Is it necessary to squeegee prints?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mooseontheloose, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I've only ever used RC paper and will soon be transitioning over to fiber, as soon as I get all my orders in! With RC, as soon as it's washed it goes through the print dryer we have in the darkroom, although I know that fiber has to dry naturally on print screens (we have those there too). One of the girls in my class prints on fiber and she doesn't squeegee her prints and I was wondering how necessary it is. I certainly don't use a squeegee for film (just my fingers) and I wonder if print squeegees would damage the emulsion on the print at all. Are some better than others? Or are they generally used for RC papers? Are they really necessary? Thanks.
     
  2. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I have only ever used a squeegee for fiber prints. It helps the prints dry faster... the squeegee squishes out quite a bit of water.

    I carefully squeegeee both sides then leave the print face down to dry on a screen.

    as far as I know, not squeegeeing your print will only make it take longer to dry.... my only guess as a bad thing is the large amount of dampness in the paper may cause the face down emulsion to be more likely to gain an imprint of the screen that it is sitting on during the drying process.... about that, i dont know though!
     
  3. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    You will get a plethora of answers on this. I find they are easier to handle wet if they have been squeegied, as they aren't as heavy in that fragile state. I squeegie face down on a clean sheet of plexiglass, and dry face down on clean screens. I am sure some folks do the exact opposite. Yes, fear of damaging the emulsion is why I squeegie face down. To answer your question, no, it is not necessary. You can use a wiper blade if you want to, but I like it to have more flex.
     
  4. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I think it makes sense to remove excess water off of a fiber print before drying. You won't damage the emulsion if you're careful. I lay the wet print face down on a piece of plexi glass (the bottom of a flat bottomed tray would work as well) and squeegee the back, lift the print, squeegee the plexi, lay the print face up, and CAREFULLY squeegee the front. Then I hang to dry! By the way, I use a windshield wiper and have never damaged a print.
     
  5. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    I use this (see image below) to make the print dry faster and to avoid stains from drying up (we have a lot of lime in the water here). I just whipe it off and no worries about damaging the emulsion.

    I couldn't find a better image, i use a leather one with these tiny holes in it:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but the emulsion side, and the back side dry at different rates which is what can cause the fiber prints to curl. I think when you squeegee them, you can minimize that curling somewhat. Better to get it drying without the excess water. That said, years ago, I squeegeed part of the emulsion off a print, and it kind of put me off doing it.

    So, I have prints from years ago that I didn't squeegee, and then for awhile I only squeegeed the back... all have stood the test of time, and, in fact, they are flat, finally!! :tongue: So, it may not be necessary, but I think with some care it's quite useful, and I squeegee both sides now, and knock wood... haven't wrecked any in the process.
     
  7. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    we stopped years ago.

    the higher the humidity the slower the drying time, the flatter the prints.

    with rc, that scratch very easily and so we stopped that as well.
     
  8. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I never squeegee.

    Okay, only if I want a really quick check of drydown, then I microwave the print after squeegee.

    But for a proper print I don't squeegee, I steam the room up and let the thing dry nice 'n slowly.

    For final flatness I use a drymount press, oftentimes without any serious heat, just stack the prints in between tracing paper and clamp the press down and briefly heat it a bit, then unplug it, and go away for a day. Perfectly flat prints by the dozens, no scratches, no problems.
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Nope, I won't correct you because I think you are absolutely correct. Your experience mirrors my own with fiber based prints, down to squeegeeing the emulsion right off the face of the print once. If you are careful, that shouldn't be a problem. I use a window washer's squeegee obtained at Home Depot and dry the prints face UP on a screen though. Maybe because I don't use a hardening fixer, I have had finished prints with the pattern of the screen embossed into the emulsion when I dry them face down. I've been using a home brewed print flattener as well. It's nothing more than a 2 or three of ounces of glycerin plus 2 to 3 ounces of drugstore rubbing alcohol in enough clean water to make 1/2 gallon. The exact proportions aren't too important, and the alcohol preserves the solution. I won't even begin to argue that this leaves my prints in "archival" condition. All I can say is that after three years, the earliest prints I have treated this way still look like new.
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I've always squeegeed my prints - both RC and FB. Helps them dry faster. I've never had a problem with scratches.

    But I never squeegee negatives - not even with my fingers.
     
  11. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I squeegee both sides of fiber and RC, and dry both face up, due to the marks from the screen mentioned by fschifano.
    I've never stripped the emulsion off a print with a squeege. Minimizing wet time may help in that regard.
    I found that without doing teh squeegee, I'd get puddles on the print, and sometimes water marks because of the excess water.
     
  12. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Quick question please, I picked up a hot bed dryer (think that's what it is called) in a lot of darkroom stuff for sale. Is it safe to use it for fibre prints that are intended to be labeled as "archival" The cloth has been washed and the base is just smooth plastic with tiny heating elements below it.
    Thanks,
    erik
     
  13. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I work only with FB paper and squeegee everything. My reasoning is like SuzanneR mentions earlier. The amount of water retained in the paper without squeegeeging are like puddles and will dry at different rates causing wavy curls. This is not the case with RC paper. Your RC paper will not absorb water (or developer/stop/fix for that matter). If you are in an environment of "higher" humidity the drying process will take longer but eventually without curl. A lot of people rely on a heated dryer such as a flatbed design or rotary. This ensures an even dry and a flat print immediately. For those who do not squeegee and use a heated dryer, they will be using a very hot machine or unnecessarily long times to achieve what a carefully squeegeed print would give them.
     
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  15. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Using a wipe or squeegee is much less harmful on FB. This can however cause streaking and gouges on RC papers. Get yourself a good print dryer--shake well and blot of prints--and good results are ahead. There are too many complex solutions here--blot and dry.

    KISS--a bit of advice that seems lacking here...
     
  16. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Another squeegeer (squeegeeist? squeegeeator? squeegeephile? ... ) here. My take being as already stated by others: gets excess water off to assist even drying and no puddles. Laid on a sheet of plastic - one swish along the back - one swish along the front - lay face down on screens.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    re: the printer, yes, if the apron is clean, there is no reason that it should be considered not archival. But it's important to make sure prints are washed properly before going on the drier, otherwise you will contaminate the apron.

    FWIW, I have 30 year old prints that were dried on a large commercial drum drier, and so far, they are fine. Though the apron got washed occasionally, getting it off and on was a huge PITA, and didn't happen very often. In archival terms, 30 years isn't such a long time, but that's the length of my "test" so far.
     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    So what is it?

    Sponge dry. Via capillary action a sponge pulled
    slowly across both front and back will draw water
    from the print. No water to mop up. Any clean,
    kept for the purpose sponge will do.

    Photo grade sponges are available. Mine are
    kept for prints that really count. Dan
     
  19. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Quick answer - nope.

    Too much risk of contamination.
     
  20. Contrastique

    Contrastique Member

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    Don't know the english term for such thing...It's something you normally use to clean your work top in the kitchen for example.
     
  21. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    From one squeegeephile to another, I must, say.... there are few things more fun in photography than squeegeeing a print, aren't there? It's a favorite moment of mine always! :tongue: :D
     
  22. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Can be called a number of things. One traditional term is 'chamois" - which is a very soft, very absorbent leather used to remove moisture from wet surfaces. From the picture, I would infer that this one is made of an artificial material rather than real leather.
     
  23. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I never squeegee fiber prints. Rapidity of drying only increases the tendency of the print to curl. I dry mine pegged back to back hanging vertically from metal clips on a line. I usually have at least 1/2 inch borders all around. Any concerns about puddled water leaving a residue are eliminated because that would occur in the border. I see no rush to dry fiber prints because I can't do anything with them until they are completely dry so I let them hand overnight anyway.

    I use single tray processing partly to avoid handling the emulsion at all. After all the time and energy that I put into a final print, I see no reason to apply any object to the wet emulsion surface right at the end, e.g. a squeegee.
     
  24. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I squeegee both sides but I do not apply pressure to the print in the process. I simply run the squeegee over both surfaces one time, letting only the light weight of the squeegee do the work. Though I have only been doing fiber for a short time, I cannot see how what I'm doing could ever scrape the emulsion.
     
  25. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber

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    I was surprised to discover when I didn't squeegee prints they dried flatter. I still do it but I don't know why since I seem to ruin one print in a dozen.
     
  26. foxyscootie

    foxyscootie Member

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    I squeegee the back & front, then the back again...just a habit. I then dry them face up on newspaper on the counter top in my kitchen. They always dry with minimal curl on the edges & placing them in my archival portfolio for about a 1-2 weeks makes them almost completely flat.