View Full Version : Collodion question, wet plate advice

12-08-2010, 11:53 PM
Hello, I am new to this forum and (slowly) learning the wet plate process. I am planning to use 8x10 dry plate holders that have been varnished and fitted with a "kit" (a la John Coffer) for both 4x5 and 5x7 plates. I plan to shoot almost all 4x5 plates for the foreseeable future, as i understand it's much easier to learn on the smaller plates and I will have the option to go bigger later. If someone has differing thoughts on what might be a better way to learn I would appreciate it. I'm also beginning to assemble a chemical list and notice some of the collodion and ether suppliers require an ORM-D form? Not sure what all that means but any advice on what paperwork I need to fill out would be appreciated. Finally, I am looking for a rough (read project) 8x10 field camera to use solely for my wet plate work. A kind local gentleman has offered to tutor me in bellows replacement, lens boards, etc., so I am really looking for a rough camera that I can get back to functional working condition. Cosmetics aren't important and I've got lenses. If anyone knows of something I would greatly appreciate it. I've looked on the big auction site and the prices seem high to me for the work necessary to get them back in decent shape. Thank you.

12-10-2010, 09:20 PM
Hi Weegee,
I too am just starting so welcome to the world. I'm flowing half-plate and 5x7 and find the larger size slightly easier, I can control the pour better. But, I've poured mostly half-plate to save on costs while I perfect my technique. ORM-D is a term used for shipping small quantities of hazardous materials. While some suppliers require some sort of paperwork the one I use, Art Craft Chemical does not. However, some of the chemicals sold are not shown on the online order form and you must call. No problem at all and you can have custom quantities shipped. Enjoy.

12-11-2010, 11:55 PM
Thanks 2Bugles. I appreciate the info. I will look into Art Craft, was not aware of them. I like 5x7, too, but like you am trying to keep costs in line while learning the technique so I'll probably start with something a bit smaller. And I think I found a camera to rebuild, so hopefully in the next couple months I'll start making plates. Thanks again.

eddie gunks
12-25-2010, 06:47 AM
use artcraft. best chemical company !

i find 5x7 and 8x10 very easy to work with. smaller plates i find harder than the bigger ones actually. they are too small so it feels like all the pouring happens faster....ie it just takes less tiem to travel end to end on a smaller plate.

5x7 is y favorite and most used wet plate size. enjoy.

did you also get coffer's manual. an invaluable resource.