Tried some old, old Dektol...and...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by gnashings, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well, as some of you might already know from my pleading in another thread, I purchased an enlarger, and along with it, I got a whole slew of darkroom odds and ends. Wedged among some papers (sadly, the big pack of 100 sheets of Ilford multigrade has been opened and exposed to light - might be able to print some 5x7 in the middle of the sheets... but other than that, its some really big test strips...) - well, wedged among the papers was a bag of Dektol.
    Its an old bag, unlike the new ones it feels like its some kind of treated paper ( if memory serves, this is the way htey looked in the 1980's) - this gave me a hint as to the age of the packet. Having heard that dry Dektol powder keeps pretty much indefinitely, I decided to mix it up and see.
    The result was a batch of brown liquid, and I mean brown - as dark as Coca Cola or coffee.
    I decided to try it seeing as obviously, prints are not as precious as negatives - you can always make more.

    Well, the results are:
    I mixed the Dektol 1:2, developed for 1.5 minutes or so at as close to 20 deg C as I could keep it, and...well, its Dektol. No problems. Bright highlights, dark, dark shadows, no staining of any kind, nothing weird whatsoever. And I tried it on negatives that I already printed with good results, so that I had a point of ref.

    I just thought I'd share my "findings" in case someone else is faced with a similar situation.
     
  2. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    Good to know. Sometimes my Dektol turns light brown even in air tight and full containers before the expected expiration and I get nervous.
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear gnashings,

    I had a similar experience after receiving some free Dektol from a long closed (at least 10 years) lab. BTW, the 20° requirment is not really that important as you take paper to full development. The Kodak Black & White Darkroom Dataguide recommends 65° to 75°.

    Neal Wydra
     
  4. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    That's good to know - in my make shift conditions, keeping trays at exact temp is a bit tricky, especially in the summer.
    I was a touch worried, as the stuff mixed up really dark - much darker than some leftover stuff I had in a jug that was mixed up in February (!). I guess its like Rodinal (although I know they are of no "relation") - just gets darker and better :wink: Nice rich, deep blacks as always.
     
  5. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    I dunno about your setup but if you're running in a sink you can treat it as a huge temp. bath by sticking a short pipe in the drain aperture and let your wash-water flow around the trays before draining (works in winter also to bring temp up) it won't be exact but it can get you close w/o and new expense or extra wasted water.

    -Brad
     
  6. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    My darkroom is in my garage. 60 degree temperatures in the winter and 80 and above in the summer. For the winter I found using one of those electric heating pads, the ones for a bad back works well under the developing tray. In the summer I place the developer tray in a larger one with water and I place ice in it to keep it at around 68-70 degrees.
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Good info. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Dug

    Dug Member

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    This is all very useful information. I have Dektol in ancient metal cans and in "single serving" packets from who knows when. I will mix them up and report back. Or maybe these ancient products have a cult collectable status that I am unaware of? Yours for the cost of shipping and a donation to APUG!
     
  9. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thank you for temp control ideas - they will come in handy! My bathroom is my darkroom, its tiny to begin with, and the lightproofing takes careof nay airflow... so even if I start at a decent cool temperature, something about a 230 pound goon battling 75watt lightbulb in an enlarger with no air circ, seems to make things heat up quickly :smile:

    As far as the Dektol - I inspected the prints in daylight - as good as I can get them, any faults are mine and not the chems! No stains, no unevenness, no underdevelopment.

    As far as those old packages of Dektol - eBay it - stick the words "collectible", "rare" and "Leica" in the subject, then make sure you open the description with "I know nothing about photography, but I know these things are priceless!" And count the money rolling in, hehehehehe :wink:
     
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The stuff in the metal cans is probably still good. I have a few cans of D-76, Microdol-X, DK-50. and Dektol that must have been purchased in the late 1960's to early 1970's time frame and the cans show no signs of deteriorating. The Microdol-X still has a price tag of $.79 on it! I'm willing to bet that the contents are still good, but I'm not going to open them. They make good conversation starters with some of the other "old timers" who visit my darkroom.