After great success with a phenidone/ascorbic acid film developers based on Patrick Gainer's formulas, I've been wanting to make paper developer with the same chemicals. However, I've had no luck. Here's one of my first tries: 1.5 liters of distilled water 1 tbsp sodium ascorbate (NOW Foods) 20 ml phenidone in rubbing alkocol as per Gainer on unblinkingeye 3 tbsp sodium carbonate, anhydrous 3/4 tsp bromide (for contrast) This worked OK, except that the maximum black achieved was weak. Longer development did not help. Also, it exhausted quickly, giving even weaker blacks. The rapid change in color to pink, whether I used it or not, hinted that aerial oxidation might be the problem. The formula is similar to Chris Patton's E-72, which also contains sulfite. I tried adding sulifte to no avail. After a while, I realized that if I removed the phenidone, the bromide became unnecessary. The contrast acheived by just ascorbate and carbonate was a close match to Agfa Neutol, and gave a pleasing warm tone. Secondly, I found that if I exchanged the carbonate for sodium hydroxide, the maximum black improved. I'm a bit leery of this - I'd rather use carbonate than hydroxide for safety reasons. Now I have: 1 L water 1 tbsp ascorbate 2 tbsp sodium hydroxide (Red Devil Lye) (if you mix this, add the lye to the water, not the other way around) The contrast and D-max now both match Neutol, but it still turns pink and dies in less than an hour. I've tried adding Calgon to no avail. I tried added Phisoderm, which is 2 percent salicylic acid, but that ruined the D-max. Any clues?