Some general RC paper handling questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hoffy, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, cool, now I have my Darkroom up and running, I have some general questions on the best way dealing with paper:

    1. What is better - cutting stock to size before or after printing? The reason I ask is how easy is the paper damaged either before or after printing.
    2. Currently I only have Ilford Multi grade Delux Pearl. When doing the final rinse/wash, is there any benefit in using a wetting agent?
    3. Drying - From my experiences and what I have read here, using a squeegy on Film is something that I have been avoiding. Are the same risks apparent when drying RC papers? Should I dry flat or is there no reason why I can't hang RC papers to dry?

    I'm sure there are many other questions, but these are my main concerns at the moment

    Cheers
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    1) Cut before printing. It's not so much a question of damage, as workflow. It may also increase the chance of safelight fogging if you expose before cutting. The one exception is when you are printing multiple small prints of the same negative. It can save you a lot of time to print, then rotate, and then print again on the other half of the sheet. In that case, of course, you are trimming after processing;
    2) I cannot think of any advantage to using a wetting agent with paper - whether fibre or RC;
    3) RC is very easy to dry. Here is a suggestion (cross posted from the Postcard exchange 17 thread):

    Matt
     

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  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Yeah, I saw that. It made me think of the baby bottle drier that we had. Unfortunately, the drier has been handed down to the next person.

    I was thinking of making a drying rack out of nylon fly screen, as per an example I saw in a book, but was wondering whether just hanging was just as good.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The rack is just a shelf designed to be used in a kitchen cupboard - I paid something like $8.00 US in a kitchen supply store.

    The only problem with hanging up to dry is the potential for bruising or crimping the print with the clip.

    Matt
     
  5. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Cut before printing if the size needed is much smaller than the size you have. If only a bit of trimming is needed, it is much easier to do this after printing.

    No advantage to using a wetting agent really.

    Hang them up to dry on a line with clothes pegs or whatever.
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I sponge dry, RC or FB. A sponge will pull
    water from paper and gelatin and in doing
    so, not leave any water about.

    Photo grade sponges are still available.
    I have found house hold sponges to
    do well. Dan
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    1) I cut my prints after printing/drying.

    2) I don't use a drying aid (Photo Flo, et al.) In the rinse.

    3) I hang dry my prints. Takes under an hour.
     
  8. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    1) Cut the prints after drying

    2) I don't use a wetting agent but I use a sponge on both sides.

    3) I am drying in the IR dryer which give high glossy prints and a drying time (after the sponge) of 20 S. But you can also do it with a hair dryer. PE/RC paper will give nice glossy prints dried around 50-55 degrees C. It takes a bit longer but it also works.
     
  9. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    An RC print is a photograph on life support. Do two things, tone with Selenium or preferably a short Polysulfide dip, and get Ctein's book Post Exposure.
    Mark
     
  10. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    1) RC paper is robust so cut it at whichever point is most practical. If you are talking for example about cutting 8x10 into two 8x5 sheets for printing then obviously you will need to cut them before processing and if you are talking about trimming the edges to size then it is simpler to do it in room lighting after processing and drying.

    2) Do not bother with wetting agent. I squeegee the back side and then the front side on a sheet of perspex to remove surface water and then dry.

    3) No need to dry RC flat. As shown in Matt's image they will happily dry upright and will support their own weight (don't try that with fibre paper tho :wink:).

    Have fun, Bob.
     
  11. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I'm assuming you are going to be printing some post cards, hence the cutting question.

    Well all advice received so far is correct regarding cutting. The Ilford MG IV Pearl paper you have is as tough as boots and can handle very bad handling as easy as pie, do whatever is easiest to dry it. You can lay prints face up on towels, then cover with a cotton tea towel to absorb moisture from the emulsion, this is a really quick and simple way to do loads of prints. Once they are relatively dry, you can stand them up against a wall, box or whatever to allow complete drying to occur.

    Using a squeegee on this paper you should have no problems, I use one. Unless your squeegee rubber lips are full of grit, that is.

    You can also dry with a hair dryer, failing that get a hot air gun from the garage, they are brilliant but be careful you don't burn your fingers.

    On the subject of drying and developing once you have selected you negative(s). Do an extra long development say 2 minutes instead of 1 minute and a bit, wash then dry this print. You may notice a slight change in the density (darkness or lightness) of the print. If you use this print as a guide for correct exposure, you should be alright.

    With multiple prints being done at the one time from the same negative it is really easy to start to develop for longer than your initial test, this will give you a darker than you wish for print. Do not be afraid of over developing, basically and within reason, you cannot over develop a print.

    I'm not sure if you on my exchange list, if so I look forward to your print.

    Mick.
     
  12. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    1. What do you mean by "cut"? If I am cutting large sheets into smaller sheets (eg, 11x14 sheets down to two 7x10 sheets), then I always do that before printing. But I don't mind printing on an oversized sheet and trimming later.

    2. Wetting agent is only used with film. In fact, if you are using RC paper, you can even eliminate the hypoclear step.

    3. I agree that one should never squeegee film, but I don't see anything wrong with squeeging prints. That said, I also make a point of keeping by squeegee scrupulously clean. With RC paper, you can dry face up - that speeds drying. With FB paper you need to dry face down to manage curl.
     
  13. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys! Mixed as always, but I have taken away what I needed!

    And Mick, at this stage, you are 100% correct. It is for my postcard challenge at this stage, but that being said, I would rather buy bigger paper cheaper and cut to size where possible.

    I am interested by the "Photo on Life Support" comment about RC papers. I am assuming that you mean RC papers have a tendancy to fade quicker then Fibre. Is that correct? Out of interests sake, what type of life expectancy would you expect out of a non toned RC print (I know that there are varying factors, but lets say, stored in an archival album.)? Toning is something that I want to work with later, but as they say, walk before you run!

    Now I need to find a paper cutter. I am assuming Rotary cutters probably do a better job?

    Cheers
     
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  15. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I don't get the life support comment either.

    I think a lot of the poor quality and fading prints problems, are from the earliest days of RC paper, when there were issues. Of course the manufacturers solved those problems more then 30 years ago.

    I have some prints I made in 1979, so they are 30 years old, a mix of fibre and RC paper. I used FB at home for a while and RC at school, I couldn't tell the difference other then the FB papers were a bear to dry flat, so I switched to the RC paper at home as well. I still have some of those early prints, and they still look nice today, even though for most of the time they were stored in less then ideal conditions. I couldn't really tell the difference then, and I can't tell the difference now.
     
  16. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Take them out of dark storage and display them for a year then assess them, you may see a big difference.
    Mark
     
  17. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    You really need to read Ctein, the book is 'Post Exposure'
    Mark
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Regarding paper cutters, I have and do use both types, but for working under safelight, I prefer the guillotine type.

    Matt
     
  19. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I like laundry hooks. I just clip them on the very corner of the paper and hang them on a clothes line I have stretched across the end of my darkroom. If they do leave a mark, it's in the very corner and will be covered by the mat anyway.
    I have also used plain wood spring clothes pins. I drill one leg and make a hook from some 14ga copper wire. Works great.
     

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  20. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Can't see why, it's the same emulsion on the surface.


    Steve.
     
  21. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    A rotary cutter is a safer proposition with regards to getting consistent straight trimming every time, generally.

    I have ½ a dozen rotary cutters and two guillotine ones. The guillotine cutters have a tendency to pull paper towards the blade unless you hold the paper quite tightly, technique is where it is at really.

    The type of cutter you choose will more than likely be one from the Reject Shop for about $10.00, it's the type that I started out with many years ago.

    Mick.
     
  22. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I use one of the cheap paper cutters that have the sliding blade. I bought it at Target for $15 and started using for photo paper because it was better than scissors, and it still works pretty well, although I need to get a new blade for it.
     
  23. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Ctein explains-in about 12 pages
    Mark
     
  24. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Is there a single page version for dummies?

    And what about Cibachrome prints on a polyester (Mylar) base without any paper at all? They are supposed to have a really long life.


    Steve.
     
  25. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Early RC paper suffered from contaminants already in the paper that leached through to the image and reacted with atmospheric sulphur resulting in bronzing and other problems. Modern RC paper has been buffered against this problem and according to Ilford/Harman will last as long as fibre paper. Any print without archival toning exposed to direct sunlight will show fading (RC or fibre) fairly quickly - that's why you should not display prints where they will get sun-struck (and why the AA at 100 touring exhibition displayed the prints in lighting more reminiscent of an unlit coal mine at midnight when it came to London...). The complaints made against RC paper longevity is 20+ years out of date.

    IIRC, the long life of Chibas is mainly due to the longevity of the dyes used to create the image.
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Excellent answer!

    I have often wondered if it would be feasible to coat ordinary black and white 'paper' emulsion onto white polyester.



    Steve.