Keeping paper flat

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tim_bessell, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Hi All,
    First, let me say that I have learned a great amount of knowledge from APUG, thanX.

    I would like comments on a method I tried to keep enlarging paper flat on a piece of glass set on the baseboard of my enlarger. I did this out of desperation, the paper I have is badly curled. In fact, when I taped the corners, the middle popped up.

    Well, like I said, in desperation, I sponged a VERY light coating of water on the glass and rolled the paper onto the glass starting at a long edge. The paper, of course was now VERY, very flat. So flat, in fact, it required a razor under an edge to lift the paper.

    I printed seven shots this day using water to hold the paper flat to the glass. I don't see anything that is different in the prints I did without water, except the image is better focused edge to edge.

    I'll admit, I'm a newbie, so have fun with my idea. Comments very welcome.
     
  2. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Sorry, should have mentioned the paper is Ilford MG IV RC.
     
  3. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG, Tim.

    Interesting idea; sort of like vacuum easel rather through surface tension... I'm not the one who can answer your question, though, so once again I too will learn some more via APUG, once someone more knowledgeable chimes in.
     
  4. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    You'd think that RC paper (or any fresh paper) would be manageable. Maybe taping 4 corners is not enough control for a particularly "roll prone" batch. I suspect that an easel would help you at least most of the way.

     
  5. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    I did try raising the humidity in my "darkroom" from 35% to 50% with little difference. One reason I'm not using an easel is I needed borderless prints. I don't think an easel would have helped; the center pops ~1/16" up when the edges are held down.
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    a combo will work too.

    I have some Royal RA4, cut from a roll, and boy does it curl. Extra heavy base. So I tried it on the vaccuum easel with a mask to cover most of the holes the paper I was exposing. No success. So it is glas over the vaccuum easel, and the thing then is pulled flat.
     
  7. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    There is no reason why you can not expose paper when it is wet. Some enlargers for aerial photography had provisions for using wet paper. IIRC it was for compensating for shrinkage. I used one type of Kodak paper which would change dimension by almost an inch over the 42" width.
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    and for a new twist on contrast control...

    soak the sheet in developer, and then lay on the glass. Dab up any super wet spots.

    Use to expose a very contrasty negative, that a hard grade filter does not print well. The developer that has soaked in will exhaust where the negative is too thin, and not so when the neg is overly thick. The image on the paper kind of disappears as it devlops at the same time it is being exposed by the negative.

    Peel the paper off the glass, into the stop and fix,and wipe up.
     
  9. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The Emmermann Process, does not work well with most modern papers do not work well, I guess the optical brighterns.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The "classical solution" is glycerine. It lasts a little longer. :smile:
     
  11. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    So, it would seem, then, that this is a valid solution (pun intended) to the problem. I just came home from work and eleven hours later a test sheet was still flat on a piece of glass. The corners are starting to lift where the paper had dried and in the middle the there is still a coat of water.

    I actually use this method often when painting with watercolor, it saves having to tape or staple the edges to a board.

    Thanks for the comments.
     
  12. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Tim,

    I am impressed by your ingenuity. Well done.

    Neal Wydra
     
  13. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Well, thank you Neal!
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Will it work with FB? I've had the same concern, bent paper
    needing to be flat. I put several small sheets of FB through
    the test. First a short soak in H2O, a sponge drying each
    side, then on to the easel. Flat enough. Papers it would
    seem have manufacturing stresses included as pancake
    flat they would not go. So Very nearly flat.

    The problem was an uneven reflective sheen left
    upon the emulsion. That even with the most patient
    sponging of the surface. So, failure. I did consider
    trying the technique you've described; wetting a
    flat surface then placing the paper upon. I've
    doubts the method would work with FB. Dan
     
  15. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Dan,

    Sorry I can't answer that question. I didn't apply water to the paper, but just to a sheet of plate glass. I would suggest experimenting with a scrap piece first to find a technique that works. The backside of my paper is very smooth and didn't need very much water at all. Water never soaked through to the emulsion side.

    When you find a method that works with FB paper, please let us know.

    thanX
    tim