Cleaning fabric of heated dryer

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by canuhead, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Although not my preferred method of drying fb prints, I have a two sided heated print dryer and would like to use it again occasionally.

    My question to the masses is, what should I use to clean the canvas fabric ? Should I just use a detergent/water wash or just treat it like a fb print itself and wash it in plain water for a long time with maybe some clearing agent thrown in for good measure ? Just want to make sure the cloth is as chem free as possible.

    tia
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tia, we found that some canvas shrank if we washed it. It has been so long, I forget how we did it to avoid shrinkage. Sorry I can't be of more help other than the warning here.

    Good luck.

    PE
     
  3. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Thanks PE,

    I was wondering about that as well. If it was reattached while damp/wet, I wonder if that would alleviate shrinkage. I suppose I could try washing the cloth without removing it from the dryer but that would take more patience than I could muster.

    Oh yea, tia is not my name but a 'net acronym for "thanks in advance" :smile:

    fred
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Fred,

    Rather than wash it on the dryer, why not return it to the dryer while still wet?

    Just a thought. Good luck!

    Neal Wydra
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    ROFLMFAO.

    There are so many acronyms here I just lose track of them, being so old. Oh well.

    I've been thinkiing about our old dryers, and some of the canvas looked pretty dirty, but it never seemed to discolor the prints. IDK but you might get away with just leaving it 'dirty' and have no problem. Of course that depends on what kind of dirt and etc, but I seem to remember some pretty bad canvas that didn't affect prints.

    PE
     
  6. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Dirt doesn't bother me and I'm pretty good about washing my prints but still don't want to transfer any residual chemicals to future prints. The dryer was bought used as well. Am I being too picky or should the cloth be clean even if prints were not washed archivally by the previous owner ?
     
  7. Photo Engineer

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    My previous answer was based on work in a photofinishing lab for about 3 years. The dryer belt (canvas) was quite stained and dirty in appearance for one reason or another, but never left stains on the prints.

    We washed all prints going through it very well in either pako roller transport or basket processors. The stains got there somehow, but never ended up on the backs of the prints. I don't remember his washing them, but I do remember how hard it was to remove them for cleaning or replacemnt. I just cannot remember what was done to them, if anything.

    The ones at Cape Canaveral were very clean and white, and they had some regular maintenance, but I've completely forgotten what or how. Sorry.

    I would suggest just wetting the entire canvas, on the dryer, and letting the dryer run. Enough clean water with runoff would eventually leach out the residual chemistry. And, since the canvas always gets wet, if left in place it shouldn't shrink any more than it does under normal usage.

    That is all I can think of.

    Oh, if the canvas has no obvious chemical odor when wet and hot, I would doubt if it were very much contaminated with chemistry. Just a thought. If I were in your position, I would try just about everything that came to mind just for peace of mind.

    PE
     
  8. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Thanks again PE. This will probably get backburnered now since I'm going to pick up a 4x5 enlarger for the temporary basement darkroom. Gonna be interesting since I have a kinda lowish ceiling down there.

    Also any thoughts on blotter paper ? This is my preferred choice for drying prints.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

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    I have 4 old Kodak blotting rolls for prints, but I use them only for FB. I use air drying racks for RC.

    They work fine on papers that are hard enough, but on softer papers, the blotters can stick. One way around that is to use hardener fix, another is to air dry and re-wet, then dry between blotters. The air dry step tends to harden the paper so that it can be re-wet and dried in contact with the blotters.

    PE
     
  10. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I hang FB prints by a corner to air dry them, since the good ones will be dry mounted, and the others stored away and forgotten. On the rare times I've cleaned the canvas from heated driers, I removed the canvas and washed it with the rest of the laundry. The design of those driers allowed for shrinkage.
     
  11. Kino

    Kino Member

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    I just cleaned the canvas on a Prince 16" print dryer, by removing it from the machine, spraying it down with a stain remover "Shout" and after letting it sit for about 10 minutes, soaking it in cold water with a 1/4 cup of Clorox Chlorine Bleach for 15 minutes.

    I then pull the the canvas belt out, layed it out on the sink flat and scrubbed it with a very stiff scrub brush, trying to push the soap suds through the fabric. A lot of crud came out of the belt, and it turned a uniform yellowish/orange/brown color, yeech.

    I then spent the better part of 45 minutes dunking the belt in a tupperware storage container full of cold water, rinsing the dingy crud, soap and bleach out of the canvas and dumped the water many, many times until no color or suds appeared when I plunged the canvas into the water.

    After that, I rolled the canvas up tightly in a towel and put some strong rubber bands around the roll while I cleaned the chassis, oiled the chain, examined and polished the drum with a soft cloth and cleaned the bearings on the transport system of the dryer.

    When ready, I installed the canvas back onto the drum and it was TIGHT! Kind of panicked me initally that it barely would fit back on the drum with all tensions at bare minimum, but once I got it back on barely enough to run, I turned the dryer on and as the heat dried the canvas, it stretched back to normal size.

    Interestingly enough, the dirty brown cast to the canvas slowly changed to a much lighter shade when fully dried in about 20 minutes of running at full heat.

    The canvas still has stains, but they are not so obnoxious, the fabric feels softer and the drier certainly runs better after I clean and lubed the drive system.

    All in all it was worth it...

    Now, I have an HUGE Arkay and another Premier to do when I get time!

    Frank W.

    Frank.