FB washing method?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Flotsam, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I actually don't recollect a discussion of this burning, pivotal analog topic previously on APUG.
    Could it be?
    I'm sure that there are as many print washing routines as there are APUGers. The goal being to achieve a complete wash without wasting time and water. I'd be interested in hearing about other's methods, opinions and results.

    Here's my current method.
    Too much? Too Little? Any comments welcome.

    I don't use an Archival ($$$$$) style washer. I have about three washtub types of various shapes, sizes and designs that work on the old principle of circulating fresh water in at one end and drawing it out from the bottom and the top at the other end. Sure, the prints aren't all nicely, individually separated but with occasional hand shuffling by an unskilled laborer (Me), I think that they are reasonably efficient.

    1) After fixing, the prints go into a holding tub of water until the end of the session.
    2) After the session, the prints get a fresh water rinse to get the excess fixer water off of them and then go into a flowing water wash as described above. Shuffled by hand
    3) The prints go into a tray of Perma-Wash and get shuffled occasionally. Meanwhile, I empty the washer and rinse it and refill it (or just fill a different one).
    4) I can't stand the idea of dumping prints covered in P-W into the clean water so I rinse them again to remove the excess.
    5) Put them back in the washer for probably well over what P-W recommends, shuffling and separating occasionally.
    6) Drain, squeegee and hang.
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    this has been discussed, and if i remember correctly more than once.
     
  3. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I've seen a few general discussions of print washing, mainly anecdotal information about soak and dump methods but very little on the actual methods and equipment that folks have adopted and adapted to their own personal production routines.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    Neal, the only real way to know if you have washed long enough is to buy one of the residual fix kits from someone like the Formulary. Then you will know. With my archival washer, it takes about 48 minutes and I let it go for one hour. Most of the fixer is removed with soaking and dissolving and turbulence over the print surface does not do too much to remove the fix. This is what makes the dump and fill attractive to many users.

    lee\c
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I think I've see it before too but here goes.

    I print mostly large 16x20 and 20x24. I go from the 2nd fix to a 20x24 tray with a Kodak siphon. The print is washed there for around 5-10 minutes while I'm doing other stuff then into perma wash. Again it sits there for about 10 minutes and into the archival washer, filled, but not circulating water.

    The current wisdom is that soaking and intermittent changing or water is just as beneficial as running water.

    So I soak, until all prints are finished printing then I turn on the washer for about an hour.

    If I tone which I do a lot of (selenium) I use the above procedure but I go from the initial permawash back to the siphon tray for about 5 minutes and then into the selenium for about 5 min. From the selenium back to the siphon wash for 5 minutes and back to the permawash for 5-10 min. From there into the archival washer and it sits until the last print is printed/toned and then I circulate the washer for 1 hour.

    Michael
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i usually go from the first fix bath to a holding try with water that is dumped every once in a while. when i get all my prints out of my first fix i then do the 2nd fix, then a 5 min shuffle-fill/dump then the recommended perma wash ... the final wash i usually do at least 20-25 fill/dumps and shuffling the whole time.

    i never use hardener in my fixers.
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    My washing technique is identical to Michaels
    I do a light squeege and place prints face up on a screen with one on top , I then air dry the sandwich on racks that run the length of my room, I do not stack the sandwiches on top of each other as I find it takes much longer period to dry, this eliminates the water pooling.
    Finally I press the prints face up between two archival boards in a Hot Press.
     
  8. edz

    edz Member

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    Instead just get some Silver Nitrate and make your own test kit.

    Kodak HT-2:
    45 ml Aqua Dest.
    8 ml 28% acetic acid
    400 mg silver nitrate
    (remake every 30 days so don't make more than ca 50 ml at a go)
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I just bought a Versalab washer and I've only begun to start again using fiber based paper seriously.

    Thus far, my method is to use a two fixer bath of rapid fix mixed to film strength. From the second fixer, I put prints in an oversized tray with a weak mixture of a wash aid (I've use variously Orbit Bath, Hustler Rapid Bath and Heico Perma Wash). I then give the prints five minutes rinse with a Kodak tray siphon while shuffling them constantly. Then they go in the wash aid bath for five minutes of constant shuffling. From that, they go into the Versalab. I've used the Photographer's Formulary residual hypo test solution and I've found 60 minutes is just about perfect with a low flow of wash water. To be sure, I'll go a bit longer. I've also read that leaving the prints to soak overnight after about 30 minutes in the wash works even better than 60 minutes in constantly running water but I haven't tried it.
     
  10. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Using a residual fix test, I've found the dump and fill method works. I don't do any running water wash anymore. After toning and the Perma Wash bath, I start soaking the prints in Rubbermaid dish tubs. Using two dish tubs, I can alternate the print stack from one tub of fresh water to the other. Total soak time is about two hours, changing water about every twenty minutes. According to the silver nitrate test, its working.
     
  11. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Thanks to everyone who responded. I'm not surprised that there are more ways to wash a print than there are to skin a cat but I was curious what was really going on behind all those closed darkroom doors.

    IMHO, the prize for logical simplicity goes to Alex. Covenient, no expensive equipment and very efficient on water use. You can drain and refill one tub while your prints are soaking in the other.
     
  12. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I've only been doing fiber for a month now, and here's where I'm at...

    1. Develope for +\- 2 Minutes, agitating all the time
    2. Stop Bath for 10-20 seconds,, agitating all the time
    3. Fix for 2 minutes, agitating all the time with the light off, after 2 minutes, turn lights on and agitate for 2 more minutes. (I only spend 1 to 1 1/2 hours at a time in the darkroom so I gave up on the two bath method of fixing for now. I do test the fixer often to make sure it's not getting weak)
    4. Wash 5 minutes in a Premier print washer.
    5. 5 minutes in Perma Wash, agitating occasionally.
    6. Final wash for 5 minutes in same Premier washer.
    7. Drip dry for a few seconds, squeeqy and then place in screen sandwhich for the night.
    8. Into heavy book for flattening for a few days or longer!
    9. Not sure what to do with them next yet!

    That's where I'm at so far. I did the two bath fixer for awhile, but due to space limitations etc. I've stopped since I don't print too much. In one evening, I probalby only run 4-5 8x10's through.
     
  13. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    You're only washing your FB for a total of 10 minutes? I thought it usually has to be at least 1/2 to one hour? :confused:
     
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  15. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yes, I've always heard a minimum of 30 minutes after a 5 minute bath in a good HCA, or 60 minutes in plain water.
     
  16. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    I use Formulary TF-4 fixer. No stop bath, no hypo clear, 15 minute wash. So far, no downside. It is a non-hardening fixer, but after printing and dry mounting quite a few prints, I've not seen a problem with that.
     
  17. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    The instructions on the Perma Wash bottle do indeed specify a 5 minute final wash.
     
  18. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    There may be a difference between what manufacturers say and what is considered "archival".


    Michael
     
  19. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Time

    I'm definitely a newbie to fiber, but yes I'm currently only washing fiber for 15 total. I sometimes let it go longer if I'm in the middle of another print though.

    I struggled with all the times etc. for the various stages. I looked at Ilford's data, Data on the chemicals themselves (i.e. the Perma Wash bottle as mentioned) and then came to this conclusion after talking a bit with the local darkroom store guy. He mentioned the raging debate, even here in Boise about the amount of time to fix and to wash fiber. He mentioned that some of the professors at the local college are still advocating washing for 1-hour or more (some much more), but he cited all sorts of other opinions etc. basically saying that at the other end of the wash spectrum is the idea that you only need to wash for as long as you fix (I think this was assuming the use of a Perma Wash type product).

    Since I'm transitioning from doing RC, the longer times for these processes was a bit difficult to swallow at first. This and the fact that letting water run for hours and hours seems pretty wastefull led me to my current approach. I haven't tried selenium toning yet, but the Berg toners I've used haven't illuminated any poor washing or other flaws that I'm aware of.

    I would still like to get an archival washer though if I can find one someday. I like the vertical designs and the fact that the different sheets stay seperated. That would really help I think since I've usually got a mix of test strips, work prints and "final" prints all going at the same time.

    I'm still open to listen to the various arguments though. This seems like an issue kind of like child birth or child rearing. All you need to do if find the book that agrees with your way of thinking and read it!

    When I get to the point where I can actually sell a print, I'll probably start being a lot more paranoid about archival qualities. I'd like my own prints to last for my lifetime and possibly my kids. After that, well....
     
  20. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, David,


    As I understand it, FB paper is difficult to overwash, so a little too much is better than not enough. I usually go for an hour or so, even with Perma-Wash treatment.
    I agree with your thought about water use, but consider that efficiently using a print washer such as the Versalab means that you can handle over a dozen 11 x 14 prints (twice as many 8 x 10's) at one time. The water flow need not be very rapid, so on a water per print basis, the amount used isn't too extravagant. For a similar quantity of RC prints in a tray/siphon arrangement, the amount used is probably greater, even with the short washing time, since I would wash only one or two simultaneously. All that said, I've still been spoiled by RC and am always annoyed by the extended wash time for FB.

    Konical
     
  21. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I had to revive this thread.
    I finally found and bought two perfectly sized,straight-sided tubs (plastic file boxes) that will hold 11x14 prints stacked horizontally with just a bit of room all around. I plan to use the soak and dump method that Alex mentions earlier in this thread. It seems so simple and efficient on water use. Using two tubs allows draining and refilling one tub while the prints are soaking in the other. I just have to come up with the optimum time/# of water changes to make it archival.
    I'll turn my mind to designing some sort of basket to ensure print separation during soaking for added efficiency but even just giving it an occasional shuffle won't be a big hassle.
     
  22. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    This ones new to me, so here's my method of madness for FB;

    Develop, 30 second water stop, 1st bath TF-3 for 1 minute, 2nd bath TF-3 for 1 minute, straight into the selenium toner, water bath with agitation for a couple minutes in a "darkroom use only" kitty litter tray where I leave it to soak for a while (I'm not doing bigger than 11x14 for now), transfer to another kitty litter tray until end of printing session, then into a Kostiner print washer for 40 minutes to an hour, squeegee, face up to dry on plastic screens. (My prints passed the residual hypo test after 20 minutes, but I at least double that time).

    I was seduced by marketing years ago when I was inexperienced, and spent HUGE bucks on the print washer...I'd go with the soak and transfer if I didn't already have it.

    Murray
     
  23. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    10 mins hypo clear followed by 6 x 15 minute soak and dumps. I carry a kitchen timer around with me until I'm done... Used to use a plastic crate with a Paterson RC print dryer tray in it to keep the prints apart but now use a print washer with a quick-dump facility (the old crate took a while to dump through a syphon).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  24. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Do you give the prints a first wash before the hypo clear? Perma Wash calls for one.

    I like to visit that APUG chat room while washing my prints. I need a countdown timer program for my computer :smile:
     
  25. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber

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    Someone here mentioned US Plastics. Well, I just got my 24x18x12 plastic tank and they were nice enough to install a 1/2 inch input and a 1 inch output fitting for a couple bucks extra. For another 15 bucks I bought enough 1/8 inch plastic sheet for 6 dividers although I can get at least 12 in the tank, (I have to cut them to size). I'll notch some PVC to hold the dividers in place and support the paper. All in all I spent about $100. I can drain the thing in under 5 minutes. With A ball valve for the output I can circulate water a bit or just fill and dump. It all is still on the drawing board. If it works I'de be happy to put together a parts list.
     
  26. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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