Print processing - back/back, front/front

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by michael_r, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I recall in The Darkroom Cookbook, on the subject of archival washing of multiple FB prints in a tray, Anchell warns the prints should always be back to back or face to face. In other words, never have a group of prints all washing face up (or face down) in a tray. Why is that?

    Thanks
    Michael
     
  2. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I'm not sure, but I think it's because of the way the paper curls. The sheets get stuck together if they're facing the same way, but the water circulates better if they alternate front and back.
     
  3. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    As Bethe suggests, it's probably to prevent "nesting" prints against the next one with common curl direction. I don't like the thought of back to back in tray washing, though, since it is the base (on fiber prints) that you are washing more so than the emulsion side. I use an archival slotted washer with one print in each section, to avoid this issue.
    Also, if you rustle or agitate the prints around while tray washing (which you should do anyway), it should negate the nesting thing. You can just rotate from bottom to top, one at a time, changing the side up orientation with each rotation.
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Thanks to Winger for the response.

    George, I was thinking the same thing, especially about back-back since the paper base is the hardest part to wash. I don't have a washer but when I wash prints in a tray I agitate them and rotate etc frequently anyway. I find even if you are only washing one print it is necessary to move it around a little because tiny air bubbles tend to slowly build up on the surface which would obviously impair washing.

    Thing is, I thought this would have been taken for granted in the Cookbook, implying there is some other reason they should be back to back or face to face. I went back to the book yesterday to find that section, and I just find the strong wording strange given there is no further explanation. Anchell says to NEVER wash prints placing them back to front.

    Michael