Are Print Dryers Any Help in Flattening FB Papers?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Max Power, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Aylmer, QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Although I have only just started to use FB paper, and am absolutely bowled over by the quality, I am very discouraged by my apparent inability to get prints to dry flat. Even after pressing under heavy books, in sheets of mat-board, they never seem to lay flat enough. Microwaving gives a stunning surface, but then I have a tough time flattening the prints. Air drying works a bit better, but the surface is a bit 'blah'.

    I know that with print dryers, there is a possible contamination issue, but apart from that, do they actually keep prints flat? I've heard that they also give a very glossy surface. I'm actually thinking of a basic Premier Print Dryer.

    Thanks,
    Kent
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,676
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I found that print dryers can be used to help flatten FB prints. Most dryers can dry either glossy or matt, glossy with print in contact with the chomium plate or matt in contact with the canvas apron. Keeping the canvas apron clean as well as the chromim plate clean and free of dust can be a chore.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,383
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Some problems you may encounter with the dryer you're looking at will be:
    Getting an even gloss, the surface of the dryer must be clean, clean, clean.
    Finding a temp that will give you a flat print can be a real pisser. If too hot you'll end up with edges that look like waves on the surface of a lake.
     
  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,393
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Before I drymounted my keepers, I often dried prints between sheets in a bed with a blanket to hold them fairly flat. Then they were stored alternately face up and face down in tightly packed boxes. RC prints are only a little flatter.
     
  5. HolgaPhile

    HolgaPhile Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    North London
    Shooter:
    Holga
    Best to use the print drier as a first stage for speeding up the process. When the print is nearly but not quite dry, sandwich it between some blotting paper and heavy weights, then leave it over night. That usually does the trick for me. Also it will have to be mounted quickly as any moisture in the air will curl the prints.

    Johns points about temp are very true too, I find a temp of around 50 celcius is about right for me.
     
  6. micek

    micek Member

    Messages:
    220
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    The Canary I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I place my prints under 4 or 5 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and leave them there for about four days. It works very well.
     
  7. Max Power

    Max Power Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Aylmer, QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Okay then,
    Although the Premier and Arkay print dryers seem to be the most common and least expensive, what other inexpensive option would work better, apart from simply pressing prints under weight?

    Cheers,
    Kent
     
  8. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For what it is worth!
    For years there was a Print Flatning Solution that fiber based prints were soaked in before drying. Later I used I used PakoSol available from the Pako company. It had a glycerin smell, and worked wonderful. We allowed the washed prints to bathe in the PakoSol for a few minutes, then they went on to a ferrotype drum dryer until the one revolution was complete, then they were stacked front to back and placed in a "letter press" like those seen in lawyers offices with the big wheel on top for several days. When removed
    single weight was flat howeve double weight seemed to always have a slight curl from the long ends. The curl was so slight it disapeared when mounted or framed. I can't proove it but I always felt that heat dried prints had a slightly different tone to one that was air dried. Also that the heat dried print done on a double sided "flip dryer" curled more than one that was air dried.
    I use fiberglass screens today and air dry, and have little problem.

    Charlie................
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2006
  9. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Application of glycerol or any hygroscopic substance to print will render the image more susceptible to fading and thus undesirable from archival standpoint. I wouldn't use it.
     
  10. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK,
    I guess all the work I did from 1938 through the year 2000 for the federal government and various museum archives who specified that PakoSol be used with any prints submitted to/for their archival files is going to fade. I don't think they are going to like that! As I said it smells like glycerin. I haven't ever had a print other than color fade over the past 50 years, I guess it will start any day now. Darn, that is a bummer!

    Charlie...........................
     
  11. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I didn't say that. I said the prints treated with glycerol would be more susceptible to fading. It's relative. If you kept your prints in dry environment and free of oxidizing agents that are commonly present in today's polluted air, the image probably has long life. But applying something hygroscopic is not archivally desirable and those who are reasonably knowledgeable in conservation won't recommend it.
     
  12. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    We are getting too deep into this thing, I am saying that up untill the year 2000 a chemical that smelled like glycerin named PakoSol and sold by the Pako Co. was required to be used on prints I delivered to the the U.S. Government, and several other archival agencies. several art museums included. Nothing more! I have not now or have I ever advocated the use of glycerol though I believe at one time it was a comon practice to use on prints to releave the curling problem. I "said it smelled like it" and that is relative! The end!

    Ryuji,
    I think you stuck you nose into something that you only know enough about to try to confuse the issue and are now desperately trying to save face. I did not advise you or anyone else as to what you should or should not do. I stated for "what it was worth" what had been done in the past and my experience dealing with archival agencies when I was dealing and working
    with them. Now, I am off to the Field Museum in Chicago to watch my images fade! Have a great life Ryuji! I will not respond to your future babblings! BTW I now have two names in my ignore list!

    Charlie.............................
     
  13. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Charlie clearly didn't get the point from my second post. I simply pointed out that, despite the potentially damaging glycerol treatment, the magnitude of the potential damage can be minimized by controlling storage condition. There is nothing too deep in this.
     
  14. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

    Messages:
    659
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    For many years, I put each print face down (for about 20 seconds) into a standard Seal mount press warmed up to operating temperature. The hot-press treatment always worked for me but the press is itself quite large, heavy and somewhat expensive. Be careful with PakoSol- it is very poisonous. I've been told a small drop is enough to kill a person so with my pets and other living creatures around my place, I never bothered to try it.
     
  15. Max Power

    Max Power Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Aylmer, QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Charlie, thanks for the advice; it is apprecieated. I have found a mark├Ęd difference between air dried and heat dried...Identical prints, same sheet of Ilford MG IV FB 8x10, exposed and developed one after the other. The one dried in the microwave was gorgeous; it was both glossier and, to my untrained eye, had sharper grain. The air dried print was flatter, but lacked punch. That's why I'm thinking that I ought to be looking for a print dryer which will give me that ferrotyped look without being totally warped.

    Cheers,
    Kent
     
  16. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,191
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A dryer or a mounting press will help flatten FB paper temporarily. Print flattening solution may help. But locally I am at a fairly high altitude (about 1200m) and the humidity can vary between 1 percent and 99 percent in a couple of hours (it's usually about 35 percent), so nothing works for any length of time. The wrinkles always reappear. The only real solution I've found is to mount the print. For most work, I just use a high quality RC paper, and there are some out there.
     
  17. eumenius

    eumenius Member

    Messages:
    768
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Location:
    Moscow, Russ
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    To flatten our FB prints in absence of ferrotyping drum, we always air-dried them on sheets of gauze, then took the prints, laid them face down on a clean surface, and ironed them a bit through a very slightly dampened gauze on a low setting of household iron. It was always working, and didn't change the tone of the original air-dried print.

    As for this controversial PakoSol stuff - yes, I know that there was some recipe for archival prints, it included some ethyleneglycol, triethanolamine, Tween-80 nonionic detergent, and potassium thiocyanate for silver stabilisation. It was not sold in the USSR, we had to make it from raw chemicals before submitting prints to archives.

    Cheers, Zhenya
     
  18. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

    Messages:
    261
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    NW Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used a print dryer one time for drying and I put the prints face down for a matte finish paper and won't do that again. I am also pretty sure that the plate on mine needs a good cleaning. I do have a blotter book as well, and I am thinking of using a heated pizza stone and weight next time.

    There was a thread here about how to clean the plate that I read but BonAmi that was recommended to clean the plate is not being made anymore.

    g
     
  19. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Blotter book? Does any one know if these handy items are still available? I used to buy them in a 50 pack 16x20 inches from Kodak. They were wonderful for air drying prints under weight to keep em flat. They also had a blotter roll that was useful.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Charlie.................
     
  20. Robert Kerwin

    Robert Kerwin Member

    Messages:
    206
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Albuquerque,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Are these what you are looking for? The caveat with a blotter book is that you need to be careful that your prints are washed well or you can get fixer contamination. But they are convenient and work well for drying FB.

    - Robert