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  1. #1
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    Print Washing Alternatives

    So I'm a little stuck. I have a darkroom, and it's doing wonders for my learning in the art of B&W photography. I've got a workflow set up and everything. Now, just like a lot of you, my darkroom is not as decked out as I'd like it to be. Primarily, I have no running water, and no way to quickly access it.

    Now, that brings up an issue. I read that prints must be washed under running, circulating water, or bad things will happen to them. So far, I've just been putting 8x10 RC prints in a 20x16 tray full of water and shaking it around for a few minutes. About every three prints or so, I change the water out with a bucket, but I can only do this once. (I have an hour and a half class period to work in, so I rarely make more than 4-5 8x10 prints in a sitting.)

    So far, no negative results to my naive eye, but I'm wondering if my method risks the quality or longevity of my prints. If I am truly doing something terrible to my prints, I'd like advice on how to improvise a better washing system.
    In other worlds he has
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    Strokes that mix noir revenge
    on waves of grey.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    One change of water is not enough. Can you imerse the prints in a shallower depth of water at a higher temperature, say 25oC and change the water 10 or 15 times? This may help.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    RC prints only need around two minutes under cold running water. The flow rate needs only to be around twelve changes per hour or once every 5 minutes in whatever size tray or container you are using. Do not let RC paper stay in water or chems for very long as it will start to delaminate. FB paper is a different story, I wash mine for around 12 changes of water at 5 minute intervals after soaking in HCA solution.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  4. #4
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    Nope. Cannot leave the room for the entire period. My only source of clean water is a single five gallon bucket. I could change it maybe three times in really warm water.

    Even still, how exactly is it affecting my prints? I don't see any major issues, but then again, none of the prints I've made are more than a month old.
    In other worlds he has
    darker days, blacker swells.
    Strokes that mix noir revenge
    on waves of grey.

  5. #5
    dehk's Avatar
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    Also can use Hypo, it will help shorten it a little bit too.
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    In that case, if there is room for multiple wash trays, you could provide the water changes by putting the paper in 4 8x10 trays of water for a minute each. After a few prints, dump the first try, refill it and put it at the end. That should provide multiple changes of water and very little water use.

  7. #7
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    In that case, if there is room for multiple wash trays, you could provide the water changes by putting the paper in 4 8x10 trays of water for a minute each. After a few prints, dump the first try, refill it and put it at the end. That should provide multiple changes of water and very little water use.
    That is definitely do-able. I'll get a few more trays and start doing that.

    My question goes unanswered, however. Lets say, hypothetically, I decide to wash my prints simply by dunking them in water for ten seconds; what happens to them? (as opposed to traditional washing techniques)
    In other worlds he has
    darker days, blacker swells.
    Strokes that mix noir revenge
    on waves of grey.

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKDobbs View Post
    That is definitely do-able. I'll get a few more trays and start doing that.

    My question goes unanswered, however. Lets say, hypothetically, I decide to wash my prints simply by dunking them in water for ten seconds; what happens to them? (as opposed to traditional washing techniques)
    They don't wash very well, as they are in stagnant water for a short time. You need continuous flowing water or many changes.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKDobbs View Post
    Nope. Cannot leave the room for the entire period. My only source of clean water is a single five gallon bucket. I could change it maybe three times in really warm water.

    Even still, how exactly is it affecting my prints? I don't see any major issues, but then again, none of the prints I've made are more than a month old.
    Rinse the RC prints for about a minute then place them into a drying rack until you are finished printing. Then haul them to the nearest washing station for a final rinse of a couple minutes each. I've been washing my prints this way for years. I allow my FB prints longer in the first rinse after second fix. When I'm ready to wash the fiber prints I resoak in water for a couple minutes then into HCA for recommended time then the resulting wash cycle I described earlier.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  10. #10
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKDobbs View Post
    My question goes unanswered, however. Lets say, hypothetically, I decide to wash my prints simply by dunking them in water for ten seconds; what happens to them? (as opposed to traditional washing techniques)
    The fixer doesn't get adequately washed out and the result can be from stains to image fading completely.

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