In a selenium toning discussion I saw a reference to a non-staining alkaline fixer (Formulary TF-4) that eliminates the need for a hypo clearing bath. Is it suitable for routine print fixing as well as for selenium toning? Any other benefits and/or disadvantages? Does "Formulary" refer to a generic mixture?
It can be used as a regular fix. It also can be used for film. The only problem people have had seems to be if your water supply is akaline to begin with. Then it tends to leave a white powdery residue.
TF-4 fixer is a product of Photographer's Formulary, and is as far as I know a proprietary formula. I use TF-4 for all fixing tasks, i.e. film, RC paper, and fiber paper. I think it's a great product, and have thus far seen no downside to it. It's particularly helpful in printing with fiber paper. As to "non-staining": from what I've read, selunium stains occurs as a reaction to residual acidity in paper from typical rapid fixers. I used to get stains; now I don't.
Formulary is located in Montana, seems to be a small company, and is dedicated to B&W photography. I also use their 130 paper developer. It's great stuff, and the working solution lasts for months. I'm also experimenting with their WD2D+ pyro/metol film developer. In fact, as we say in the South, I'm fixin' to whip up some WD2D+ here in a few minutes.
Anyway, I like to support Formulary to the extent that my meager photo budget permits, as I do with Ilford and some of the other few companies that are committed to traditional B&W.
Bill Troop. co-author of the Film Developping Cookbook and designer of TF-4 states that alkali fixes washes much quicker than acid ones.
There's a public formula also by Bill Troop, TF-3.