Flat under the enlarger

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by AlexG, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. AlexG

    AlexG Member

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    Whenever I try to make a border-less print without an easel, the paper has a tendency to buckle in the middle. Although it's miniscule, the slight variation in the height is enough to throw the focus off.

    Any tips on how to get a good flat image without having to get a sans-border easel?


    Alex
     
  2. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    My only suggestion would be to print with a border using the easel then trim the borders off, that's all I got:smile:
    erik
     
  3. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    The little inventor in me pops out.. Drill a small hole in the easel, connect a small tube, put it in your mouth and suck the paper flat. (or a little suction fan)
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Put a drop of super glue in the center of the easel to keep the paper flat.

    Steve
     
  5. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    put sheet of glass over paper

    Jon
     
  6. AlexG

    AlexG Member

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    Well...Ive tried the elmers glue method in the middle, but it creates a mess in dev (I guess I use to much!). The glass method works, but any scratches or dirt on the glass will ruin the whole print. The homemade vacuum easel sounds excellent...but I'm afraid that if I spend the money on that, I could have spent the same money buying a borderless easel. And last but not least, the cutting method works, but people don't seem satisfied with portraits unless they fit perfectly in an 8x10 frame.

    When will the madness end?

    Thanks for all the advice!
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    How about using something like a strip of double stick tape and glued portion of Post-it note papers to hold the photographic paper flat? You could double-stick tape the Post-it upside down. Your photo paper will come off clean and easily, yet post it should be strong enough to hold it flat, at least temporary.
     
  8. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    If you rub double coated tape with a little baby powder, it will separate from the paper easily.
     
  9. AlexG

    AlexG Member

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    just tried this with a contact sheet and a block of MDF. Looks promising so far.

    I will try this in the darkroom tomorrow!


    Alex
     
  10. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook 2nd ed has a formula for Sticky Easel, gelatin based. It's formula #202 in the book. It appears to be dropped from the 3rd edition.

    Your local art supply store probably has a low-tack adhesive spray, something along the lines of Post-It notes adhesive, that could be used on MDF or other flat material.

    Lee
     
  11. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    a small amount, 1 drop, will hold down paper
     
  12. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    My borderless easel.....

    IS double stick tape.

    Baby powder works , but so does a few strokes with your fingers after it's applied to the easel or baseboard.

    Jo
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Elmer's

    I've all the fixings for the Sticky Easel but will first test Elmer's
    Craft Bond. It is claimed to be tacky after drying rather
    than bonding while still wet. Dan
     
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  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Are you sure? With a well-aligned enlarger and apertures of f/5.6 or smaller, you have at least 20 mm of depth of field at the base board with an 8x10 print, more with larger prints. An 11x14 print from MF at f/8 has 30 mm DoF. Use a sticky tape for optimal sharpness, but I doubt you really need it.
     
  16. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Paper is not flat in regular easles either. The neg not being flat is most likely the problem. Use a grain focuser center and edge and if you have a good flat field lens and the negative is flat, the grain will be sharp corner to corner. Align the enlarger as required.

    Negatives are only flat with a glass carrier. a top glass will get you 90% of the way. Double is 100%.

    I align the my enlargers with a Peak grain focuser, long mirror, that goes into the very corners. I am sure lasers and mirrors are better, but if I can get sharp grain corner to corner with a wide open lens, I call it good enough. The short mirror Peak will not get into the corners

    My D2 is alligned with a 50 mm lens on a flat plate. 135 or 150 lenses on the proper cones are shimmed to be be perfect. Allignment is never perfect across the different lens cones and lenses. Strange but true.

    My leica enlargers are perfect and never need alligning. The 4x5 Omega D2 and D6 reguire a lot of work but make perfect prints once they are set up. The Phillips models are fair. I use it for the tilting head and neg stage for perspective correction.

    Paper is only flat with a vacuum easel. I never needed one because I do the first steps correctly. But if you want absolute perfection, that is the way to go. Do all the first steps first or you wasting yout time with a vacuum easel.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2009
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Use a vacumn easel.
    there must be some on ebay or craigs list
    If you are handy , and I mean handy you can make one yourself.
    Keep the motar/pump off your enlarging table and away from the enlarger .
    These were necessary tools in the Photo Comp Days before Photoshop, I have used wall mural vacumns for giant murals right down to 8x10 inch V - easels.
    If you get one then black magnets strips will allow you to make an edge for aligning the paper into place and away you go.


     
  18. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Oh Yea as Ronald says make sure the negative is flat or all bets are off.
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Post-it has glue sticks available. Same temporary stickum just no paper.
     
  20. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    A friend of mine licks the back of his paper (obviously the smaller stuff - up to 8x10) and that moistens it enough to lie flat for the exposure, but not so much as to interfere with the paper's base. Admittedly I've tried this for my 3.5x5 postcards and it works rather well. :surprised:
     
  21. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I still have a set of the Paterson magnetic corner grips for making borderless prints. I mostly use them for postcards. If I want an 8x10 borderless I use a 4-blade easel and 11x14 paper, then trim. But I usually mat my prints so the large border is beneficial.
     
  22. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

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    I make easels from melamine covered board. Screw 1/2 inch square battens to 2 sides ensuring exact right angle at corner. With permanent marker, outline paper sizes you will be using. Spray with 3M Spraymount (not Photomount which is permanent). After composing image insert paper into the right angle corner and smooth flat with edge of hand. After exposure lift free corner with fingernail; it lifts easily. When stickiness fades, re-spray with Spraymount. When surface begins to look grubby, clean with white spirit (turps substitute). I have been using this method for 30 years.
    Incidentally melamine board does not come in convenient thicknesses for auto-focus enlarging; if you have a Focomat you may need to build up base with thicknesses of 1 mm stiff board to get desired height.
     

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  23. marco.taje

    marco.taje Member

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    It might be convenient (up to your calculations) to print on larger paper -say 9 1/2 x 12- and cut down to 8 x 10.
     
  24. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    This is an OLD thread, but still useful ideas.
    I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to hold big paper, say 16x20 or 20x24.
    I kind of like Richard's easel. I can store it away when I'm not printing bigger than 11x14 (my current easel).
    But I'm concerned about the adhesive. For those that use the adhesive, stick or spray. Does any of that adhesive get into the chemicals? If so any effect? I will use a drum or rocking print tray for these big prints.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2013
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    use a metal easel ang magnetic strips to hold the paper down.
     
  26. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    You don’t mention what paper you use, but if gloss, take all the paper out the box and repack it face to face and back to back. This will make it flat when aligned on your baseboard.