Newbie Formula?

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by EASmithV, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I was wondering if you all had a really easy, dead-simple to get wrong formula for emulsion making that you recommended to newbies. I have been looking through other people's results and I am quite impressed with what they have accomplished.

    I want to get into simple emulsion making, and I don't want to have to deal with too many different materials at first.

    Any ideas?

    *Edit* forgot to mention I want to make dry plates
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2009
  2. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Bumping up and looking forward to an answer as well......
     
  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    At the www.thelightfarm.com, under Dry Plate Photography, there is a simple one, which I some good day will try out...
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Bumping and waiting for Denise.
     
  6. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    No need to bump. Denise will swing by.

    Certainly give her formula a try. She does a good job of describing how to do it and her formulas work well.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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  8. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Hopefully with more info than Godot.

    It's been my observation that the difficulty of making dry plates has become horribly inflated in modern legend. All of us in traditional photography take far more complexity in stride. Loading cameras with film, and getting that film developed and printed in a chemical darkroom, not to mention any of the alternative processes, is every bit - if not more - challenging.

    The barrier to doing seems to be in the mind, not in the technique. Kevin's recipe (http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/Recipes2/DryPlatePart3.htm) is an excellent place to start. Don't bother with the thymol. You won't let your emulsion sit around long enough to go bad :smile:. The other two recipes on TLF are only incrementally more complex.

    Make every step as simple as you can in the beginning. Each time you make a recipe, one more piece of the puzzle will fall into place. A good example is glass preparation. To start, smooth your plate edges just enough to avoid cutting yourself. You'll get a bit of emulsion pullback from any chips, but you'll still get a good feel for the emulsion. Later, you can add some sanding pads and make better pieces of glass. http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/PlatePrep/DryPlatePart4.htm. The additional steps needed for increasingly 'perfect' results will flow naturally from the learning process. I'm not particularly fond of the connotation of 'steep learning curve'. There is actually not that much that you have to learn to get started. As with all crafts, practice will make the process easier and the product better.

    One note of opinion: Pour-coating is a great way to get started, but only a few people will become proficient at coating a good plate that way. This is the real root of the 'It's hard!' reputation dry plate has. The folks who have an extensive background in wet plate pouring are miles ahead. Kevin pours a very nice plate because of all his wet plate collodion practice. I would never in all my years get that good, so I devised a coating system that works for klutzes (that would be me) http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/PlatePrep/DryPlatePart4a.htm. The mechanics couldn't be simpler and anyone with access to a flat lapidary glass grinder can customize their own.

    The best of luck and fun,
    Denise
     
  9. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    So your saying that for materials I need to buy (at least, I'll probably overbuy);

    10g gelatin
    8.5g KBr
    10g of AgNO3
    Jug of Distilled water

    Is that all I need? How many plates will this coat?

    Do I need to add the Hypo in? What is the purpose of it? And is a 0.02% soloution what I'd normally mix up for a film rinse? Can I substitute with Permawash?
     
  10. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    That's a good start - and you can get all of them from the Photographers Formulary.

    What size plate are you interested in?

    Hypo solution - You mix up a 0.02% hypo solution and then add 1 ml of that solution to "Solution A". A 0.02% solution of hypo is made by dissolving 0.2 g hypo into 1000 mls of water.

    "Hypo" is sodium thiosulfate. Hypo is not Permawash. Permawash is a washing aid. Hypo is also not Hypo Clearing Agent, another washing aid, which you seem to have it confused with.

    The sodium thiosulfate is a source of sulfur which is used to increase the film speed of the emulsion.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    EA;

    With such basic questions, I think you should step back and study a bit before you jump in. This is the deep end of the pool we are talking about despite what Denise says. I agree that it is not hard, but if you cannot understand some basics of photography and chemical mixing, it isn't an off the shelf cake mix.

    For example, there is no relationship to what we are doing and permawash so don't even try to make the connection.

    As for coating, figure about 6 ml of emulsion / 4x5 glass plate or 12 ml of emulsion / 8x10 glass plate.

    PE
     
  12. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I'm going to start with 4x5 just to make things a bit easier.


    Thanks, I always get Hypo and Hypo clear mixed up...
     
  13. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    One of the most common confusables in photography. That and f-stop numbers. It took me the longest time to internalize big is small :confused: Reciprocals and all that math nonsense (should have paid more attention in arithmetic class.)

    There's nothing to fear at the deep end of the pool if you keep a few flotation devises handy. I highly recommend Steve Anchell's 'The Darkroom Cookbook' and E.J. Wall's 1912 'Dictionary of Photography'. That's available as a Google Book:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=0p...&dq=photography+dictionary+wall&lr=#PPA565,M1

    It's amazing how much of the vocabulary we use today has come to us from 100 years ago, so an old dictionary is fun and useful even if you're not interested in making old emulsions. For those of us trying to time travel in our darkrooms, the old volumes are invaluable.

    d
     
  14. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    EA;

    Here is Mark Osterman's ISO 3 - 12 plate emulsion, courtesy of Mark, for your enjoyment. It has been posted here before, but I had to look it up so here it is.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    This formula will give an ISO 3 – 12 formula suitable for coating on plates. It is used by GEH (George Eastman House) for teaching purposes. It is a very early SR formula. I would like to thank Mark for permission to include it here.

    • You will need:

    Silver Nitrate
    Potassium Bromide
    Potassium Iodide
    Photograde Gelatin
    Chrome Alum
    Everclear (95% Ethyl Alcohol - NOT DENATURED)
    Thymol

    Solution A:

    Add 2.6 grams of gelatin to 84 ml of water and allow to swell, and then heat until melted. Add 10.3 grams of Potassium Bromide and 0.6 grams of Potassium Iodide. Bring to 120 deg F.

    Solution B:

    Dissolve 12 grams of Silver Nitrate in 84 ml of water. Heat to 120 deg F.

    Solution C:

    18 grams of gelatin with excess water to swell (this should be kept below 68 deg F or the gelatin will begin to melt prematurely)

    • Precipitation:

    Add B -> A in a fine steady stream with magnetic stirring.

    • Digestion:

    Heat for 15 minutes at 140 deg F.

    • Final prep and washing:

    Drain the water off the gelatin in solution C and when well drained pour the emulsion over the swollen gelatin. Mix well then heat until all of the gelatin is melted and well mixed. Chill set. You may then shred the emulsion and and wash for 30 minutes with 3 changes of distilled water.

    • Coating:

    Add 4 ml of 5% Chrome Alum and 5 ml of 95% Ethyl Alcohol (Everclear). You may add one grain of Thymol as preservative. Coat at once on glass plates.

    These plates can be used in-camera or to make lantern slides.
     
  15. Emulsion

    Emulsion Member

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    Thanks for posting this PE.
     
  16. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Ditto from me. Give Mark our appreciation. This is an important contribution.

    I'm going to post a link to this thread from my website, and I hope others do the same. A lot of irreplaceable information is posted on APUG, and in such a casual way sometimes that the value of it can be underestimated by folks just passing through. I love the internet, but I worry a bit about information like this being lost again - the electrons drifting off into the firmament. The best guarantee I can think of (besides going through reams of copier paper and gallons of toner) is to cross-post in as many places as possible.

    d
     
  17. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Thanks PE
     
  18. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    An additional note of interest on this recipe. It is included in the 2nd edition of Christopher James' book on alternative processes, http://www.christopherjames-studio.com/build/thebook.html

    Thirteen pages of information on gelatin dry plate have been added since the 1st ed. The pages include detailed instructions on the process, with illustrations courtesy Scully & Osterman Studio.

    The instructions and illustrations are well done (overall, it is an excellent book), but many of the details differ from my observations and practice. Since I would never second-guess Mark Osterman, it is clear there isn't 'one right way' to make an emulsion. Anyone really interested in learning to make emulsions should try as many techniques as possible - all the while determined to put her/his own spin on things. A personal, hands-on comparison of your own plates will teach you more about emulsions in the beginning than will all the theory you can read. Theory will carry you forward after you've started, but it's definitely the cart, not the horse.

    A case in point ready at hand is the difference between Osterman's recipe as posted here on APUG, and the recipe as published in James' book. The proportions of KBr and KI differ, as do a few of the making details, probably enough to change a bit the end character of the plates. You couldn't ask for a better early lesson on emulsion making than to try both.

    And here ends my Saturday Soapbox :smile:

    d