Equal White Borders

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by photo_libra1015, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. photo_libra1015

    photo_libra1015 Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    These past few weeks I've been printing photos for the first time. I'm having trouble with creating equal white borders around the photo. There is always one side that is wider than the other side. I've been using 8x10 paper and setting my easel 7 1/2 x 9 1/2. Does anyone have any tips on centering the paper on the easel so there is equal size borders?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Normally, the easel has stops or a groove or edges for positioning the paper. What sort of easel do you have? Maybe someone who has the same type of easel can make some suggestions.
     
  3. photo_libra1015

    photo_libra1015 Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I don't really know. It's not really my easel, but my school's. The easel looks almost like this...
    [​IMG]
     
  4. dslater

    dslater Member

    Messages:
    732
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Hollis, NH
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a saunders easel as well. The problem is that the slot is a little wider than your paper. If you push your paper right up against the edge of the slot, you will get uneven borders. You need to try and center the paper in the slot.
     
  5. KenS

    KenS Member

    Messages:
    378
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    print centering

    I have been using my Saunders for more years than I care to remember. When it was new, I believe it came with a small spacer that was inserted into the left-hand side of the slot... and you placed the paper against that "filler" for centered prints. My "filler" has been missing since about a month after I got it so I now have a piece of reddish poster card on which I have drawn the outlines of my 'regular' print sizes. The card is placed to the left of the slot and the enlarger head moved to the closest approximation of the print area while final focussing is done on a scrap piece of double weight paper. The 'red' cardstock's second use is for any required edge or sky burning/dodging as required after the pilot print.

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2007
  6. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Location:
    Toulouse, Fr
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi !
    Sacrifice a sheet of paper, draw the exact dimension of the image on it,
    place that sheet on the easel and mark the position with a piece of duct tape to serve as a stop. Choose a duct tape color contrasting with the easel base, it will help under safelight lighting.
    This way you have a perfect mark stop for the exact sheet size you will use (each paper has a specific dimension making Ilford papers not exactly identical to Foma or Kentmere papers) then place the sheet on the easel in contact with the stop and enjoy printing.
    The duct tape is not thick enough to interfere with the easel's blades.
     
  7. mwdake

    mwdake Member

    Messages:
    612
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    FL, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an almost identical Saunders easel and the instructions for mine say to insert the paper in the slot and slide it fully to the left end of the slot.

    I do this on my easel and my borders are always even.

    hope this helps.
     
  8. George Collier

    George Collier Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a Saunders also. I just slide it all the way to the left, then finesse the positions of the blades to make perfect. If you keep a piece of paper with perfect borders drawn on it, as someone suggested above, the final adjustments are simple and quick. And because you are sliding all the way to the left, it's consistent, unlike finding the "middle".
     
  9. photo_libra1015

    photo_libra1015 Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thank you everyone! I will try some of the ways you all suggested.
     
  10. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

    Messages:
    1,020
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Eastern, Aus
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    g'day photo

    keep it simple

    use thin black card, cut a hole for the image size, lay this over the enlarging paper with a small weight on each corner

    you don't even need a bladed easel, just a flat board with a corner
     
  11. woolwinder

    woolwinder Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Why not acquire a used sheet of paper of the size needed, secure it into the correctly set top and left hand side, draw a line along these faces, turn the paper around 180 degs and then set the 2 moveable blades to the lines. This is valid for the standard Paterson or Lucky easels. It works for me.
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a Saunders 4 bladed easel. Slide the paper into the channel and to the left. Everything lines up perfectly every time. No guesswork. End of story.
     
  13. dslater

    dslater Member

    Messages:
    732
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Hollis, NH
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's your version of the easel. I also have a Saunders 4 bladed easel and if I slide the paper all the way to the left in the channel, my left and right borders are slightly uneven.
     
  14. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Saratoga Spr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, Saunders design has three slots - one for 5x7 paper, one for 8x10 paper, and one for 11x14 paper. The filler was used to center paper for making 4x5" prints using the 5x7" paper slot.

    A way of calibrating your process involves using a defective print (don't tell me that all of your prints are perfect!). After it has dried, flip it over to work on the back. Load it into your easel. with the paper moved as far to the left as it will go in the slot. Then, adjust the masks using the scales on the sides, and then use them to draw a line on the back of the print where the border will be. Take the print out of the easel and inspect the border. If it is even, you are golden. But if it is off, you can measure how much you need to shift the borders, and in which direction. Then, you can use shift to bias your border adjustments. You probably need to repeat the process for each of the slots in your easel.

    But you also should recognize that the dimensions of paper is not always exact, and if you purchase a new pack of paper, you may find that it is slightly larger or smaller in one dimension, thereby confounding your calibration.

    I have a related problem - I routinely cut 11x14 paper into two 7x10" sheets plus a couple of test strips. Then, when I use the 8x10" slot in the easel, I have a centering problem.

    I've concluded that the answer is to do the best that I can, and then be prepared to trim the print after it has been processed and dried. The various steps involved in processing frequently cause the edges of the paper to be abused, and trimming has the advantage of also restoring a clean edge.
     
  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Another thing to consider..Fixed, washed and dried fibre paper may be slightly different in size than fresh, unexposed paper. If you are setting your easel blades, you should use (sacrifice) a fresh unprocessed sheet. You can put the paper in the easel, then use a pen and draw a square with the easel blades as the straight edge, take the paper out and look at the square..if the outside is not even, then adjust the easel blades and draw another line.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    This is exactly what I do. I also find that I have to tape together the two ends of the blades to ensure that they stay parallel to the edges of the paper.


    Steve.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,197
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Steve I think you are talking about a 2 baded easel here but I'd like to be sure. It's just that the OP started talking about a 4 blade easel and posted a picture. I always thought that one of the reasons for the 4 bladed variety and their cost was that the design prevented any deviation from parallel as well as ensuring enginering type accuracy on borders.

    I have often thought of getting a 4 bladed one but even secondhand they are expensive. I certainly won't bother if parallel and accurate borders can't be guaranteed.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You are absolutely correct. I didn't notice it was a four blade. Could the same method of marking a sheet and rotating it 180 degrees still be used to line it up though?


    Steve.
     
  19. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Me too.