Fiber Print Washer Options

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by David Ruby, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I have been using a Premier print washer (which basically has a small tank one one side that feeds numerous holes for the supply water. The opposite side of the tray has holes at various heights that drain the water.)

    I'm getting ready to switch to fiber paper and am curious if this will work ok. I don't print very high volume and it seems silly to spend so much on a Nova or Versalab washer which would really seperate the prints. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    Not that this is any help but I am sort of in the same boat. I was doing RC prints and used the same rapid washer you have with good results. When I switched to fiber I purchased one of those Patterson Archival washers which do a great job. But I foolishly purchased an 8X10.

    Now that I want to process 11X14 I have the same delema. I have an 5" deep hypo tray and a Kodak siphon. I'm trying to decide between the rapid washer or the hypo tray. I'm leaning toward the deep tray and I'll let you know how it works out. If it does the cost of the tray and siphon (used) is only around $40.
     
  3. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    I use a premier rapid washer (the same you have, I think), for my 11x14 Fiber prints. I have no problems at all. just make sure that the prints are properly processed in Hypo-clear, or switch to a TF-4 like fixer and you're in business. I don't wash more than 4 prints at a time, and wash them for at least 30 minutes. Does the trick for me (but I haven't done any scientific testing for how through the wash is... one day I'll spend the dough on the nescessary chemicals for that)
     
  4. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    Go for the washer over the tray. It does a much better job. To illustrate: I formerly used the tray and siphon for negatives as well as prints. I would often wash 4 or more negatives (or prints, but not both) together. While it is difficult to tell on the prints, there was often residual residue (probably fixer) left on some of the negatives. This told me I was not getting a good wash despite all my efforts. Since switching to the Gravity Works archival washer my negatives are clean, so I assume the prints are too. The siphon has been relegated to the occasional 16x20 or larger prints, too large for the GW washer.
     
  5. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I used a Kodak tray siphon for the first few years of my photography and had mixed results, OK when only one print was in the tray but less effective with up to 4 in the tray. I made my own tray similar to the Premier that you decsribe and that was an improvement over the siphon but still limited if I needed to make lots of prints. I finally invested in a Zone VI washer but still use my home made "Premium" tray as a holding bath with water trickling through.
     
  6. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Andre-I was hoping I would hear that others were using the same thing. My thought is that if I'm washing multiple prints, I'd have to wash them all about 30 minutes (per your logic for example) after the last print went it since they aren't seperated right? I'm thinking that if you start washing a print say for 10 minutes, then put in another one you'll in affect be contaminating the first one (and so on).

    Not that I'm going for archival quality (whatever that means) but I'd like to not have the print stain when I tone it eventually or have it discolor etc. etc.

    Now if I can just shake this darn cold, I'll break into those two new packages of Ilford MGIV and see how this really works! Thanks all.
     
  7. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    David, you are right about the contamination. In fact, I'll have the washer on trickling down until I get the third or forth print in there, then I'll turn it up and watch the clock. I haven't seen any discoloration in my prints yet, but I've been using this washer for a few months. I don't think that they will, though.

    Another thing you might want to do (which I don't do all the time), is rotate the prints in the washer after a while. That is take the top print and move to the bottom, and take the bottom and move to the top, etc.

    Good luck,

    André