I just tried Michael A. Smith's amidol formula for enlarging paper with Cachet/Maco Expo RF today, and I really like it. Expo naturally produces a solid black, but still very open shadows, and it's even better with amidol. These are the prints I'm sending for the group print exchange.
Where did you buy the Cachet paper? I bought some grade 3 and 4 last month and they were fogged.
What paper developer are you using with the Cachet? Have you tried adding some Benzotriazole to your working developer?
I've bought Cachet papers at B&H and Freestyle (www.freestylecamera.com). Freestyle has a better selection in stock.
I've bought old Cachet photo linen for cheap from J.B. Hunt, and it does tend to show more fog than other papers if it's old. I'm not sure if Expo has the same problem.
Some Cachet papers don't respond well to certain soft or warmtone developers (like Selectol Soft and Neutol WA), so try a different developer with the stock you have. If you're getting high base fog, you can also add benzotriazole as Tom recommends and/or increase your exposure and reduce your development time, preferably to under 1 minute.
I use 130 paper developer from PF, diluted 1:1. I developed the paper for 3 minutes because the image did not start to show up until about 1 minute. The grade 4 turned grey. The grade 3 paper, while not as bad as the grade 4, had a shade of grey on it. I have been using this developer/development time on Ilford and Oriental papers for a few months and have never had this problem.
Which grades do you guys use?
B&H did not have Cachet papers in stock. I bought them from Freestyle and they took them back and refunded me promptly. Great service.
You really need to get a few different devlopers like the ones suggested and give them a try comparing prints from the same negative. You cannot go wrong trying Ansco 130, i think you will find it makes richer prints especially on Oriental IMHO. I also liked the quality on Agfa Warmtone but did not see an appreciable difference between 130 and Dektol on Agfa Neutral FB. But of course what I like in a print may vary from you.
Then again looking into other papers might not be such a bad idea.
Got this from the other LF forum:
Hope they get their act together. I do enjoy using Agfa paper for many applications.
Now what did I do with that Rodinal recipe?
I tried Ansco 130 (Photographers' Formulary F-130) and Dektol with several papers: Ilford MGIV FB and Galerie, Seagull VC and graded. I found Ansco 1+2 and Dektol 1+2 to be virtually indistinguishable with the Ilford FB papers. That statement is based on subjective inspection of prints as well as quantitive measurements on test strips with a densitometer. If there really was a difference between the two developers with the Ilford papers, it was that prints developed with Ansco might have slightly warmer blacks - certainly not an effect which jumped out at me.
Max black might have been a bit darker with Seagull than Ilford - have to go back and check my notes, don't use Seagull too often so my memory of those tests isn't so clear.
The F-130 is a lot more expensive per print, but the stock seems to keep better than Dektol stock - that's even with Dust-Off blown into my storage containers to displace oxygen. The F-130 got very brown by the activity didn't seem to degrade. I'm not so confident saying that about Dektol.