Drying Pt/Pd Coated Paper

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Neil Poulsen, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Neil Poulsen

    Neil Poulsen Member

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    What do people do to properly dry sheets of freshly coated Pt/Pd paper? In his workshop, Dan Burkholder used a hair dryer to get the drying process started. He indicated that one can use the hair dryer too much or too little. He tries for a "satin" look to the paper, and then he stops using the hair dryer. Thereafter, let the paper dry.

    I'm looking for an approach that's as consistent as possible, sheet to sheet over time. As a "hair dryer", I've been using the small ceramic heater that keeps my darkroom warm. It gives a nice volume of hot air over a large area. (Kind of like some of our politicians.)

    I want to use some form of drying like this, if it makes a difference. But, I'm struck by the degree of variability this could introduce to the process. Or, is there a different way to achieve the same effect, yet avoid a potential source of variability?
     
  2. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I use a hair dryer, but only for a minute or two and after allowing the coating to air dry for a few (around 7) minutes.
     
  3. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Neil,

    You can be consistent to a point, but drying procedures and times will vary with ambient heat and humidity conditions and will vary from paper to paper. Some papers need more "sit" time before you apply heat or air, some need to be dried soon after they are coated so the sensitizer doesn't sink in too far. As you gain more experience, you will be able to know when your paper is dry enough simply by feel. Good luck!
     
  4. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Neil,

    I have an old burke and james film drying cabinet that works like a charm. I set the heat to a nice low warm, close the door for 5-10 minutes and all come out nice, flat and dry.

    Bill
     
  5. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Bill I have not seen one of these film drying cabinets.....what is the set up, i.e. heat coil and fan or like a commercial rotary bread toaster?

    thanks
    Dave
     
  6. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Dave, It is a metal cabinet about 6.5' x 3' x 3' with a fan and coil system in the top. On the very top are slots for the replaceable air filter, underneath are baffles to stop direct air from blowing on the negatives hanging below. Underneath the rubber sealed door on the front is an exit vent for the air drawn-in at the top. Inside are rows of hangar brackets at several heights and stainless steel rods that I can adjust among them. On these rods hang my clips, etc. It is very simple, yet extremely useful. Not much problem with dust these days. You can see it way off to the left here in the darkroom portraits page.

    Hope this helps,

    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2006
  7. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    thanks Bill

    Duh, I did not read carefully and thought you had an old PRINT dryer...the one in your darkroom is much like the film dryer I used to use in my classroom.....I had not thought of using the film dryer to dry prints.....so you hang them by clips and they dry flat? I 'm going to have to give it a go....

    thanks again
    Dave
     
  8. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    For group workshops, I use a food dehydrator to dry coated paper (about 8x10 max). It has 4 trays and keeps a steady flow of warm air at about 110 degrees. Paper is ready in 2 or 3 minutes. And no, I don't use it to make beef jerky any more...

    You can buy a much larger and prettier version of this kind of setup from Edwards Enterprises www.eepjon.com.
     
  9. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Yes, when it is completely dry - flat enough to contact print. After printing and washing, I go the normal drying route and final flatten with a dry mount press. I love the look of that Edwards Engineering stuff too.

    Good luck,

    Bill
     
  10. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Neil - talk to Ray. Last year he and Rich were talking about print driers and Ray has a really nice one with a ceramic heater in it. We all had talked about making copies of it and it looks like something you can do with you woodworking skills.

    Kirk - www.keyesphoto.com
     
  11. EricNeilsen

    EricNeilsen Member

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    Neil, A lot of the drying techniques and methods used depends on personal preferences. As Kerik stated, different papers will require different absolute times. For many years, I dried with a hair dryer for 1 to 2 minutes on the front or coated side, then flipped it over and dried the backside an additional 4 to 6 minutes depending on paper. For the last 8 years, I have been coating and placing directly into my drying box for a required length of time. Directly here means after the paper has properly sat and soaked in the coating. The box is kept to 100F with a small ceramic heater and the air is cirulated with an additional 5 in pancake fan. The dials have been removed from teh heater and relocated in the box to keep the readings based on air temp and NOT that of the heater and it's elements.

    After drying I rehumidify my paper for 1/2 hour to an RH of 60%.

    The key to drying is to not dry to hot and begin at the right time.

    Eric
     
  12. Neil Poulsen

    Neil Poulsen Member

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    Eric,

    It sounds like your primary control is the amount of time you let the paper sit prior to placing it in the dryer. Or, do you find that you can leave it in the dryer too long?

    How long do you let it sit for Crane's patinotype, the offwhite variety? Bergger Cott 320?

    What's the placement of your pancake fan within the dryer and with respect to the heater?

    Placing the thermostat inside the heater is a good idea. In building my warming bath, I found a thermostat at a Jacuzzi repair shop that controls to just over 110 degrees, and which connects to 120 volt circuits. I could use this device to moderate the heating, plugging the heater into a plug connected to this thermostat. It's adjustable. I think this thermostat was just under $30.

    Why did you pick 60% r.h.? (Just curious.) I'm wondering if I can find something that's not too expensive that will maintain a particular relative humidity in my small darkroom? I've been looking for some kind of r.h. meter that I can put on the wall, but haven't found one. Or, have a humidifying chamber of some sort.

    Do you use any kind of a filter? My ceramic heater has a filter on the back. I wonder if this would be enough.

    Thanks for your response. I don't think this kind of heater would be that difficult to build. I'm a master, when it comes to particle board! Heavy, but it does the job.

    Neil
     
  13. Neil Poulsen

    Neil Poulsen Member

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    Kerik,

    Thanks for your comment. What effect does the amount of sit time have on the paper or printing characteristics. How do different times affect the image visually?

    Neil
     
  14. EricNeilsen

    EricNeilsen Member

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    Neil, Not quite sure what you mean by primary control...

    In the coating process, the need to get the material into the paper in a uniform form is the goal. The amount of solution, method of application, type of paper, soak in, drying time and temp, all effect the coating smoothness, contrast, speed, and quality of the coating.

    You can leave your paper in a drying box too long if it is set too high; above 100F. This will cause heat fog as will directly applying heat with a hair drier set too high or used too close.

    How long to let it soak in can vary for several reasons. However, thinner papers will require a shorter soak in than thicker papers as a general rule but that can change with sizing, etc. How do you test for soak in time? Coat a sheet, time it, process and observe the print. Best to use one with a good amount to smooth tonal areas in black, mid tones and highlights. Look for grain and paper fiber. A hard part of the process to determine soak in time is that many coating issues can present as if it were related to something else. You may have too much solution, too little, worked it to long, dried it too hot, etc. You should also be test with out any chlorate, or other contrast agent and your normal coating mix ( FO and PT/PD ratio for your standard print). Starting point should be around 1m45s, to 3m.

    My drying box is about 3' 3' x 3 1/2' . The heater is located in the back on the bottom. The fan is on the top near the rheostat to insure proper air flow through it to measure air temp in box and not in the heater. The problem with using an external thermostat is that the one located in the unit can prevent it from coming on. I tried it with an old water bed thermostat. It is best to remove the thermostat from the heater but continue to use it.

    Why 60% rh for rehumidifacation? It is a good speed point for both PT and PD. PT is faster at low RH and PD is faster at high rH. So if you use a mix ( I start most prints at 50/50) an RH of 60% is a good balance point for speed of your coating. It also happens to allow your paper to lay flat and not be too humid to allow for transfer from paper to negative.


    I don't use an air filter on the unit, but I used formica instead of particle board to avoid particle flakes. I don't like particle board due to it's ease of destruction by water or other liquids.

    I maintain the RH in my humidifying box with an evaporative unit that I picked up at Graingers many years back. It is nolonger mad but get one that has several speeds, built in reheostat and a wicking action as a opposed to a heated vapors. It also has an additional fan to ensure a good circulation of the air. RH meters can be purchased for $35.

    I'll carify more later, need to run

    Eric