Mixing my own chemicals??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Pasto, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    I'm thinking about mixing some of my darkroom chemicals. This because of the cost of buying fixer. I've used Clearfix now for about a year, and am very happy with it. However, after calculating shipping, duty (I'm in Montreal), and exchage rate, it costs me about $75-80 per gallon. TF-4 is even more expensive. I should be able to save quite a bit by mixing myself. I'm considering mixing TF-3 alkaline rapid fixer and hypo clearing agent (as per Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook). These appear to be rather straightforward to mix and the chemicals are relatively cheap and available to me in Montreal. This goes counter to my more recent darkroom trend to simplify things (e.g., using Xtol straight, and eliminating the stop bath from both film and paper development), but it will leave more money for film and paper:D I'd appreciate comments from those who also mix their own stuff. Considerations, precautions, suggestions, etc????

    Louie
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Steve Anchell has a chapter on use of chemicals in the DCB. Devs like Pyrocat are great, as are various print developers, toners etc.

    Just go for it mixing up your own chemistry is easy and rewarding. Just be careful with acids and alkali's, treat with care etc.

    Ian
     
  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Here's something else to consider for fixer, though I have no personal experience with it: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum226/33385-oles-quick-fix-1-a.html

    I just ordered a liter of Formulary TF-4 for $11 from Freestyle. Makes 4 ltr of working solution. Are duties, shipping, and exchange that onerous? If so, we need to start trading our photo supplies for your prescription drugs (which are much cheaper in Canada than in US).
     
  4. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    One gallon of TF-4 costs me $25 (it's on special now), shipping costs $32.95, taxes are about $4, handling charge added by Canada Post is $8. When you factor in exchange rate on US dollar purchase, it comes up to almost exactly $78!!! I'll have a look at your link. Let me know what drugs you need :smile:
     
  5. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Have you tried somewhere a bit more local?

    Signal Inc is working out of Toronto, So might be worth the cost of a call

    12 Carlaw Ave
    Toronto ON, M4M 2R7

    Phone #: 416-461-8181
    Fax #: 416-469-2299

    Key contact: Stan Picha , Technical Director

    Approximately 35 employees work at this location
    Sales: $10 - $20 Million
    Products and Services Description
    Chemicals for photographic, graphic arts, X-ray, microfilm, black and white and colour photofinishing.
    Chemicals and Chemical Preparations (various)
    X-Ray Apparatus & Tubes & Related Irradiation Apparatus
    Lead Pencils, Crayons, and Artists' Materials
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Look up Claire at JDPhotchem. She is on the south shore, acroos the bridge from you. I know she is winding up the chemical sales business, but she may have what you want. I have sourced all sorts of chemistry from her, and have been thouroghly satisfied. I have order 60% aqueous ammonium thio in 3.8l jugs from her and mix my own tf-3 and superfix from scratch, with a bt os a few other chemicals. My jug usually goes for over 2 years the way I use it and I have never had one sulfate out on me. I also have mixed traditional fixes from soduim thio. crystals
     
  7. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Mixing darkroom chemicals is easy. If all you need is fixer, you don't even need a scale. (200 ml of ammonium thiosulfate, water to make 1 liter, a teaspoon of sodium sulfite and a teaspoon of sodium bisulfite will make a quite adequate rapid fixer.) But you will need to get a good scale to mix up other things.

    I believe there is (or was) a supplier of photographic chemicals somewhere near you in Canada. (Help, anyone?) Otherwise, both Artcraft and Photographers' Formulary are fast and reliable. DIY allows you to explore a lot of things that are otherwise unavailable.

    I wouldn't give up the acid stop bath quite yet, especially if you are going to use an alkaline fixer. It helps to ensure consistent development and to eliminate stains. Acetic acid is often best obtained from industrial sources. It is very common. Most chemical supply houses will sell it to you, and dyers use it a lot. Citric acid is a possible substitute, although it is a bit strong.
     
  8. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Hi ,Louie. Yes, shipping liquids across borders is very expensive.

    You are in a metropolitan area. Within that area are several photo labs that are in the final business phases of going digital. Most have a storage area with large bladders of Kodak Royalprint fixer, or Flexicolor, that they have not found the time to take to a chemical disposal site to get rid of. I would visit these places. My experience has been, they are happy to have you take the stuff off their hands. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have not bought fixer in a few years, and won't be buying it for several more. It is worth a try.
     
  9. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    Thanks to all for your input. I just want to clarify that fixer is availabe in Montreal. It's alkaline fixer that is not. I'm now following-up on your suggestions. Mike, I'd appreciate more info about your experience with TF-3 (shelf-life of stock solution, capacity of working solution, fixing time for TMax, RC, fiber, etc.). I did contact Claire at JDPhotrochem and she is out of ammonium thio and won't be ordering any more (too bad). Right now, I feel like mixing my own fixer is probably the best option.....
     
  10. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    A quick note on costs:

    Looking at UK pricing, it is cheaper to buy fixer in 5lt packings than make it up from scratch.

    Tom
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    If your big concern is the cost of fixer, I have a solution for you. Kodak's Flexicolor Fixer and Replenisher works perfectly well on B&W materials, both film and paper. I use it all the time, and it works great. $10 US buys enough fixer concentrate to make up to 5 gallons of working strength solution in New York. Because I can source it locally, I don't pay shipping. The fixer itself is very fast, and seems to last forever. I've found that using it at half strength (1+9) from concentrate works as well as the standard dilution for B&W work for even better value.
     
  12. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    Thanks Frank. That's the second endorsement for Kodak's Flexicolor Fixer. I'll have a look see what I can source locally.
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A Fellow Minimalist

    I too have eliminated the stop, film and prints. Develop -
    Fix, both being very dilute and one-shot. All works in
    very nicely when ONE tray processing. Dan