Print Flatness

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by shicks5319, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    Hello all. I am a brand new member of your group and have only recently taken up the darkroom for my B&W photography. So I appologize ahead of time if this is something that has been discussed at length before.

    I have been working with RC paper and just started using FB paper. Aside from the darkening affect of the drydown I have noticed that the FB paper curls significantly when dried.

    Can anyone point me to a reference on techniques to keep this paper flat?
     
  2. KenM

    KenM Member

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    You don't need any references :smile: You have APUG!

    For fibre prints, make sure you get as much water off them as possible, and lay them *face down* on a screen to dry. They will curl slightly on the edges, but overall be fairly flat.

    You can then flatten them more after they're dry by sandwiching the prints between some heavy books (or the like) for a few days. The fastest way is to use a dry mount press and cook them for a few minutes. I would place the prints between some mat-board, and then put something heavy on the matboard. Be sure to separate the prints with something (paper? matboard?), and that all the layers are clean. You don't want to push debris into the print surface...

    I find that even after I've flattened my fibre prints, they still exhibit a gentle curl - this doesn't bother me, since good prints are dry mounted (and therefore perfectly flat), or round-filed.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    And on the other side of the "coin". we do the opposite, don't squeeze the prints dry and place face up on a screen.
    A friend of mine who was a teacher of photography at MIT told me once that the higher the humidity the slower the drying time the flatter the print. I began doing that and have very little curl.
    Put the dry prints under a dry mount press and leave them for what ever time moves me, or when it is time to tone, mount or add some new ones to the mix.

    Which is correct? Who can tell, mine works for me and makes me happy;
    Ken is happy with his method.
     
  4. mvjim

    mvjim Member

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    It is true that the higher the humidity in the enviroment the flatter the print will dry if left alone. But it's really not necessary to leave the water on the print to aide in this. In fact it could cause problems if there is any impurities in your water that could leave a dry deposit on the prints surface. Another method is just the reverse - dry the print as quickly and evenly as possable using a hair dryer. Dry the face first until just dry to the touch, turn the print and repeat on the back, turn and repeat on face and then back to the back. Repeat this process until just dry. Then stick in press or as was mentioned, between matt boards with weight.
     
  5. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I had not heard of leaving a fibre print wet. While it may work, you would have to be careful if your water supply was mineral rich, since those minerals would be left on the print. In this case, it would probably be a good idea to rinse with distilled water.

    There are always many ways to reach one goal. Me, I'll stick with removing as much water as I can, since that works for me. I'm also in Calgary, which is extremely dry, and my prints are dry enough to handle after an hour or so.

    As with all things, you have to find what works for you. You've certainly two very different methods to try here :-D
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    What I do is place the wet print on my driveway and make a few careful passes over it with my car. This flattens the print down nicely.

    Be careful to avoid doing "burn outs" because this will remove all the "burning in" that you did in the darkroom.

    Unfortunately with Bergger paper I have to leave the car on it overnight.

    Sorry.


    All the above posts will do the job, just pick one and it'll work for you.

    And welcome to APUG.


    Michael McBlane
     
  7. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    how about driving over black walnuts with your car. place the pieces in turpintine and use for toner. :tongue:

    as a p.s. I have not had any problems with water deposits on prints. I would be changing methods in a heart beat if I had.
     
  8. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    I always tape my fibre prints to sheets of glass with watercolour tape (that white papertape that sticks when wet). No major drydown problems and absolutely no curl. It's probably more work than all the above methods, but I have never tried anything else, because I feel that I don't want to change something that has worked fine for me for the past 12 years.

    Good luck and welcome to APUG.
    Anne Marieke
     
  9. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Anne Marieke,

    Does taping down FB prints really prevent dry down? Have you ever tried to tape them down only on two sides? Are there no problems with the print sticking to the glass, when dry?

    Thx JJ
     
  10. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    JJ, maybe not completely but the paper doesn't get the chance to shrink, so it only partially suffers from drydown.

    I have never tried to tape them on only two sides, because then the print would pull itself loose. I forgot to say that I use a shammy to flatten the prints onto the glass sheets (this also removes excess water) and then wait for about half an hour before sticking them down. If don't do that, the fibre paper will actually pull itself loose from the sheets of glass. It's amazing how strong fibre paper is.

    Anne Marieke

    p.s. by the way JJ, are you Dutch?
     
  11. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Yes, I am,

    wanted to keep thing internationally though. I have been thinking to tape prints down on two sides only. I usually print full frame and it would allow my to still make maximum use of the papersize.

    JJ
     
  12. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I also use the tape-ot-to-glass method. Maybe 1% drydown now, so I don't mind the slight loss of paper size due to trimming. Flatty, glass-like prints. (Thanks, Donald!)
     
  13. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    The drydown effect is caused because fibre prints shrink as they dry. This contraction of the gelatine causes the increase in contrast. Therefore taping stops the shrinkage, and the drydown.

    If the image size / paper size is measured before, and after drying, the shrinkage will be evident. Because the taped print is not allowed to shrink it’s final trimmed size will be very close to the traditionally dried print.

    Taping on only two sides will result in the print adopting an hourglass shape, interesting but unlikely to set a trend.

    The slower a print is dried in the conventional way the flatter it will be. Clipping two prints back to back whilst they dry is another well tried method of flattening, but doesn’t get over the drydown problem.
     
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  15. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    JJ,
    If you use the name "naaldvoerder" it is quite obvious that you are either from Holland or from Belgium. Hence my question.
    Anne Marieke
     
  16. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    Hey, thanks to all who chimed in on this.

    I will try the methods offered up.

    I can see this is a great place. Keep up the positive energy here!
     
  17. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    shicks,

    Just to add to the confusion: what I do is use plastic clothes hangers, the ones with the clips. Clip the wet print by two corners. Put two more clips on the bottom corners, for weight. Works pretty well. However, if you get serious about fiber paper, then there is nothing that beats a dry mount press, and nothing, IMHO, that looks better than a dry mounted fiber print.
     
  18. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Me too - exactly
     
  19. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Years ago I had the uncharacteristic foresight to buy a Seal 110S dry mount press for a couple of hundred dollars when I had the chance.

    Now I am with the hang 'em up to dry and then use the press to smooth them out contingent. Pretty quick and easy with very nice results.
     
  20. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    I use a FB print dryer, which dries a print totally flat in 10 minutes, albeit with a slight overall curve. Is this ok - are there any drawbacks to using this method?
     
  21. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Annemarieke/Cheryl,

    Thanks for sharing your methods. Tried it yesterday and it works awesome; flat print of bigger size even after losing hte small rim and less drydown. Thanks again!!

    JJ
     
  22. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    You're welcome.
    Good luck and enjoy!
    Anne Marieke
     
  23. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    The most common warning that I see with using a dryer is that the apron can become contaminated with residual fixer from the prints over time. I wouldn't use one in a communal darkroom but I've never had a problem in my own darkroom. Just be very careful and consistant with your washing procedures.

    My only problem with them is that you have to hang around and tend it until all your prints are dried. With hanging, you can split as soon as they are up and return when they are dry.
     
  24. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Ah, but they are so beautifully, RC, flat.

    Point taken, I'll be careful.
     
  25. lee

    lee Member

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    Annemarieke/Cheryl,

    How many prints do you typically dry in one session? How many sheets of glass do you have stacked up with prints taped to them? How many prints taped to one piece of glass?

    Just a few questions I think need to be answered.

    lee\c
     
  26. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

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    I'm also a big fan of the hang em and dry mount method. The spare bathroom next to my darkroom has a clothesline over the bathtub. Works out as a perfect place to hang print to dry. Yes they have the shape of a potato chip; however, my dry mount press flattens them out perfectly. I agree that a dry mounted fiber print is absolutely the most beautiful.