Off-brand fixer question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by HTF III, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    I have recently acquired a mostly full 3 or 4 gallon jug of an off-brand fixer concentrate from a defunct print shop, along with a couple gallons of the hardener. I have questions concerning dilution for general photographic darkroom purposes--paper and film. The brand name is Synergy Graphics, and there is nothing on the internet to research. BTW, it lists Ammonium Thiosulfate as the active chemical. On the jug it says 1:3 to 1:4 dilution for film and 1:7 for paper. I have to assume it is for the graphic arts films and papers, which are a bit different from the consumer materials. So my question is: is there a compromise on the dilution rate for ordinary film and paper that would fit both well enough? I'm accustomed to Kodak Fixer, just plain powder. But I know I can put all this free fixer to use. It is somewhat sulphated, in that areas on the inside of the jug have deposits, but not too bad. The liquid is still clear and doesn't have too much of a decomposed stinky smell. Thank you.
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Mix up the solution is both film and paper dilutions and see if it sucessfully fixes both film and paper. Times for film are 2 to 4 minutes and 1 to 2 minutes for paper. Film should clear in fresh fixer in 2 minutes if it is OK. Papers will have to be thoroughly washed and then tested with something like Kodak Residual Silver Test Solution ST-1.
     
  3. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    Is Ammonium thi harder to wash out than sodium thi?
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    no. If fixing FB paper, it's preferable to use two quick baths of film-concentration rapid fixer because it will have much less time to be taken up by the paper. You still should use HCA but it's easier to get an archival wash using a rapid 2-bath fix than with a longer single bath, especially hypo.

    1+4 should work nicely for both film and paper.
     
  5. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    You've got a standard rapid fixer; ammonium thoisufite-based. It fixes faster than the "conventional" sodium thiosulfite fixers.

    Read up on, say, Ilford Rapid Fix ( www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2006130218312091.pdf ) and use those recommendations as a starting point.

    You may or may not want to use the Ilford archival fixing sequence, which uses "film-strength" fixer for fiber-base papers. I prefer not to.

    The hardener is an acid. Most of us do not use hardening fixer any longer. Unless you need hardener for very soft-emulsion films like Efke, etc. then I would not use the hardener.

    If you don't use the hardener, take it to the local hazmat disposal site if you don't know how to dispose of it safely yourself.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  6. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    I have read that the Ilford rapid fixing sequence recommended times are too short for some FB papers. Maybe with a bit of extra time it would be adequate.

    The OP's fixer appears to be pretty normal. The only essential ingredient is there. I use colour (C41) fixer for black and white paper and it's equivalent to the others.
     
  7. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    Thanks Doremus Were this stuff not free, just sitting here, I would never buy it. I like plain old Kodak Fixer, or F-5, if I have raw chemicals. It is a hardening fixer, just plain-Jane stuff, and I use it for everything without giving anything a second thought. I think I'll go ahead and use the hardener. BTW--the Acetic acid is already in the rapid fixer stock. It's listed on the label and you can smell it. I believe I'll use the harder, because I'm thinking of buying some of that Slavich paper and getting out my ferrotype plates and play with them some. I miss paper-paper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2013
  8. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Don't ever use hardener on paper because it makes it practically impossible to wash the fixer out. If you want to do ferrotyping, use ferrotyping fluid - it's different.
     
  9. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    In all my years I had never heard of ferrotyping fluid. I just got my hands on a bunch of ferrotype tins in pristine condition. Years ago I would soak my prints in a little photo-flo and slap them on the tin and roll them out, and all was well.
    Hardener makes it impossible to wash the hypo out? That's one I surely never heard. I'm not taking issue with your statement, but I am scratching my head trying to figure out why. I always figured the washing process was simply diluting out the hypo from the backside of the print until it was eventually diluted away. Trying to wrap my brain around how a harder, scratch protected emulsion would stop that.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Like you I am convinced that I read the same somewhere but I wonder how much store we should put by that conclusion. It just seem crazy to me that Ilford which depends selling its products for its living should recommend anything that hasn't been fully tested for "adequacy"

    pentaxuser
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Seems I used the wrong term; apparently I was thinking of "glazing solution". I have an ancient bottle of the Ilford stuff that I scored with a larger auction lot.

    Contrary to my above advice about no hardener in paper fix, there's an instruction manual I ran across while looking for "ferrotyping fluid" that recommends hardener for ferrotyping to aid in the release. However, it still does make it very hard (certainly impossible without hypo-clear) to achieve an archival wash.
     
  12. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    As it turns out with my experiment to use this big jug of stock solution in post #1, I mixed up some at 1:5 last night, and used it to make some contact proofs. The working solution turned out cloudy and fairly stinky. But it DID seem to fix OK, although I have no idea if it's leaving residual silver. It would be a shame to just get rid of it, as I sure do have a lot of it.
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You can get residual-silver testing kits...
     
  14. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    I know. I just googled you mentioned. I ended up at Photographer's Formulary. But its service life is so short, I'm not going to buy it. Probably the best thing is to just get a few packages of Kodak Fixer, and use it as a second fixing bath to this free stuff. Thanks for your help on this.
    Well I see it's just about dark outside right now, so it's time to set up the trays and get back to my tests.
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If the working solution was cloudy then it is beginning to sulfurize. Nothing can be done to save it and it is best to chuck it. The sulfur that is being formed will stick to film and prints and cannot be removed. Sorry
     
  16. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    Thank you for your reply. When I saw it, I went it and looked at the bottle of fixer that has sat idle for several days now. So I have a new question. The cloudiness has settled to the bottom 25% of the jug. If I poured off the clear, what would I have? Would it be fixer, or just some unknown solution stripped of its constituant chemical, of no use at all?
     
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Once the fixer starts to sulfurize the reaction will continue. So pouring off any clear fix only delays things slightly. An acid solution of thiosulfate is unstable. Sodium sulfite is added as a preservative as it reacts with any colloidal sulfur to form thiosulfate. In the process the sulfite gets used up. When it does then sulfurization begins.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2013
  18. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    Thank you Mr Koch. I seem to favor seeing your name next to a reply, as some others I've come to respect. Here's my plan. I've got a bunch of outdated film, paper, fixer, along with the other customary supplies and chemistry in useable condition. Oh, and about 5 tablespoons of KBr and sa jar of Potassium Ferricyanide. And I'm just going to shoot mundane stupid pointless subjects to burn all this stuff on, and make prints that are at least somewhat permanent. And out of it, I expect something worth pinning on the wall. Maybe even a polished and invigorated technique. Beats just hauling all this away as total waste.
     
  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Try adding 20 g/l of sodium sulfite to working strength fixer. This may stop the sulfurization for awhile. This fixer should be good enough for your intended purpose.
     
  20. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    To put a little night cap on this story, My experimentation with salvaging this old acid rapid fixer concentrate, it appears it is just not going to happen. After letting my working mixture gallon sit a few days and settle out, I thought I was home free. I poured off the clear solution , saved it, and discarded the scummy stuff. Guess what? The clear solution I poured off the top, is now cloudy itself in it's new bottle. I recall an experiment my 11th grade chemistry teacher had done by making a supersaturated solution of some common chemical, with help from the bunsen burner. He had managed to mix an incredible amount of some powdered chemical in a little test tube of water. Sitting on the table undisturbed it was nice and clear. As soon as he bumped the test tube, a ton of the powdered chemical reappeared and settled like a snow blizzard.
    And so it is as it seems, with this old rapid fixer concentrate. I have an idea I could go through generations of letting the sulfur settle out, and each time it will cloud up again. It still fixes paper, but it's not worth the contamination it will cause to them.