Palladium printing is trashing my negs!

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by JamesDean, May 26, 2012.

  1. JamesDean

    JamesDean Member

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    Hi,

    I'm Pl printing some 10x8 negs. After the first print I've noticed that fine dotty patches of emulsion are being lifted from the neg and depositing themselves on different locations. The result is dark dots where the emulsion is missing and white dots where the emulsion has ended up.

    I'm using Arches Platine paper and allowing the paper to dry for 30-45 minutes before printing. I make sure the sheen has disappeared before making the print.

    The negs are Shanghai 100 10x8 sheet film processed in T-max developer. They are fixed for 5 minutes in Ilford Rapid fixer.

    Anyone got any tips? Would a hardener help? Is my paper too wet when I'm printing and this is softening and then lifting the emulsion?

    Thanks for your help,

    James.
     
  2. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    You could use a piece of Mylar between the negative and coated paper. I have never had this problem in thirty years of printing but my films of choice have been Kodak, Ilford and a little EFKE. All fixed in Kodak Rapid fixer without hardener. Are you in a humid area? Why not run a test and let the paper dry for several hours. If the emulsion still lifts off it's a film problem.
     
  3. JamesDean

    JamesDean Member

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    Thanks Gary,

    All good ideas. I'm in London which is not humid, although unusually warm at the moment. I had this same problem a few weeks ago when things were decidedly colder.

    I've got a sheet drying now and will ensure that it is totally dry before attempting to print.

    I suspect Shanghai film might be the weak link in the chain. I use it because it is lovely and cheap. Possibly to my detriment, I had a happy accident with one of my first uses and got a great result. Without that accident I might have moved to a more resilient film some time ago.

    I'll let you know the outcome of the test.

    Cheers,

    James.
     
  4. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    You can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process, too.
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    You gotta get the paper more dry (at least based on my experience with other alt processes). When you expose the sandwich, it warms up the paper, driving moisture from the "mostly dry" paper into the comparatively dry film.
     
  6. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I buy clear mylar storage bags for mounted prints and always use one thickness of the stuff between the neg and paper. I loke the look of the prints better to boot..
     
  7. JamesDean

    JamesDean Member

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    I keep my negs in archival ring binder sleeves and I've tried printing through then and suspect that the extreme sharpness of straight contact printed negs is slightly softened. Is mylar different? Is it thinner?

    J.
     
  8. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I have never heard of that film but I have been making pt/pd prints from Tri-x, T-max, Delta 400, Delta 100, HP5, x-ray duplicating film and Pictorico transparent film with no problems for years. I have not used mylar separation either. I second Chris Lange's suggestion of using a hair dryer and to use it on the cool setting. I generally let the emulsion soak in and dry for about three to five minutes and then use the dryer until it feels dry to a light touch. Our climate is rather humid but the AC is usually on so I have no idea what the indoor humidity is. Since it hasn't been a problem, I'm of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" school.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  9. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Mine seem to be sharper through the mylar, I have an Amergraph exposure unit with a strong vacuum table.
     
  10. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    You can get Grafix Dura-Lar in 3 mil thickness, which is about 1 mil thinner than roll film. Check here.

    I understand that the Shanghai emulsion is very fragile, which suggests that maybe it's not hardened very well in manufacturing. Adding hardener, or just a chrome alum bath might help quite a bit.
     
  11. JamesDean

    JamesDean Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input.

    Instinctively I'm keen to avoid any separation between the emulsion and the paper. I'll try a hardener on the film first.

    My first tests of completely drying the paper are promising. I remember hearing that catching the paper just on the turn between dryish and really dry was best. I might be messing up my process by paying too much attention to that advise.

    Shanghai film is a law unto itself. It comes in a totally blank white box with a sticker haphazardly placed on it to tell you what it is. The box is a simple 2 layer nested box rather than the conventional 3 layer nested box that other films come with. Every time I get a new batch I feel like someone has had to tape up the windows in their bathroom to make it. The total failure to present it well or provide any technical information about it is strangely intoxicating. Against all rational judgement, I highly recommend it!

    J.
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Where do you get it JD?
     
  13. JamesDean

    JamesDean Member

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    I get it on eBay. It's shipped from China. I just ordered 3 boxes of ISO 100. Delivery was very quick, albeit ISO 50...
     
  14. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    JamesDean, you can use 2mil mylar sheets to protect the negatives; you won't / can't notice any sharpness difference *in practical conditions* - IF you're using a vacuum printing frame... To me, the hand coated emulsion can never be in direct contact with negative's emulsion; LF negatives (w/ good images on them) are just too precious to risk!!!

    Regards,
    Loris.