Printing Black Borders

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Photogeek, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Photogeek

    Photogeek Member

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    Ok its simple enough . . . . Well not really given the gear I have.

    I use a Nova 6 12 easel to print borderless prints however I would like, with my high key images, to print a black border. SAw a nice way of doing at the photo club last night. and that is to make a Lith neg by photographing a black border, enlarging it onto lith film and then exposing the paper using the lith film in a second enlarger. and then make the print in the usual way. Just one problem . . .. No room for that second enlarger. Someone else mentioned that there was a supplier of laser cut aluminium masks that you just laid over the latent image and then exposed with no negative to form the border.

    Anyone any idea if these masks are still available? and where I could get them? A Quadro Easel is well out of my price range . . .even if it is a nice piece of kit.

    Regards

    Tony
     
  2. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Don't know about the special masks but you could try using a straight edge such as a rule and some black card if you just want the black to be along the edges of the paper. Use the straight edge a few mm from each edge of the paper in turn after taking the negative out of the enlarger. The black card protects the rest of the print from the light - tape it to the straight edge.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I just cut a piece of heavy card stock 1 inch shorter on each edge than my paper size and place it so that the bottom right corner is aligned with the bottom right corner of the print. Then I expose at wide open for a few seconds to blacken the opposite edges. I then move the card to the upper left corner and repeat the exposure. This results in a 1 inch black border all around the print in just two quick steps. To change the width I just use a different piece of card stock with a different amount trimmed off.

    - Randy
     
  4. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Following with Randy you can also fuzz-up the edges of the cardboard (or matboard) to get the dirty/unique edge effect.
     
  5. Photogeek

    Photogeek Member

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    Thanks for these suggestions, Must admit that Card would be the easy choice. . . . Only problem is that I can't cut card square or with a really 'sharp' edge to get a nice crisp line. . . . . I may have to resort havings some red opaque plastic cut to fit . . . . Or bite the bullet and buy a Quadro Easel.

    Regards

    Tony
     
  6. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Buy red paper.
     
  7. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    Mask sets are frequently available on eBay (even now).
     
  8. sunnyroller

    sunnyroller Member

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    Go talk to your local frame shop. You can probably get them to cut it for you for not too much $$ or they might have a piece lying about that is already the right size.
     
  9. jeztastic

    jeztastic Member

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    You're a frickin' genius... Currently piddling around gluing tin foil on the back of a work print to make sure I cut in the right place and don't let light through... but your idea sounds a lot simpler.
     
  10. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    Just get a good easel !

    Handmade solutions work well, but only for one camera at a time. There are always slight differences between the negative's size / proportions. Enlargers won't give the sharp outside border. Some enlarger do give beautiful borders, like the Valoy II and Focomat 1C from Leitz.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    For a clean cut edge on paper or card stock, use a single edge razor blade and a metal ruler. Those razor blades are handy for many other uses, too. For quick alignment of a mask on the photo paper, mount guides on the bottom of the mask, place the mask on the photo paper, and slide it until it stops against the guides. Make sure it lies flat against the photo paper. This is much like the procedure Randy describes in post #3, and a bit easier to do in the dark. You don't need a second enlarger. A small bare incandescent light bulb works fine. I shut my eyes during exposure to preserve night vision. I also try to remember to cover any unexposed photo paper.
     
  12. Old_Dick

    Old_Dick Member

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  13. CropDusterMan

    CropDusterMan Member

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    I always try to capture an image with the intention of printing full frame...makes life easy.
    But, there have been time where I needed to crop and love the full border full frame look.

    I made a series of metal masks that were ideal...they had a handle to lift it in and out of the
    image area. I'd make the cropped exposure, and the mask was the exact size of the image area...
    most of my images are printed to this format. Then, I drop in the mask and move each easel
    blade out to the desired border size...I then open the lens to max aperture and burn the border in.

    Accurate matts can also be cut with a good matt cutter...you can do a bunch of various sizes...put some
    ducting metal tape on the edges and that protects the edges.
     
  14. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I don't remember seeing this discussed on APUG before. I have 3 different homemade 6x9 negative carriers, one for each of my folders.
     
  15. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    There were kits available back in the day, probably still are on ebay, that were made with sheet magnets. As long as your easel is metal, the sheet magnets are the best method to add a black border since they keep your paper in place. Obviously you could just buy a sheet and cut whatever size you want.
     
  16. jeztastic

    jeztastic Member

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    I burned through a lot of 8x10 making this work, but in the end I bought strip magnets. They have them at Halfords (if you are in the UK you will know Halfords) and also some handy wide ones on eBay.

    I printed the image just slightly small and placed the magnets as the inside border, with the easel as the outside border. I then balanced a sheet of card on the magnets as a mask. It was very tricky to line the magnets up actually, I have an LPL easel and the 'hinge' edges do not come right down to the paper. I have ordered some wider magnet strips from eBay - about 20mm - which should make the process easier.

    The other problem was light - again, as the easel edges do not come right down to the paper using a torch or turning on the lightbulb led to messy non-directional light causing bleeding of the edges. I ended up moving around the easel under the negative, but this is not ideal. A four-bladed easel would be ideal, but oddly they seem pretty much the only piece of darkroom equipment to have retained their value.
     
  17. cblkdog

    cblkdog Subscriber

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    The easiest way I've found is to make a cardboard mask a little larger than the neg you're printing and sandwich that in a larger metal carrier, ie a 35mm cardboard in a 21/4 carrier. It works best for dirty or slightly dirty lines, its pretty hard to get good sharp black lines. Been using them for years. BTW this only works for FF printing.
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Is a thin black border really worth all this trouble?
     
  19. bence8810

    bence8810 Subscriber

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    I do this with my filed our negative carriers but that doesn't give an exact straight line on the inside of the black frame as it's up to the film's emulsion and how straight that was. The outer line is perfectly straight as it's controlled by the 4 blades of my easel.

    I have this for 135 and for MF too - took about 1 hour to file them all out in one go.

    Ben
     
  20. ragnar58

    ragnar58 Member

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    This came to me as an epiphany. What you will need:
    a. several magnets (I keep 8 on the easel. I started to use the magnets when I had a heavy burn on the edges to keep light from fogging under the easel blades. I found some small rare earth magnets at ACE that are very strong.),
    b. some metal shim or plate stock and 2 small bolts with nuts (and some basic shop tools),
    c. an opaque cover sized to cover all the easel blades at once (I use the heavy, black insert found with the Itoya album pages and it has a nice clean straight edge), and
    d. a small incandescent penlight (the LED ones are too bright and get the ones that look like a tiny flashlight).
    You need 4 small pieces of the plate stock to make 2 guides. One guide uses 2 pieces. 1 piece is straight and the other is bent into a L shape. An over-sized hole is drilled in both. The pair are assembled with the L on the easel blade and the straight piece overhanging the edge. When the nut/bolt are tightened, the straight piece should be lower by the thickness of an easel blade. The thickness of straight piece determines the border width. Mine where made from some scrap aluminum stock and it was easy to polish them to keep them from scratching the contacted surfaces.
    Before removing the paper from the easel:
    1. Two magnets are placed on the blade where the first border is to be made. They keep the blade in place for the next steps.
    2. Place the two guides on the blade and secure them with a magnet on each one. The bottom of the L should be large enough to be held by the magnet. Be sure to check that the guide is seated against the blade edge.
    3. Butt the cover sheet against the guides so it's parallel with the blade. Place more magnets on the cover near the border edge.
    4. Carefully remove the guides and magnets. This should leave a thin gap between the cover and blade.
    5. Holding the penlight about 4 inches above the paper, make 2 to 4 forward and back passes along the entire border. A black paper snoot helps to keep a narrow beam so the light doesn't pass under an adjacent blade and bleed-out in the corners. You'll have to experiment with the exposure to get to correct density.
    6. Remove the cover magnets, then the cover and start the sequence on the next blade.
    I know it sounds complicated, but with a little practice, it only takes a minute per side. I can crop as necessary and still have borders without filing the carriers.
    As mentioned above this works only with 4-bladed easels but keep looking, they can be found at a reasonable price.
     
  21. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Borders can be added to any square-ish print by cutting an old piece of mounting card (or similar) a few millimeters smaller than the picture area in the easel. Expose the picture, place the mask pushed bottom left, flash for black, move the mask to top right, flash for black, develop as normal.

    Edit: I just re-read and noticed that this was supposed to be a method for use with a borderless easel, or no easel. In that case, align the mask with the corners/sides of the paper rather than the easel-arms. Someone else suggested exactly this above, oops.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  22. frank

    frank Member

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    I have a fancy Kostner easel that comes with 2 additional blades connected with folded black paper that shield the image while you expose the edges for a black border. It's a 3 step process: expose for image without the accessory blades, install the accessory blades horizontally to create black borders along the top and bottom with a second exposure under the enlarger, then reinstall them vertically to create the black edges on the sides with a 3rd exposure. The paper under the primary blades stays white, then there is the black border of around the image.
     
  23. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    A piece of acrylic the size of the image covered with self stick rubylith. Cut along the plastic edge with a razor blade for a clean edge. Expose for the border first and then print as usual.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  24. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    IMNSHO, that black-border look is so played out, it was lame even back in the 80s-90s when everyone seemed to be doing it. It's not worth the trouble. If you really want a black border, double mat with the outer overmat being white and the inner one being black (black core) and with a 1/4" or whatever reveal between upper and lower overmats.
     
  25. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    Not all the trouble being expressed here. Just cut some black card 1/16 or whatever smaller than your easel window and use it in opposite corners.

    To cut the card accurately, you need a metal t-square and a triangle and a table with a reliably straight edge, and a layer of cardboard (or a cutting mat) to protect the table. Or a piece of plywood or masonite with one clean edge. I rarely use a "standard" size window, so if I were into the black rule I'd be cutting paper all the time...

    I have the popular book that tells how to do this for high-key prints, but I don't like it myself. I'd rather hold some texture vs. have the image disappear.