Best Archival Practices through use of municipal tapwater

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sparky, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    In thinking recently about various reactions occurring between alkaline devs, acidic and alkaline fixers, washing and various 'best practices' it occurred to me that domestic tapwater used to wash prints would present a rather powerful buffer load that would easily fight degradation due to acidic degradation of the pulp fiber in paper.

    I was just wondering if anyone had thoughts on the matter. It would seem that even a fairly minimal wash in today's municipal tapwater might go a long way towards preserving images.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Tapwater - well why not

    I nefver have looked at it too carefully; RC gets tossed in the water washer after about a minute or two in TF-3.

    For FB I just do a stand in water after first fixer, second fix once a bunch have accumulated, or I am nearing the end of the night, then put them in the vertical rocker washer for a shake for the 10 or so minutes that it takes to tidy. They stay there overnight, then get another 10 minutes of shake with the fresh water on in the morning before I fish them out and brayer them, then roll them into blotters. Usually by after work they are dry enough to finish up drying on screens, unless the humidity is really low. I think David Vestal turned me on to the overnight soak, which is kind of like Ilfords water conserving wash.

    AS to municipal water, what else are my options - I sure am not going to wash with distilled or RO water. My negs do get a final rinse on R/O with wetting agent. I find there are fewer drying spots that way.
     
  3. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I'm just saying that all this talk and theory about long washes may be offset by alkaline municipal water supplies. I mean - I want my prints to last as long as the next archival freak does - but I'm wondering just how necessary the long washes are.

    I'd be a little suspicious of Vestal's suggestion of the 'overnight soak' - that sounds like a great way to lose all your optical brighteners...!!
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It completley depends on the local water. Out here in the west USA, water quality and character can change drastically even from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    I have very good water here. Almost as good as bottled. I don't think it is leaving any acid fighting residue, just clearing the paper.
     
  5. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Optical brighteners? You worry too much. Besides it's
    too easy a test. That assumes the lack of brighteners
    does not take years to show it's absence. Have you
    or anyone else experienced a loss of brighteners?
    Are they even used these days?

    I use a wash method which do to late night sessions
    leaves my prints in a last overnight soak. The prints
    are diffusion washed in tray with porus non-woven
    separators. They sit and soak, 12-14-16 hours.
    No loss of brighteners that I've noticed. Dan
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I guess what I wasn't being clear enough on - is that most city tap water (certainly very true in most of los angeles) has such a large amount of dissolved minerals that it seems like the mineral content ALONE would go a VERY long way to fighting the acidic products of the aging process.
     
  7. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Well - I'll tell you something. I used to do multi-hour washes out of archival zeal - but most of those prints I found really lacked zing. It's pretty obvious even to the untrained eye. I think what paper you use, however, does make a big difference. Try it sometime. Pull a print from the wash after 10 minutes, say - and then leave one for 24 hours... just to be dramatic and see if you don't notice a difference after they've dried down and stabilized (after a few days, let's say).
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I use an alkaline fix, and follow the manufacturers recommendation regarding the washing time for fibre prints of 20 minutes.

    What benefit do you think I can expect to get by extending this time?

    ref: http://www.monochromephotography.com/fixer.htm
     
  9. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I think people (wrongly) felt that if 10 mins is far better than 1 min, and 20 is far better than 10, that the more you wash, the better your craft (potentially) becomes... (maybe?)
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I don't wash using running water. The method I use is very
    similar to that advocated by Fred Picker and Bruce Barnbaum;
    long still water soaks. Fred endorses the use of a fish tank
    equipped with separators while Bruce uses tray and tub
    soaks. He over nights.

    Still water diffusion washes and washers use a least
    amount of water. Back to municipal. Consider protracted
    running water washes and the amount water to wich the
    prints are exposed. I need to be damn sure of that water.

    My specific method of still water washes uses a least
    amount of water. The water used is distilled although
    I should use a RO unit or at very least an at home
    distiller; plastic gallon jugs need recycling. Dan
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I think aquarium filtration technology might be a pretty intersesting thing to look into as far as minimal water use and clean prints go...! Anybody ever explored this avenue? (now completely off the topic of using alkaline water to wash prints)
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The use of an aquarium is a low cost way to a vertical
    slot washer. A kit is sold which includes the separators.
    No constant running water is used. Some other may
    have a link to the site. My method uses horizontal
    separators and two trays.

    But not off the topic. That is one advantage of the
    still water diffusion method; the little water used may
    be 'doctored' to any ph desired. Room temperature
    washes are no problem. Dan
     
  13. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Unless you're looking at an RO system, I don't think aquarium filtration is what you really want for this purpose unless activated charcoal/carbon filtration would help with the fix... but even in aquarium systems it's not very effective ,though is usually use to get rid of chemicals (old medication) from the water.
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi jonathon

    why don't you take a bit of water to your
    local enviromental lab to get a read-out of
    what is actually in your tap water?

    the guy who sold his photo-business to the photographer's formulary
    used to sell a "kit" to convert a fish tank to a print washer.
    it was ezy--- just a few pvc tubes with slots cut in them
    and plexi to fit in the slots. water was filled into the tank
    and you soaked then syphon'd the water out and did this a few times.

    if you are really worried about your water supply, get camping filter
    and filter your water. some ( i keep thinking dicretaceous earth filters but
    i think i have the name wrong :sad: ) are crushed stone
    and will filter pretty much EVERYTHING out of your water.

    if you are worried about your water's ph, a trick people with fish tanks know
    is just let your water sit in a plastic jug over night, and it will neutral-ph itself ...

    good luck!
    john
     
  15. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    There has been no discussion regarding water temperature. Extending the washing time when lower temperatures exist should be a benefit, to be safe, assuming manufacturing recommendations are for ambient temperature (68F/20C).
     
  16. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Actually, all that does is let the chlorine gas out of the water and doesn't really work if your local water system is using chloromine(?) instead of chlorine... it means better drinking water for animals/humans, but worse for aquatic creatures hence you really do need water treatment liquids/chemicals/drops for fish tanks in that situtation.

    My ultra hard, high pH city tap water will still be hard as nails and high pH if I leave it out overnight...
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    bummer ...

    luckily we have the "sparkling clean water of the scituate reservoir" in
    these parts ... not too hard, not too soft as goldielocks would say " just right " ...
     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Enter at Google, print washer kits fred . That's the
    site. Fred says, "No running water - No agitation"
    "Time, Clean Water, and Print Separation"

    I term it the Still Water Diffusion method. Besides all
    the advantages I've already mentioned but specifically
    applicable to my employment of the method is a cost of
    less than $5.00 to implement. Two trays are assumed
    to be on hand. Dan