As you are new to the darkroom, PM me your home address and I will send
you the MULTIGRADE manual, should save you a few sheets of paper...
and a few dollars, always handy at baby time.
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
To keep the fumes down you can use citric acid based stop which has no detectable odour (Ilfostop for example) and a low-odour fixer (Agfa FX Universal is probably the most economical with a neutral pH but there are others from Tetenal and Fotospeed and no doubt others). Luckily, most developers (at least the ones I've used) seem to be low in odour.
I use stainless steel tongs with a self-closing spring. They have very grippy plastic tips. I was suspicious when I first saw them but in practice they grip the paper very well indeed - both RC and fibre - surprisingly, much more reliable than using the type you have to press.
Good luck, Bob.
the least toxic combinations of developer chemistries for
both film and paper.
Three chemicals are needed; phenidone, ascorbic acid,
and borax. Ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamine
C. Phenidone is so little toxic that it need not be
mentioned in MSDS sheets.
To be most sure of non-toxic only solutions I suggest
compounding your developers at home from the above
three chemicals plus, for paper developer, a little
For fixer I suggest sodium thiosulfate alone. Sodium
thiosulfate is used as a de-chlorinate for swimming
pools. As a preventative of sulfite caused sulfur
dioxide fuming, do not use it as a preservative
but stir up small but workable volumes and
replace as needed.
Add a water stop, film and paper, and you've an
odorless, fumeless, least toxic darkroom. Dan
I'm not sure the issue is entirely a matter of phenidone's toxicity; I think it's at least partly because phenidone appears in such small quantities. A typical PC developer has about 0.1g of phenidone per liter of working solution, or proportionally more in a concentrate. I've seen many MSDSes that include notes to the effect that substances at under a 1% concentration are omitted. There's about ten times as much metol in a typical MQ developer, by comparison.Quote:
Phenidone is so little toxic that it need not be mentioned in MSDS sheets.
That said, my understanding is that phenidone is among the least toxic of the common B&W developing agents.
If the OP compounds at home she will know exactly what is in
her solutions. Should anything go wrong pinpointing the cause
will be much easier and a remedy more quickly found.
Off the shelf chemistry is laced with ph modifiers, sequestering
agents and ????. Were I in her position I'd seriously consider
compounding at home. Besides it's easy to do and fun. Dan
This is, however, getting rather far from the OP's stated concerns about chemicals: Safety given her pregnancy. For that, a PC (phenidone/vitamin C) formula has an edge over the more common MQ (metol/hydroquinone) formulas, and not handling powdered chemicals is desirable (although simple PC formulas' dry ingredients are unlikely to be very hazardous). The main safety advantage I can think of to mixing it yourself is that you can compound simpler developers and fixers than are readily available commercially, so there's less chance of having an adverse reaction to something in the chemicals.
Stephanie! Congrats on the new (to you) enlarger!!! :D What a perfectly serendipitous thing to have right now. You will have tons of time to practice until the wee one is born!
I can't speak for the chemical make-up of developers & fixers, but I do have some skin problems with my hands, so I use tongs. When I took a toning workshop, I also used disposable nitrile gloves (supplied by our thoughtful Gay Larson). There is no reason you cannot try both if it will ease your mind!
This is very exciting, and RC paper is a good way to go to get the feel of things. I agree with the folks who recommended that you buy a box of 8x10 and cut it down. Remember, that you will need to cut it down in the area you create as your darkroom... erm... while it's dark (safelight on). ;)
I hope you will take Simon up on his offer! That book has tons of good info in it! Good luck & post up your practice prints!
How you doing Stephanie? Did your darkroom get assembled? Have you had much time in it? How is the pregnancy/baby? Everything OK? Sly