Polysulfide Toner Question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by walbergb, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    I've been working on a print that I selected for polysulfide toning. My test strip gave me the beautify chocolate brown effect I was after. That was a month or more ago. Today what I got was a washed out, yellow-brown effect (yuk!). Any ideas why? I'm using it as an indirect toner on Ilford MGIV FB. Bleach is a diluted (1+5) potassium ferricyanide bleach. I bleached for 7 minutes and barely got the mid-tones to bleach out. The toner is barely used--3-4 8x10 sheets--but over a month old. Everything is the same except the age of the chemicals. I'm planning on making a new batch of bleach and dilute it 1+2. If that's too strong, I can always dilute more. I'm hoping it isn't the toner because I don't have any more liver of sulfur and won't be getting more any time soon.
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't think bleach part goes bad. I'm using the same one for over a year now. It concerns me that your bleach lost activity though...

    I noticed, the re-developer part, the part that turns the page brown sucks air a lot. So something is oxidizing in there. Still, mine lasted over a year and still going strong. I keep it in an air tight container un-diluted. How are you keeping yours?

    It is my experience that MGIV FB does not tone all that well but the result should be consistent.
     
  3. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    I thought bleach lasted a long time, too. I was thinking last night, after I posted, that I could add more bromide to the bleach. Perhaps that is why the bleach was reacting the way it did.

    I store the bleach in an airtight, clear plastic 5 liter bottle. The toner is in an airtight, brown 2 liter glass bottle. I have approximately 1.5 liters of toner in the bottle.

    I've also heard that MGIV FB doesn't tone well, but I have so much of it and I want to use it up before it goes bad. My earlier test print using MGIV FB turned a beautiful chocolate brown. I would like to duplicate that colour.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    One more thing I thought about....

    I use Photographer's formulary kind. With this particular kit, I make a stock solution of A and B where A is bleach and B is the actual sulfide toner. A is used full strength (not diluted) and used over-and-over where as B is diluted quite thin. I don't know what you are using but are you really supposed to dilute bleach part?

    Also, with my toner, the B solution aggressively sucks air - to a point bottle caves in. I wonder if your's had a leak and oxidized?

    With MGIV, it gets to dark chocolate brown (like you said) but I never saw "light and fluffy" brown tone. I use WT paper for that.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I find that the bleach does lose strength over time, but expect that is due to dilution as the addition of wet prints inevitably adds water.
     
  6. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    I made my own toner with potassium polysulfide (from PF) and sodium carbonate.

    The bleach is a potassium ferricyanide bleach from a Kodak Sepia II package. I dilute my bleach because I find that at full strength it acts too quickly. I can't control the degree of bleaching. Now that I think about it, the bleach probably is older than the toner. I would have mixed the bleach when I was doing some sepia toning well before my trials with polysulfide toning.

    I don't know if the toner has oxidized. Any ideas what it would look like? I know if it is exhausted, it will turn cloudy. Mine is a little dirty from use, but not cloudy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2012
  7. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Thanks Matt. I'm off to the darkroom now. I'm going to make up a fresh batch of bleach. I'll start with a low dilution and dilute further if necessary. I'll let you guys know how things turn out. Thanks for all your input.
     
  8. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Made fresh bleach and diluted it 1+2. Bleached four step wedges for 30-60-90-120 seconds. Toned for 10 minutes. Slight difference between 30 & 60 seconds, but nothing after 60. 30 second step wedge slightly more brown in the shadows than 60, which turned out reddish-brown. Did a couple of prints at 60 seconds + 10 minutes toning. Reddish brown colour: better than the washed-out yellow-brown I was getting before. Couldn't duplicate the chocolate brown from an earlier test strip though:sad:. Tried adding a little more sodium carbonate to the toner, but it didn't make a difference. Time to stop. I might try again with MGIV FB when I get some more potassium polysulphide and can make fresh toner. In the meantime, I will try direct toning Ilford warmtone.
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    You can't go wrong with this combination. I recommend selenium toning first. 1:9 for 3-4 minutes is usually enough depending on the print. It helps keep your blacks so they don't get lost during the polysulfide toning.
     
  10. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Thanks Brian. I will try the selenium first.
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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  12. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Thanks Roger. I had a look at the MSD sheet on the brown toner you use and it looks the same as what I made up.