I was going to throw out some of the old papers that were cluttering up my darkroom, but decided to run a few tests before I did something drastic. After all, some of those boxes have been with me since the heyday of duffel coats...
SO, I mixed up a new batch of developer (AGFA 100) and fix (AGFA 304), put my Stouffer 21-step scale in the Durst, hefted my trusty old Ilford EM-10 darkroom meter, and started printing...
My first surprise was how many different papers I actually had. The second surprise was how well they have survived several years in room temperature. The third surprise was how completely and utterly the dead ones are - dead.
I now have a table of exposures (scale steps) for min, mid and max density for 23 different papers and paper/filter combinations, as well as (fourth surprise!) some 25 years old Kodak Graphic Arts film which has a beautiful smooth gradation - not graphic at all...
All right, so I threw out something. A near-empty box of 9x12cm Tetenal TT Vario...
This is good news. Worse case I'll buy a freezer and fill it with a life time of paper and film-)))
Mix a 10% solution of Benzotriazole and start by adding say 10ml to your working developer and you'll find that it will increase the contrast of the old papers that you've decided not to throw away (wise man, this from the world's best! hoarder)
The benzotriazole will also cool down the final print colour. I sometimes use this little dodge to increase the contrast of a current paper if I need to when I have a very low contrast negative and have failed to print the contrast I wish even with a number 5 filter or the hardest single graded paper.
your advice is - as ever - both welcome and appreciated. And I do have a few grammes of benzotriazole put away for just that particular use. But my current printing problem is that I have a few negatives which I "experimented" a bit too heavily with: They're developed in monobath. The contrast is not only astounding, it's beyond what I thought was possible from FP4+... But referring to my notes, I am now going to try printing them on pre-flashed TT Baryte Vario, which of all my great hoard of paper has the most steps from mid-grey to white. If all else fails I'll sepia-tone the lot http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/wink.gif
Another use for old paper. Fix them to get rid of the silver, wash and dry and use them for alternative prcessing. Liquid Light emulsion goes on really well as the paper is already sized. It also worked with Cyanotype as well
So just because that old paper may be foggy there is a hidden life left in it.