Washing fiber prints.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by gareth harper, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Please help! The more I read about this the more confused I become!

    My aim is to end up with fiber prints that I can be confident are archival.
    I also need to use the simplest possible method I can find to achieve this for two reasons. Time, I don't have enougth of it. Space, I've very little of it.

    Currently I'm using 12x16 inch Ilford MGIV Fiber processed using a Nova fiber processor (the only way I handle a decent sized bit of paper in my tiny darkroom). At 20 degrees C I develope the print for 2.5 minutes in Ilford mulitgrade, I then give it 10-15 seconds in the stop bath, followed by one minute in Ilford Rapid or hypam rapid fix (depends on what Jessops in Glasgow has in stock). It then gets dunked in the fourth slot for a quick rinse in water (or held for a few minutes here while the previous print completes it' toning) then it's straight into the KRS toner at either 1/6 or 1/12 dillution. After toning I wash for 1.5 hours in running water. So far I've had no problems with this method.

    What is worrying me is that I've heard that stains can show up months or years later on fiber if the print has not been correctly fixed and washed.

    Is my quick rinse a potential time bomb? I'm not keen in going straight into the selenium as this will mean replacing the toner solution often (more expense).

    Nor do I want ot get involved with wash aids, even if they will save some time. Space is a premium in my tiny wee house and I need the simplest methods possible.

    So, should I continue as I am, is this method ok? Or should I do a 1hr wash before toning and after toning. Or should I go straight from fix to toner and just put up with the extra expense of replacing my toner solution say every few weeks.

    As I say everything looks fine so far, but I have to get this right as I'm doing a set of prints for a client and may also have a wee exhibition to work on soon.

    Sorry if I'm going on a bit.
    Any help very much appreciated.
     
  2. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    I'll just repeat myself from that other forum:

    "Every time I've tried taking a print straight from rapid fixer to selenium toner the print wound up with stains.

    "Now I always wash for at least 10 minutes before selenium toning. "Washing" may consist of simply soaking in HCA (or similar product) followed by soaking in a gallon container of fresh water. Either way, it works - no more staining.

    "After selenium toning I go straight to the wash. No HCA or other rinse aid.

    "As I've described in other posts, my "archival" washer is a 5-gallon bucket with a recirculating aquarium pump. The length of wash time and how often I dump and refill with fresh water is determined by the number of prints I'm processing.

    "Recently I added another 5-gallon bucket/aquarium pump to the lineup. Haven't put it to use yet, tho'.

    "The entire mess - HCA/wash aid, prerinse container, selenium, wash buckets - all sit in the bathtub of our spare bathroom.

    "In fiber and RC prints, so prepared, which I've exposed to accelerated torture testing, none has yet failed in any way after nearly six months. While that may not equate with claims for 100 or 500 years of archival existence, it does seem to indicate that only reasonable precautions are needed to produce prints that will be satisfactory."
     
  3. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Sssh, don't mention that other forum Lex.
     
  4. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Typically I do not use rapid fix on fiber prints. Rapid fix is better for film however. My process for fiber prints is 1. Developer (2-3 minutes), 2. Stop bath (30 seconds), 3. Fixer (32 oz Sodium Thiosulfate and 4 oz Sodium Sulfite to one gallon of water for 4 minutes), 4. Second fixing bath same as first 4 minutes, 5. Selenium toner (1-4 minutes), 6. Hypo clearing agent for 2 minutes, 7. One hour wash in Zone VI print washer.

    The second fixing bath that I use today will be the first fixing bath tomorrow.

    I have found that rinsing between the second fixing bath and selenium toner does create unwanted staining of prints. However as I stated I do not use rapid fix in my print processing. Perhaps your process is adequate in light of that difference.
     
  5. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    Any difference in washing time between SW and DW fibre papers?
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Francesco, I wash my Azo for the same amount of time that I wash my DW papers.
     
  7. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Don't mean to start the proverbial controversy, but here's how I do it using Rapid fixer:

    first fix bath - 45 seconds
    second fix bath - 45 seconds

    into the holding tub for how ever long it takes to finish the printing session. This is just a Rubbermaid tub with water; -no circulation.

    Wash each one for about 5 minutes, then into the selenium, then into the HCA for at least 3 minutes.

    Final wash.

    It works. Pretty much the same procedure outlined by Ilford.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi:
    i don't do the selenium step, but i fix as the paper / film manufacturer recommends, WITHOUT HARDENER
    do a small rinse bath > permawash
    and the amount of wash time i double - and do "fill / dumps"
    - have paper back to back/ face to face shuffle through a tray of them - dump & repeat -

    i submit work to the federal gov't ( USA ) and they check each print/negative batch i submit ...
    - i've been submitting like this since 1992 & haven't had any problems ( KNOCK WOOD!)
     
  9. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Hey I want to keep things simple so I'm not interested in two fix baths. In any case Ilford recommend a single fix with rapid fix.
    Also want to use the selenium for asthetics.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Two sodium thiosulfate based fixing baths may be a little more complicated than one bath, but the entire fix/tone/wash cycle is vastly more short, simple and effective when done this way as opposed to using ammonium thiosulfate based (i.e. acidic) fixers. I'm not sure you can really get archival permanence at all with acid fixers no matter how long you wash the prints.

    Good explanation of the differences:

    http://www.fineartphotosupply.com/Alk Fixers.htm
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ammonium thiosulfate fixers are not necessarily acidic - TF4 is a good, well-known example of an alkaline one.

    If there are any doubts as to whether the result will be archival, it hinges on the prescence of ammonia: Some believe that sodium thiosulfate-based fixers cannot adequately fix some emulsions.
     
  12. jamesiscool

    jamesiscool Member

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    Then best and only sure way to tell whether your prints are thoroughly washed is to get a test kit for hypo and test for residual fix. Very easy to do and very inexpensive. All other ways are a waste of time and money not to mention water for those of you who are washing for an hour or more. Lex uses the simple method that works very well. A couple changes of water and voila, done. How archival do you want your prints? 100 yrs? 500 yrs? or is 10 yrs ok?
     
  13. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    I'd only just found out about test kits. I'll give silverprint a shout and see if they have em.
    If I'm going to the bother of mounting them, selling etc.. I want them to last. 10 years sounds OK but if I last longer more would be good.
    The test kit should allow me to stop worrying or alter my method to suit.
    Cheers.
     
  14. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I called Silverprint a while back to order the Kodak kit to be told that Kodak no longer supplied them (ta a bunch, Kodak!). You can still get the solution but not the Estimator card used to match the colour. I don't know whether they've managed to source another one from somewhere since then.

    If you manage to get hold of one, please let me know.
     
  15. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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  16. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Frank,

    Nae joy I'm afraid, they told me exactly what you have just posted.

    Photoformulary may not be much use being in the U.S, I'm in Scotland.

    I did have a wee chat with silverprint, and along with all the other research etc I've decided I should really go the HCA route.
    Waiting for my Kodak HCA to arrive, once I have that and I've read the packet and re-read the Ilford files I'll decide my final routine.
    Should be something like,1 minute rapid fix, 10 minute soak in HCA, 15 minutes in running water, into the selenium, followed by 30min wash in running water or maybe up to an hour at this time of year, then off to dry.
     
  17. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    If i remember correctly ; Ilford recommends 10 minute was, then HCA then 10 minutes of wash again. This is after the inital fix step.
    Because selenium has fixer in it, I just repeat that step after toning, 10/15 minute wash, HCA for 10 minutes and then a re-wash.
     
  18. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Ann,
    Yup I'll need to re-read the Ilford pdf file, may well be as you describe.
    Ilford also recommend a striaght from fix to selenium/wash aid mix but I'll skip that as it's gonna cost in selenium.
     
  19. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    I double checked my notes last night at the lab. (too much fixer to the brain). And we are using TIm Rudman's suggestion, which comes from Ilford. after inital fix. wash 5 minutes , HCA 10 minutes, wash 5. Sometimes the wash time may be ten minutes if I get busy and forget to switch , I don't feel a few minutes longer will hurt, altho too long a wash is not good.
    After toning I repeat the above. I rarely tone in line. Like to gather up a batch and tone in one setting.
    Just need to soak dry prints in water for a few minutes to soften the paper.
     
  20. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    As I said on "that other forum", I've seen no downside at all to TF-4 fixer. I simply develop the print, then a 30 sec. rinse in running water, then into the TF-4. No need for HCA, just a 15 minute wash. Then, into the selenium. Although I had nagging stain problems before TF-4, I've had nary a stain on a fiber print since. Is there a direct correlation? I don't know. It's so much easier that I am a little surprised that TF-4 hasn't become more popular.

    Does anyone know of a company that brings Formulary products into Gareth's part of the planet? They're a fine company, and I like to support them. Good stuff, too: I use WD2D+ and 130 paper developer.
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I bought a bottle of TF-4 from Monochrom in Germany. Maybe Silverprint carries it as well?

    I have to admit that I don't support Formulary that much. I wanted to compare TF-4 with my own mix: TF-4 wins barely on speed, my own is a clear winner on smell. And I thought that was bad - I'd have to get a very much better ventilation system for my darkroom if I were to use TF-4 on a regular basis!
     
  22. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Ole,
    what's your fixer mix, if you don't mind sharing?

    Jeremy
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I will share, as soon as I've tested a few prints to destruction. So far it works, it works well, and it's a lot cheaper than TF-4 or any other commercial mix. It ramains to be seen how well it fixes, I need to run a few more tests. I don't want to be blamed if your prints all start rotting :wink:
     
  24. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    ann,

    Ah ha, Tim Rudman.
    I've heard a romour that Santa has reserved one of the last copies of the current print run of his photographers master printing guide.
    Been looking for this book for a while.
    I wasn't keen on HCA as it's another big tub of solution, another step and another tray. My darkroom is tiny, only the Nova 12x16inch fiber processor I recently purchased makes a big print possible. Print washing is in the bath in the bathroom.
    Most people seem to stress the importance of HCA, and I guess it should save time overall plus make me feel more confident about the washing.
    So there will now be two 12x16 trays in the bath.
    I take it one tray half full of HCA will clear a number of prints.

    Meanwhile I hope santa really has got that bloomin book for me.