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  1. #1

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    Need help with lith printing

    I'm new to lith printing. Matt Blais was over here a couple of days ago to show me the ropes so to speak. We were doing 16 x 20 prints on Ilford MGFB (both glossy and semi matt). I had some lith developer that we used (Rollie). Note that the developer concentrates had been sitting in a half full bottles for a couple of years. We mixed it up at about 1:25 dilution and the first 3 prints or so worked really well. However, after that, we got clumping of the grain as shown in the attached image.

    We tried some other developer (Moersch) and got one good print, but the second one started doing the same thing. Matt hadn't experienced this before in his work and wasn't sure what was causing it.

    So - what could be causing this? Is it:

    - bad developer concentrate that had been sitting in the half full bottles for too long.

    - bad water - we used tap water to mix the developer. Maybe I should use distilled water.

    - couldn't have been the paper because we used sheets from 3 different packages.

    - something else????
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails lith print 10001.jpg  
    Dan's website: www.dandozer.com

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Do you use a separate developing tray for lith printing?

    Leftovers from regular development may affect the lith printing process, and if you use the same trays for both processes, you have to scrub them clean religiously.

    Your tray is the only common denominator.

    One more, do you 'poke' your prints with your tongs to keep them submerged at all? Lith printing is very sensitive to this. But you'd have to have been pretty abusive to get this many marks from tongs...
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #3

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    The tray thing may be the issue. Since I've just started lith printing, I don't have trays dedicated to it. I know that Lith printing is more finicky than normal developer so I'll try to clean things better before trying it again.

    We were very careful with the surface of the prints during developing (no poking at all).
    Dan's website: www.dandozer.com

  4. #4
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Sounds like a plan. I have used Scotch Brite pads that are almost worn out to clean my developer trays in the past, with good success. A tray cleaner such as Edwal is a good product as well, but it is imperative to get all of 'whatever' chemistry remains are on the surface of the trays off before you start your process, since your developer is so dilute.

    Good luck! I really hope this works out for you.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #5

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    I would say, be glad you got any good lithing. Ilford has never been a good paper for me in lith, with the warm tone being an occasional performer. I often get the blotches you show here even with the warm tone, and this may indeed be a symptom of the poking that Thomas mentions.

    This is not the solution to your problem, but it bears mentioning: if you haven't already done so, bleach and redevelop in hot lith--Ilford is much more dependable (warm tone especially). Fairly strong for the first time, bleach in either copper sulfate bleach or potassium ferricyanide bleach, then higher dilution but significantly warmer water for the second pass. Apologies, but I've never measured the temperature of the water for the hot pass.

  6. #6
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Le-qun View Post
    I would say, be glad you got any good lithing. Ilford has never been a good paper for me in lith, with the warm tone being an occasional performer. I often get the blotches you show here even with the warm tone, and this may indeed be a symptom of the poking that Thomas mentions.

    This is not the solution to your problem, but it bears mentioning: if you haven't already done so, bleach and redevelop in hot lith--Ilford is much more dependable (warm tone especially). Fairly strong for the first time, bleach in either copper sulfate bleach or potassium ferricyanide bleach, then higher dilution but significantly warmer water for the second pass. Apologies, but I've never measured the temperature of the water for the hot pass.
    The Ilford Warmtone can be nice in direct lith printing too, but usually you have to tone it afterward. It is actually my primary lith paper. Takes a bit of work, but the results are rewarding, I think.

    The second pass lith is an interesting technique. The trick is to make a standard print that's good, then over-expose it 1/2 stop in the enlarger (open up the lens 1/2 stop and expose for the same time). Then bleach it back almost to completion, and re-develop in hot and dilute lith bath.
    The idea with the 1/2 stop overexposure is that you don't re-develop the print all the way, but stop before it's re-developed to completion, in order to retain more exciting color. Stop, fix, and wash again.
    I agree that the Ilford paper is really very good for this process.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #7
    trotkiller's Avatar
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    Simple fix, don't waste your time using Ilford MGIV FB for lith (unless you want to try the second pass technique mentioned above).

    Get some Ilford MGWT, Fomatone, Fomabrom IV 123, Oriental Warm tone, Adox MCC or even Arista.edu ultra

    You'll enjoy lith a lot more if you use papers that really lith well
    Last edited by trotkiller; 03-20-2012 at 05:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trotkiller View Post
    Simple fix, don't waste your time using Ilford MGFB for lith (unless you want to try the second pass technique mentioned above).

    Get some Fomatone, Fomabrom IV 123, Oriental Warm tone, Adox MCC or even Arista.edu ultra

    You'll enjoy lith a lot more if you use papers that really lith well
    The regular Ilford MGIV doesn't lith well at all. But the warm tone version has been nothing but superb for me, and I will have to disagree with the 'wasting your time' statement.
    I guess we can't all like the same things.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    trotkiller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    The regular Ilford MGIV doesn't lith well at all. But the warm tone version has been nothing but superb for me, and I will have to disagree with the 'wasting your time' statement.
    I guess we can't all like the same things.
    I was only referring to the MGIV, will edit my post to clear that up

    Going to have to go buy some WT now and try it out

  10. #10
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    I have never had any problems with lith printing, using old trays for developing. But I guess I am born under a lucky star.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

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