Producing fine white lines with Farmer's Reducer and a ruling pen?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by holmburgers, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I have an idea for a photograph where the ability to "draw" on the print with bleach would be very useful; being able to produce very thin white lines.

    You could also sign prints in black areas like this.

    Anybody ever fooled around with trying to get really fine detail from farmer's reducer? I know that lots of printers have done this kind of thing, like W. Eugene Smith, presumably with small paint brushes, but what about a ruling pen? Will the liquid flow and diffuse too much?

    Just curious, thanks for your thoughts..
     
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I should mention that I want to produce thin straight lines with a straight edge, just like a ruling pen would normally be used for.
     
  3. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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  4. largely

    largely Subscriber

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    Since you would need to work on a wet print I think excessive diffusion might be a problem.

    Tim Rudman recommends a "dry" bleach made with iodine,thiocarbimide and methyl alcohol which can be used on dry prints without the "creeping" effect of ferri type bleaches. It allows much finer detail and also can achieve reduction to paper white if desired. It seems like this might work better with a ruling pen.
    See page 113 of his "Masters Printers Handbook" for the formula and a description of the technique which is also different than wet reduction.

    good luck,

    Larry
     
  5. An Le-qun

    An Le-qun Member

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    I have tried the very thing you mention, and I guess one important thing I took away from the experience is that the bleach--if not thickened beyond the point where it would flow out of the pen--will seep under a ruler that isn't raised off the surface a bit. That seriously messes up the fine line aspect, although one edge remains nice and straight.

    I have used gum arabic as a thickener with some success.
     
  6. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    A cork backed rule would help. If you don't have one, put a strip of tape or two that are narrower than the ruler along the back. This lifts it off the surface and also allows you to control the cleanliness of the ruler as it touches the print.
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Larry, a dry bleach sounds like the ticket! Would it be possible to post that formula, if it's not too much trouble?

    An Le-qun, also a very interesting approach. I just found a comic book blog about ruling pens and he mentions the need for a raised ruler. How fine of a line would you say you're able to achieve??

    Great input, thanks y'all
     
  8. erikg

    erikg Member

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    You could put into a rapidograph type of mechanical pen and get a very fine line.
     
  9. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    I'd doubt the line would remain crisp no matter what one did- the emulsion itself will soak up the bleach and getting anything to go to white would require an awful lot of bleach wouldn't it?
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There are other tried and tested methods for thin white lines which seem to have fewer if any difficulties than bleach in a pen

    pentaxuser
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Can anyone post the formula or directions for this bleach? thanks if so...
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Tim Rudman's "Dry" Bleach

    From his book, Master Printing Course...

    Thiocarbamide, or iodine in alcohol, makes an excellent reducer which can be used on a dry print. It is particularly useful for fine work as the bleach does not 'creep' in the same way that it would on a wet print, and therefore allows finer work...

    Sol. A
    Iodine 2.3g
    Methyl Alcohol 50mL

    Sol. B
    Thiocarbamide 4.6g
    in warm water to 50mL

    Sol. C
    Methyl alcohol

    Mix small equal quantities of solutions A, B, & C immediately before use, and work with a brush on a dry print in daylight. After applying the solution, swab it off with methyl alcohol (methanol). It is wise to wear a latex or rubber glove on your swabbing hand since prolonged contact with methyl alcohol dries your fingers out considerably.

    Whereas ferri in fixer quickly needs topping up, if you use a small quantity of thiocarbamide solution it can get stronger as the alcohol evaporates.

    After thiocarbamide-iodine bleaching, it is important to put the print straight into fresh fixer without first rinsing it in water, which induces silver-sulphide staining.

    If these instructions are followed, reduction can be taken right down to the paper's base without staining. However, staining will occur if the solution is used too strong, if it is not fixed as described, or if it is used after other bleaches on fibre-based paper without an hour's thorough washing in between.
     
  13. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Drawing a thin opaque line on a sheet of clear acetate and either sandwiching it in contact with the negative or with the print might be a lot easier than messing with chemicals and wet or dry prints. If you're trying to bleach a finished print, you'll probably have a very high error rate. You might even be able to find some very narrow rubylith tape that could be cut even narrower and applied to the acetate. This would leave a very thin, clean line.

    Peter Gomena
     
  14. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    How about doing it in the darkroom. You can draw an acetate with a red pen for BW prints then use it as a mask when you expose your print.
     
  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    The acetate might work well with what I had in mind. Though it'd be a tad tricky to enlarge it in this way, though not impossible.
     
  16. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    I've done this---if you want ruled lines, what I found works is taking a black sharpie and drawing on the photopaper...then expose the paper..THEN when you develop it, the sharpie come off and leaves what was not exposed behind---you can't see where you're drawing though unless you do it with the "safelight filter" in the enlarger over the paper--NOTE--I only did this with resin coated papers--I suspect fiber will take the ink permanently

    alternatively--bleach--dichromate is best probably--fast to see it work--with a teeny tiny fine paintbrush for fine writing or lines--the ruled stuff--yeah...olde fashioned drafting pen probably and just DONT touch the ruler with the liquid....
     
  17. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    That's the answer. Red or black pen/sharpie on acetate on top of the unexposed paper.
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    i have never tried it, but s ruling pen filled with farmers instead of ink may work with a raised ruler.
     
  19. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Go back one stage and use a piece of wire just finer than the line you want, paint it mat black so you do not have odd edge reflection problettes and lay it on the paper while the red swing filter is in

    For very fine work removing black spots from dust in the sky on prints from LF negs I work with concentrated ferricyanide with a fine brush on dry prints - I would not like to try this with a pen and ruler, but you can - A shock and awe bleach option is iodine+cyanide reducer, but be careful as the shock and awe could get a little close with this one
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  20. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thanks Grumpy,

    The idea I have (this idea is quite an enigma, no? :wink:) requires a plurality of fine white lines. I love drawing, and I think there are a lot of options for creativity with the ability to "write" with bleach.
     
  21. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Or in the darkroom, write/draw with fix, leave, wash, dry, expose.
     
  22. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    That would be really cool in it's own write, haha.

    You could send somebody a secret message that way, and only if they knew to do develop it could they read it.