Vandyke printing problems

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Deniz, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Well today i was in the darkroom printing and everything was going smoothly until the prints came out of the UV box.
    They were really grainy and looked like there were white speckles on the dark areas.

    I double coated some of the paper but didnt seem to change much.

    The room was rather warm today and i was wondering if the paper didnt absorb enough sentisizer and the white paper was showing through as grain.

    should i humidify the paper before coating?

    any suggestions?
     
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Use a brush instead of a coating rod. Also leave your paper in a humidified environment for several hours to allow the papers RH to adjust to ambient RH.
     
  3. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Sometimes problems such as these arise from too little sensitizer. Even double-coating with too small a quantity can be the culprit.

    A brush or rod makes little difference if the rod is used correctly. I coat with both and find no difference. When using the rod, absolutlely no pressure should be applied to the rod, just push or pull it along. I find students have more success eliminating the pressure by pushing.
     
  4. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Well I'll have to disagree about the rod being mightier than the brush.

    With a "magic brush" there will be no "knaping" of the paper. But I think dry paper is the real culprit here coupled with too little sensitiser as you suggest.
     
  5. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I really did push on the rod. didnt mean to but the masking tape on the ends of the rod to raise it off th paper a little was not cooperating.

    next time i will throw the paper in the humidifier first for 30mins. and be more careful with the coating.

    Should i use the Hake(sp?) brush or a foam brush or stick with the rod?
     
  6. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Deniz, why do you need to raise the rod off the paper? The more contact (not pressure) it makes, the smoother the coating in my experience.
    Phill
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Same here. Putting masking tape on the rod to raise it off the paper is not good practice IMO. The rod should me pushed or pulled over the paper in direct contact with the paper.

    I have used both rod and the Richeson 9010 "Magic" brush and much prefer coating with the latter. To each his own, but I find the brush much easier to use, and especially if one double coats. Putting a second coat on with a rod is virtually impossible because the first coat causes the paper to assume an irregular shape that is impossible to coat over. In theory one may save a bit on chemistry with the rod, but that seems a small price to pay for the much greater convenience of the brush.

    Sandy
     
  8. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Im not really experienced with the rod coating so i was just listeing to my instructor. I will remove the masking tape next time.

    Doesn't the metal on the "magic" brush react with the chemistry of the sentisizer?
     
  9. sanfrancisconudes

    sanfrancisconudes Member

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    I agree with removing the tape. FYI I use a bit of pressure for the first pass or two and then lighten up to nothing on later passes.

    The conventional wisdom was to avoid the metal just in case, but the feeling now is that this particular brush is so much better than the other options that it's worth risking it.

    I use both. I prefer the rod on smooth paper and the brush on anything with a really strong texture.
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    No, the notion that the metal of a brush will react with the sensitizer is something of a myth. I have never had any reaction with the metal of the Richeson 9010 brush, or for that matter with the metal of any other brush.

    Sandy
     
  11. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Just as an update, I picked up a nice wide 2" watercolor brush from Opus today. https://store.opusframing.com/sagro/storefront/store.php?top=15&mode=browsecategory&category=562
    Its the 106 2" one.

    I did 16 4x5 vandykes today and realized it is easy to mess up while coating.
    What is your procedure for coating? I realized as i move down the paper, its easy to coat it less and less and get ligter areas in the print.

    Any good tips for coating with a watercolor brush?
    I will post some photos tomorrow once they are all dry.
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    First, if prnting 4X5 I would recommend coating larger sheets, say 8X10, and cut to size.

    Technique will vary a bit according to brush. With the Richeson 9010, which is very popular for hand coating, here is what I recommend.

    1. For an 8X10 print mix 2 ml of sensitizing solution. You will get more consistent results this way, probably.

    2. Take the brush and wet it out, then shake it four or five times to get rid of excess water. If the brushes separate, you have shaken too much water out of it. For consistency it is important that the brush always have the same wetness.

    3. Take your 2ml of solution and pour it in the center of the paper. Then, working as rapidly as you can, brush the coating over the paper. First, make strokes in the horizontal direction, then vertically, and finally on the diagnal. Be sure to move sensitizer from areas where there is more of it toward areas that have less. Keep brushing until the there is an even coat of sensitizer on the paper, with no puddles or areas that are visually wetter tha other areas. But don't brush too long as you will get brush marks once the sensitizer starts to dry. All of this should take twenty seconds or less for an 8X10 print.

    4. As soon as you finish coating hit the coated paper with air from a fan. This will set the coating on top of the paper and prevent it from seeping too deep into the fibers of the paper, which might cause staining and difficulty in clearing.

    5. Leave the coated paper flat for a couple of minutes, then hang to dry. Drying time varies according to humidity, but when working at 50% RH I always expose in about fifteen minutes. If the paper dries out too much you will lose Dmax with most papers. In fact, with all of the iron processes higher humidity is generally better, so if you can get the RH up to 60%, so much the better.

    Sandy King
     
  13. buze

    buze Member

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    Thank you Sandy for the detailed description, especially on the drying part and humidity levels; I've been experimenting with various methods without clear success, and a few failures.
     
  14. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Thank you for the great how-to Sandy.

    I coat a 5x7 area for the 4x5 prints and print in the middle. I like the over coated look with small prints.
    8x10 get a 9x11 area of coating usually.
    Im just hoping that the brush i use has the same hair caracteristics as the Richeson 9010...
     
  15. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    btw, the RH was 25% yesterday in the darkroom! Quite dry i might add. The paper would dry so fast and the Dmax was quite low.
    any advice in increasing the RH in the room? or should i just stick the paper in the humidifier cabinet, which i m not even sure if works or not.

    thanks again
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    That is real low RH. Perhaps you could keep the humidity a bit higher by drying the sensitizer paper over a tray of water. I get very low Dmax with 25% RH unless I print as soon as the paper is dry to the touch, i.e. in about five minutes or so.


    Sandy King
     
  17. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    as a question,
    would wetting the brush and coating water on the back of the paper 5mins before the sentisizing help with the humidity issue? or its just a wasted time?

    I will try to get a tray of boiling hot water going in the darkroom prior to printing to help with low RH.

    just crossing fingers!!
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    If you are big time serious about making good prints with the iron sesensitiv processes, such as kallitype, Pt./Pd. and VDB, let me suggest another option, especially if your workroom is fairly small. And that option is a small, and fairly inexpensive, humidifier. I have one of these (about $60) installed in my workroom (about 10X12 feet), and it maintains the RH at a constant 60%. It is on constantly, and all the attention needed is to add water every three or so days. Don't leave home without one if you plan to on consistenty with the iron processes.

    Sandy King
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2006
  19. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Sandy, i am very serious about this process and hopefully Kallitypes very soon.
    There is a big paper humidifiying cabinet in the darkroom i use(schools)
    The hygrometer next to my coating table saus 25% which is why i may either get the department to buy a small humidifier or open the doors of the cabinet and humidify the whole room.

    The teacher is very keen on helping me, so i think its doable.

    thank you for all your help Sandy, You've been very helpful.
    tomorrow i will do another 16 or so 4x5 prints.

    cheers
     
  20. donbga

    donbga Member

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    So which unit are you using?

    I have a Honeywell and my darkroom is about the size as yours and during times of low RH it has a hard time keepint the darkroom at 40% RH. Like you I keep it running 24/7.
     
  21. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Hi Don,

    I have a Honewell HCM-300T, or maybe it is the HCM-310T. It is a tower like unit that sits on the floor. I am able to close off my working space to house heating and that way the space easily stays at 60% or more RH running only about 30% of the time.

    Sandy
     
  22. Dana Sullivan

    Dana Sullivan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Here's another suggestion. Do a pre-coat of distilled water, and then dry it in the same way you normally dry the coated emulsion. After the paper is completely dry, you can proceed to coat it with the Van Dyke solution, which should penetrate more evenly and completely. Using a 1% solution of Oxalic acid is also another common technique.

    Most of the papers we use are hot-pressed and have a very hard surface, and most have some sort of surface sizing applied. These papers are acid-free, which means and alkaline buffer (usually Calcium Carbonate or similar) has been applied to the paper giving it a high pH. Using oxalic acid will neutralize the buffer, and help keep the acidic VDB solution free from contamination by an alkali.

    On a side note, Howard Efner has found that adding 1 or 2 drops of .25% oxalic acid solution to a 4x5 or 5x7 size print will increase the contrast and D-max. VDB solution made using green ferric ammonium citrate didn't show as much increase.

    The pre-coating solution also serves a dual purpose, in that it will swell the surface fibers of the paper, helping them draw the VDB solution into them. You don't want the solution drying on the surface of the paper, or in between the fibers, rather you want each of the individual cotton fibers to act like a little capillary and hold the solution inside it.

    In the winter time it's difficult to keep both the temperature comfortable and the RH at a high level, so I recommend pre-coating to many of our customers in colder northern climates. I've found that it helps Arches Platine a considerable amount, as well as the Bergger COT-320.

    I'm starting to ramble a bit, but I hope I've made some sense in my logic.

    Dana Sullivan
    Bostick & Sullivan
     
  23. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    thanks for the tips Dana,

    I am using rising stonehenge white.
    They did not have arches platine in stock.

    I will try pre coating today. also i'll crank up the humidifier
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Dana,

    I just want to say I think it is nice to have some from B&S contributing to the APUG forum. I am aware that you folks have a large data base of information about alternative printing and it is really great to have you come here and share it with new printers.

    And please say hello for me to the other Sullivans, all great folks.

    Sandy King
     
  25. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I use a cheap watercolor brush that is dampened with water. I also add a drop of glycerin to the solution, it helps me with uneven coating. I'd love to try some gum arabic but it's kind of expensive around here. The glycerin is cheap.

    I use Crane's kid finish ecru white. Good stuff!