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  1. #1

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    Selenium toner + HCA - order matter?

    Hi there,

    I think that I may well have answered my own question but I would like some input from fellow toners!

    Using MGWT and Ilford selenium toner I have got used to the time & colour shift at my chosen dilution - I have recently introduced Kodak HCA into my print workflow. I used the HCA before toning and the results were not as expected - litle colour shift and extended times. Thinking that the toner might be exhausted I tried sone scrap test prints from the same printing session, these had barely had a wash just a rinse in a water bath but they toned exactly as expected, so toner ok.

    The only difference is the use of HCA after an initial wash & before toning. Why the difference in results?
    From my results I will use HCA after toning not before but what is the reason?

    Apologies if this is a really daft question.
    Sim2.

  2. #2
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    You can actually selenium tone right after the fixing stage, and some photographers do. I give my prints a brief wash though first, as I see no reason to get fixer into the selenium toner if not necessary. So a brief wash for 5-10 minutes in running water after the fixer then selenium tone, then brief wash again, then HCA then final wash. You're all set!
    Last edited by brian steinberger; 01-21-2012 at 10:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I fix,, wash then HCA, wash then tone.

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    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Not sure why you saw a color shift. You can use HCA before as well but you don't have to. I've never seen a color shift when using HCA before selenium toning.

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    Maybe the Hypo fills and blocks the pores? That was my best shot at chemistry LOL!

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    Yep, I normally give an initial rinse before toning then a final wash and am happy with the results, it is my introduction of the HCA before toning that has thrown my regime off kilter - obviously this is the wrong order but why? What is the HCA doing to the prints to affect the toning stage so much. I did not think that residual fixer was needed for selenium toning but seems it is.

    *Edit* There was no colour shift when or after being in HCA, prints were as before. There was less than expected colour shift when selenium toning after the HCA than when toning without any HCA.

  7. #7
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    I use the method outlined in Minor White's book on The Zone System. I give my prints a second fix, no hardener, and then go directly into selenium toner that has been diluted with a working solution of hypo clearing agent (HCA). I've used Kodak HCA, Perma Wash, and Sprint Fixer Remover successfully as well. Then a water rinse, then another bath of HCA, no toner, and then the final wash.

  8. #8

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    Here I am on my toning soapbox again....

    Anyway, there are a couple of issues here to discuss. First, I can see no advantage whatsoever to having an wash-aid (HCA) bath before toning. A wash aid's purpose is to help the prints wash faster, not tone better (in fact, as the OP observes, it can possibly affect toning). Since selenium toner solutions have fixer in them, along with other chemicals, the benefit of using HCA is likely negated somewhat by toning afterwards. Use the HCA just before the wash, as it was intended.

    Also there is the question of mixing HCA with the toner. This practice was advocated by Adams, White and others, but has no practical benefit either. And, if you are judging the life expectancy of your toner solution by the life expectancy of the HCA mixed into it, you are likely tossing a lot of still active toner, which is wasteful and environmentally unsound (even municipal sewer systems don't deal well with heavy metals and they just end up in the sludge, making it toxic to a degree).

    It may be that the wash-aid before or during toning does not affect its performance, but given the environmental concerns, I think best practice would be to use the toner to exhaustion before discarding (or replenish it) and use a separate wash-aid step. In the "old" days, people were simply not as environmentally aware.

    FWIW, my work flow is to double fix, and transfer the print fro the neutral-pH second fixing bath directly into the toner, after about a 30-second drain. This does carry a bit of fixer into the toner, which may reduce it's capacity marginally. I've never experienced any problems doing this (nor did Adams or White) except when the prints were not adequately fixed, in which case staining results (actually a good check on whether the prints are adequately fixed). After toning the prints receive a 10-minute bath in a wash-aid (I mix my own) and then go to the wash. My toning solutions get replenished when the toning times get too long by adding a bit of stock solution. The solution is stored and filtered before using it again. I have a couple of gallons of toner (strong and weak), which have been going like this for way more than 5 years. No problems and all the prints pass residual silver and hypo tests with flying colors and I never have to discard toner.

    Best,

    Doremus

  9. #9
    clayne's Avatar
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    Double fix, place in holding tray, tone at end of session, and then wash.

    Or alternatively, single fix, holding tray, double fix and tone at end of session, then wash.

    I use the latter, no issues unless fixer is on last leg (which won't help you either way, washing first, hca or not).
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #10

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    the question of mixing HCA with the toner. This practice was advocated by Adams, White and others, but has no practical benefit either.
    I agree with this poster and his fix/toning procedure with one exception. Rinse prints between the second fix and toning step for NLT 5 min. Follow Ilfords procedures.

    Using either an acid stop/acidic fix will slow toning and results in black particles in selenium. TF-4 or another alkaline fix expands the print gelatin and mitigates silver particles building up in the toner. Possible print stains are avoided; the prime reason Adams used a wash aid with toner. This is now an out of date practice.

    The only difference is the use of HCA after an initial wash & before toning. Why the difference in results?
    From my results I will use HCA after toning not before but what is the reason?
    The post fix wash aid step will allow a shorter, safer wash to eliminate trace hypo which is part of the selenium formula.
    Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 01-23-2012 at 09:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    RJ

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