How archival would......

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Matt5791, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    How archival would a fibre print be after the following:

    3 min fix
    rinse 3 min
    HCA 3 min 20 deg.
    Wash in tray with Kodak syphon 15 mins

    I know this is a long way from what is recommended for proper treatment of FB prints, but I'm just curious.

    Is this OK for work prints?

    Does anyone have any idea what sort of lifespan they would have?

    I have piles of FB work prints and contact sheets from the early 1970's for advertising and material from the old family company (bicycle manufacturing of all things - but there's some great shots) - I can't believe they received full archival treatment? and they look fine 30 odd years on.

    Matt
     
  2. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Processing for Permanence

    Matt:

    It's hard to tell what results you will get since you do not list the type of fix you plan to use.

    With rapid fix at the "film strength," three minutes is too long!

    With conventional fixers, three minutes is not enough.

    You can use a rapid fix at "film strength" for one minute and get a good fix. However, the capacity is greatly reduced. I use two weaker fixing baths (rapid fix at "paper strength") for 1.5-2 minutes each. This isn't long. Often, I wash and dry after the first bath and only second fix the "keepers" later, in a "toning session."

    The wash is your main weakness here. 15 minutes won't do for permanence. However, it will do for work prints you don't plan on keeping for long. And, you can always complete the processing later by soaking, second fixing, hypo-clearing and washing as described below. Just don't expect them to last a long time if you don't... And, don't sell them as art prints to anyone!

    It's not clear from your question if you are addressing your own work or want to ensure permanence for the old family pics. If your concern is to preserve old prints, you can simply re-fix and re-wash them (even tone them if you like).

    Simply soak for five minutes and run them through an "archival" process.

    My work-flow for fixing (based on lots of research and personal preference) is:

    1. Place wet print in a rapid fix mixed "print strength" for 2 minutes (this would be Ilford Hypam or Kodak Rapid Fix 1:9 or equivalent).

    2. Transfer print to second fix for 2 minutes (same stuff). The capacity for fixing like this is about 25-30 8x10s per liter (each bath being a liter for 2 liters total). After capacity is reached, mix a new second fix and make the old second fix your first fix. This cycle can be repeated three or four times before mixing both baths fresh. Usually I just use fresh for both. Fixer at this dilution is cheap.

    3. (optional) Transfer print directly to selenium toning bath. Tone to desired image change/density increase

    4. Transfer print to a hypo-clearing bath. Agitate in this bath for 10 minutes (yep, I know its longer that Kodak's recommendation but there is some science to back up the longer time, and it certainly won't hurt).

    5. Wash in archival washer for one hour.

    6. Squeegee and dry, face up, on screens.

    This should result in very well-processed prints.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus Scudder

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's all guesswork unless you test. For me, I'm finding that even with HCA, 15 minutes with a Kodak syphon would not be long enough, at least when washing multiple prints. I'm using Formulary's residual hypo test. Presumably there are similar products availble from UK suppliers.
    I'm in the processing of ditching the syphon for some other (undetermined as yet) kit.
    If someone has an archival washer lying around they'd like to sell...
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    What happened to the experiments some years ago that showed too much washing was bad?
     
  5. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    Is your goal just to shorten your processing time? If so, maybe you should look at using Photo Formulary's TF-4 fixer. For fiber, the fix time is only 60 seconds (but I err on the side of caution, and use a two-bath system with the paper in each bath for 45-60 seconds), and you don't need an HCA step. After the fix I rinse the prints for a few minutes then store them in a tray of water until the end of the session, when I wash all the prints at once.
     
  6. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    Water quality should play a large roll in washing effectiveness. All water is not the same. Hard water will not wash as quickly as softer (low mineral content) water. I would not generalize on someone else's washing results unless you are using the same water.
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I found that 30 mins soak (4-5 changes of water) after 5 mins in HCA worked well. I suspect you may be surprised how long a print will last after 15 mins in running water; but as others have said, for how long is impossible to say. In practice, I wash for 1 hour with 6 changes of water.

    However, the major problem that occurs to me is that you will be putting insufficiently washed prints on screens, in storage boxes and elsewhere and so potentially contaminating subsequent fine prints.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  8. rjas

    rjas Member

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    Ilford states that 2 minutes in a 1:9 rapid fixer is enough time, so 1 min in each bath. As well, they state that when using a HCA agent, 5 minutes wash running water, 10 minutes HCA, and then 5 minutes wash is sufficient for an archival fiber print. The print is fixed at a point, from then on you are just letting it soak in fixer that you will have to wash longer to get out. I've never had any reason to doubt them - after all they are the well paid scientists.
     
  9. dslater

    dslater Member

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    If they're just work prints, then don't they only need to last for the night or a few days?

    Dan
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Ilford no longer uses the term 'archival'. They at one time
    had an archival processing sequence. That was the quick
    1 minute fix in film strength fixer followed by the 5-10-5
    sequence you've mentioned. I believe the term they
    now use is optimal and that tied to live expectancy.

    There is one over-riding criteria for 'archival' or 'optimal'
    which has not been mentioned. That criteria concerns the
    fixer's silver level. Archival or optimal, that degree of clean
    begins with the fixer. Very low levels of silver must be
    maintained and the usual way to do it and achieve
    any reasonable mileage from the fixer is to use
    two baths.

    I'm able to achieve archival or optimal results from one
    fix by using the fixer very dilute, one-shot. Dan
     
  11. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the response - the main reason I asked is for the purposes of trying to conserve water (although we normally have more than enough of this in the UK!) and also time.

    I love Fibre prints - for the time being I'm going to be sticking with maybe 2 mins fix in two baths followed by 10 mins HCA followed by a minimum of half hour wash in an archival washer. I am in a soft water area too.

    The question still remains about a lot of old work prints I have from 30+ years ago - maybe they were given the full treatment??

    Matt

    Matt
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    For a Least water method of washing search
    for, separator picker . Less than $5. Dan
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have often wondered about this myself. I have small prints of my father and uncle going back to 1937 and 1940 respectively. The post card size print of my uncle has stood in a frame in full daylight for nearly 70 years. No signs of deterioration in either that I can see although the one of my father has sat in a box for many years. Maybe both received full archival washing but they are small and I suspect cheap prints so I'd be surprised if the studio in one case and the processor, probably the local chemists, in the other spent a lot of time on washing.

    Most people and my family amongst them have framed snapshots from 50-60 yrs ago which have been in albums or in boxes with other snaps and they seem as good now as they were when first handed over by the processor.

    pentaxuser
     
  14. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I follow Tim Rudman's guidance in his Toning Book. While the effects of weak fixing (or allowing the complexes to soak into the base with long fixes) or short washing may not appear in the next few generations, if you try bleaching and redeveloping, or toning (particularly gold) then you will see the effects immediately.
     
  15. rjas

    rjas Member

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    I forgot to mention, I usually selenium tone, and I read in some kodak literature that a 1:9 selenium toner mix would be a good way to check for adequate fixing, something about orange spots where the print isn't fixed or something? I tone most of my prints at about this concentration after my 2 minute 1:9 fix and have never gotten adverse affects. I try to spend as little time as necassary in the dark :smile: