Platinum, Substrate Adhesion & Finishes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Annie, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    I poked around in various archives and couldn't come up with anything conclusive so.......

    I have recently been using (read..... twice) the emulsion side of fixed-out PX-3001 because I like the cream base colour and the smooth lustre finish of this paper. I tried various 'home-brew' concoctions from various compounds used in preparing painting surfaces and finally got a combination & process that makes the liquid Platinum solution 'want' to bind to the gelatine substrate of the paper. However it is a fussy sequence and I would certainly abandon it if there is a simple method for attaining a smooth sensitizer coat on the emulsion surface.

    Also I tried dammar on a so-so print that was on regular paper and got slightly blacker blacks and livelier shadows. I used it more dilute than for regular finishing to avoid glare and I was wondering if anyone else is using straight dammar successfully or if there are other subtle 'finishes' that give good results.

    Thanks in advance for the benefit of your experience..... Annie.
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    No such luck, Craig Kshinsk made a little booklet on how to use fixed out paper but it is somewhat involved, you have to heat the paper a little and cool it a little....while you brush the emulsion.

    I dont know what dammar is, so I cant help there.
     
  3. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Jorge.... Interesting I am using heat also, heated thick glass slab.... Dammar is a classical painters varnish.
     
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    well, you are using exactly the same method he uses, in his booklet he recommneds using the heated glass, with half the solution and then put it on a cold glass and brush in the rest of the solution.

    As to the varnish I would not recommned using that, it will yellow out in time. There was an interesting thread in the B&S site about waxing papers and the effect of wax or varnishes, from what I could gather it seems the wax and varnishes will yellow out with time. I have never used them but then I am just struggling right now to get really good with one paper I am not the kind to go experimenting with all kinds of things I tend to stick to one thing until I can control it.
     
  5. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Sounds like a similar process but without the substrate additive....Dammar is non-yellowing.... waxes will get you every time though. Jorge thanks for your input.
     
  6. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    PROBLEMS WITH POLYVINYL ACETATES

    I have had a suggestion from someone off forum in relation to using PVAs and synthetic coatings which I would like to briefly address here.

    In the area of painting, of which I am more familiar than photography, synthetic acetates are being abandoned by many in favour of the traditional dammar varnish... This is my personal choice when varnishing based on research presented by the National Gallery in relation to painting.... Indeed Dammar will slightly yellow in a century or so (this is refereed to as 'calming') but it is also removable, and papers will slightly yellow in that time also.... However with Polyvinyl (PVA) synthetic varnishes there are serious problems with bloom leaving works flat and dead under a grey and opaque haze in under 20 years, when exposed to UV light. I personally would avoid the use of synthetic acetates as varnishes and as sensitizer additives. I am not a conservator, but the research is out there....Just thought I would pass this on.
     
  7. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Annie,

    You may find that waxes will be as suitable for an overcoat as the damar. Here is a link to a yellowing test that was done for oil painting...

    http://www.mauigateway.com/~donjusko/oilyellow.htm

    The Koshyk method is quite exquisite, but very difficult to do on anything larger than about 5x7. It uses a lot of chemicals, and you end up with many, many prints that are imperfect due to streaking.

    But, it can produce black densities higher than siler or even Azo, and the tonality is still a pt/pd print, which means it is wonderful in all the right ways.

    ---Michael
     
  8. CraigK

    CraigK Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, my ears started burning this morning...

    I am the curious Canadian who does indeed print pt/pd prints as well as cyanotypes, kallitypes etc. on fixed out baryta paper. I have written an instructional booklet explaining my method in excrutiating detail....maybe too much detail. Some may have gotten the impression that the method is very difficult. It is not...well o.k. it may be a bit tricky, especially, as Michael M. pointed out, in sizes bigger than 5x7 but if a fellow with two left hands like myself can do it..up to 8x20, then anyone can.

    It does involve a higher volumes of chemicals per print...up to twice as much. But you can make Van Dyke brown prints or kallitypes or cyanotypes...cheap like borsch!

    You will have to wade through my probably overly detailed, wordy explanation of the not-as-hard-as-it-may-seem technique, but what the heck, it's a good read notheless.

    However the pay off is an extremely smooth, super detailed print with D-max that is through the roof..and a glossy, semi matt or matt surface! As I indicate in the intro to my booklet, if a silver print is an electric guitar with thundering bass and screaming treble, then a pt/pd print is a classical guitar...all sublte nuance and grace. Well with my method it is sort of the best (and worst?) of both worlds. Think of it as plugging a classical guitar into an amplipher.

    Recently I have begun a complete re-write of the booklet. I have some of the old ones left. So let's make a deal shall we? I will send anyone on this board a booklet free of charge if they will send me back a print made with my method. A tiny 2 1/4 print is fine...a 4x5 even better.

    I have had a few folks take me up on the offer lately and have received some absolutely terrific prints, even a fantastic Chrysotype made on fixed-out Ilford WT glossy. It is one of the nices prints of any technique/process I have ever seen!

    Drop me a line at craig@prairieview.ca

    P.S. Michael, did we meet at the Arentz workshop in Scotsdale a while back?
     
  9. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Craig,

    Yes, I was at Dick's workshop. I haven't printed much with your method, but I keep meaning to and never find the time. A friend of mine uses your method regularly, and the images are wonderful. He prints up to 8x10 with it.

    I have in the past directed people to your old website, but it is no longer active. Do you have a place that has some contact information on the web?

    ---Michael
     
  10. CraigK

    CraigK Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    Nice to hear from you again Michael!

    I'm glad to hear that your friend is working with my method.

    My old website gave up the ghost a while ago when the so called "service" provider provided more problems than service.

    An all new, groovy website for my personal work should be up by Xmas. I have been very busy over the last year or so setting up a photography school (www.prairieview.ca) so my own personal work has slowed to a crawl.

    I have made a few minor tweaks to my method but it remains essentially the same. I've actually simplified it a bit and now have a very high success rate.

    For those of you curious about the method here are the pro's and con's and a brief list of the steps involved:

    Pro's:
    Surface of your choice. You are no longer limited to matte. You can have all the same tones of a classic pt/pd print with the lovely surface of, say, an air dried FB glossy print.

    Dmax. LOTS of Dmax. The Dmaxiest print you can get as far as I know. Dick Arentz measured the Dmax at the workshop in Arizona and, at first, did not believe his densitometer. I cannot remember his measurements but it was well above anything he had ever measured in pt/pd or silver.

    Fine detail. The prints have all the sharpness of silver gelatin prints. Take a loupe to them and you see forever....

    Increased contrast. You can print pretty soft negs. I print polaroid type 55 PN negs often. Adding contrast agent to the mix does not seem to result in the same blotchy highlights that can occur on cotton papers.

    Increased permanence. Luis Nadeau has suggested that a pt/pd coating suspended in Baryta may be very well protected from the elements and therefore of greater archival stability.

    Cheap paper! While I do sometimes buy baryta paper to use as a substrate, I more often than not get it free from shops or people who've had it around too long and are looking to throw it out. One of my favorite prints is on a piece of 25 year old Ilford Gallery glossy.


    Cons: You'll go through a lot of solutions. First of all, the learning curve is not really steep but you will inevitibly botch the first few prints. Secondly, the technique requires that you always double coat each print. So you use more stuff.

    The larger the print, the trickier it gets. You need to double coat each print, you need to use a rod and a brush and you need to do things in a sort of timely manner on two different pieces of glass... one cool, the other warm. When you get to 11x14 and larger, it just gets a bit trickier...kind of like making a pie. A small one is a breeze, a really big one for 25 people is not.

    Here are the very basic steps involved;

    FB paper is sent straight into the fix, washed, dryed and flattened.

    The same coating mix as a print on cotton is made (volume is doubled since the paper will be coated twice)

    Tween is added. Lots of Tween. (The booklet gives a more specific schedule of drops etc).

    The paper is placed on a piece of glass that sits atop a flat heating pad (the kind you lay on if you have a sore back. I got mine at Walmart. Water bed heating pads work well also.) When the paper is warm half of the solution is poured onto it.

    Solutions are spread over the paper with a coating rod. The specific technique is described in the book but is essentially the same as for cotton except much more vigourous (up to 20 to 30 passes with the rod),

    When the rod coating step is done (the book explains how to know when it is "done") the paper is transfered to another piece of glass or a counter top that is cooler than the heated glass. A foam brush is now used to work the solutions in a bit more.

    When this step is done (yes, the book tells you when it is "done") a plastic squeegee is pulled across the paper ( the book...well you know)

    The paper is then dried.

    The whole thing is then repeated for the second coat.

    When this is done exposure, development clearing etc. are more or less the same as for cotton prints.

    So there it is...not really complicated but as they say "there's many a slip between cup and lip!"
     
  11. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hey Craig, welcome! I got some old paper left and I am hankering to try your method. I have the booklet already so I will let you know how it goes.....
     
  12. CraigK

    CraigK Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks, Jorge!

    It's great to be here. This site is the freshest breath of air on the internet!

    Viva APUG!!

    I'm glad to hear you are going to give the method a shot. Let me know if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to walk you though any part of the process.


    Come to think of it, I have a bit of a hankering to get into the darkroom myself tonight....
     
  13. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Craig...... How's life in The Peg?!?

    I am also a 'curious Canadian'..... I'll give your system a try....

    Cheers Annie
     
  14. CraigK

    CraigK Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    The Peg is hot, humid and the temporary home of none other than J-lo and Richard Gere (in town to film a movie).

    As an aside, Richard Gere has a book ("Pilgrim") of pt/pd photos he took in Tibet/Nepal...its not half bad actually.

    If you'd like to try my method, send me your snail mail address and I will send you the booklet.

    Craig

    craig@prairieview.ca
     
  15. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Craig,

    I am wondering if you can email me the differences in the current process and the one detailed in the booklet. Fred Albright (also at Dick's workshop) and I have been discussing approaches to work with larger paper. He feels confident with 5x7 but struggles with 8x10. I was going through the booklet to get the hang of the process again, and thought there might be some relevant improvements that I should know about.

    One thing that cuases problems for him is the potential for small spots of sticky coating material to foul up the print frame. These will typically be on the edges, so they won't affect the negative you are working on at the time, but they can stick to the glass, and then stick to the next negative you put in the print frame. This can be a problem to say the least. You have to be very agressive about cleanup of leftover coating material on the print, because it won't just dry up or soak in as if it were on typical pt/pd paper.

    Ultimately, if I wish to work with the process, I want to be able to do large prints, and that is going to be the sticking point for me.

    I think we measured 2.3 with the densitometer. Nobody could believe the readings, so Dick recalibrated the X-Rite, and got the same readings. Don't quote me on the numbers specifically, but it was higher than any silver or Azo reading I've ever seen.

    ---Michael
     
  16. CraigK

    CraigK Member

    Messages:
    247
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    Michael,

    There are a couple of things I can suggest.

    First of all I would reccomend using matte surface paper to start with. It is somewhat easier to coat and will ensure a higher rate of success as you learn the technique.

    One adjustment I have made to my own technique is with glossy paper. I now use a squeegee with it too. In my booklet I outline a slightly different finishing touch for glossy paper...brushing until it is just "right" but I have found that it is not very easy to explain so now I reccomend that glossy paper be done in the same way as matte. First coat with the rod, then the brush, then squeegee (make sure it is a plastic squeegee and not rubber. There are some really good "shower" squeegee's out now that work well.

    As for sticky spots on the edges of the coating area, I have not run into this problem. Two things come to mind. Your friend may be using too much tween or two much solution altogether. You are right, one must be very carefull to sop up any remaining puddles or spots of solution. Secondly with larger sized prints, the paper itself can be the problem in that it will "pop" and "snap" as it were while the rod or brush is being used. In other words as you pass by an area where the paper is perhaps raised a bit from the glass, the paper will be pushed down flat only to then spring back up slightly popping a bit of solution in the air which then lands back down on the print as a spot. You could also consider using a piece of thin mylar to be placed between the coated paper and the negative...something I do when I make Ziatypes on cotton paper. Also make sure you have plenty of paper towels handy. When you make that final pass with the squeegee there will be a line of solution remaining at the end of the run. Make sure to really sop it up with the paper towel.

    For large prints you need to find a way to keep the paper really flat. I have used a vaccuum easle with success for larger prints. I have also used a small jig of acrylic that was sort of like a contact printing frame with a window cut in the glass a bit larger thant the coating area. It held the paper down fairly well.

    I guess one of the most important things to keep in mind is something I elude to in the book. If you have been coating cotton papers for a while, you get used to pussy-footing around (for lack of a better term). The paper is handled very, very gently and sometimes coaxed into working by sweet talk and prayer. Baryta paper is TOUGH. The coating proceedure can be much more agressive than with cotton paper. Both the rod and brush can be passed over the paper many, many times until the solutions is almost dry (ALMOST, don't go until it is dry...you'll get streaks). You can really hit the paper hard with the dryer as well. Just give the solutions a minute or two to soak in after the squeegee step and then blast away with a hair dryer (if you are doing cyano or Van dyke...use cool air from the dryer) Also any spot or stubborn area outside of the image area can be wiped with a paper towel.

    Finally, to really get good at coating large sizes, you should start with Van Dyke Brown. For pennies a print you can dial in a personal method that will transpose to pt/pd with ease later on down the road.

    Craig
     
  17. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Craig,

    Thanks for the thoughts. I'll pass them on the Fred, and also begin to apply them in my own use.

    ---Michael
     
  18. Annie

    Annie Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    This is all such good information..... I had slight problems with 'foaming' in my 'experiments' when trying to get the Kodak emulsion to accept liquids.. Is the problem with the resins in the emulsion layer of the paper? Anyway, I managed to locate a retired PhD Chemist that was senior technical associate of Kodak for many years .....one of his specialities is emulsions. Perhaps he will respond to my e-mail and have some insights. Craig, thanks for your informative postings, I look forward to reading your booklet.

    Annie
     
  19. photo8x10

    photo8x10 Member

    Messages:
    495
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Location:
    Prato- Tusca
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Hi Craig, I've just read your post here....it's fantastic...
    I love printing in platinum/palladium but I don't like very much the papers for it, I like glossy paper, so I would like to know well your method.
    In your post you said about a booklet, How can receive it?

    Best,

    Stefano Germi
    Photo8x10
    Italy
     
  20. magic823

    magic823 Member

    Messages:
    460
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2003
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Me too, since I already work with fixed out paper for carbon.

    Steve