One-shot Wash Aid?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Bob F., Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A question for the chemically inclined....

    Given that there seems to be no practical way of testing the effectiveness of a wash-aid once you start putting prints through it (other than keeping track of the number of square inches processed), can I make up a washaid/hypo-clear by simply chucking 20 grams of sodium sulphite in to a litre of water, given that it will be chucked at the end of the session? Is it useful to add Sodium Bisulfite in this case?

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  2. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Using just sodium sulfite may work depending on the hardness of your water supply. If your water is too hard you will get a scum of calcium sulfite on your prints.

    The purpose of the sodium bisulfite is to buffer the mixture to a pH at which thiosulfite ion is removed most effectively.

    Since the ingredients are fairly cheap I would mix up the HCA formula as a 5X concentrate. Dilute it for use and just toss it at the end of a print session.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Gerald and in fact, that is what I do. If you have a problem with calcium in your water you can always add some sodium hexametaphosphate to your HCA.
     
  4. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do almost exactly this to clear dye from tube-processed sheet film, except I also add a teaspoon of washing soda to that liter of water; alkalizing the gelatin lets the dye (and residual fixer) out faster, and increases the effectiveness of washing as well. It also softens the gelatin somewhat (while it's wet) compared to an acid processed condition, so some care is needed to avoid scratching, but if your film handling is correct, it's not that big a problem.

    Sulfite is cheap, washing soda is cheaper. Even on my budget.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,192
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    D. William Reichner developed a detergent based wash aid in the 1970s that was claimed to be as effective as Orbit Bath. It could be added to the fixer or used as a separate rinse solution.

    Stock Solution:

    Distilled water 900 ml
    Ammonium lauryl sulfate (15%) 50 ml
    Propylene glycol 5 ml
    Anti-Foam B 8 ml
    Sodium hexametaphosphate 22 g
    Distilled water to make 1 l

    Dilute 1:1000 for use. (Notice the very large dilution needed.)

    The last I saw, all the ingrediants were still available from Photographers' Formulary. The Anti-Foam is needed to prevent a darkroom full of suds.

    Ref: Dignan Photographic Newsletter, Vol. 4 No. 1, 1976
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could also go to an all-alkaline process: developer, water rinse instead of acid stop, alkaline fixer (TF-4 from Formulary, or TF-3 mix at home) and then into the wash. There's no need for wash aid; RC prints are washed in 3-5 min,
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks. I was hoping I could just bung a couple of tablespoons of sulphite into a tray and pour 2 litres of water on top... My water is hard so I would probably need the bisulphite too. If going to that level, I may as well make up the full HCA formula as suggested. Ho hum....

    Have thought about going all alkaline, but can not find what TF-3 is like in terms of odour. I am not a fan of fixer smell: it gives me a sore throat. I use a low-odour fix at the moment (FX30 from Fotospeed) which works well. TF-4 would have to come from across the Pond and comes as a liquid so is not practical (even if the shippers would accept it) on cost grounds.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  8. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

    Messages:
    902
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bob, If it's any use to you, that is what I do. ½ film canister of Sod. Sulph. per litre. Mind you, the water is pretty soft around these parts. If you're gannin' alkaline, then you can get alkali fixer (and stop bath) fromwww.monochromephotography.com
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I mixed up some TF-3 recently. It's great for negatives -- the clearing time when I test most negatives is just a few seconds. (The instructions I've read recommend a 3-minute fixing time.) The recommended fixing time for prints is 1 minute. The problem is that it's got a very strong ammonium odor. This isn't a big issue for film, at least not for me, since the fixer is in closed containers. In an open tray, though, the odor is rather overpowering, at least to my nose. Personally, I plan on sticking with TF-3 for a while for film (I didn't notice the 1:4 dilution when I made mine, so I made more of it than I needed to), but I'll use the Arista Premium Powdered fixer I'd been using before for paper, even though it's got longer fixing times (2-5 minutes are recommended).
     
  10. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,107
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Maybe if it were made up less alkaline it would smell less of ammonia. Maybe the metaborate could be left out altogether. FWIW, in the Darkroom Cookbook, Steve Anchell says that TF-4 (proprietary formula) is less alkaline than TF-3.
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    One of my criteria when making my OF-1 was that it should be less smelly than both TF-3 and TF-4. Even TF-4 is a little more alkaline (and smelly) than needed.

    Maybe it's time to introduce "OF-2" - same as OF-1, but with far less alkali?
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hypo Clearing Agent, HCA. I'm quite sure Agfa spells
    that Sodium Carbonate, SC. SC will not die. Dan
     
  13. psvensson

    psvensson Member

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A tablespoon of sulfite should make a fine wash aid. If your water is hard, you could get sodium hexametaphosphate as some suggested, or Calgon from the grocery store. The active ingredient used to be hexametaphosphate, but is now some kind of citrate, I believe. The detergent in the Calgon should help too.
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you've not yet you may gain some insight to
    Mr. Troop's thoughts concerning fixers by visiting
    rec.photo.darkroom. Search that NG for, alkaline
    ph 10.5 .

    His comments concerning Eddie Ephraum's brew
    are interesting. Dan