Pouring plates, big ones.

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by studiocarter, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    There is a video to watch on line that shows a 20 x 24 inch plate being poured. It is on the John Coffer web site. http://www.johncoffer.com/
    On the left side it says "videos", go there and choose the longest one, ten minuets.
    Now, this is a wet plate video, but it is a huge plate that is hand poured. I am into dry plates and have hand poured 4 x 5 inch plates and am sweating how to do 12 x 15 inch ones. I suppose that if the liquid emulsion is thin, warm, and spritzed with Everclear it'd cover a large surface in red light. Perhaps a piece of marble could be warmed and the glass set on it. If there was a gimble under it, it could be tipped this way and that and thus eliminate hot finger spots. John used his hands, but he used a metal plate. It didn't matter.
    Has anyone here poured large plates for dry plate photography? How?
     
  2. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    I've got some 12x20 in plates in the darkroom awaiting this. I've done 5x7 and 8x10 with varying degrees of success... I was actually going to try a glass rod for the big ones.
     
  3. wildbillbugman

    wildbillbugman Member

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    Hello,
    I wonder if a large heating pad, from the drug store, would work. You could tape it securely to the back of the glass plate. Then use those stick on temperature strips to measure the temperature of the plate, once it is stable. Then bring the emulsion to the same temperature and pour your hot little heart out. I have used this method for Gum/dichromate on glass. It works well for that purpose.
    Bill
     
  4. wildbillbugman

    wildbillbugman Member

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    P.S. For pouring plates without tipping, I dip my edges (the plate edges that is) into hot parafin. The emulsion is repelled by the wax.
     
  5. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    That could lead to thick emulsions if not carefully done.
     
  6. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    All this is beyond my abilities. I'll stick with film... until it's NLA... but by then I'll probably be NLA too. :smile:
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Big plates were usually made from huge sheets of glass that had the emulsion poured onto them from a cascade trough. The dried sheets were then cut up into the desired plate sizes.

    PE
     
  8. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    Hey, these ideas are great and got me thinking more, along with am coffee...
    Would the wax repell collodian? If so, they, ie wet plates, could be used in metal book form dry plate holders and the front edges wouldn't get messed up.
    An old window frame could be used to hold onto glass while tipping and pouring; a hole, cork, and spout in a corner would let out excess material; waxed edges would keep it all clean. The frame would have to be the same size as the camera.
    Well, why not make a window frame camera? Corners often get loose so it could be taken apart and grooves cut for a dark slide. Lots of windows are trashed around here when new ones are installed. I've used them for silk screen printing. Also, I've sand blasted glass in a stone shop as well as handled hydrofloric acid which eats glass to frost it, so that is possible to do as long as a shop is nearby making granite memorials. Bathtub refinishing companies also use that acid.
    Glass could be silk screened and if warmed any texture would smooth out; that's a guess, screens can be huge, not as large as for a cascade trough but large enough to cut up glass after coating. Anyway, if large enough, texture would not matter from the diagonal viewing distance.
     
  9. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    Mike1234, if I thought like you, I'd-a bought or bid on that 12x20 camera that just sold on the bay for $811. It took film.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Some sort of frame around the glass plate to hold it during the pour would be nice.

    How about a takeoff on Sandy King's method. Lay the plate on a large metal surface and put magnetic strips down each side of the plate to hold it tight against the metal. Then pour.

    The magnets can be custom cut to the size of your plate.

    I have a set of custom coating blades for plates.

    PE
     
  11. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I use a system that works very well for me. http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/PlatePrep/DryPlatePart4a.htm

    I don't have the arm reach to coat the 12x20 inch plates I gave Kirk, but I have had great results as large as 11x14. I'm looking forward to seeing the mammoth plates when Kirk and Don (6'4"!) get them coated. As with all things art, there are enough great ways to accomplish a task everyone can find a method that works best for them. Coating should never be the roadblock to dry plate photography (or paper making).

    Ron: Where are you selling your plate blades?

    d
     
  12. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    What's that? Selling plate blades? Me! Me!
    Magnets? Cool! Or I should say, variable temperatures:smile:

    dw, can you make me a big glass coater yet for the 12x15?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2009
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have never placed the plate blades on sale. I have the demo blades shown at the workshops for film and for plates (two sizes) and that is all.

    PE
     
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  15. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I'd love to shoot 12x20 but I can no longer carry the weight/bulk of a system like that. I'm afraid 5x12 is my upper limit these days... and that's really pushing it.

    My hat's off to you gents (and ladies if any making glass plates). I would probably mess up every single one I tired to make. Besides, carrying holders full of glass plates... it ain't gonna happen here pard's. I do hope to see plenty of glass plate image posts from you brave lads though!!
     
  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    I've had great success pouring large wet plate collodion plates in 11x14- 12x15- and 12x20. John Coffer was the one who got me started in the process. What John does, and I find works very well, is thin your collodion with a 50/50 mix of alcohol and ether at about 10% of your volume of collodion. What happens with the larger plates is the ether is evaporating quickly and your collodion is starting to set up before you get your plate coated. Once you bring your plate up vertical onto your pour-off bottle rock it vigorously before you bring it back flat. Once your bring it back flat turn it and give the edge of the plate a little tap against the table the opposite way from the pour off corner. This helps eliminate those flow lines you see in some plates.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I do not do wet plate collodion, but my understanding from those that do is that the methods of coating, while similar, are not exactly alike. I think that one must adjust to two different, but similar environments. It seems to me to be like stepping through a looking glass from the way I read it.

    I would appreciate comments from those who have done both.

    PE
     
  18. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Studiocarter: re wells: Yes, indeedy. Let me know when you're ready to coat big.

    Mike 1234: I hear you on the weight of glass! It doesn't seem to get any lighter with the passing years. Can't beat it for beauty and economy, though. Fortunately, there's an option. You can coat the same emulsions of a film base with no more difficulty than coating paper. The Photographers Formulary sells a product called Melenex, 7 mil estar film pre-coated with a substrate that holds onto the emulsion. And, handmade 'subbed' film is just around the corner. RE glass plate posts: Here's a few: http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/Gallery/gallery.htm and http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/Osterman/DryPlatePart4.htm.

    Denise
     
  19. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Thanks, Denise. I'll look into that option. :smile:
     
  20. wildbillbugman

    wildbillbugman Member

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  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    how did george eastman and alfred harman coat their plates ( originally ) ?
    from what i have read, in the beginning they weren't very sophisticated, but it was consistent ...
    did they elaborate tools, or were they just pouring and using glass rods ?
    when i was coating, i free-poured my plates ... and sometimes i used a "sponge-brush"
    (sorry if i am hijacking the thread)
     
  22. wildbillbugman

    wildbillbugman Member

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    jnanian,
    All of the methods mentioned in this thread require the aquisition of skill. Pour coating ain't as easy as it looks. And blade or well coating can be messy in the hands of someone like me, with the hand-eye coordination of a drunken earthworm. Its realy a matter of personal prefference. I like to pour coat, but cheat by edging the glass plate with a hydrophobic substance,wax.
    I will say that, of all the methods I have tried, probably the easiest is the method Denise describes on The Light Farm.
    Bill
     
  23. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Bill, I'm not sure about how wax would react to the collodion but when doing glass negatives or ambrotypes the edges of the glass are subbed with albumen to keep the collodion from peeling from the glass.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I am still learning to coat glass, but I have never seen Mark Osterman sub his plates nor put "edges" of material on his plates. I have seen him roughen the glass with a file or sand paper before use. He cleans any glass shards off of course. He explained that the rough edges give more edge adhesion.

    Friends at Kodak that were involved in making plates said they did none of that, because plates were made in large sheets and cut apart before packing. They told me that chrome alum hardening enforced the adhesion and hardening both. I have seen that work myself. I changed to chrome alum and saw a big improvement in edge and overall adhesion.

    PE
     
  25. Bruce Schultz

    Bruce Schultz Member

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    I have poured hundreds of collodion plates during the past 2 years, and I've started pouring emulsion for dry plates.
    So far, I find wet plate collodion is much easier. It isn't as temperature sensitive as gelatin emulsion. If collodion is a little bit thicker on one side, it doesn't matter because it is a clear substance, whereas emulsion seems to require more uniform application. Bubbles aren't a problem with collodion, and I've had that problem with emulsion poured from a netty pot.
    Finally, with wet plate, the collodion is poured off in one direction, but with dry plate, Osterman is suggesting pouring off emulsion on one corner, then pouring off on the opposite corner.
    I haven't figured out a good way to catch the excess emulsion when pouring, so I make quite a mess.
    I have a puddle pusher, so I'd like to get one of Denise Ross's well kits, if she still has them. That approach does seems like the easiest method.
    But I'm going to try pouring one more batch to see if I get better results. I now have a magnetic stirrer so that should help keep an even thickness of emulsion in the pot.
    I'm not worried about flaws too much. An island here and there, a speck of dust and some scratches are OK. I want images to appear as though they were struck in the field 120 years ago and defects help achieve that.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree bill, pouring plates isn't easy. the biggest ones i poured
    were 4x5 and it took a lot of little ones ( 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 ) to get myself ready to do bigger ones .
    later i coated windows panes ( standard 6 over 6 sashes and much bigger )
    i just used a brush, i was broke and the brush is easy ....

    my early "experiments" were well poured but slid down the drain ( i didn't use hardener )
    i was just curious as to how george and alfred did it, since it is how "it all started ... "