Dry-ving me nuts

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by DrPablo, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I'm having the worst time trying to dry fiber prints (8x10 and 11x14). I have bought two different print blotters, both described as 'lint free'. Both coat my prints in lint if they're facing the blotter side, and both cause a weird shrivelled wax-paper patern if the back is on the blotter side. When I've hung the prints up I get indentations from the print/film clips in the face of the print. If I lie it flat it curls up and I have to spend 2 weeks waiting for it to flatten.
     
  2. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    There's been much discussion about this. Try a "search this forum" search in the applicable forums, or "flat" in the Advanced Forum Search (titles only). That should give you a couple hours of reading :D

    Then again, if you can wait a little while;

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=32949

    Murray

    P.S. Drying fb VC paper face up on screens, heating them in a drymount press, then cooling them between heavy books (in a matt board 'envelope') does a pretty good-ish job.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2006
  3. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I found that when I used blotters and didn't change the blotters at least once during the drying process while the prints were still damp, I had a blotter lint nightmare that required re-wetting the prints and wiping the lint off and redrying.
    Needless to say, I gave up on blotters real quick.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Let the prints air dry for a while face up (let's say overnight) then iron them when sandwiched between two pieces of watercolor paper with a clothes iron on "cotton" (low) setting. Works wonders.
     
  5. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I've thought about doing that, that may be my alternative to getting a dryer for now.
     
  6. lee

    lee Member

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    I have been using drying screens for nearly 40 years.

    lee\c
     
  7. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    When overseas in the Navy I used to dry FB prints between the sheets of my bunk. A blanket held them fairly flat. Then they were stored, alternately face up and face down, in a tightly packed box. This kept them flat.
     
  8. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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    i still use the blotters and they work fine. you only get the blotter lint on the paper when the paper's still wet when you put it under the blotters.
    let it dry for a few hours or use a blow-dryer until the gelatine is dry, the backside can still be wet.
     
  9. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    I use blotters and never had a problem. The way I get nice flat prints is this: I squeegee all the water off both sides and wipe the back well with a clean paper towel. Then, I hang the print by a corner, using a plastic clothespin. I keep the clothes pin in the corner margin as much as possible. Things dry fast here, so, I alternate corners every 15 minutes or so, until the print just feels dry to the touch. At that point the print should be fairly flat, not curled up like a tater chip. That's when I stack them between blotter sheets under weight. I leave them overnight. They come out very nice and never any lint.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Check out this site for sheet drying gear:
    From Google enter, plant flower and leaf presses .

    I use the Ventilation A flute corrugated board but do
    not use blotters. Instead I use a non-woven hydrophobic
    liner material which does not blot. Check your local fabric
    supply for Pellon or similar.

    Prints are sponge then screen dried until a hint of
    warpage appears. At that time they are placed in the
    dryer stack. I weight my stack but you may wish one
    of the strap down units. Acorn Naturalists offer three
    or four models. Also they have all the parts needed
    to tailor your own dryer stack. For that water
    proof material shop local. Conservators do
    have it though. Dan
     
  11. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Now I hang them from clotheslines and flatten them in a dry mounting press after they are completely dry.
     
  12. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Adorama and B+H have various print dryers that take up to 16x20, and they go for ~ $200 to $250. Are they worth it?

    I tried the ironing trick today, but it didn't work. The prints might have already dried too much by the time I tried. I'm done trying the blotter book with the print facing the thin paper -- it dried with all kinds of horrible artifacts. Even if the print is largely dry, facing the blotter I get lint stuck all over it. I got a print framed today, and the framers are dry-mounting it, so that will take care of the wrinkles, but I'm not going to do that with every print.
     
  13. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    For fibre prints I have always dried in a forced hot-air dryer on nylon screens, then flattened them in a dry mounting press. Works great.
     
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  15. percepts

    percepts Member

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    use drying screens and dry face down slowly.

    The gelatin always dries faster than the paper which isn't surprising since the paper is much thicker and holds a lot more water. The Gelatin also contracts more than the paper when drying. If you allow to dry too fast, then gelatin will dry and produce more curl. Drying face down on screens restricts airflow over gelatin side and so water from the paper evaporates off at a greater relative rate to the gelatin. If dried slowly enough like this, you will have no significant curl and very importantly, you will have no tension in the gelatin or paper caused by drying. If you dry rapidly you will get that tension build up in the paper fibres and gelatin and the print will curl at a later date, from take up of moisture in the air.

    i.e. patience is the name of the game otherwise you are asking for trouble which is what you seem to have. Dry face down in a cool place for at least 24 hours.

    Trying to flatten after drying will leave the tension in the paper fibres unless you re-wet the paper.
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Dry'em between screens. Press in drymount press. Let cool in press. Viola. FAF.
     
  17. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I used to use drying screens but they also attract dust, take up alot of floor space, need to be cleaned, etc. Nevertheless, I was happy with them until I started to get occasional embossing of the screen image on the emulsion after the prints dried. Not very happy about that. Then I tried drying them face up but I would get some water marks where the water would pool. I don't like the idea of using a squeegee on a wet print emulsion either.

    In the end, I installed some vinyl clothes lines and use Clipex clips to hang the prints vertically. If I have alot of prints, I hang them up back to back. My darkroom is fairly dust free and I have had no problems. I flatten the prints in a dry mount press with release paper on top of the print that is sandwiched in mat board. The clips do leave a small mark on the white border of the print but that gets trimmed off in the end.
     
  18. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    When you iron the prints, the emulsion side should be smooth, so that it does not stick to a dry finger, but the base should retain some humidity. Partially humid FB paper bends very easily and stays put. You need to dry the prints only up to the point at which the emulsion side is dry because you do not want them to adhere to the watercolor paper, but not more than that is needed. I gotta say that it's easier to dry 8x10 this way than 11x14 and above.
     
  19. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Excuse my French, as they say, but it's "voilà" :D
     
  20. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I use Ilford's fiber paper and hang my prints on a line via plastic clothspins overnight. The next morning, I place each print in a book and pile multiple books on top of that book. They then become wonderfully flat!
     
  21. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Lots of techniques listed here, I'll throw mine in.
    I hang them back to back from a line, with clips also at the bottom corners, back to back (yes, they leave marks, but I leave enough border that they are covered by the matte). I use plastic clothespins, easier to keep clean than wood. As pointed out, the slower the better. Sometimes in winter, I leave trays of water underneath to encourage humidity in the room. (The drying lines are over the sink.) There are three lines about a foot apart, loaded from the back to the front. I can fill a 16x20 Gravity Works washer with 12 prints and dry them all.
    After drying, I sandwich each print in a glassine "folder" (cut up from a roll purchased at an art supply store), then put into the dry mount press, at very low temp, just enough to feel warm, then I turn it off. Take them out the next day. I'm told by framers that you don't even need the heat. If you don't have a press, a single sheet of flat aluminum or some material (or even thick plexiglass would probably work) with the prints under and weight on top.
    If you take the prints out and leave them out, they will recurl to some degree, fiber memory, I think someone said. But if you store them, back to back again in a tight container (like a paper pack or box) they should stay flat.
    No matter what I do, though, when I go to frame a print, by the time I measure it, cut the matte, and assemble the frame, it has recurled to some extent at the edges. (I don't drymount them - another discussion).
     
  22. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    An update --

    I found a print dryer on Craigslist (for $10 !!) and I've begun using it. It's the Premier Print Dryer Model 110, with a curved chrome heated surface and a cloth on top.

    I'm not sure if I'm doing anything wrong, but I'm still getting a lot of curling, especially at the edges. I'm drying fiber papers at setting 2 out of 4, which dries the prints in about 20 minutes. I'm trying to tighten the canvas as much as possible over the print, but it seems not to be enough.

    Am I drying it too fast? Too slow? Should I try to weight the print some how? Should I do it face down instead of face up?
     
  23. percepts

    percepts Member

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    yup you are doing something wrong. You are not listening. You are trying to dry FB prints quickly which is not the way to go. DRY THEM VERY SLOWLY!!!
     
  24. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Thanks, percepts,

    It's not that I wasn't listening. It was the first time I've used this dryer so I had no idea how fast it would work. I can try to put it on a really low setting and see if that helps.
     
  25. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The OP should read through those dryer posts.

    BTW, I've never used a squeegee but can not think of any
    reason to favor it's use over that of a sponge. A sponge will
    draw water from a print's emulsion and paper and do so
    without leaving any water spread about. Photo Grade
    Sponges are fine grain and very absorbant. Keep
    them just for the purpose. Dan