Drying Fiber Based Paper on Screens

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by jeroldharter, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I am getting frustrated with my print drying screens. I dry my FB prints face down on Zone VI screens. The screens are clean and the darkroom is a dedicated space that is as clean and dustfree as it will get.

    Nevertheless, I have been getting little bits of dust stuck to the paper surface. Maybe it is more noticeable lately because I have been making prints with alot of black which shows up the dust. Also, I have noticed for the first time that an imprint of the screen gets embossed into the emulsion of the prints which ruins them.

    I have thought about hanging my prints to dry but that presents its own problems.

    So the question is: am I better off sticking with the screens but placing the non-squeegeed prints face up? Thanks.
     
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Always face up.

    Don Bryant
     
  3. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    For what it's worth I too use the Zone VI drying screens but I place my prints face up.

    Have yet to have any problems.

    Jim
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I bought my Zone screens 16 years ago and always dry the prints face up in a sandwich between two screens.
    Sometimes I will see a pattern when the top screen sags onto the print. These screens were the best investment in my darkroom after lenses of course.
     
  5. rmann

    rmann Subscriber

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    I use a set of fiberglass window screens (Anderson) that came with our house - I dry with the print face up and stack the screens against a wall at about a 30 degree angle with an empty screen on the top. This helps the water drain off the prints. When the screens are stacked, the prints have about 1/2 inch of space between layers. The edges tend to curl up, so the parts touching the screen above is usually the corners. The prints do need to be flattened after drying - I use a dry mounting press. I have not had problems with marks on the prints from the screens. I use this method for both fiber and RC papers.
     
  6. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Jerold - I know of nothing more frustrating than losing a finished print to a problem like you are experiencing. Something is wrong but I would not blame your drying technique. If drying prints face down on nylon screens was inherently risky, you would find few, if any, pros using that method.

    I have dried my prints face down on Z VI screens for 25 years. I had a problem early-on with staining from residual selenium. Since then, I have used a 4" soft bristled paint brush to apply soapy water to the screens before the start of every major printing session - followed by very hot water rinse and a towel drying. Since doing this, I have had no further problems.

    What is your print washing routine? If you are rushing it, you may well be carrying fixer or other chemicals to your screens.

    Do you squeegee the prints before placing them on the screen? If not, excess water could work to leach any trace chemicals into the emulsion.

    When you see dust on the surface of the emulsion, can you remove it by lightly rubbing with a dry Q-tip? Is it possible you are seeing white specs caused by dust on the negative? I have had many difficulties but never a problem with dust on the emulsion of the print. I inspect each print extremely well before and at several points during the drymount process. If there was dust there, I would be seeing it.

    You are using a tried-and-true method for drying fiber based prints. You might eliminate your problem by switching to face-up drying but if it were me, I would want to discover why a method that works well for others isn't working for me. If you do have chemicals on your screens, they will cause other problems.

    Good Luck! :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2005
  7. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Like Bruce, I never had a problem with drying prints face-down on fibreglas screens. (I made my own, using 2x2 firring lumber.) After every session I wiped the screens down with dilute bleach water, followed by a hot rinse.

    As far as screen imprint marks go, it may be a case of simply squeeging the prints well first, or hang them by one corner for a while until they have dried a bit, before moving them to the screens.

    Earl
     
  8. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    never a problem with zone vi screens with the emulsion face up
     
  9. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I never dried face-up as I figured the curl would be worse. But maybe it isn't really a problem.

    Earl
     
  10. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I will try the face up method.

    I don't always have the problems mentioned, they just cropped up recently. I have not had any problems with curling so I suppose it makes sense to dry face up regardless. I use a standard 2-fix processing with 5 minutes in PermaWash and then an extended wash (30-60) minutes in an archival washer. I have tried using a squeegee and not using it. Seems to make no difference. The Q-tip trick for dust does not seem to work for me. It helps a little, but I can still see small imperfections in the emulsion which bother me. I suppose it is possible that my processing leaves the emulsion wet for a long period of time and then it is more fragile to dust or embossing. Nevertheless, I want a more foolproof process.
     
  11. hortense

    hortense Member

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    Jerald,
    Without any probems, I have been drying my prints face-down; they are fiber base. IMO you have a dirty screens. Try washing them with a mild alkaline solution of washing machine bleach (like Clorax). Then wash them thoroughly with water. What I do is first take out the screens and hose them down; then, take a rag and wash them with a weak solution of Clorax. Then a final hosing down of the screens. I do this once, sometimes twice-a-year.
    Good luck, I think you problem will be solved.
    Bob
     
  12. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I use my home-made drying screens for my FB prints, always facing down. No problem. I've used dustier darkrooms in the past, but I didn't have the problem that you have.

    I get some dust on some prints after they dry, but when I touch the surface of those prints, I use the same type of cloth that's used to clean negs, etc. And that's all I can do, and that does the dust-removing job.

    If something is stuck there, you will have to do the wash again.
     
  13. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    I've been using Zone VI screens for years with no problem. Drying face down makes the prints a bit flatter, but there's not problem drying them face up, either. Just squeegee the print in either case.

    The screens should be washed from time to time. I keep mine stored in the original box when not using them and have not had any dust problems.
     
  14. rexp

    rexp Member

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    Did you recently acquire a pet???
     
  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    ...a dust bunny?

    When it warms up again try a power wash or car spray wash with soap.
    If you don't want to wait, try a shower.

    It could be worse. In an earlier post Fintan was trying to clean screens with wooded frames. Warp and weight.

    John Powers
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    No pets for me. I appreciate all of the help. I hope I can get in the darkroom this weekend and test a couple of things.

    Why do many of you advocate using a squeegee vs. minimal handling?
     
  17. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Removing the surface water on both sides does seem to help it dry flatter as you don't get the excess water pooling in one place as the print dries. I just give each side a light pass with the squeegee with the print on a sheet of glass. I am only taking the surface water off, not trying to squeeze the water out... Back first, then the front before putting face down on screens. I rinse the squeegee before each print in warm water to keep the blade clean and supple.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  18. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    You would be surprised how hard you can buff a print... Sometimes we get some lint stuck to prints when running them through our print dryer... and a bit of buffing with those handy Ilford anti-static clothes can do amazing things. However of course those black areas are tricky.

    If your Q-tip technique is leaving marks, I would reccomend steaming the affected area.

    HTH?

    Corey
     
  19. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Are you using a hardening fixer or a non-hardening fixer? I suspect a print fixed in a hardening fixer will be more resistant to imprinting the screen than an unhardened print.

    Of course, the penalty with a hardening fixer is longer wash. Maybe fix, wash, then harden, then wash.

    I've used heated dryers, prints face up, with a hardening fixer bath with no imprint of the canvas on the print.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've used the Zone VI print screens, with prints face down, squeegeed. Never had a problem with the screen pattern showing up on the print. I give the prints a good thorough squeegeeing - gentle on the emulsion side, harder on the blank side, to get a reasonable amount of water out. Between the squeegeeing and the drying face down, my prints normally dry quite flat, unless they dry too fast. Then they curl like the dickens.
     
  21. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    I have had a problem with the edges drying in a ruffled fashion where the print will actually develop a crease in the drymount press. This, too, comes from drying too fast. I spray the back of the print lightly with distilled water, let it soak in and then go to the drymount press. This avoids fixes the problem.
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'll suggest a less used and much less mentioned
    alternate approach. Old Timers may have used Burke
    & James's stack dryers. Some may have read the article
    Drying Fiber Base Prints Flat at www.luminos.com The twists
    included below are technique of my own invention.

    Sponge dry the print on a clean counter. Keep a sponge
    or sponges just for the purpose. Pre-wet the sponge with
    tap water then rinse with distilled. Squeeze dry. Draw the
    sponge first over one side then flip the print and repeat.
    Do once again both sides. Draw slowly so as to pull
    moisture from the print. A sponge will preferably
    draw the water rather than squeeze the
    water from a print.

    The print or prints will be sooner out of the stack if they
    are given several minutes of free air drying. Do place
    them in the stack prior to warping.

    Do not do as Luminos suggests. Use A flute corrugated
    board and hydrophobic separator sheets. The term Luminos
    uses is "sandwich". From bottom up the "sandwich" is built
    corrugated, separator, print, separator, corrugated. The
    completed stack must have some weight placed on top.
    Few or many prints may be dried Flat with little space
    taken up. No sheets of glass or heated presses are
    needed. The entire assembly is very light weight.
    Setting it out of the way is no problem.

    Thin hydrophobic material is available at any fabric store.
    That A Flute Ventilator Corrugated Board is another matter.
    I've only found it to size 12 x 18; 12 sheets $6.95 from
    www.forestry-suppliers.com . I'll try to track down
    it's source. Dan
     
  23. lloydapug

    lloydapug Subscriber

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    January 1, 2006, from Lloyd Erlick,

    I got so frustrated with my screens I threw them away.

    I decided to follow a 'no touch' policy with all my photosensitive materials. While my prints are wet, their image areas are touched by *nothing*. (Well, they're touched by solutions and water, but you get the idea...).

    I dry my FB prints by hanging from a line. The last thing I do after hanging them is to sluice distilled water down both sides of the sheet. After that they air dry.

    I've put a much more detailed description of what I do on my website (www.heylloyd.com). Click the 'technical' button in the table of contents.

    regards,
    --le
    ________________________________
    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    voice: 416-686-0326
    email: portrait@heylloyd.com
    net: www.heylloyd.com
    ________________________________
    --
     
  24. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    An excellent, and interesting article Lloyd. Coincidentally the method you describe is the very one I have used for some time; and have been trying to improve on – with no success whatsoever I might add. So maybe I will stick with the plastic clothes pegs after all.