Selenium and scalpel retouching??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mike Crawford, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    Hello
    Quick question to see if anyone out there has come accross this issue. I'm doing some prints (on Ilford FB glossy warmtone) for a client, which will require a bit of knifing with a scalpel to remove blemishes, which I will then spot back in. The thing is the prints will be Selenium toned. Normally I would only do any retouching once the print is finished, dried and flattened, but Selenium really hardens the emulsion making knife work a bit more tricky though not impossible. Do you think that I could damage the print by knifing it when dry and untoned, then toning it and subsequently spotting in after. I know that another possibility is to bleach the offending parts before toning, but no matter how well it is washed and fixed after, there is always a chance of the bleach coming back so I won't be doing this.

    Grateful if anyone has any thoughts on this.
    Ta
    Mike
     
  2. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Mike, I'd bleach the untoned print rather than knife it. An iodine bleach carefully applied to a wet but squeegee'd print is perfectly safe and will not show any subsequent staining. Alternately you could use Pot Ferri preferably in crytal form so that you can wet the crystal and lift the solution with a small brush or a wooden cocktail stick. I use both methods and have no subsequent problems, either with staining or in the retouching process.
     
  3. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Mike,

    I tone first and then "knife" the print (etching may be a better word... or?).

    Anyway, I have no problems. The hardening is inconsequential and may even help... I try to just scrape away the top of the emulsion, not all the way down to the baryta layer. The slightly harder emulsion may make this easier.

    As for bleaching, it has been my experience that bleached areas in prints often tone to a different color. This can easily ruin a print. I do bleach at times, but always before toning (a fully selenium toned print will not bleach well). and then tone only very, very lightly to prevent the split toning. Iodine bleaching may be less prone to this problem though.

    I would suggest that you try etching a toned print or two and see what you think. You may well be able to etch the print before toning, however, the damage you have done could initiate flaking or peeling (this would be my concern with wetting the prints with "holes in the emulsion" from knifing).

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2007
  4. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    Thanks

    Hello
    Two fine answers. Les, the client doesn't want me to bleach and as I'm a good boy, I will do what I'm told! Also for these small marks, it would be easier to take them out with a scalpel, and spot back what is required. Doremus. I think you put into words what I was worried about;

    'however, the damage you have done could initiate flaking or peeling.'

    I knew there was something that could go wrong and thinking how a cut edge of paper is when wet, probably best to yield the knite when it is all finished. Also, I hadn't thought about the bleach affecting subsequent toning in Selenium.

    Thanks again
    Mike
     
  5. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    It would be wise to refix and wash the print it this instance after bleaching, you can then safely selenium tone. You will need a very sharp blade, such as a new scalpel blade for knifing, a blunt one is difficult to control. As Doremus said practice on unimportant prints first.
     
  6. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Why don't you carefully spot the negative spots with opaque, which would then create white spots on the print, then just "spot" the print with dye, like all other retouching? This is the most benign way to do this. If you use water soluable opaque on the neg, if you wanted, you could then rewash the neg and remove it.
     
  7. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Hello Mike,
    If the client has told you 'no bleaching' then I guess that means no bleaching, but my experience is that areas bleached with ferri for local lightening and contrast adjustment often do tone slightly differently, although how noticeable this is varies. Black spots removed with iodine or thiourea bleach don't suffer the same problem as you bleach to white and nothing is left to tone. The white spot is then retouched to match the toned print. This is always my preference now since I gave up knifing when I got more archival concious and don't like damaging the print.
    if the neg is LF, why not follow photone's suggestion - it is the least damaging. But if it is 35mm, neg spotting is a bit trickier!
     
  8. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    Thanks for your replies. I haven't got a problem knifing, I've been doing it for twenty years and I've got a big box of Swan Morten 10As as you really do need to keep it sharp. The original question was about whether selenium toning after would affect the print and I think it might possibly. Or should I say, that the damaged surface of the emulsion may suffer when soaked again so I think I'll stick to how I usually do it, post toning. And I'll have a spare print of each on hand as usual in case it goes wrong!
    Many thanks
    Mike
    PS. I like the term 'etch' Doremus.
     
  9. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    PS. They are small areas in the frame on 35mm, so no chance of spotting the negs, though this would be the easiest solution if they were on 5x4.
     
  10. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Knifing can quickly turn into an unpleasant experience,
    you hav twenty years experience, I have more than fifty working with a knife. I guarantee the best and easiest way to do what you are trying to do is to follow exactly Phototone's advice. I use india ink, or strong Crocein Scarlet. Have even used a black Sharpy with great success.

    Been there, many times!

    Charlie.............................................
     
  11. Neil Miller

    Neil Miller Member

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    I would do as Phototone suggests, even if it meant making an enlarged negative or re-shooting an enlargement to get another negative of larger size.

    Regards,
    Neil.