Life of Gold Toner

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ColinRH, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. ColinRH

    ColinRH Subscriber

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    I like to use gold toning on my salt prints but due to the huge hike in the cost of the toner it is now only very rarely used. My question concerns the life of the toner.
    Now, I know that it is suggested that a litre of commercial toner tones only perhaps 10 -10x8 prints. Again I know that it depends on the density of the print which has an effect on the life of the toner.
    BUT - lets take it that 1 litre will tone 10 - 10x8 prints. If those images are printed on, say, 11x14 fibre paper, would you still get 10 prints toned or less because the paper is larger.
    My question, then, is this. When I tone my salts on thick art paper and say a 5x7 neg on 10x8 paper would the toner be used JUST for the 5x7 image or would the toner (and therefore the gold in it)be used (soaked up or whatever) by the whole 10x8 paper? And would I still get only 10 - 10x8 pieces of paper with 5x7 images or get more because the image itself which is being toned is smaller? Does the gold in the toner magically get attracted to the silver only or is it unreasonably stupid and get lost amongst all the substrate?
     
  2. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    The area of a 5x7 image is slightly less than half that of a 10x8 image. All things being equal you should be able to tone approx 20 of these to the litre. However, as gold toner starts toning in the shadows and progresses to the highlights low key images tend to exhaust the toner faster. If your image is a balance if shadow, mid and highlight tones then it will depend on the effect you want. If you want to cool the image by toning mainly the shadows then you will get more prints to the litre. If you are toning to completion then, obviously the toner will exhaust quicker. I am sure that there is some absorption into the paper but am not entirely convinced that this makes a significant contribution to the exhaustion as compared to the toning action itself. As I have never done any alternative processes I can't comment on the effect of using an untreated art paper.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just speculation on my part and not really relevant if Adrian is right and it sounds as if he is but given the cost of gold toner nowadays it might pay you to use Fotomask on the non-print areas. It prevents toner penetrating the non-print area.

    I have no idea how far Fotomask goes in terms of coverage v volume used. You'd need to check this out before being able to balance this cost against any saving on gold toner

    pentaxuser
     
  4. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    In actual use gold toner isn't that expensive. I mix my own from 1% gold chloride, and then the working solution per session. Seven bucks worth is sufficient to tone about ten 20x24 conventional silver prints. You can save money using it more dilute only longer. I don't know about salt prints
    specifically, but I'll bet the typical instructions for use of gold toner waste a heck of a lot of it unnecessarily. It's attracted to the silver, and doesn't take all that much.
     
  5. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Going on from Drew's post I have done some costings and found it is cheaper for me to import Gold Chloride from the US and make my one rather than buy it ready made in the UK. There are some very easy to make and use formulae available.
     
  6. Robert Hall

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    It's a lot cheaper to make your own.

    Gold toner can go off quite quickly.

    What Drew said is good advice.
     
  7. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The shelf life of gold toner is indefinite, so you can store the solution between sessions. But the solution is depleted by the toning process, and it slows down as it becomes depleted. The capacity depends on how deeply you tone, the area of the prints, and the average density of the prints. You should be able to get about 30 5X7 prints per liter from most solutions. Most gold toners can be replenished to keep the activity consistent.
     
  8. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I think gold toners ability to last might be determined by the formula, as there many out there, as well as whether it is stock or working strength.
     
  9. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Tetenal gold toner (used undiluted) actually lasts quite a long time especially if, like me, you use it to cool the image rather than complete colour change. Unfortunately it is now $100 per litre in the UK at the moment.
     
  10. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I just made some gold chloride, I now have 3 liters of 10%. It should last me the rest of my life. (even with those huge salt prints)
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I've only used gold following sepia, but could get 15-20 8x10's out of it at room temperature. Heating it extended it for another 10-20 prints. This was on conventional silver prints, so I don't know the effect the heating would have on salt prints. It may be worth trying, though.
     
  12. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I take it you mean 3 Litres of gold toner. 3 Litres of 10% gold chloride would need 300 grams of solid gold chloride which at current Photographers Formulary prices will cost over $20,000. :eek:
     
  13. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Yes, quite. :smile:
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I remember when I was a kid looking for a good untouched gold spot. We'd lower a big sluice box
    off a 200 ft cliff down in some hole in the river, then find a good patch of black sand and work our
    asses off in a bucket brigade, and come home with about an ounce of gold. That was back when it
    was worth only $18.00 and ounce, or $9.00 apiece for the two of us - hardly worth it! But at today's
    prices, different story. But gold is valuable, so I too use gold toner heated, and only the min amt
    necessary to actually do the job in solution. I bought an extra bottle last yr in anticipation of the
    spike in gold pricing, but notice that gold chloride itself has barely risen in price. No need to raid
    Fort Knox.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    And Drew even had a photo taken:whistling::
     

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  16. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Matt,

    You are obviously pulling our collective legs. That is way too young to be Drew. :wink:
     
  17. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Robert

    Just out of interest how did you make a 10% gold toner solution and more importantly how does it perform?
     
  18. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    If this is what you are asking...

    I pounded down a ring and a few other pieces of gold, flat, from the wifes first husband. (she enjoyed it too)

    Mixed up (outside) some Aqua Regia, boiled it, dropped in the gold. Let it go for a couple of days. Added a bit of acid when needed.

    Let it sit for a week to dry, then weighed the result and mixed with distilled water.

    Once in solution, I make a 1% working solution. 20cc's of gold and 200 grams of ammonium thiocyanate add to 2 liters of distilled water. heat to 80f and use until I get tired of waiting for it to tone something.
     
  19. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    There are a lot of formulas for gold toners. Some have a short life even in glass bottles, while others have very long lives. I use thiocyanate toners, for which I have seven formulas, for salt and kallitype prints. My cost is very low and toning consistent because i use toners as single shot. I mix a liter of the two stock solutions of my favorite toner. 5 ml of each stock solution are diluted to a liter. I use 20 ml of this diluted toner for an 8x10 print and then discard it. Some papers soak up more of every solution than do others partly due to paper weight, and partly due to sizing.

    A little research into gold toners will quickly reveal all of the formulas I have collected through research, and make obvious the one I prefer.