I picked up Lee Valley's version of Renaissance Wax, Conservator's Wax. I checked the Dmax which was 1.19 (not a very high Dmax to begin with but that's what this print was), and scanned it. I rubbed on a thin coat, buffed after it had dried. Applied another thin coat and buffed when dried. Checked the Dmax and it read 1.26. So, there is a slight increase in Dmax but visually I couldn't see the difference. It does look a bit richer, but that's probably due to the sheen.
I have scans of before and after, but the difference between the two is so subtle I couldn't see the difference on the monitor.
Would Dmax increase with more coats? It didn't for me. In fact, it decreased to 1.22 after of 6 coats. Visually, I couldn't see this loss. The image did look juicier though. Two coats was good enough. Have any of you waxers out there experienced this loss of Dmax before? Perhaps someone smarter than me can explain. It reminds me of when selenium toning silver prints that papers after a certain time, will begin to lose Dmax.
I have to agree with Sandy's opinion that waxing does not bring the print back to when it was "wet". Just place a waxed print beside a just processed print of the same image and you will see.
I'm going to make two identical kallitype prints. One will get waxed and the other won't. I'll stick them on my wall and observe the waxed print over time to see if there is any discolouration.
Thanks for reading...
Can't speak for waxing, but Sandy's comment wasn't just about waxing -> he said "tried all the methods"... Try Hydrocote Polyshield Clear Gloss first (its effect is well documented among b&w inkjet printing community) and then draw the final line. With that product, you should get someting like log 0.3-0.4 increase in dmax.
regarding brom silver printing; when last year I actually made some baryta prints, I tried glossy and matte surfaces and decided that on the whole, I liked matte better - also because they are easier to hand-colour, should I want so.
Katharine and Loris,
Regarding gum prints, with my technique of fixing the paper on a rigid substrate in order to re-register for larger prints, I found I have to varnish them in order to keep the gum from somewhat dissolving again in the hot water bath which is necessary for separating the paper again from the substrate. I used some semi-matte varnish which did not make the prints glossy, nor did it actually obscure the paper surface, it added a silky sheen. I printed a small portfolio last year which was exhibited twice, once in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, and this winter/spring in the Anthropological Museum, Munich. As I said, this was first by necessity, but I noted an increased luminosity of my prints at home. The ambient light particularly in the Pergamon Museum was somewhat difficult, and even though I had no direct comparison, because all my prints I brought there were varnished, I was very pleased how well they fared there, also being under glass.
All the same, I am somewhat concerned about permanence. For me, the permanence of alt prints is an issue, and I don't want to compromise this through the varnish. On the other hand, a varnished print may possibly also be exhibited without glass. I cannot help thinking this adds an immediacy to many prints, of mine, at least.
Sandy and Andrew, I have never tried waxing, and I don't know how a waxed print looks in comparison to a varnished one. I note that varnishing may bring you back not the whole, yes, but a part of the lost luminosity (I have varnished reject prints partly to check that). I do not have a reflection densitometer, but my point is also not so much about measurable dmax. Of course, then again it is question whether one still likes the feel of a print.