Bromoil Question

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by eddie, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I tried my first bromoil this past wekend. I'm sure I'll have more questions, but first:
    How long will the bleach last? I used some a few days ago, and poured it into a jug. Can I still use it? Thanks.
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    This depends on quantity of bleach and throughput in terms of quantity and size of print. As a rough guide I would suggest 1 litre in diluted strength will do about 12 10 x 8 prints.
     
  3. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Thanks, Clive. I ran about 5 8x10's. I'm going to try a few more in the bleach I've already mixed.
     
  4. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    Friendly warning:

    I don't know whether you use "normal" papers or liquid emulsion.... and I don't know what I am to say, applies for "normal"papers..

    BUT: (from painful experience): It seems like the bleach contains of two parts: the bleaching, and the tanning/hardening of the gelatine.

    And it seems that the tanning/hardening process stops/dies long before the bleach does....

    What I do is to bleach a certain amount of papers - if I then want to bleach more, I make a dichromate solution and add this to the bleach - and it works perfectly well.

    NOT a scientific approach, but it works for me.

    (I tried to bleach about 25 papers (about 8x10) and all looked fine - bleached well, but when I tried to ink the papers no papers were tanned, so I had to through all out... (that's the painful part..))
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Emil- I tried both normal and liquid emulsion. With the liquid emulsion, the paper (which was very rough) sort of fell apart while I was drying it off between inkings. I'm washing 4 matrices now, all done on Ilford MGIV matte. I plan to try liquid emulsion again, but want to work with sturdier paper first, until I figure out the process.
     
  6. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    I only use the bleach/hardener diluted solution for a few hours and then throw it out. It really doesn't last very long in diluted form, particularly if you've used it already on some other prints the previous day. These chemicals are dirt cheap by comparison to other more normal or common chemistry. Why take a chance on the prints you took a long time to make by reusing diluted used bleach/hardener? :smile:

    I see you mentioned Ilford MG IV fiber matte. That's a good paper for sure, but may I also suggest experimenting with Kentmere Fineprint VC I think it what it is. It has a pebbly finish not super smooth like the paper you're using. And it's also a bit easier to ink up and pull highlights out of. All in all I find it a very nice paper to work with for Bromoil prints. Easier to lift ink off, and correct mistakes and too heavy of inkings. It's just a nicer paper IMO, all ways around, unless you want to pile ink up altering portions of the original print. In that case the Ilford MG IV paper seems to load ink much nicer as it takes less layers to do so.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I don't know if this is of any help, but when working with bromoil you have to consider the physical characteristics more than the chemical ones. Such as swelling of the emulsion, tanning, temperature, etc.
     
  8. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I guess this is an American talking ...

    Here in DK potassiumdichromate can't be bought unless you go to the police station with your hat in hand, and wait for a long time (sometines months..) to get a written permission....

    It might not be so expensive, but the hazzle to get it...

    And we NEVER "throw it out" - has to be professionally disposed of - which also cost's a lot...

    (BTW: it lasts for months... no problem)
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Perry- Good point on the chemistry, although I used it again today. It seemed to work fine, but I probably won't use it again.
    I thought the Kentmere was only available in glossy which, I thought, isn't supposed to be good for bromoil.

    Clive- I've read so many different ways of doing bromoils. I'm just fumbling my way through the learning process. I've read of soaking the matrix at temps between 68-85 degrees... using a normal print to a low contrast one... printing the original up to 50-100% darker... soaking from 5 minutes to 45 minutes... Are you starting with a darker, softer print?
     
  10. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Diluted it doesn't last for months. I never said concentrated couldn't be stored for a long time. I have used concentrated solutions (separated) over a year old after mixing from powder form. Worked just fine. The problem is when diluted, and particularly partially used. When I'm "in the zone" I know the exact time with fresh chemistry and resort to using my Jobo. I have reserved one tank for just bleaching/tanning just in case it has an effect on the plastic over time. Also, when I mean throw it out I mean throw it out of the fresh bottle, the one I use when filling my Jobo. I store all my used chemistry. As to the pain in the butt to get your hands on this chemistry, my sympathies. I must admit, with the amount of hobbies I have, add to that my obsession for hiking/camping is full steam ahead (I'm shooting quite a lot in the Silver Peak Wilderness), if this screwy government we have suddenly made us go through those bellyaches, I would probably give up Bromoil. Something changed when my health went into overdrive this last year (Eat Right For Your Type) and now I don't want to spend my time on sedentary things. Now, if Richard Simmonds came out with a workout tape for Bromoil, I might change my mind :munch:
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Eddie, I would start with a very soft print (low contrast), not necessarily darker than normal, but one that is so soft it would be unacceptable as a normal print. You ideally want to work with a non-super coated paper, which is why I used Kentmere document art, but don't think they make it anymore. Pre-soak the print in water before inking and then wash and ink again as necessary. This pre-soaking is very important, as is the temperature of the water (I think I used about 72°F). This is because the Bromoil worker is now dealing with the physical attributes of the print and not the chemical. Therefore the amount of swelling within the gelatin layer will have a direct effect on the way in which ink is taken up. I think the process has some similar properties to lithography and so I used black or brown lithographic ink, sometimes mixing them. I haven't made a bromoil for some years now, as some of the chemicals are quite nasty. Please be careful.
     
  12. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    well - mine does work well a loong time after diluting. (as said, I sometimes add a little extra dichromate, but that's it..)

    Thanks for your reply.

    Here in DK ALL raw chemistry is a hazzle to get! "Normal" people cant! Period. But if you have a VAT number, then it is possible...

    (this has made me abandon even the thought of making wet plate... OMG... those chemicals... KCN? not in a million years...)

    All the hazzle makes me sometimes want to seek photographic asylum in the States... It seems so easy over there....
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Well, I just posted one in the gallery. I used a print with too much contrast, I think. It's fun, though.
     
  14. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    Um, I'm not really sure where you guys are looking to get your chemistry for this process but it can easily be obtained through David Lewis' website. Paper, chemistry and even some of the tools commonly used for this process are for sale on his site. Just send him an email: dlewis@onlink.net and he'll set you up.

    From my experience, the bleach gets exhausted pretty quickly. Not talking about stock, but the diluted form used to bleach the prints. It usually lasted me about 6-8 8x10 prints. But I'm not even sure you're using the same bleaching method I did. I used a combination of 70ml of a 10% copper sulphate solution, 70ml of a 10% potassium bromide solution and 30ml of a 10% potassium dichromate solution. Keep these 3 separate until you need the bleaching step. Then mix into 1 liter of water to complete the bleach.