Washing without water?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by matti, May 19, 2006.

  1. matti

    matti Member

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    So, I am building this darkroom in the basement. The problem is I am reluctant to install a zink there before I get going and know that I am really going to use the darkroom ennough. As I am primarily planning to print fb-papers and want them to be properly washed, that leaves me with a washing problem. I have a couple of options:

    - Dump the prints in a tank with water, and when the printing session is over, carry it up to the bath tub and wash for 60 mins. My worries with this is that the prints might soak up too much fix laying in the water for a long time before going into the running water in the bath tub. Will this harm the print?

    - Continously take the prints upstairs to wash them in the bath tub or kitchen zink. The problem with this is that it will interrupt the work a lot and I will add new prints to the prints that have been washed for quite some time.

    - Get a proper print washer that can be placed in the basement near the darkroom in the laundry room or small bathroom. This would be nice, but is too expensive right now...

    Anyone in the same situation?

    Matti
     
  2. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    What's your normal work flow for printing? If it's up to 6 hours or so, you can leave your FB prints in the tray without worrying about them absorbing too much fix. Just make sure you rinse the prints enough before putting them in another tray after the fix.

    And rinse the prints in the tray periodically (once every hour or so) until you finish printing.

    Once you're done printing, do the rinse with running water for 5 to 10 minutes, use the Hypo-Clear/Wash Aid for 10 minutes, and finish with 20 to 30 min final wash with a syphon if not a washer. You can do a rinse-and-dump hand wash, too, but that takes more time if that's what you're concerned.

    If you don't have a separate sink for washing prints, it gets harder to continue printing and washing at the same time. So, just make all the prints you need for the day first, and do the wash once. That's how I do it.
     
  3. Matthijs

    Matthijs Subscriber

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    My darkroom is situated in the garage, also without a sink. My workflow is as follows: I have a big bucket filled with water standing in the corner and I dump my prints in it after fixing. After I'm done printing, I wash my prints somewhere else in a sink. When printing takes a long time, e.g. an entire day, it's probably sensible to refresh the water in the bucket a few times.

    I think the first option you mention should be the way to go. Commuting between your darkroom and a sink during a printing session only takes up valuable time you should be spending printing.
     
  4. matti

    matti Member

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    Thank you!
    It should work then. I have a strong sense my printing sessions will start about 9-10 at night and stop at 2-3. Then taking one batch to the bathroom at halftime. seems sensible and doesn't interrupt the workflow.
    /matti
     
  5. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    This about the way I work. However the darkroom is already in the bathroom but I have my large wash tray and siphon set up in the kitchen sink.

    If I'm doing snapshots or postcards (RC paper) then I just keep dropping finished prints into a tub of water. Keep an eye on the clock so that the RC paper wet time is kept below one hour. Makes a nice break to go put things in the wash, sit down, have a soda. Then after wash go back and work some more.

    Larger prints on FB are another story since they can tolerate a longer soak I keep working and don't worry much about the clock.
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I rinse prints for a minute or two after the fix, and then move them to a holding tray. At the end of the printing session, the chemical trays are cleaned and stored away. This leaves room for completing the washing in clean trays. Most of my darkrooms have not had running water, and this system evolved to use as little water as possible without sacrificing quality.
     
  7. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use an alkaline fixer (TF4), being a pyro freak, and it does wash out easier, according to the bottle, at least. I move my prints to a holding tray to rinse before putting them in the washer. This keeps fixer drips and resulting clean up to a minimum.

    One little piece of advice, if you don't already practice it, is to thoroughly let the fixer drain back into the tray when the print is removed. Depending on the paper used, an 11x14, for instance, can hold a surprising amount of fixer in its structure, and sometimes can drip fixer till your arm gets tired.

    This will help keep your holding bath mostly H20.