Quest for the perfect Pt/Pd paper

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by jakobb, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. jakobb

    jakobb Member

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    When I started palladium printing I found a german drafting paper, Schoeller's Parole which worked perfectly and I could get some old stock (I guess late 70ies or early 80ies). Now that is gone except a very few sheets. It had a very smooth plate surface but also gave good blacks with a smooth tonality of highlights. As I am printing mostly 5x7 a smooth paper which gives high resolution is very desirable (not so much necessary for digital enlarged negatives).


    I tried over the years a lot of papers but none came close. Here are my comments about some of the presently available ones:
    Arches Platine: Good color, blacks o.k.(some comes off in the developer) but not very smooth mids (some grain) and highlights inconsistent. Surface too fuzzy after processing.
    Revere platinum: Good blacks but mid grain and +/- missing highlights. Good paper surface even after processing (clears well). Black spots (paper contamination).
    Weston Diploma (recent version): Good blacks and tonal range but wrong color (looks like manila folder) also gets quite soft during processing.
    Buxton: Good tonal range and good blacks when tweaking the chemistry. Too much surface structure for small prints. Sporadic black spots and other paper flaws. The best of these.
    I also just tried Awagami Masa. Blacks o.k. but good tonal details in mids and highlights. Color bright white with hint of blue/gray. Surface smooth but on the second sheet I tried some paper fibers came off during initial bath in the developer (looked like worms in the sky).


    I would appreciate any hints to papers I should investigate. My preference is smooth and white. A lighter weight paper (80-150 gsm) would be great for making hand bound books.
     
  2. sharperstill

    sharperstill Member

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    Have you tried the Strathmore 500 series drawing paper?
    It's about half the weight of Platine and initial tests have led to some really striking results for me. Much more detail than Platine (I also print 5x7).
    I was testing it with fumes silica and getting mixed results but it was the silica causing the occasional streaking I am sure.
    I intend to try the Strathmore 300 series plate finish drawing paper as well which looks to have the same surface but is heavier. I'm hopeful the papers chemistry is the same.
    Attached is a crappy iPhone pic of the tested image
    Jon
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1361174107.967349.jpg
     
  3. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I've tried a few but keep coming back to Bergger COT320. It yields best details.
    Arches Platine would be nice if you can control the loss of sizing during processing.
    Kozo papers have a hand-made quality suitable for pt/pd. The Goyu Kozo is difficult to work with but can yield beautiful translucent images.
    Have seen some nice pt/pd images on vellum, but have yet to try that paper.

    Just noticed that on the alt-photo-process-list some people are reporting issues with latest batch of COT320. Problem with all papers is that the manufacturer does on occasion make unannounced changes. So if you do find a paper that performs well, stock up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2013
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    STRONG ditto on the COT320. So far I've had very good luck with it and liked it a lot. It was the first paper designed from the get-go for alternative process printing. Another good option for an inexpensive, readily available paper is Rives BFK.
     
  5. jakobb

    jakobb Member

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    I have tried Strathmore 300 (pretreated with Citric acid): smooth highlights but no blacks. I should get some samples of the 500 which is supposed to be different from the 500 (I would like the 1 ply if it survives the processing).
    I had a sample of the COT320 and found it quite similar to the Arches Platine and is apparently made in the same factory. COT320 may have a better quality control than the Platine. There could be some difference in sizing - surface treatment?
     
  6. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    I absolutely love Buxton, which I find works well for prints of any size. Herschel (also from Ruscombe Mill) is very good too - slightly less white, more textured and a touch slower than Buxton; it looks great after being hot pressed. As far as I'm aware these two are the only papers available that can be used to make decent pure platinum prints without any pre-treatment (I could be wrong and would love to hear about others).
     
  7. sharperstill

    sharperstill Member

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    @Jakobb
    Interesting. I don't mind the 500 series weight but it is very difficult to get here in Australia.
     
  8. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Hi Jakobb,

    Not the answer to your original question but I just wanted to add a couple of hints about Masa anyway:

    - If you be gentle to the paper during application of the emulsion, (using fine sable-hair wash brushes gently or a glass rod perhaps?) you won't get much napping (raised fibers) afterwards. In any case, Masa is a mixed fiber paper, therefore you'll always get some swirl patterns (differential reflection and/or some texture due different absorption characteristics of different fibers...) with it - but you have to look pretty closely / in a nitpicking manner to notice that. (Small 5x7" prints may exaggerate the effect of course...)
    - IME, Masa gives the best visual dmax (compared to Weston and COT320) with many iron / iron-silver processes. Since it's a quite thin paper, you have to view it by placing a bright white background behind it. (I use Yupo for that purpose...) This, combined with the brightness of the paper itself, results with great depth and a very good visual dmax.

    Regards,
    Loris.


     
  9. jakobb

    jakobb Member

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    Hi Loris,
    I was using a soft brush or coated with a glass rod. First sheet of Masa no problem, second no matter how gentle I was treating the paper I got the same effect. Tween increased the Dmax.
    By the way did you try to print on Yupo? It is made from polypropylene fibers but is also used for watercolor.
    Jakob
     
  10. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Hi Jakobb,

    I've only used Yupo for casein (OK to bad results, but didn't insist much - it was just a couple of trials, have to work on this a lot more later I think yupo should prove a great substrate for casein) and carbon (again, a couple of tests on that media, worked nice...)

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
  11. jakobb

    jakobb Member

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    I got 1 sheet of Yupo to try it for Pt/Pd printing. I was able to coat it even it did absorb only about half the volume most papers would absorb. But almost no image was formed.
    There was a very faint image printing out and most of it disappeared during development. I found it interesting as Yupo is made from polypropylene and lacks any polar groups (in contrast to cellulose). So paper (and sizing?) is not an inert substrate but part of the chemistry of image formation.
     
  12. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Jakobb, to my knowing, Yupo isn't suitable for pt/pd or any other iron process w/o priming it with something - that will hold the emulsion - beforehand. (Said that, I don't know anyone doing pt/pd on Yupo BTW...) You can directly print on Yupo with tempera or casein processes, both colloid-dichromate processes which have quite strong and sticky binders... The problem you experienced isn't chemical (the paper is inert to the chemistry of pt/pd) at all, it's a 100% physical problem - the paper just didn't hold the emulsion / image.

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2013
  13. jakobb

    jakobb Member

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    I have tried some more papers.
    The Strathmore 500 bristol 1ply I got was very alkaline and pretreatment with citric or oxalic acid ruined the smooth surface but still did not give a decent print.
    Ruscombe Herschel is much harder than Buxton but has significant more surface structure which is quite distracting. A smooth plate version would be very interesting especially for smaller prints.
    One Paper which is quite promising is Zerkall book smooth white. It is slightly alkaline but seem to work with some oxalic acid added to the ferric oxalate. It might be the second best to Buxton in tonality but because of its smoother surface the print are much sharper.
     
  14. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    After wet processing Herschel does get quite a strong texture, but this can be dealt with by using a heat press. I give finished prints 8 minutes between two sheets of conservation board, followed by 8 minutes with the face of the print directly against the steel. This leaves the paper much smoother - with less texture than the unprocessed paper actually.