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Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Fintan, Jul 12, 2004.
Can anyone recommend a fibre dryer that will dry up to 20x16?
My advice would be to dry fibre prints on drying racks rather than use heat for you will run the risk of buckling prints on flat bed driers.
Hi Les, I see Silverprint sell the mesh, have you any idea how to make racks from it?
I had a carpenter make me wooden frames to a specified size and attached the mesh using heavy duty industrial staples along the 4 sides of the frame. it is quite easy to stretch the mesh once you have attached it to one side and because the staples are along the side there is no chance of any contamination to the print. I have an area under a bench in my darkroom where I have mounted the frames on drawer runners so that they slide in and out for loading.
Sorry for all the questions but, I have a nice area of approx 120cm long and 80cm deep, do you think that would be too wide to keep the mesh tight, I assume if it sags in the middle its useless for keeping prints flat. Do u think the mesh would tear if I had to stretch it tight enough?
I think 120cm is too long but 80cm sqaure would be fine. The mesh is quite strong and would stand being tightly fixed.
Thanks Les, I've only been using fibre occasionally up to now [I know its better but being brutally honest my photography hasn't been good enough to justify the time/expense]
Thankfully I've taken a step upwards and my prints now deserve the fibre treatment and I even have my first solo exhibition in November. If you ever have a little time to spare could you please provide some more info on your drying/flatening process.
I remove surplus water from both back and front of the paper using a print squeegee, unfortunately not available in the UK, and lay the print face down on the drying rack. The print is laid face down to help keep it as flat as possible during the drying process as the emulsion dries at a different speed from the heavier paper base. The room temperature is quite low so that the prints dry slowly usually it takes a few hours.My prints, dried as described, have a slight curl which is taken out by putting them into a flat bed mounting press at medium temperature for about 1 minute.
much appreciated, thanks. I'll look out for a good squeegee. Most seem to specify them as being for Resin Coated paper, I assume the rubber harms the print in some way.
I assume the rubber harms the print in some way.
Only if you ruff up the print. If you can not find a commercial one, try your auto parts store for a wiper blade. We call them windshields wiper blades.
As Lee says rubber only harms the print if you manage to kink it. My Squeegee has a very heavy wedge of rubber attached to a plastic pipe and was purchased in the US. They are made in Chicago I think. Lee's suggestion to buy a wiper blade is good, that's what I used for many years until I had some money to burn?
I made drying frames to slide into my drying cabinet using do it yourself window screens from Home Depot. They are extruded aluminum rails you cut to size, plastic corners that the rails plug into, rubber bead to hold the mesh in and the mesh itself, standard nylon black mesh. It was very easy work, just took a little time to get the knack of proper tension on the mesh and it will disassemble if a mistake is made.
the first drying rack I made was made out of artists canvas strechers. They were bought at an artists store here in Cowtown,TX USA. Garys idea is much better and cheaper. I need to make a new set as mine are starting to warp after 10 years. The strecher frames are still good though.
I've finally got the mesh ordered.
Would 2 inch by 3/4 inch planed white deal wood be sturdy enough for 80cm square frames? Given how tight I'm going to have to pull the mesh across it.
[couldnt find any artist stretchers here in Ireland and with our Irish climate we never use window screens]
I note that reference is made to a particular specified mesh. Is there any risk in using ordinary plastic screed sold at the hardware store for replacement on household insect screens?
I have some home screens from storm windows that I use with no problems. Just make sure you use fiberglass and not aluminum. I don't know firsthand of problems with aluminum, but it does oxidize of shed particles over time so I doubt it would be good.
I also use a wiper blade from an old VW Bug for a squeegee (no moveable parts).
The mesh I'm buying is here http://www.silverprint.co.uk/dark26.html
I used 1/2" nylon mesh sold at a garden centre, been no problem for over 20 years.
The one time I tried drying a FB print face down on a screen (Okay, it was a towel! I was experimenting!) it curled like a Scottish Olympic hopeful. I now dry them clipped back to back on a line which minimises the curl but now they warp like the Starship Enterprise (all right, enough of the crap similes!).
Basically, I still haven't found a method that works for me, I have no press and a couple of sheets of museum board and all my reference books took weeks to flatten them. I know Aggie recommends ironing them, which I've yet to try (despite being male I'll give it a go!).
All suggestions on this thread very welcome...!
Frank when you tried drying them face down did you remove the excess water from both back and front of the print, if not that's one reason why they curled significantly. Another factor in the equasion is not to use too much heat in the room where you are drying them. Normal room temperature is OK. A slow rate of drying is much better than a fast one. The reason the print curles is that the emulsion dries at a different speed from the actual paper base which is why you place the print face down, the weight of the paper base helps keep the print reasonably flat. I have used drying screens for over 20 years and my prints dry much flatter than when hung back to back as you do. However, you will never get them to dry perfectly flat so you're going to have look out for a dry mounting press.
listen to Les as he is speaking the truth. Some humidity helps along with the slow drying. I just did some prints on single weight Azo and squeegeed them front and back and then face down on the screens. Nearly flat when dry and only required a little time in drymount press.
Thank you, Les!
I think that's me stopping off at Halfords before my next FB print session and also keeping a beady eye on ebay.
I just use a simple squeegee from a dollar store. (I think it was made for cleaning the water off your shower...) The rubber has stayed effective for years now and doens't scratch the print surface or leave a mark.
The same thing labeled "photo" would more than likely cost 10X more...
I, too, have dried my prints on window screens and still got some curl on the fiber prints. What I noticed is that the print side gets completely dry but the back may be very slightly damp. I don't know if this is sacrilegious, but I take them at that very-very-slightly-damp stage and sandwich them between two pieces of scrap archival mat board, weight them down and let them finish drying. They seem to dry perfectly fine with no damage to the image...and they're really flat. Your thought?
Just a quick note to say I just picked up a 16" Ettore squeegee from B&Q for £4.65
I'll try it out tomorrow and report back once the prints are dry