Freezing paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Lingham, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. David Lingham

    David Lingham Member

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    I’ve often seen mentioned here, the practice of storing paper in a freezer. As certain makes of paper are now becoming harder to find, I’m thinking of buying a small chest freezer for out in the garage and storing a few of my favourite boxes. Could I ask, what is the accepted procedure? Both for freezing and un freezing. Also, are there any drawbacks, ie: how long is it best to store a paper? do they deteriorate? do certain papers store better than others? and are there any papers that are not suitable for long term storage?
     
  2. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    It's not a question I can answer regarding "how long"; I've had paper frozen for 15-20 years (color and B&W) and it was still good when I used it. No noticeable change. I would say it may last indefinitely!

    I usually allow 8 hours warm-up (to room temperature) for a box of 100 sheets.

    I currently have a large stock of Forte paper in the freezer - my favorite!
     
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  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    a few tricks

    My freezer - a small chest unit, is almost full of paper to the exculson of food. Most of it is a result of friends giving me supplies as they move to the d side.

    Double bag the long term store ones and then seal the outer bag, over the box with masking tape before freezing. Mark the tape with a sharpie marker as to what is in the box. This prevents the box from absorbing moisture and swelling, and thus keeps a source of moisture away from the paper when it is time to thaw. I do this when I have, say 3 boxes of polycontrast 100 sheets of 8x10, and one of 250. All but one of the 100's gets double bagged. The double stocks go to the bottom of the freezer, or under the freezer basket.

    Try to stack paper on end, so the labels on the end of the box can be read. It also allows for one box to be removed without unloading half of the freezer.

    I try to unload into 25's envelopes, and keep the envelopes in the film fridge. They warm up a lot faster than 100 boxes when it is time to use the paper.

    I try to transfer from the frozen box to the envelope out in the garage in the dark at night on a cold night. that way there is little moisture in air, and therefore less to condense on the equally cold frozen paper.

    Most chest freezers have the condenser coils in the top half of the outside wall of the cabinet. Feel where the outside is warm when the freezer runs and is cooling goods. Below that level it is fair game and a good idea to beef up the level of insulation. I use 2" rigid SM type foam boards. I also have one that sits over the top of the lid. They cut the amount of heat that leaks in, hence the compressor runs less frequently. This same technique is used on the bar fridge that I use for currently open envelopes of paper and film.

    Inventory what is in the freezer and fridges. Put the list and a pencil close at hand to the freezer. That way you do not need to open the thing and dig like a mad man when you used up what you thought you had stashed, and allows for better stock rotation.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Further info

    High contrast papers loose contrast with time and become lower contrast papers. Low contrast papers don't generally change as much as high contrast ones do.

    Developer incorporated papers fog faster than non DI papers.

    Multigraded papers may change their performance as they age.

    All papers tend to become slower as they age.

    Colour papers age faster thah B&W - it is the dyes here, not just the silver. Most recent Kodak papers need more filtration to offset red sensitivity loss as they age.

    If papers fog lightly (a general overall grey regardless of exposure), then adding potassuim bromide or benzotriazole restraining agents to suppress fog can help, as can stronger exposures and accompanying short developing times. Long development times, say longer than 2 minutes with FB paper will encourage any fog that may be lurking in an old paper to come to life.
     
  5. haris

    haris Guest

    I sent same question to Ilford (Harman) some time ago and they answered freezing paper will prolong life of Ilford paper without compromizing characteristics.

    But, I didn't got answer will repeatedly freezing/unfreezing (after all when you unfreeze box of 100 sheets you will not use all paper atonce and it is logicall you will freeze/unfreeze it several times) make any harm to paper.
     
  6. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I don't refreeze after unfreeze, unless I need something in the freezer for a reference to compare to more modern papers, such as: a sheet of Ektalure G (warm-up/unseal/reseal/refreeze). I also have some Panalure (RC). After doing this I would expect some slight fogging due to cyclic stress on the material, but it's only for reference - it's all about comparing the tone - since I only have a few sheets of each.
     
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  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I think the first think to say is that paper doesn’t freeze. Water freezes, and there shouldn’t be too much of that in your paper, or it’s emulsion. So moving it in and out of your freezer shouldn’t hurt it. I agree that the boxes should be put in plastic bags to ensure that it doesn’t absorb water during storage and that at least 8 hours should be allowed for the paper to warm to ambient temperature before unbagging and opening. Opening earlier will encourage moisture to condense into the paper and box to it’s detriment. As has been said here different types and makes of paper age differently.
     
  8. PVia

    PVia Member

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    This thread is helpful because I recently scored a treasure trove of papers from someone getting out of the business...Portriga, Brovira, plus all the other Agfa papers, Forte, Oriental, Ektalure, all sizes, you name it...

    I have it stored in cabinets right now but LA will heat up early in the season, so I need to do something relatively soon.

    Thanks for all the advice...btw, how much better is it to store in the freezer rather than just the fridge?
     
  9. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    The colder the better - the freezer is better. Much of the keeping quality depends on how fresh the paper was before you deep freeze it. That would be a good question to ask about your substantial score..
     
  10. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    The chemical ageing rather than inventory or time ageing of paper emulsions eleiminated any significant advantage of freezing.

    Paper used to lasr 10 years with minor effects. Today you get 3 from date of manufacture.

    This complaint needs to be carried to Ilford and other manufactures so the practice is stopped. Lots of luck.
    Yes it will increase costs somewhat as paper needs to kept in inventory before being sold.
     
  11. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights Member

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    "THE CHEMICAL AGEING.....ELIMINATED ANY SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE OF FREEZING."

    Well, can I chime in here? I'm not photochemist but I've got a couple of years of university chemistry and reducing temperature VASTLY reduces the rate at which chemical reactions will occur.

    A paper that exhibits little change after a several years at 22 degrees Celcius in the dark, would, I think exhibit little change after at least as many decades in the deep freeze at negative 35 degrees Celcius.

    I've used kodak paper that was stored at room temperature in opened packaging for about 15 years. It came with the first enlarger I bought about two years ago. It was a tiny bit grainier and a tiny bit less contrasty than paper that was bought brand new, but I didn't notice until I held two exact same prints side by side after they were dried.

    If I really was concerned about keeping my paper fresh at the 5 or 6 decade mark....I might line the freezer with lead paper and/or use a proper lab freezer (-68 degrees below zero celcius)

    I'm trying to be pretty conservative here. The fact is, I'd not be suprised to learn that paper in a deep freeze still reacted quite well after a century or more.
     
  12. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Currently, I'm freezing about 1,000 sheets of RC paper as I managed to secure a good deal. My initial concern was... "Will the paper change significantly with time?" It seems, however, that freezing paper will help maintain their printing qualities. Nonetheless, is there any need to be concerned about 'background' radiation for the long term?
     
  13. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I'm in the process of testing the various papers right now, and so far, so good, with no additives and normal processing times.

    I don't expect the entire cache to be be fog-free, but other uses can be found if so...remember that Sudek used to beg old paper from other photographers all the time! ;-)
     
  14. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I had one open package of VC fiber paper that was in a drawer for about eight years in a relatively cool place - never more than 75°F - and when I tried printing with it this past year, the image was extremely grainy and flat - I couldn't get much contrast with any VC filter that I had. It was time to toss it.

    A little off topic but it may interest someone:

    I also kept a printed sheet of the old paper in a tray of water along with a print made on a sheet of Forte VC fiber paper and the image on the old paper dissolved in a couple of days, where the sheet of Forte VC fiber lasted more than 10 days before the emulsion started to separated (it didn't dissolve, it just pealed off). The Forte fiber paper was rated as a tropical emulsion, I guess they were telling the truth.
     
  15. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    I routinely store papers in both fridges and freezers and have acquired a selection of chest and upright freezers and fridge freezers - all full of (mostly discontinued) papers, although when I get a new batch of current papers I always store in either fridge or freezer if I can find space.
    I have never encountered problems. I double bag in clear bags (so I can see what is inside) for the freezer but not for the fridge.
    I have not found it necessary to allow long warm up periods. I do for freezer-stored film to avoid condensation problems, but for paper I have quite often opened the box from the freezer straight into a large light tight drawer and I take a few sheets out at a time to warm up and use in rotation waiting only to refresh or mix chemicals. The volume/mass of a sheet of paper is tiny compared to its huge surface area and a sheet does not need hours to warm up, although an eye needs to be kept on the dev temp.

    For larger papers than 10x8 I would always store flat, not upright to avoid stresses and waves in the paper and emulsion.
    Tim
     
  16. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    One of the great things about silver chloride paper (like Azo) is that it will keep 50+ years at room temperature. Of course, the higher contrast grades will loose some of their contrast.
     
  17. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Most paper available today is developer incorporated. Freezing does not prevent deterioration. I found this out the hard way when Kodak discontinued Polymax.

    You can freeze it but do not expect to extend its life beyond an additional 6 months. That is my experience. You will still have paper but you will not achieve the bright whites you will get with a fresh batch.

    Bruce
     
  18. David Lingham

    David Lingham Member

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    Many thanks for all your posts. Pantasia, Bobby Ironside, Mike Wilde and Tim, all really good helpful info.
     
  19. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Fortunately there are still plenty of papers without incorporated develper - especially FB papers.
    Fortunately for us, the cadmium papers last especially well in storage :smile:
    Tim
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Most freezers out there have a defrosting cycle. Is that a matter of concern?

    - Thomas
     
  21. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Damn, Tim....what's your electric bill run per month? ;-)
     
  22. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    Cadmium?

    Tim, please explain about your cadmium comment. I have seen this mentioned before in posts. What papers used cadmium?

    The reason for my question is that I have tested positive in the past for cadmium toxicity in my system. Always wondered where I would be exposed to cadmium.
     
  23. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Firstly Loren, the inclusion of cadmium has been prohibited by many countries for some years now. Of current papers the only one that is alleged to still contain cadmium is Fomatone, but this will disappear soon under EEC directives.

    The second point is that Cadmium has been banned because of its impact on the enviroment, resulting from discharge etc, mostly in the manufacturing process. I am not aware of any firm data showing harm to individuals from handling and processing these papers in the darkroom.
    Tim