Squeegees... why?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Ghostman, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I have never ever seen anyone recommend using a squeegee, in fact quite the opposite. My question is, why were they ever manufactured or when was their use ever advocated?
     
  2. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I've seen Beginners guides to film processing often recommending it, and this persists all over "the internet " so far as I can see
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Some moron thought it would be a good idea to wipe the excess water from film to get a spot free dry down. If you are very carefull, it works. More often than not, you get scratches.
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Thought about trying one for a while but was afraid I would get scratches.
    Tried one very carefully and got scratches. Never bothered to use one since. Didn't get any spots anyway and if I'm in a hurry I just turn the hot air on in the drying cabinet.
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The same reason why camera manufacturers are not photographers.
     
  6. miha

    miha Member

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    Clive, what about Oskar Barnack, Valentin Linhof, Victor Hasselblad,...?
     
  7. dngrhm

    dngrhm Member

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    I think he meant modern camera manufacturers. ...and I don't think any of the names listed made or advocated squeegees.

    Good question OP as I've often asked myself the same question every time I see one listed as an accessory to other developing products.
     
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  8. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    For my personal work I have never used a squeegee. After having invested so much time in finding the things that I want to photograph I see no point in taking the risk of ruining the film and, anyway, I am never in such a rush. What I normally do after washing the films using Ilford's method is to soak the films for 3 minutes in a final wash bath with wetting agent and then take the film off the reel and pour this wetting agent bath down both sides of the film to ensure that no dust adheres to the film.

    In my life as a commercial photographer, squeegees were used on a regular basis for a specific reason. When photographing a conference, trade show, press or PR event it was common for the client to want prints within 30 minutes for distribution to the press and trade journals. In this case, a temporary darkroom was usually erected where the films were developed in HC110 for a few minutes, quickly stopped and then plunged into a strong fixer bath. Following this they were placed in a methylated spirits bath for 30 seconds, squeegeed and placed directly uncut into the enlarger (for this the Beseler enlargers were king with their 35mm negative carrier that allowed for the whole film to be wound through the negative carrier using two transit bands attached to a wind-on knob). After the job was over the films were re-fixed back in the 'real' darkroom and properly washed for archival storage.

    In these days of digital cameras it all seems rather quaint but the process worked well and, having had to make subsequent prints later on, it was damned near impossible to make prints as quickly and easily as those made on the day of the event.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    while it isn't recommended, some people use a squeegee and don't have any problem
    and others run their fingers down the wet film, no problems
    and still others run some sort of damp cloth, no problems ...
    i guess they're lucky
     
  10. miha

    miha Member

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    Even Ilford themselves recommend the use of a squeegee (see their guide on Processing your first B&W film).
     
  11. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I only use a squeegee to remove water from printed paper photographs, they are a death sentence if used on film!
     
  12. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I don't even run my fingers down the film. I run it through the wetting agent rinse and hang it up. I very seldom experience drying marks and if I do, well there's nothing a little IPA can't wipe away. I have a squeegee but a very wise man who got me started on film told me never to use it.

    I have experienced how easily film can scratch so I would never use one. I just wonder every time that I see the thing just sitting there why I don't just bin it. I am just amazed at how something so ultimately unnecessary manages to survive and often wondered if there was anyone who actually used them.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Here's my dirty little secret.

    I use Sprint wetting agent, and they recommend the use of a sponge to remove all of the excess wetting agent.

    When I'm done processing and washing my film, I take it off the reel (120 and 35mm), and I see-saw the entire film length through a round container with 1:100 concentration wetting agent. Ten times back and forth.

    Then I hang the film from a line, with two strong clothes pins, and a film clip lead weight on the bottom. The film is stretched to a 45 degree angle, emulsion side toward me, so that the line that the film hangs from is in front of me.

    For 120 film, I use a windshield wiper that I dip in the wetting agent. I run my fingers back and forth the blade edge several times to make sure there is nothing on it that can damage the film. Then I run the blade along the entire length of the film, both on the base side, and the emulsion side. In five years, and several hundred rolls of film, I have not had a single scratch. Not one. But I get squeaky clean negatives that print with nearly no spotting at all - even at 16x20 print size.

    For 135 film I have to use a different method, because water gets trapped in the sprocket holes. The wetting agent trapped in the sprocket holes will cause problems when stored in Print File sleeves, because it attracts moisture, which is then permanently stuck in the film negative sleeves.
    I do the same method as above, but instead of running the wiper blade down both sides of the film, I use that on the emulsion side only. At the same time that I run the wiper blade down the emulsion side, I have a perfectly clean sponge, filled with wetting agent and squeezed until just damp, running down the film base side at the same time. This ensures that no moisture gets trapped in the sprocket holes, and the film dries perfectly for storing in Print File sleeves. Again, several years, and several hundred rolls of film - not a single scratch.

    But, you must use caution! You cannot be sloppy with this technique. It works for me, and even 35mm negatives printed to 16x20" print size comes out so clean that I might have one or two spots that require spotting.

    I should point out that this works with Ilford and Kodak films, which is what I normally use. Foma, Efke, Lucky, etc have far softer emulsions, and are not likely to withstand the 'wiper abuse', and those films I've only wiped down on the film base side, never on the emulsion side.
     
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  15. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I use a photo sponge instead of a squeegee too. Squeeze it until just damp and wipe it gently on the negative, 35mm or 120. I have never had scratches, but do keep the sponge very clean. That will adsorb the moisture out of the sprocket holes.

    Also, I dilute the wetting agent much more than recommended. I had problems with Newton rings and more dilution seems to have eliminated that.
     
  16. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    The rubber squeegees always seemed prone to scratches, but I've use the sponge type for 20 years without any problems. Store them clean and rinse them out well before using. I get the ones with the U-shaped plastic handles, and cut through the base of the U so that I get two paddles with sponges. Then I hold the plastic handles between the fingers of one hand at just the right spacing so that the sponge faces are parallel when together, and use my other hand on the sponge end to control the amount of compression on the film. It doesn't take much practice to get a very clean, controlled wipe.
     
  17. Vaughn

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    Guess I am lucky. I have been running 120 film thru my fingers after the Photo-flo (fingers pre-wetted with Photo-flo) for 35 years. I have never scratched film doing this. It reduces the amount of Photo-flo that drips into the film drier and seems to promote faster drying (I do not use heat nor fan). Sheet film I just hang in the drier by one corner and use a paper towel to get rid of the drops of water on the lower corner.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I tried a rubber squeegee and threw it out at once. You need rubber that is a LOT more supple.

    Most good windshield wipers today (I use ones that have been used for a few months, to smooth the edge) have some type of silicone mix in them, which make them very supple. That seems to be key to avoid scratches, in addition to making sure the edge is perfectly clean.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I rinse two fingers in the photo flo and wipe gently. Never, ever, had a scratch from doing that. But I don't apply much pressure and always rub the fingers together before touching the film to clear any particles. Less likely to get drying marks - I started doing it because IU was getting drying marks.
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Great minds think alike. :D
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Never use a squeegee on film, always use one (lightly) on paper.

    After washing is complete, I just rinse the negatives in distilled water and hang them to dry. I purposely don't wipe down the wet sink as I want that standing water to evaporate and keep the humidity up for a slower drying process. And to keep dust down. The instant the final film is hung, I leave the room to keep from stirring up any additional dust. Then I don't come back until the next day. I get perfectly flat dry negatives with no spots every time.

    Ken
     
  22. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I do a final soak in LFN mixed in distilled H2O with a couple of capfulls of 91% isopropyl alcohol, then shake the bejesus outta the reel prior to hanging the film to dry(gets excess water off). Of course, I can't do that with sheet film, but I never get spotting or streaks. As for dust, I keep an air cleaner running in my DR at all times.
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Drying film is so easy but people keep trying all of these different snake oil methods. Here's all you need:

    1. Distilled water.
    2. Wetting agent.

    Immerse the film on the reel (assuming stainless) for 30 seconds. Hang and leave it alone.
     
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  24. Klainmeister

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    I think I'm in that boat?m Same process here, no issues
     
  25. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    As you say, "assuming stainless." If you use plastic reels, which I do, it's best to never immerse them in wetting agent. It builds up, makes the reels sticky, and is very difficult to remove. I remove the film from the reels for the wetting agent bath.

    I use plastic partly because I use a Jobo, but also because I hate stainless. I tried and tried and never managed to load the things reliably. The Jobo reels I find very easy. YMMV.
     
  26. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    No, even simpler - de-ionised water after wash and hang to dry in ambient temperature.