SilverGrain Clear Fix

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Richard Jepsen, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I'm considering replacing Kodak's Rapid Fix with SilverGrain Clear Fix in a community darkroom. The Clear Fix PH is 7.7. Is the PH more alkaline than Ilford's Rapid Fix? Does anyone have any comments on using this new fix with a water stop in a community darkroom environment?
     
  2. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Richard, PM your question to Ryuji Suzuki. Clear Fix may be one of his formulations.
     
  3. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I've used Silvergrain Fix before, but mainly when doing lith prints since this more alkaline fix doesn't bleach the lith prints like rapid fix tends to do. It worked very well for me, but I've only used it in small amounts for my one person darkroom. I don't know of the benefits/detriments of using it in a community darkroom.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I prefer TF-4. It is a known quantity that uses established chemistry suggested by Grant Haist.

    PE
     
  5. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I use TF-4 in my own darkroom and fixing film at the community darkroom. I wish to establish sound practice with new students; therefore I lean towards using product directions to avoid student confusion. Clear Fix allows either a water or acid bath. I'm not sure if it is much different than Ilford's Rapid Fix.

    Why not just use TF-4? A controversial discussion on the photo net forum indicated TF-4 can survive the acid stop but the product label only recommends a water stop. I wish to use water for film and weak acid stop for paper due to workflow.

    Anyone have any product info or suggestions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2007
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The cloudy appearance of TF-4 is due to a huge load of buffer. This is there to allow it to survive all possible process conditions including use of an acid stop.

    This is good enough for me.

    I have kept it in perfect condition for over a year.

    PE
     
  7. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    Photo Engineer

    Are you using an acid stop bath with TF-4?
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yes, I do.

    PE
     
  9. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Ryuji is definitely the man to contact. Clear Fix is his creation. I've only used it occasionally but I've liked what I got. He's one of the nicest guys out there as well, always willing to share info and help out. Try it.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I believe a good case can be made for the use of
    an acid stop IF the fixer is also acid and must be
    maintained so.

    If a fixer need not be maintained in an acid condition
    then I've doubts a stop of any sort is required. I know
    that developer is needed. I know that fixer is needed.
    I know why each of the two is needed. Save for the
    case of an acid fix I don't know why a stop of any
    sort is needed. Dan
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    That fixer contains Triethanol amine. As with any organic solvent, please be sure to wear rubber gloves when using it and during the early stages of the wash cycle. This is true of developers containing TEA as well.

    PE
     
  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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  13. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Some of the physical/chemical properties of Triethanolamine:

    pH: 10.5 (15 g/l H2O)
    Vapor Pressure: 3.59E-006 mm Hg @ 25 deg C
    Viscosity: 601 cps @ 25 deg C
    Boiling Point: 335 deg C (dec)
    Freezing/Melting Point: 21 deg C ( 69.80F)
    Autoignition Temperature: 315 deg C ( 599.00 deg F)
    Flash Point: 179 deg C ( 354.20 deg F)

    http://www.catalogue.fisher.co.uk/scripts/search.dll?ViewMSDS&SheetNumber=23930
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    One thing you missed is that triethanol amine sometimes contains a fair amount of diethanol amine. Add that MSDS to your list.

    But to be fair, the bottle does contain a warning. And, I am not against triethanol amine use in photography. I'm just cautioning that this fix is not your average fix. It is neither good nor bad in its own context.

    I think it fair to add here that no internal research level fix or commercial fix made or designed by Eastman Kodak contained triethanol amine, as far as I know. I have verified this recently with Grant Haist to insure that my memory was intact on this.

    PE
     
  16. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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  17. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    OK, I did a quick read of the MSD sheets. Is Triethanolamine more unsafe than Ilfords Fix? Is this the chemical in TF-4?
     
  18. Photo Engineer

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    TF-4 contains borax as buffer (AFAIK), and some of the Kodak and Ilford fixes contain acetate and borate as well.

    Using rubber gloves in the presence of an organic solvent like TEA is prudent, but in the presence of borate salts is not really necessary if you are careful. That is my opinion.

    PE
     
  19. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I would speculate that water is the primary solvent in Clear Fix and that the Triethanolamine plus the water provides a pH buffer for the fixer. How much Triethanolamine is in the mix is important - of course.

    I always wear nitrile gloves (Safeskins) when I work with photochemistry.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Ok, here is something interesting.

    I've been on the phone with both Grant Haist and Bill Troop. This is the combined wisdom of 3 people with a combined background in B&W and color photography that spans nearly 100 years. So, here goes.

    We find no documented evidence of any image stability tests having ever been run with a fix containing triethanolamine.

    We find no documented evidence regarding any research that resulted in a recommendation of the use of TEA in fixers at Kodak. This is in spite of the fact that Kodak produced several alkaline fixers commercially.

    Grant remembers one recommendation that he not use it, but he cannot remember the reason for it. It came from several sources including Eaton.

    That summarizes my findings on the science of TEA containing fixers.

    Take it for what it is worth. Myself, I would run image stability tests.

    PE
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    PE, I don't know of any other fixers that incorporate Triethanolamine either.

    I agree that image stability testing of films and papers processed in fixers containing triethanolamine is a reasonable and prudent thing to do. I would expect that Ryuji Suzuki has performed image stability testing on materials processed in Clear Fix.
     
  22. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    PE, What is the basis for your statement: "That fixer contains Triethanol amine." ?

    The Clear Fix MSDS does not listTriethanolamine, it lists Ammonium Thiosulfate (60%) and Sodium Sulfite.

    The Clear Wash MSDS lists Triethanolamine, Potassium Sulfite and Citric Acid.

    http://www.digitaltruth.com/msds/CLEARFIX-ALKALINE_MSDS.pdf
     
  23. Photo Engineer

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    My bottle of Clearfix lists triethanol amine.

    PE
     
  24. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Thanks, PE!
     
  25. Digitaltruth

    Digitaltruth Advertiser Advertiser

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    First, let me apologize for not responding earlier, but I was unaware of this thread until Tom brought it to my attention.

    I have to say a few things here. Anyone reading this discussion should be aware that there are some participants with a potential vested interest in both Clearfix and TF-4, including myself. At Digitaltruth Photo we sell both fixers, although Clearfix Alkaline is our own product. Bill Troop (who formulated TF-4) is a friend of mine, and I also have a working relationship with Bud at Photographers' Formulary, so I have no desire to make any negative statements about TF-4. In fact, I agree with Ron that TF-4 is a proven and trusted formula, and certainly recommend that TF-4 users who are happy with the product continue to use it. TF-4 has a good track record, and although it may seem like an obvious point, I do not think that environmental-friendliness was part of its design goal.

    Clearfix Alkaline was developed by Ryuji Suzuki specifically to improve upon other existing fixers. I am not in possession of the formula for TF-4, but as Ron has pointed out and as I'm sure Bill would be the first to admit, the cloudy appearance is due to a large amount of buffering agent (presumed to be borax). Clearfix Alkaline is entirely free of borates. It is clear and goes into solution easily because it uses a very advanced buffering system. We developed this product in an effort to create the best alkaline fixer on the market. Whether we have succeeded is up to individuals to decide for themselves.

    I cannot comment on how well the buffering system in TF-4 handles acid stop bath, but the official documentation recommends a water rinse prior to immersion in the stop. No such rinse is required with Clearfix, which can easily handle any carry-over acid from a stop bath.

    With regard to the compounds used in Clearfix Alkaline, all ingredients over 2% are listed on the MSDS, as is standard practice. Furthermore, we have listed triethanolamine on the bottle as a small amount is present in the solution. Naturally, we want to provide full disclosure of any potentially harmful ingredients, regardless of how low-risk or how small the quantities actually are. Although the design goal of Silvergrain chemistry is to be as low in toxicity as possible, we provide full warnings and certainly make no claims that the products have no toxicity whatsoever. Our contention is that Silvergrain products are the least toxic commercially produced chemicals currently manufactured. To back this up we have produced extensive information which is available on this page:

    http://www.digitaltruth.com/store/silvergrain-fixandwash.html

    The bottom line is that all modern rapid fixers consist mainly of ammonium thiosulfate. As Lowell Huff likes to tell me, the main difference between fixers is the label on the bottle. While that is undoubtedly true, I'd like to think that in the case of Clearfix Alkaline we have produced a product that puts a lie to this statement. As with any science, the research carried out by Ryuji Suzuki builds on the earlier work of Grant Haist and Bill Troop. Any capable person can test Clearfix Alkaline to determine its efficacy, and I'm sure you will find that it performs over and above the published specifications.

    I feel it is important in a public forum that genuine independent discussion takes place, so as I cannot be impartial I would prefer to answer any questions which aren't about the use of the product by email or private message. Questions about usage I'm happy to answer all day, and I'd be delighted to see more independent feedback posted here.
     
  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    "... a water rinse PRIOR to immersion in the stop."
    Well, that wouldn't bother Eddie Ephraums. But the
    second sentance above makes no sense of the
    first sentance. Dan