Strathmore Bristol question

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by buggy, May 11, 2006.

  1. buggy

    buggy Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I made a VDB print on Strathmore Bristol today for the first time and noticed a couple things.

    1. About a minute after the first coat the coating darkened quite a bit. Before the hair dryer on cold setting. I coated in my usual place with the same incandesant lighting as always and I've never had this happen with any other prints.

    2. During the wet processing through the clearing, fixing and washing there were very noticeable blotches or spots on the paper. On dry down they went away somewhat but not totally. My clearing was done in slight citric acid.

    Could these be paper characteristics? Can a paper cause fogging?

    Any ideas on this?

    Thanks
     
  2. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I use this paper for Cyanotype, and I love it, but I've heard from Sam Wang that the new batches may be useless for alternative processes due to changes. I have never seen the types of problems you mentioned, but if you are using the newer version of this paper - and sorry, I can't tell you how to tell the difference - it could be due to the paper. Splotches could also be from uneven coating or contamination, but someone more skilled than I will have to be more specific on that issue.

    - Randy
     
  3. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

    Messages:
    2,144
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I use Strathmore Bristol Plate single ply for albumen and have never had a spotting problem. In fact, I love the paper.

    I agree that there could have been some kind of a coating problem. Perhaps as simple as something inadvertently splashing on the paper prior to or during coating.
    Jim
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Good point Jim. I've has odd blotches when I accidentaly got a drop of water on my paper and didn't notice it before coating. I suspect that it dillutes the emulsion even though it is hard to see and the result is blotching. Could you post an example?

    - Randy
     
  5. buggy

    buggy Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Randy, Are you asking me to post the print? I can do that for discussion purposes if it's ok. Let me know if that's what you were referring to and I will post it.

    The print I made was on the first sheet in the pad and I guess it's possible that sheet got contaminated even before I bought it. I still have half of that sheet left and I thought I would put it in a clearing bath to see what happens UNcoated.

    Jim, Is Strathmore Bristol Plate a different paper than Strathmore Bristol in a pad? This paper seems to be 2 ply but I really didn't pay that much attention.
     
  6. buggy

    buggy Member

    Messages:
    100
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just ran a half sheet UNcoated plain paper through a clearing bath, approx. 1L with 1/8 tsp citric acid, and after a couple minutes it started to get blotchy looking. So I guess the paper getting wet is causing the spots. This is probably a newer batch of paper as mentioned above by Randy.

    I edited this post to add a photo of what I was seeing. It was difficult to get a good image. The darker splotches as seen in this photo are actually more like blotchy stains on the paper, but very evident.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2006
  7. Dracotype

    Dracotype Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Location:
    El Cerrito,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've used Strathmore for cyanotype before, and have had blotches show up. Mostly on their heavier stock water color. Their 90 lb paper is my favorite though. It seems to do well with cyanotype better than the heavier stock.

    Drew
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have coated VDB, Silver gelatin and cyanotype on Strathmore Bristol and find no problems.

    PE
     
  9. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bristol board, or paper, is a plated paper (it used to be placed wet against a metal plate to dry, just like ferrotype prints, but this process may now be accomplished through the use of heavy, heated rollers) that is heavily sized for ink and fine pencil work. It is not really made with wet media in mind. A particular brand may work very well due to the sizing material used- often starch or gelatin. Another brand may not work at all. It is not made to be soaked.

    Print making paper, such as Rives BFK, Copperplate or Arches Cover are great for soaking with liquid but may have too much texture for most photographers. Hot press watercolor paper from makers such as Arches, Fabriano, Saunders and Lana are a much better bet. These can be stretched, or glued pads (called blocks) can be used to keep the paper flat during any process. The hot press surface is very smooth. For an almost smooth surface, choose cold pressed- the equivalent to a "kid"finish on Bristol. Neither surface will change after application of liquid.

    The blotching you experienced seems like it may be uneven sizing on the paper, leaving some parts far more absorbent than others.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Strathmore Bristol appears to be hot press and compares with other hot press papers I have tested. Their watercolor appears to be cold press and as such appears to compare with other cold press papers.

    Cold press papers have a marked difference between the wire and face side whereas hot press papers appear to have little difference.

    In any event, I can use Strathmore Velour and Watercolor as well as the Bristol smooth.

    PE
     
  11. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Warning: Way too much information coming. This will only be of interest to people who want to pay for really good paper. My understanding of paper is not through technical education and I stand ready to be corrected in detail by others who have a greater knowledge of modern papermaking. I am a working artist with a passion for the stuff and an occasional excess of opinion.

    Bristol can be bought with a "plate" finish for pen and ink or technical drawing or a "kid" finish for pencil. What makes it Bristol is the hard sizing as well as the finish - at least traditionally. Hot press printmaking and hot press watercolor paper have a very similar surface look and feel but they are sized differently from Bristol.

    Strathmore has made cold press, hot press, rough, laid, machine mold and maybe even mold-made paper over the years (here memory fails) for various markets. The amount and quality of rag in the paper is important as is the quality of the sulfite pulp used (if any) and the presence of other materials. Bleaching is a factor as is the presence of optical whiteners, which have been added to the mix in recent years.

    Most machine-made papers do not have a face side and a screen side unless this is engineered into the product to give an artist a choice, since most finishing is done between rollers. The cold press paper used by PhotoEngineer may be so designed. Traditional, mold-made paper, identifiable by 4 deckle edges, is dried stacked in 100 sheet piles (posts) or it is dried in contact with a plate, cold or hot. Laid paper, often used today for expensive stationary and charcoal drawing, has a distinct pattern of a makers frame crossed by thin brass rods laid in a row, with heavier rods beneath them, rather than screening, which is a relatively recent invention in the world of papermaking.

    As may be evident in this rant, I'm somewhat... enthusiastic about paper. I used to do a lot of intaglio printmaking and the qualities of the paper I used controlled the experience of the process. I am a relative beginner to serious photography and tend to use the commercially available photo papers - even RC for much of my quick work. In hand making what we hope to be archival photographs however, I can't believe that the quality of the paper we use could be less important than the chemicals or the technique. We have paper being made for artists today the same way and in some cases the same shops as it was made over 400 years ago for the simple reason that some of the paper made then is still around in museums, having stood centuries of storage and hard use. Poorly chosen paper may not show its shortcomings until the piece is framed and on the wall, but it will usually fail you in some way.

    Bottom Line? Ask a knowledgable paper seller about the proper weight, finish and sizing for the processes you will using (coating, brushing, soaking, inking, etc.) Don't pick a paper because it feels smooth and heavyweight.

    There are artisan papermakers all over America and Europe and a lot of information is out there. [end rant]
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

    Messages:
    2,144
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    To answer about the single ply that I use and the pads, they are different.

    I have never used the pads. I don't use 2 ply because it doesn't stand up well to extended immersion.

    SInce the sheet with the problem was the top sheet, it most likely was made unuseable prior toyou purchasing it. The oil from peoples hands will cause the paper to not take the sensitizing solution evenly. I teach my students to never touch the paper in the image area in order to eliminate this problem.

    Jim
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use Strathmore Bristol smooth in cut sheets in pads. It is 100# weight.

    It holds up well to immersion in processing solutions and during washing for extended times.

    The other papers that I routinely used at EK were made in our own plant and had a wire and face side, and were hot presssed with heavy calendaring rollers. I knew a bit about them, but I have no information on the Strathmore products. All I can say is that I have used all available types and they work. So do the Cranes and Lanaquarelle and Bergger COT320. The difference is mainly price, and the fact that the cold press are slightly less satisfactory in some cases with silver halide in gelatin if they have a textured surface.

    PE