Come on you curly (/&% Tri-X film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Helinophoto, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hi

    So I am currently stuck in the bathroom with a film that just WILL NOT spool ok on my paterson spool.

    Film is Tri-x 320, was just outside and shot a roll, took it out of my Hasselblad and went to develop it.
    The film is absolutely impossible to deal with, curls like crazy, never experienced it that bad before.


    IT's so bad, that when I have gotten it entered on the spool and start chugging it on there, it starts to slip because of the inzane curl and the whole film just bounces up on the spool.

    Drives be crazy.

    Any tips on how to straighten it out a little bit, before I've fiddled and scratched it all to pieces?

    The film was taken out of the fridge, then kept inside the air-tight package in my inner pocket, until I loaded it in the camera.
    Temperature outside is -4 degrees, and I kept the film in the camera until it had warmed slightly, before it took it out to develop it (camera was still pretty cold though).

    Help? What caused this sick curling, any experiences?
     
  2. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Cause is humidity. Leave to dry and spool in a dry place.
     
  3. Crashbox

    Crashbox Subscriber

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    I've had some pretty nasty curling with my film before, but I can somehow manage to coax it onto the spool. Sometimes I wind up pulling the lead portion into the reel until I get almost a full wrap on it, then slowly rock the reel for the remainder. I've spent a half-hour at least with some films, I don't have a lot of patience but the film eventually obeys. It can certainly be an exercise in frustration.

    Sorry I can't give more advice.
     
  4. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Weird, because the film felt dry to the touch, it's currently inside the paterson tank, but I'll take it out and set the oven on in the room and let it sit there for 1 hour or so and see if it gets better.

    Always feels like an idiot when I stand there in the dark, swearing and fumbling with the film, dropping the spool, crawling around to find it again etc =)
     
  5. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    The age might explain it. The longer film remains tightly spooled the more tenacious the “set” of the curl. Film that is stored frozen seems to take more of a fixed “set” than film that was kept at room temperature.

    Due to the width/thickness ratio, tightly “set” 120 films are more difficult to load than 35mm. One possible way to deal with it is to reverse roll the film and place it into a lightproof container for week or so before trying to load it onto a reel. I’d recommend keeping it at room temperature to aid the relaxation process.

    In this way much of the original “set” may relax sufficiently to load the film onto a reel.
     
  6. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I tried using a stainless reel once... and only once. I couldn't get the thing loaded, and did exactly like you did for a full 45 minutes or so. I finally gave up and used the ever so easy plastic reel.
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Once film kinks even if ever so slightly, it will always kink in the same place. Try starting the opposite end of the film on the reel, this often eliminates the problem.
     
  8. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    The film was indeed kept stored in the freezer, but another tri-x I shot a couple of weeks back did not have any particular issues (same batch from some left overs that came with the camera I bought, exp date 01.01.2011).

    I'll keep trying a bit and if not, then try Ian's tip.

    I'm already spooling from the "best" side of the film, the other end is so curled that I cannot even straighten it out to mount it on the spool at all =)

    - Getting a nasty, sinking feeling each time the b*stard slips and forms this icky bunched up mess ^^
     
  9. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Yess!

    Got it loaded, finally!

    I left it out in the dark bathroom for 1 hour while heating the room up.

    The film was still pretty curly and impossible to deal with, but as Crashbox said, trough manually dragging the film almost a whole round and then coaxing it in with very small movements, I was able to spool the film up.

    The film slipped several times while i dragged the film round for the first round and also while twisting the spool to feed the film in, so I had to poke it back into the reel several times.

    Easy does it.

    Now it's going to be interesting to see how much damage my sossage-fingers managed to make while I messed around with it :smile:
    Thank you all for useful replies ^^
     
  10. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I always have problems with stubborn and curling film in winter. I assume it's because the house is heated and air is dry. Today I fought a long time with a roll of 120 Acros and a SS reel in a changing bag. Acros is usually very easy to handle. Last week I had the same problem with a 120 Tri-x roll.
     
  11. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Summer or winter I never have trouble loading Patterson or similer reels, I use the pencil trick, run a sharp pencil around the groves of the reel, and the film just slips in no matter how curly it might be, never ever had a film slip,stick or do anything wrong, try it and see,
    Richard
     
  12. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Pencil trix? Thank you, that sounds like real old-school trickery to me, I will keep that in mind.

    Must be the graphite acting like a dry lubricant or something, right?
    You have never had any issues with foreign materials floating around in the tank when you do this?
    (I always pre-wash 120 film anyway, so I suppose any such material will exit with the pre-was water)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  13. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I like to load from the taped end, the extra stiffness of the tape helps in starting, at least with SS reels. I don't use plastic reels often, but I start them from the taped end too.

    I've never tried the pencil trick, but if you shake or blow off any excess graphite, it should be fine.
     
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  15. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Don't forget the old trick of clipping off the corner tips to avoid hanging up on the sharp edges.
     
  16. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Actually I googled between the frustration last night and found a thread where the exact opposite advice was given when it comes to curly negatives.
    In general, clipping the corners will help the film enter the spool and help to avoid it getting stuck.
    But when the negative is curling up like a metal-coil, the cutting can actually help the film slip out of the reel. It can also be harder to load plastic reels with ball-bearings like that (works very well with 35mm though).

    Generally I saw that people advised against it in 120 format and plastic reels with ball bearings.
     
  17. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    When a film has an UNUSUALLY TIGHT CURL, beveling the corners makes it even harder to load because the beveled corners more easily spring out of the channel. This can make loading nearly impossible.

    If you do bevel the corners the bevel should be very small, no more than 1mm x 45 degrees. That’s difficult to estimate in the dark. In this case it’s better to leave the corners square as they are more likely to keep the end of the film in the channel of the reel during loading.
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I never remove my film from the cassette to load onto a reel. I clip the leader square, then turn off the lights and start loading directly from the cassette, then cut the film when it reaches the end. This method works especially well with plastic reels, as you can get the film started in the light. If the film kinks loading onto a stainless reel, you are screwed, as it will only get worse if you pull it off and retry. The only cure for that is to pull the film and reload from the opposite end, and pray the kinked portion cooperates. If it wont cooperate, pull out a plastic reel and load onto that. If you are still having problems, use an old fashioned film developing apron instead of a reel. Film aprons resemble a long lasagna noodle, and allows the film to stay seperated from itself. The well stocked darkroom should have the options listed, just in case.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    The worst curl I ever had with 120 film, (which I expect your film to be, since it's Tri-X 320), was Efke R100.

    I had trouble with loading it on every kind of reel, except the Hewes stainless steel reels, where it slid on just like every other film does. The curl did not matter at all.
    Winters here in Minnesota are extraordinarily dry, with desert low humidity. My problem with curl is always after processing where the films curl along the length of the film, Tri-X 400 being the worst, curling almost 180 degrees to form a half circle along the whole length of the film. Those negs are super difficult to scan for proofing, but fortunately my negative carrier makes it a piece of cake to print at least.
     
  20. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Thanks. That's the limit of trimming I meant, but failed to convey. It's hard to imagine 1 mm or less being enough to allow the film to jump the tracks, but I've never faced such a challenge.

    The other thing I would try myself would be to place the film into the tank with the center spool inside and cover on, and then give it a good soak in lukewarm water to relax it. Of course subsequent spooling would be complicated by the moisture and softened emulsion.
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Me too. Except that I just tear the film off at the cassette opening. It tears very easily.


    Steve.
     
  22. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I've noticed Tri X n Plus X are thinner films than the TMax films and is very curley as well. What I don't like about plastic reels, they tend to get dirty over the years with caked on crud in the channels. I use SS reels n never have any issues loading TMax on em.

    .
     
  23. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Well, the strange thing is that both the Tri X and Plus-x film i've shot are flat as pancakes after they have developed. Even this pitbull of a roll was 100% flat after developing and drying, strange stuff =)

    Just to sum up a bit; The film had several damaged frames, not scrached, but folding damages(?) where the film folded during the fight to get it on the reel.
    Luckily I often did two shots of she scene because I had some toubles measuring the light, so I had "backup" frames.

    Here's one that made it :smile:
    [​IMG]

    One of my reels (used for 35mm) has some beginning gunk going on, tried soaking the reel in water over night, and that got some of it off, but I'll probably need to to some mechanical work on it to get it off completely.
    I've seen yellowish reels as well, no idea how they become like this, mine are still white and the 35mm one has been used for 4-5 years now, but I always clean everything thoroughly and let soak for a day or two after use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2011
  24. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    old toothbrush works great
     
  25. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    curly

    I just ruined 2 rolls of Tri X 120 trying to load them onto a paterson reel, it is impossibly curly! It was not cold and not old, brand new film. Never again, never had any problems with Fomapan or Adox or Ilford......:sad:
     
  26. Noble

    Noble Member

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    That is bad @$$. Never thought about that. Canon Elan 7NE has an option to leave the leader out when it is done winding. That's genius. So simple. Fortunately/unfortunately 35mm is not my main film and hasn't really consistently been a problem. Medium format is the pain in the butt film.

    How did that turn out? I always get semicircle dents in my Acros after struggling with it for awhile. It makes the situation turn into a downward spiral. The longer I struggle with it the higher the dent count. Which upsets me so I screw up more and make more dents :sad:

    This really sucks because I go weeks with nothing but good luck. Then I hit a snag with a roll and break out into a cold sweat. Half an hour jiggling a Patterson reel in a dark bag... ridiculous.