Thank you for your input. I will test for myself and figure out which method suits me best. If I outlive my prints I know I have succeeded :tongue: