Try the following,
Put the negative in the enlarger and focus the image on your easel, using the full width of whatever size paper you're using. I'm assuming it's likely 10x8 or 12x8 (in.).
Set your enlarger for grade two, either with built-in filters, or Ilford filters.
Get a piece of cardboard or other opaque paper that is more or less the size of your enlarging paper or larger. The envelope the paper comes in will work well if you have nothing else.
Set your timer for 3 seconds.
Set the lens at f/11
Make sure the enlarger's red filter is not in place.
Turn off your white lights and switch on your safelight
Put a sheet of paper in the easel. Most papers curve gently towards the emulsion side. If it's a glossy or pearl/luster surface paper the emulsion side will be shiny and reflective even under the safelight.
Expose the entire sheet for 3 seconds.
Cover about 25 mm of the long dimension and expose again for 3 seconds
Repeat until you run out of room.
Process the paper for at least 1 minute in fresh paper developer.
You should have an image ranging from very light to very dark with one or two sections that look more or less ok. Now you can count by 3 to that section, and make another print at that exposure time.
If you don't have an image, then something else is wrong, the paper is still upside down, or you are using the wrong developer, or there is some other chemical or material problem.
If the entire test sheet is too dark then stop the lens down (bigger number) one stop and repeat.
If the entire sheet is too light, try f/8 on the lens.
Before you turn on the white (room) lights make sure the paper is back in it's plastic bag and in the envelope or box.
Let us know what happens.
I'm wondering if the OP does not have an easel.
I did another check, just to be sure, and according to the info at Freestyle (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/tl_tec...t.php?id=8&p=2) there is no need for a "grade 2" filter when aiming for grade 2 contrast - even with a Meopta enlarger.
I wonder if this is a possible reason for his difficulties?
As I understand it MG4 RC prints as grade 2 without a filter, as does most MC paper, but I personally would always use a filter to obtain the correct grade as in my experience with MG type papers you do not get a ''true'' grade with out the correct filters, if you compare an unfiltered print and one with the 2 filter you can see a marked difference, besides which, why would Ilford include a G2 filter if it was not needed, besides which I understand the OP problems started when he was trying to make a print without any MG filters, and could not get a decent print,
Jst had a look at your freestyle page, doesn't make sense to me, every other list, including Ilford themselves, give colour head settings for G2, in fact every list this side of the world gives 2 settings, one for simple setting, where the grade speeds are not the same, and one where the speeds are matched for grades 0=4, I am looking at one such now from a box of paper, and there is a setting for G2, so it must be needed.
Originally Posted by Arkasha
Beats me. I've got several references that indicate no filters are required to achieve grade 2.
Edit - checked out this Ilford informational pdf - http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/...0201152306.pdf - and it also reads "0" filtration for G2.
See the "single colour filter settings" table. I can see where you claim filters are used, but I think that's in the case where the user wants to not have to change exposure times with grades.
You can use no filters for a rough G2 but the time will be approx half when using a filter. What this means is that if you decided you do need a filter to get to G1 or G3 then your unfiltered time is little use to you.. You will need to start the test strip process again with the filter. That's why people generally recommend when using 'Ilford' multigrade filters (or equivalent) use a filter at all times. If your enlarger has inbuilt filtration (Cyan, Magenta & Yellow) then you can either dial in the suggested amounts to maintain equal exposure, or dial in whatever you require and alter the time to suit.
As for the original problem... I suggest making sure you can get a full black on your paper 1st. Take a small piece out (don't forget to close the box) and turn the white lights on. Delevelop it for the full time. If it's not black then your paper is probably inkjet media, or your developer is not developer.
If that works, then test that you know which side of the paper is emulsion. What (manufacturer & surface) are you using? When did you buy it? Under safelights take another piece out and draw a line across it with a pen. Cut it in half and put one piece each way up (one with line showing, one without) under the enlarger. With no negative in and no filtration, blast them with lots of light... say 1min @ f4.5 on your lens. Develop them for the full time. One should be black, one white. Check the lines and see which one is on white (the other should be grey to black). That's the non emusion side. Examine them (gloss level, surface feel) and remember which is the emulsion side. As noted above, using gloss paper makes this step redundant as it's obvious. Some matt and even semi-matt papers are hard to see which is the emulsion side.
Once you've got this far, stick a G2 filter in the enlarger. Stop your lens down to f8. Insert a negative and focus. Since you know which side is the emulsion from the previous test, put your paper emulsion side up under the enlarger. Now make a test strip (covering the paper with some cardboard) with 5,5,10,20,40 secs steps. This gives you actual times on the paper of 5,10,20,40,80 seconds, or 5 full stops range. If one of them is not too dark then your enlarger probably has the wrong globe in it or extra neutral density in the light path. If you do have a range of grey sections, then work out which one is what. Write on each section with a pen 5,10,20,40,80. Decide which section is too light and which is too dark. Because the times are whole stops I'm pretty sure one will be too light and one too dark. Say the 2nd section is too light but the 3rd is too dark... that would put the exposure in the 10 to 20 secs range. Do another test strip with an initial exposure of the lower time (eg 10secs in this example) and strips that are the higher time - lower time divided by 5. So for this example, (20-10)/5=2secs. If it was one section more then (40-20)/5=4secs (so base exposure of 20secs and 4 sec strips). Once developed,you should have a good idea of a good time to do a full enlargement. Do a full enlargement next to see the whole image. This may need further tweaking as a base exposure + several timed bursts is not equal to one exposure and you may want to dodge and burn as well.