Correct Side of Paper for Pt/Pd

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Neil Poulsen, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Neil Poulsen

    Neil Poulsen Member

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    Does is matter which side of the paper one uses for Cranes Natural White or Bergger's Cott 320? It's difficult distinguishing one side from the other. If the two sides are different, what side should one be using for Pt/Pd printing?
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If the paper has a watermark you should use the side where the mark is read correctly. If it does not have a watermark but has deckled edges, you should use the side where the edge is smooth not beveled.

    If neither, then one trick I learned is to wet the paper and hang it by one corner, the paper will curve towards the "smooth" side.


     
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Good question...and the last part Jorge, why didn't I think of that, duh!
     
  4. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I'm using some Cranes Kid Finish white right now that is the opposite. Printing on the right reading side results in a dried print with texture from the mould I presume. The other side is much more smooth when dried.

    Bill
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Some papers will not curl.

    It is often best to judge by the smoothness of the paper rather than curl. I have the same problem.

    Paper, when manufactured is produced with pulp or rag rising out of a slurry onto what amounts to a moving wire frame. This is the bottom of the paper and is called in the trade, the wire side. The other side is the finished side. After partial drying the paper is pressed between two calendaring rollers that squeeze out moisture. These rollers may be hot (hot press) or cold (cold press) and remove most of the roughness from the wire, but not all. Therefore, one side is always rougher than the other.

    Afterwards, the smooth side is often coated with a sizing layer such as is done with COT320. Bergger uses gelatin for this.

    That gel size can be heavy or light. If light, then the paper will not curl or will curl very little if you wet it for the type of curl test above.

    PE
     
  6. donbga

    donbga Member

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    The "good" side of some hot press papers without a water mark such as Crane's NW Cover 90 can be very difficult to determine. One method is to wet a piece and let it dry. The good side will le the least textured side. Another method I've used is to inspect the paper with a loop and look at the structure of the paper grain. The good side will have a smoother looking structure, the other side will have a rougher slightly textured look. For me it is difficult to tell the difference with my eyes alone.

    Don Bryant
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    :rolleyes:

    Actually it is a matter of physics. Once the paper has been calendared the smoother surface has a tighter weave, when you wet it and then let it dry the paper tends to shrink towards the tighter weave or the smooth side more than the rough side, thus curling towards the smooth side if you hang it by one corner. I have tried this with Socorro, Platine, Platinotype, COT 320 and it has worked with all of them....how many papers have you tried?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2006
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    For the COT 320, there is a "smooth" side and a "rough" side. You can feel the difference. I use the smooth side.

    For me, it helps if I close my eyes when I am feeling for the smooth side.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You are all right and I have used all methods. With my old eyesight it is getting harder and harder to see the smooth side.

    Jorge, I agree in essence with what you said, but I find that the results are not always reliable in the sense that it does not seem to agree with what I see as being smooth vs rough. Also, sometimes I see no curl or ambiguous curl in the sense that the paper gets an undulating curl making it hard to figure out.

    I have tested Cranes, Strathmore, Bergger, and Lanaquarelle and this includes hot and cold press varieties and different weights from 90 # up to 300#. The cold press are obvious, but the hot press are more difficult. The textured ones are obvious, but the non-textured ones are sometimes ambiguous, more due to the low curl or the undulating curl when wet.

    So, I agree with everyone, but merely add that in practice it is sometimes more difficult than not to make a sure determination. It may take some fine tuning as to how wet to make the paper, or how long to let it stay wet, or any number of things which is what is so much fun about the art of photography.

    Some last thoughts.

    Our local art stores have loose paper in large sheets. Sometimes they are stacked in any face order the clerk felt like, and it becomes impractical for me to wet test every sheet and I cannot tell with a good hot press paper which side is which, so the wet test becomes rather useless. Strathmore in pads is the best as the face side is always up in a pad, so I tear off a sheet and then notch the corner just as if it were film.

    Sometimes, I have gotten cut sheets with the face sides of 2 sheets in contact, then the wire side in contact etc etc. This packaging is sometimes done by manufacturers who recut larger sheets and is done to prevent curl. It thus confuses the issue as you just about have to again determine the orientation of each sheet.

    PE
     
  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I must be the weirdo, I print on the more textured side of Platine.

    :rolleyes: