Flattening Fiber Paper

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Kycoo, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Kycoo

    Kycoo Member

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    Is it OK to flatten fiber paper a week after it has been dried?

    I use a public darkroom (local college) to print on fiber paper then come back the next day to flatten the paper using a hot press (?). I am getting busy at work and can no longer go to the darkroom twice a week. I am thinking I can print one day, then come back next week to print and flatten.

    I understand RC paper is an option and I like Ilford's pearl. However, I am concerned about archival properties as I want to keep my prints for at least another 40 years :D

    Thanks much for any information you can send my way.
     
  2. David William White

    David William White Member

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    While still damp, I pull my prints over the edge of the table or counter. You can re-wash your prints to get them damp. You can also press them under books, sandwiched between blotting paper while they are still damp.
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    The general opinion from the manufacturers is that modern RC paper will last pretty much as long as fibre. The problems of previous decades have, they insist, been ironed out (no pun intended :wink:).

    I often flatten fibre paper some days after it has dried in a press so I don't expect any problems with a week's delay. I would be careful if dampening previously dried warmtone paper as I have had MGIV-WT fibre paper stick to the coversheets when heated in a press if not dry...
     
  4. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I have successfully flattened some after a week or more by misting the backs with a squirt bottle -- lightly, not wet -- and weighting them, sandwiched between blotting papers for 24 hours or so.

    DaveT
     
  5. Kycoo

    Kycoo Member

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    Thank you so much for the info. I guess it is safe to try flattening after a week.

    As for RC paper, it is good to know that they will last for some time. I am not into the look of fiber, just its archival properties. I take photography classes on a part time basis and will print on fiber when the instructor insists. But personally, I am pretty much sold on the look of pearl RC paper.
     
  6. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Is it safe to leave your prints there for a week? I know students using the local college darkroom who will take their prints home wet (in some amazing ways) rather than leave them there, fearing theft or vandalism. I have no idea what the circumstances are where you are, but I would at least check.

    I have been using Kentmere Fine print VC FB for about three years for 7x17 contacts cut from 16x20 and 20x24 enlargements. If dried over night between two screens the prints rarely need much flattening. Last night I put them under a stack of prints for an hour rather than warm up the press.

    John Powers
     
  7. Kycoo

    Kycoo Member

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    I am planning to put the prints on blotter paper and dry at home (instead of using the drying screens in school), then come back the following week for pressing.
     
  8. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I find that storing prints flat will flatten out them nicely in time. I keep my finished prints in 'archival' bags stacked in a small pile, and after a little while like this they end up quite flat. If in doubt, a stack of unused mats on top of the pile will flatten them all right out. When they come out of the last wash, I dry them by way of hanging from a clothes line in the shower, which leaves them fairly warped, yet all are now nice and flat. I have no idea how long specifically this process takes, it just sort of worked out that way and I keep doing it, but I do know that everything in the pile is quite flat after 3 or 4 weeks time.

    - Randy
     
  9. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Be sure that they are well washed (i.e. they didn't get stack up in the wash, or have fresh prints from the fixer tray dropped on top of them) before inserting them in the book. Once those pages get contaminated they can contaminate every other print they come in contact with.

    - Randy
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    What Randy just said. (whoops...what he said two posts up.)

    Drying them face down on a clean screen gets them to dry with minimum curl.

    Vaughn
     
  11. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I graduated from college in 1984 and still have some of my first RC prints which are in fine condition despite marginal storage conditions at times. If I were a student again, I would start with RC paper which is much easier and quicker to process, and cheaper as well.
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, I've found that Foma's RC paper (or at least the Variant III VC RC paper) silvers out in about 1-2 years when tossed in a cheap frame. Agfa's MCP 310RC paper, processed identically, doesn't do so -- at least not as quickly. (My oldest B&W prints are about 4 years old.) Perhaps the Foma is more sensitive to fixing and/or washing issues than the Agfa, and the Foma would be OK if I'd processed them in a slightly different way. Foma prints that have not been framed seem OK up to at least 3 or 4 years. As it is, I'm not going to buy more Foma RC paper.
     
  13. eddym

    eddym Member

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    When I have tried drying larger prints between two screens, I invariably get uneven drying. Or rather, the print is dry all over, but is "wavy" or "warped," as if it dried faster in one spot than another. There are probably better words to describe this, but I can't think of them... Anyway, I let them dry for a little while on screens, them hang them overnight. They curl, of course, but they are more easily flattened under a stack of books this way. If I leave them between the screens, the stack of books will not flatten them evenly.
     
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  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Are you using a different paper?
    Would the difference in humidity between Puerto Rico and Cleveland, OH cause this? Sorry, I can only offer these two guesses as to the different results.

    John Powers
     
  16. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Nope, same paper. And my darkroom is dehumidified/air conditioned, so the humidity is always around 40-50%.
     
  17. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    In severe cases, I do as others suggest and mist the backs of the prints. Then I use several pieces of very oversized pristine blotter paper, placed between two 20x24 inch pieces of 3/4 inch plywood. Overnight they are flat.
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Archival is, what, 50 years. So in 2034 one may adjudge the RC prints safe. Until then.......
     
  19. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Huh... go figure...I never thought to press them when damp...I always dry them first, and then flatten in a hot press. I use a screen on top of a screen to dry, so they dry out pretty flat, just a little wavy. When they are dry, I slide them in the press. Viola!
     
  20. eng1er

    eng1er Member

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    No problems with any of my 20 year old RC prints.
     
  21. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I'm with J. Brunner's method -- although for an upcoming show, it'll be a few weeks between mounting/framing them and having had them dry out between two screens.

    Blotter paper 20 or more inches wide is a tad hard to find!
     
  22. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    not if you live in Toronto Colin :wink:
     
  23. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I like Occam's Razor. Why do you need a drymount press to flatten prints? I put dry prints in a stack and sandwich them between two masonite boards. Put a 35 lb. dumbbell on top and in a couple of days, voilà! flat prints. You can do this at home.
     
  24. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    My three boys weigh 80 pounds each now, but I guess I could still get one of them to sit on the prints for awhile. :tongue:

    Vaughn
     
  25. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I've done this. It works best if you take a paper napkin or cloth and lightly wet it with water; lightly wipe the back of the print and then press in a drymount press (i like doing it between clean matt boards) for a few seconds.

    Otherwise I like RC for classes and the like. It's quick!
    I remember driving home from class with a dozen fiber prints that were still tacky.. It was December up in Massachusetts, I had the heat on high and the prints on the dashboard.. using the heat to speed things up. Ah memories.
     
  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Try a substitute. Fabric stores carry a material called
    interfacing. It is of non-woven polyester sheeting;
    hydrophobic and very inexpensive.

    I sandwich prints twixt two sheets and the sandwich
    twixt sheets of corrugated board. Layer upon layer
    is possible. A compact, ultra light, bottom dollar
    way to dry and flatten in one operation. Easy
    to stow away. Dan