Salted paper: Increasing DMax?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by circumstance, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. circumstance

    circumstance Member

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    What are some ways to increase the DMax of simple salted paper?

    I'm currently using a 2% salt solution (2% ammonium chloride, 2% potassium citrate), and sensitizing with 12% AgNO3.

    Does glycerine help a lot? Any other suggestions?
     
  2. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Seeing this post only now...

    D-max in salt prints can be influenced in a number of ways:

    1) add gelatine to the salting solution - on which I hope you float the paper. I don't really know why people so frequently use ammonium chloride - no advantage over sodium chloride, only more expensive, goes off more easily, generally more wayward substance.

    or
    2) add arrowroot starch to the salting solution - considerably more difficult to handle than gelatine, but gives very rich results if all goes well.

    3) iron your (untoned) print after processing; it may still be toned. The heat visibly enhances local contrast and tonal intensity.

    or
    4) gold-tone the print, before or after fixing.
     
  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Lukas,

    in what way is the arrowroot-sized papers more difficult to handle?

    FWIW:

    Ammonium chloride is supposed to give slightly faster printing times and a shift towards a red-brown tone, according to what I have read.

    A fifth method, is using a mix of beeswax and oil of lavender. The oil of lavender is only a vehicle to help apply the wax and it will eventually evaporate. This gives some contrast and a satin finish. France Scully Osterman was kind enough to give the details of this. I can't vouch for its long-time archival properties.

    I haven't tried either of them (yet). So if all it does is crash and burn, don't blame me! :smile:
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Do you re-salt your paper following exposure? Doing so assures that all available silver nitrate is converted to silver chloride and does help increase d-Max.
     
  5. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Starch in my experience is much more difficult to apply evenly: when floated paper is hung to dry, it tends to produce running patterns, and queegeeing off excess amounts of starch is a mess. To rubb the starch in with a brush is probably best, but needs experience and practice to produce even results. Also, my results used to be much more prone to irregularities after exposure than when using gelatine. By and large, I tend to think it is also possible to achieve first-rate results with gelatine.

    It is some time since I last printed with salted paper, however, the risk of sounding arrogant, I tend to treat these supposed advantages of amm chl either as urban legends, or as so insignificant that they are negligible. I think you get everything done with sodium chloride, and more dependable.

    I suppose you mean the wax to be applied as a varnish. This may indeed enhance apparent d-max somewhat, and, more importantly, shadow details by reducing the dry-down effect. Good-quality beeswax, like rennaissance, may produce excellent results, but why not use a good-quality modern varnish?
     
  6. circumstance

    circumstance Member

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    Just to clarify, instead of rinsing the print (after exposure and before fixing) you soak in a 2% solution of NaCL?
     
  7. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Yes, I re-soak the paper in a salt solution. Usually I use about 12%, not 2%. The paper is then processed normally.

    By the way, ammonium chloride provides about a one stop increase in speed. I don't normally use it unless the negative is unusually dense.

    Jim
     
  8. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    What sodium chloride are you using - from a chemical supply house, non-iodine table salt, Morton Rock Salt, Pickling salt?
    juan
     
  9. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I use real Kosher salt, not Morton's, but I doubt it makes much difference.

    Jim
     
  10. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    This fall I plan to do some salt printing...using salt actually from the Great Salt Lake here in Utah.

    I figure it'll be a fitting addition to the project I'm working on.

    I'm sure I'll re-visit this thread as I get things going on it.
     
  11. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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