Poe Boy Collodion Formula

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by coriana6jp, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Hi All,

    I have been slowlyputting together the bits and part of a cheap wet plate system. I have been able to source nearly everything here locally, except the ether. After a little looking around I found John Coffer's Poe Boy formula which omits the ether and uses denatured alcohol as a substitute. I have had a difficult time finding it as well, but I finally located a source for 99.5% pure Ethanol. :blink:

    Any ideas about how well that might work in p,ace of denatured alcohol? Any info would be great!

    Thanks.

    Gary
     
  2. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    should work fine. alot of folks here in Europe use ethanol in lieu of grain due to cost or inability to source. I would make a small test batch using your formula and see how it responds. Also, dont forget you have to treat your silver bath by putting a salted collodion plate into the bath for 12 hours or overnight. Use a glass plate, not aluminum for the overnight seasoning, some folks have had issues with an overnight seasoning done w/ an aluminum plate. 9% AGNO3 bath is good for ambrotypes and if you check PH, should be around a 4 when you first make it up. ALSO, check your water source BEFORE you put the AGNO3 into it. take a small bit of de-mineralized water, shot glass size, and add a .5gram of AGNO3. The water should go, if anything, very slight cloud and then crystal clear once the silver is disolved. IF the AGNO3 solution goes cloudy and stays cloudy DONT use that water. Sun the AGNO3 solution in the shot glass until clear, filter and then pour it into your larger solution if desired, the other option is to write off the small shot solution and find a good trusted water source. good luck.

    ./e
     
  3. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Thank you for the helpful information. I will test the water, but how about using distilled water? It is about as neutral as you can get.......in theory.

    Thanks!

    Gary
     
  4. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    distilled water is what I recommend, NOT tap. But even with distilled you really need to test the water before making the silver bath in its entirety. Take nothing for granted, take it slowly and you should be fine. Have you taken a workshop or done WP before? if not, ask questions and dont be afraid to search on the forums, very likely someone has had a similar problem and asked the question.

    Also, some will report that a full alcohol salted collodion is considered more tender than one with ether/alcohol mix others will disagree and say its tough as nails. Approach the salted full alcohol collodion as if it will tear if you look at it the wrong way and it should stay on the plate. I havent worked with a full alcohol version yet but want to try it out, just to see if it is visually different.

    DONT be tempted to try lots of formulas for developer, collodion or true negatives. Get the ambrotype version down, learn the process know how your lens/collodion sees the light, generally get very comfortable with the whole deal. after that, play around. Having done lots of playing, there are differences in teh collodion formulas but hard to see the differences. This means you really have to know the equipment/process to see the diff. Fixers on the other hand, worlds of differences depending on concentrations, hypo vs kcn vs rapid fix. The type of fix is an easy difference to see. Me personally, I use what ever fix I need for the image at hand. I am not a KCN evangelist. I am an amateur wood worker and equate things to tools. If you know your tools well, some better than others, you tend to gravitate to known tools. However, when you know your tools really well, you know which tool is best for the job. That is my philosophy towards most things that I do.

    Build the experience, be safe, follow MSDS best practices and have fun.

    Erick
     
  5. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Thank you again. I have never done WP before only saw a short demonstration several years ago. Sadly the nearest workshop is about 8000km from here, not in the travel budget this year. I have ordered John Coffers books and DVDs and am lurking on the various collodion forums. I will just have to go slow and stick with one formula until I get things figured out. No KCN here and with small kids in the house it is one thing I wouldn't want here.


    Thanks!

    Gary
     
  6. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    gary, a DVD will help to visualize what you have read. numerous forums that can help, read the trials and tribulations of others...I'm sure I have posts on the forums you have been lurking on. Pour on glass is the route I recommend, it is easier to reuse and remove old collodion. metal is more expensive.

    good luck, show us your results.

    Erick
     
  7. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    John's DVD's are fantastic; a wealth of info & very confidence inspiring. Have fun and as John likes to say "don't panic. Never panic"
     
  8. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I don't think he sells those any longer.
     
  9. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Thanks all! Once I get around to actually pouring some plates I will post the results. Probably not for at least another month or more want to study all the material a few more times first.

    Mr. Coffer still sells the DVD and manual set, I just ordered it a couple of weeks ago and its still listed on his web site.

    Thanks again!

    Gary
     
  10. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I cannot tell where you are located because I\'m reading on a mobile. But if you are in North America you can probably get denatured alcohol at Home Depot in quart cans. The ones near me have it in the paint solvent section.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2010
  11. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    I am from North America, but don't live there now. The local hardware stores here don't sell denatured alcohol, I checked into that already. The pure ethanol is probably my best bet abort of having ether shipped in.

    Thanks though......

    Gary
     
  12. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    Gary,

    The ethanol will work fine. keep going I would like to see your first round of photos.

    Erick
     
  13. FarmGal

    FarmGal Member

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    Of course Coffer still sells 3 DVDs and a 165 page manual called The Do-ers Guide to Wetplate Collodion Photography. Info on his website. It's the most detailed and complete manual out there.