Staining after toneing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cr frank, May 14, 2012.

  1. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    Having a problem with staining on Ilford MG Warmtone Fiber after toning with KRST.
    two 1 min bath Hypam/5 min HCA/30 min wash in vertical washer then tone in KRST 1-20 for two min.
    Staining is usually in boarders but sometime it continues into image area.
    any suggestions are welcome..

    thanks
    charles
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Residual fixer can cause staining when you tone.
     
  3. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The staining is caused by residual silver in the paper. Causes are

    • Insufficient fixing - increase fixing time to 3 minutes in each of two baths, the one minute fix routine is for RC;
    • Spent fixer with too much dissolved silver - try fresh fix in both baths;
    • Not enough washing - make HCA up just before use, discard after use, try doubling wash time.
     
  4. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    thanks for the info.....6 min in rapid fix 'sounds' like a lot. do you base this on experience? do you consider this time normal or just for this particular problem?
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I user Ilford RAPID FIXER, not Hypam but I think the idea is the same.

    You use it without hardener, correct? If so, the timing should be the same as RapidFixer.

    I fix one minute each in two bath R/F. Then into 3 minutes HCA, then 30 minute wash. I never had staining issues.

    If you are experiencing it, I would first check if HCA is fresh. HCA aggressively eats oxygen and goes bad. Even then, 30 minutes wash should be sufficient to not cause stain - may be not 100% archival but still, shouldn't cause a visible stain.

    I your washer, are you sure the paper isn't sticking to the wall and not getting sufficient wash? How about contamination from tongs, fingers, etc?
     
  6. hrst

    hrst Member

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    You have to note that this is a highly "unscientific" process without any control in water quality, agitation schemes etc. Even the content of the image (amount of silver halides to remove) makes a big difference. Hence, the "optimum" fixing time can vary quite a bit; it is a range, not a single point of time. 1 + 1 minutes for FB paper is definitely in the low end of the range, so it may work for someone but not for everyone. Also, the overfixing is not a particular threat compared to underfixing. Also, remember to give some agitation when fixing.

    So, when you indeed HAVE problems with 1+1 minutes, why not to go as high as 3+3? OTOH, if 1+1 happens to work perfectly for someone else's process, it would still be good to be on a safe side and add a bit more time, but maybe not to 3+3.

    This is far from rocket science.
     
  7. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ...it could also be the way you stack papers in the wash. Back to back and face to face is how you need to stack them for best water flow between prints. Also, use a bigger tray than what you need. A 16x20 print should be washed in 20x24 trays and also needs constant water flow for at least a large portion of it. I wash prints for about an hour each and run the water for 5 minute intervals every 15 minutes or so because I have to use a pump in a bucket to run the water back up through the pipes in my basement. There's lots of variables you'll have to go through to see what it is.

    I'd take Nicholas' advice on the fixer first and make the changes necessary to your washing practices.

    Do you have hypo-check for your fixer? That will help tell you if the fixer is exhausted.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I hear what you say but 1 minute for FB is the Ilford's recommendation, assuming you are mixing 1+4. If you are mixing 1+9, it's 2 minutes. OP is doing two bath, so the last minute is basically in fresh fixer.

    Which begs the question... OP, what's your mix ratio? 1+4 or 1+9 and do you use hardener?
     
  9. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    I normally use Tetenal Superfix Plus 1+9 at least 2+2 minutes with agitation, HCA 1+4, some 2-5 minutes depending on agitation; before toning washing at least 30 minutes in vertical washer (washing water unfortunately often a little bit too cold to be optimal) moving the prints now and then.
    Have had no staining problem (yet!) with Ilford MG WT or any other paper. Yes, many years back I hade some staining problem, brown spots, with Kodak Polyfiber when using a bad stop bath!
    /Bertil
     
  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Maybe my workflow can be of use.

    I use Hypam or Rapid Fix 1+9 for two minutes each bath. I fix in bath one, wash, dry and collect prints for toning. A toning session is then water soak, fixing bath 2 (always fresh fix) and then straight into the toner with no intervening wash. The only time I have ever got staining is when the fixer was exhausted.

    After toning, it's into the wash aid, again without a rinse, for ten minutes with agitation, then into the washer for an hour. After this, all my prints pass residual silver and hypo tests with flying colors.

    Note that the HCA and wash before toning is not necessary. It is definitely necessary afterwards, however, since toner also contains fixer.

    Finally, I stabilize with Sistan and dry face-up on screens.

    Staining comes from residual silver in the prints (i.e., inadequate fixing) or a pH that is too acid. I can't imagine that your prints are too acid after HCA and wash, so the fixing stage comes immediately into question.

    Make sure you are not over-using your fixer and extend your times somewhat. That should fix your staining issue.

    An aside: selenium toner can also be used as a down-and-dirty test for residual silver. If the print stains, the fixing is not adequate. When you selenium tone, you have a kind of built-in residual fixer test. Your prints seem to have failed :whistling:

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  11. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    Thanks for all the great info. FYI Hypam is mixed 1-4 with the second bath always a fresh mix. HCA is mixed fresh and used once only. Sounds like i need to increase my fix time and maybe try Doremus suggestion of going straight from the fix to toner. Could this be a PH issue?

    Charles
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I see that Ilford does recommend a 1 minute treatment in film-strength(?) rapid fix. I think the theory is the fix won't get into the paper base and less wash time is needed.

    I use two baths of 2-3 minutes each in 1:9 paper-strength rapid fix. I don't get staining - but that isn't just because of a two-bath fix.

    1-bath fixer regimes have very low capacity. I have heard figures as low as 8 8x10 sheets / gallon for archival processing. Fixer maintains it's ability to dissolve silver halide for a very long time so the capacity for non-archival processing is much higher.

    2-bath fixing has 10 times the capacity when processing to archival levels. The purpose of the second fixer is to get rid of the remnants of the first silver-loaded fixer.

    Staining is usually caused by silver in the emulsion. That means either the paper wasn't fixed or silver-bearing fixer wasn't removed from the paper.

    Staining can also happen if an acid print is placed in the alkaline Se toner which will cause metallic selenium to form in the emulsion. If a print has been treated in HCA then it should be neutral/slightly alkaline. Processing regimes that go straight from the fix to the toner need to use an alkaline fix - but there is still a risk of staining if the last fixing bath isn't silver-free.
     
  13. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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  15. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Nicholas has it exactly right.

    I should qualify my suggestions by noting that I use my fix to a bit less than published capacity and that I wash thoroughly between the first and second fix. The 1+9 rapid fix seems to be neutral enough in pH that staining is not an issue, and my prints are silver-free enough by the time they hit the second fix that residual silver does not seem to be a problem either. If I get even a hint of staining, the fix gets changed; that hasn't happened to me for years now, however.

    If you are using your fix 1+4 as you state, then your problem is easily diagnosed: insufficient fixing. Try two minutes per bath and see what happens.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  16. hrst

    hrst Member

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    This might be nitpicking and I'm sorry for that, but one terminology issue just bugs me in this discussion so much that I cannot resist on commenting. Just like the traditional hypo vs. hypo clear confusion.

    Fixer does not (or at least should not!) remove or dissolve silver, and there should be silver in the paper after processing if you want images.

    Residual silver halides are the problem.

    Maybe mixing up silver and silver halides is more usual in BW because there is no practical use for term "residual silver", but in color processing "residual silver halide" and "residual silver" are both in use and have different meanings. Even if we ignore color, it still sounds funny to me that "BW print should have no silver" :D...
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Doremus, 1 minute in fresh Ilford Rapid Fix or (Hypam) is enough according to Ilford. If OP is doing 1 minute each in a fresh two-bath Hypam fix this is even more fixing.

    I can't see how this is a pH issue either since Ilford recommends going straight from full strength Rapid/Hypam Fixer (1+4 dilution) into Selenium Toner diluted with working strength hypo clearing agent.

    Charles, how old is the Hypam concentrate? Perhaps it has gone bad, meaning even if you mix fresh working solutions they are not doing the job.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2012
  18. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    "Charles, how old is the Hypam concentrate? Perhaps it has gone bad, meaning even if you mix fresh working solutions they are not doing the job."

    It is fresh out of the bottle.....i use this as a one shot so i go through a lot of fix. Could be a bad batch, never thought of that. Never had this problem till i switched from Forte to Ilford.
    lots of good information here...thanks guys

    charles
     
  19. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Just increase the time to 2+2 or 3+3 mins, change nothing else, and report back to us! It would be interesting to hear.
     
  20. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Michael,

    The one-minute recommendation is for fixer 1+4, I see now that Charles is using that dilution (I was assuming he might be using 1+9 as I do...), so, yes, one minute per bath should do the trick, especially if one does not include the drip-time. Same for the pH issue. I was unaware that Ilford recommended going straight from 1+4 Hypam/Rapid Fix to selenium toner. I thought maybe a higher concentration of fixer might have a more acid pH.

    Still, the staining Charles is getting sounds like inadequate fixing, for whatever reason, so, making sure the fixer is fresh, being sure not to use it past capacity and even increasing fixing time a bit are reasonable things to try to fix the problem.

    I have yet to test the full-strength work flow with residual hypo and residual silver halide tests (thanks hrst, good point), but have done so with the 1+9 dilution and 2 minutes per bath. I'm sure the latter works for me anyway.

    Charles, just do a quick clip test to see if your fixer is still active (it does have to be diluted to work correctly, though, so don't test the concentrate!). If film clears in about 30 seconds in fresh fix, your concentrate is just fine.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Agree it does seem like a fixing issue. I just can't figure out what's going wrong based on the info we have so far. Good idea to do the clip test.
     
  22. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    Hope to be in the darkroom this weekend. I will adjust the fix time to 2min per bath (at 1+4) and report results.

    charles
     
  23. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    Will also try going from fixer to toner and see if that helps.
     
  24. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Charles,

    Are you certain it's a post-fixer issue? Sometimes the stains aren't easy to see under safelights. What colour(s) are the stains?

    Sometimes, and with certain papers, stains (usually purple-ish) can occur because of developer being carried over into the fixer and reacting, causing a stain. I've found that immersing prints in a fresh stop bath for at least two minutes after the developer and before the fixer helps avoid this problem. Washing chemicals off your hands and tongs while the print is in the stop bath also helps avoid cross-contamination. These stains appear on the print borders because that's where we tend to handle them. Been there, done that - it took me ages to work out why I was getting stains on my prints.

    This might, or might not, be related to your problem.

    Incidentally, selenium toners contain ammonium thiosulphate so it's probably not worth washing for 30 mins after fixing if you're going to selenium tone the print straight afterwards. YMMV.

    Cheers,
    kevs
     
  25. cr frank

    cr frank Member

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    i processed and toned 7 prints...increasing fixer to two 2 min. bath of hypam. 5 out of 7 prints had stains. Stains were not noticeable until prints were dry.
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Could there be a flow problem with your vertical washer?