View Full Version : Making new emulsion from old emulsion

01-02-2010, 10:26 PM
I recently received a large quantity of ancient photo paper. We discussed silver recovery in another thread. Now, I'm thinking of going another route with it. What would it take to strip the silver from the paper, Ilford MG III, make new emulsion, and use it to make dry plates? I have nearly 500 sheets, so there should be plenty of silver there. I'm sure it is possible, but I don't know if it is something I can do in my tiny darkroom with my limited space and resources for doing advanced chemistry.

01-02-2010, 11:08 PM
hey there

you might try to use the paper for 2 other purposes ;)
you can mix a 10% solution of saltpeter ( search CENTENNIAL POP threads and you will read of it )
and make printing out paper from your photo paper. instead of being developing out, you will expose it to
a UV source like the sun and put a negative on it, and use the sun to expose it .
the other thing you can do is use the paper AS-IS for making LUMEN PRINTS. i have never made them but i have seen them. they are quite remarkable!
a google search you will find lumen prints both here and on the interweb.

have fun!

01-05-2010, 04:14 AM
I can't imagine the effort involved to recover a (relatively) small bit of silver would be worth it. Plus, Silver isn't of much use by itself, you need good quality silver nitrate. Concentrated nitric acid to make this would be almost impossible to get these days, very, very dangerous to use and would require fume cabinet / safety clothing etc. Even if you had such things - dissolving a silver spoon in it might be a much easier option. Much easier still would be to buy some silver nitrate... but you are still a long, long way from a working emulsion.

No... can't see that would be viable at all.

jnanian's ideas seem much more practicle...

Steve Smith
01-05-2010, 04:20 AM
I was interested in John's idea of using saltpeter to make POP and found this:

To reclaim silver place the old films, plates, paper, etc., in a porcelain dish, so arranged that they will burn readily. To facilitate combustion, a little kerosene or denatured alcohol poured over the contents will be found serviceable.

Before blowing off the burnt paper, place the residue in an agateware dish, the bottom of which is covered with a solution of saltpeter and water. Place the whole on the fire, and heat it until the silver is separated as a nitrate.

The solution being complete, add to the mass a little water and hydrochloric acid, when in a short time the serviceable silver chloride will be obtained. If the films should not give up their silver as freely as the plates, then add a little more hydrochloric acid or work them up separately. Silver reclaimed in this way is eminently suitable for silver-plating all sorts of objects.

I haven't had any luck finding a printing out paper conversion method yet though. John - do you have a link to anything on this?


01-05-2010, 05:24 AM
Check this out, Steve: