Wet mount enlarging ?
Any of you guys ever try wet mounting with kami fluid (or some other kind of wet mount agent) between two panes of glass (or some custom glass holder or something)? Think it would help to alleviate dust/scratches? I have a hard time cleaning with neg cleaners, I always end up scratching the neg, or I get streaks.
Never heard of that. Seems like it would make a mess of the negatives. Have you tried printing with a diffusion enlarger light source? You should not need to use any negative cleaner unless you accidentally get tape residue or oil on the negatives. In fact, you should not have to touch the negatives with anything other than some pressurized gas or a brush unless some accident has happened to the negatives.
Carlwen once made a line of fluid-mount carriers, which still sometimes turn up in battered condition.
Any competent machine shop with CNC could make you a set. It's the best way to supress rings & dust.
At this level of precision, you'd want plano-perfect optical glass to avoid secondary reflections. I never
went for it due to all the potential mess and cleanup headaches. If you can't get glass clean now, spending a thousand bucks on a custom carrier isn't going to change anything.
I use a glass carrier and clean the glass and the nev with PecPads. Even in my dusty basement I rarely have any major spots. If any they are tiny even on 16x20s.
Kami fluid is mostly naphtha which is lighter fluid and available at any drug store. I use it for fluid mount scanning.
Wet mounting in analog enlarging is generally used to minimize the appearance of fine scratches on a negative, and to eliminate Newton rings that can sometimes be problematic with glass carriers (depends on the film too). It is essentially a last resort or "rescue" process.
If you're printing 35mm, Leitz Focomat enlargers are razor sharp. I remember printing color prints on one and the grain on the print was like colored sand. Too sharp for my taste.
I used to use paint thinner between negative and glass. Just one glass surface to deal with. No effect on the film.
Glass cleaning is worth learning to do well because so much depends on a clean surface. I used to use Windex and Kodak lens cleaner by the gallon. Most important is a lint free cloth or paper towel like Kimwipes.
I have recently tried "Lysol General purpose cleaner" (apple flavour so my glasses taste good) for cleaning my glasses with amazing results. I take 2 sheets of TP fold to 1/4 sheet size and spray on a fine mist to one side of the pad. I wipe each lens surface from 1 side to the other with no pressure. No residue or drying marks. The coating on the lenses is still pristine after 1 year of doing this every morning. The coating generally disappears in a month or so if you rub the lenses when cleaning.
I couldn't agree more.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
You can still get dust while floating negatives. Dust spot problems can result from too thin negatives (low density), reusing wetting agents, handling the film while wet, and drying them in a less than clean environment. I'm constantly warning my students not to look at their film until it's dry and sleeve it immediately.
I put an eye dropper full of wetting agent in the film tank after the last wash and discard that wetting after using it two, three times on the same day. Prior to printing, I breathe on the film and wipe it gently with an anti static cloth.
Thin negatives that require less than the exposure to create deep black, will often reveal dust and scratches that would "burn away" with greater exposure. Also increased contrast in the printing paper will reveal more defects than may otherwise be apparent. Printing negatives in oil or other liquids is really messy. IMHO.
If you have an old or less than perfect negative, such tactics work well. The good news is that you don't need to add the glass sandwich.
A bottle of No-Scratch is one of those great little tools to keep in the darkroom.
If you are only working with up to med format negs you could devise an inexpensive fluid mount experiment using appropriate Gepe glass "slide" mounts. But after I'm done using cleaner and a no-mar
scrubber on my enlarger glass, I rinse it off in running water (I have soft water, but if you don't, you
should used distilled), then blow any remaining water droplets off with a nozzle from my compressed
air line. There are various ways to clean glass, and probably a number of past posts on this subject.
I always mount the negs in a sandwich of glass on both sides, because it is the only reliable way to
get consistently sharp prints; but some people obviously prefer other methods.