The fixing stage in the lith process

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Marco Buonocore, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

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    I've been doing some lith printing over the past few weeks, and am enjoying the heck out of it. Only one thing is giving me grief: properly fixing the prints.

    I've been checking for residual silver with the Kodak ST-1 test, and invariably I am getting slight staining. For the record, with my normal silver prints, I get absolutely no stain. I'm pretty fussy about process.

    If anything, I feel I am probably over-fixing at this stage. I'm using two bath Kodak Rapid Fix (no hardener added), diluted 'film strength', for 4 min in each bath. Seems like heaps, but any less and the staining was even more prominent. The prints looks brilliant, but I'm sure they're bleaching a bit in the fix.

    Is this somehow related to the relatively long time a print is sitting in the lith developer for? I'm using Kodalith Super RT (from powder) and my development times are between 10-20min. I stop in Kodak stop bath for 30s.

    I've got the Rudman books, and I don't believe they touch on this subject. Does the lith process take significantly longer to fix than a 'regular' silver print? There's mention that lith prints 'work the fixer harder', which I definitely agree with - I burned through a jug of Clearfix in no time.

    Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    I believe that rapid fixing for Lith prints is best. I use Ilford Rapid fixer with no problems. I then hypo clear, wash, tone and then wash. The "bleaching" you observe in the fixer is in fact a change of tone normaly from bluish for the unfixed print to redish/pink...hence appears lighter in a safe light. K
     
  3. laparn

    laparn Member

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    First, I have never had any fuzz with fixing problems nor staining. And from my point of view I still use a pretty high fixing concentration since I see benefits when toning. Though, compared to your fixing procedure my fixing is extremely poor.

    I fix in Ilford Hypam 1+4 (one bath) for 2 minutes and that´s it. That is still pretty long fixing for such concentration but as told, the response to toner (selenium especially) is much better with greater variations in color shift and lith grain accentuation.

    I stop in 1% stop for maximum 20s.

    Rinse in running water for at least 30 minutes. Mostly way over 1h.

    So, I´d say you might benefit in adjusting your procedure. Try else dilutions and times, both for stop and fix, and see if you get rid of the stains.

    Finally. The developing times you mention is not unusual but rather long. I have occasionally developed for over one hour in normal room temperature but the wait somewhat takes the fun out of lith printing. I recommend to increase the temperature to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e 32 degrees Celsius). Development times will decrease drastically and you really can benefit from this since you now open a possibility to dilute the developer even more with further vivid colors as result. Or just stay at short(er) development times.
    I usually aim for 110 degr F where I develop Fomatone MG Classics Fb in Moersch Easylith 1:30 in as short as 1.5 minutes!!! Dilutions around 1:60/1:80 will create extremely nice lithing on this paper which is actually reasonable at this temperature with fair development times.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I am glad to hear someone else talk about really short developing times. I have been using 20 ml each of the of Rollei Lith A and B solutions in 600 ml of water and 350 ml of old brown at 30 c on Fomatone classic, and getting nice clay/red colors and good strong blacks in 3-4 minutes.
     
  5. laparn

    laparn Member

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    Yeah, once trying the higher temperatures you´re kinda´ stuck. Like. Makes lith life so much more exciting with even further flexible possibilities.

    Well, it is rather about knowing the parameter temperature and not really heat in itself.
    If using dilution at <1:10, say 1:6 as Stuart Redler are said to use, then a high temperature is not really an option considering an extremely short dev. time and consequentely a critical snatch moment. A quick paper (in developer) as Fomatone would explode. Of course with its benefits if using a two-bath process for instance.

    High concentrations would rather benefit from colder temperature (or adding restrainer) with the effects that might lead to.
    One of the best lith results I´ve achieved myself was in the early lith days. High dilution, low temperature and 32 minutes in Maco (Rollei) LP Superlith 1:15. WOW! My girlfriend looks fabulous on the Fortezo paper. Not only due to lilth effect of course... :wink: