Thanks for all the great info. FYI Hypam is mixed 1-4 with the second bath always a fresh mix. HCA is mixed fresh and used once only. Sounds like i need to increase my fix time and maybe try Doremus suggestion of going straight from the fix to toner. Could this be a PH issue?
I see that Ilford does recommend a 1 minute treatment in film-strength(?) rapid fix. I think the theory is the fix won't get into the paper base and less wash time is needed.
Originally Posted by cr frank
I use two baths of 2-3 minutes each in 1:9 paper-strength rapid fix. I don't get staining - but that isn't just because of a two-bath fix.
1-bath fixer regimes have very low capacity. I have heard figures as low as 8 8x10 sheets / gallon for archival processing. Fixer maintains it's ability to dissolve silver halide for a very long time so the capacity for non-archival processing is much higher.
2-bath fixing has 10 times the capacity when processing to archival levels. The purpose of the second fixer is to get rid of the remnants of the first silver-loaded fixer.
Staining is usually caused by silver in the emulsion. That means either the paper wasn't fixed or silver-bearing fixer wasn't removed from the paper.
Staining can also happen if an acid print is placed in the alkaline Se toner which will cause metallic selenium to form in the emulsion. If a print has been treated in HCA then it should be neutral/slightly alkaline. Processing regimes that go straight from the fix to the toner need to use an alkaline fix - but there is still a risk of staining if the last fixing bath isn't silver-free.
I make a selenium toning bath with Sprint ARCHIVE Fixer Remover. Never seen a stain.
"What drives man to create is the compulsion to, just once in his life, comprehend and record the pure, unadorned, unvarnished truth. Not some of it; all of it."
- Fred Picker
Nicholas has it exactly right.
Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan
I should qualify my suggestions by noting that I use my fix to a bit less than published capacity and that I wash thoroughly between the first and second fix. The 1+9 rapid fix seems to be neutral enough in pH that staining is not an issue, and my prints are silver-free enough by the time they hit the second fix that residual silver does not seem to be a problem either. If I get even a hint of staining, the fix gets changed; that hasn't happened to me for years now, however.
If you are using your fix 1+4 as you state, then your problem is easily diagnosed: insufficient fixing. Try two minutes per bath and see what happens.
This might be nitpicking and I'm sorry for that, but one terminology issue just bugs me in this discussion so much that I cannot resist on commenting. Just like the traditional hypo vs. hypo clear confusion.
Fixer does not (or at least should not!) remove or dissolve silver, and there should be silver in the paper after processing if you want images.
Residual silver halides are the problem.
Maybe mixing up silver and silver halides is more usual in BW because there is no practical use for term "residual silver", but in color processing "residual silver halide" and "residual silver" are both in use and have different meanings. Even if we ignore color, it still sounds funny to me that "BW print should have no silver" ...
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Doremus, 1 minute in fresh Ilford Rapid Fix or (Hypam) is enough according to Ilford. If OP is doing 1 minute each in a fresh two-bath Hypam fix this is even more fixing.
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
I can't see how this is a pH issue either since Ilford recommends going straight from full strength Rapid/Hypam Fixer (1+4 dilution) into Selenium Toner diluted with working strength hypo clearing agent.
Charles, how old is the Hypam concentrate? Perhaps it has gone bad, meaning even if you mix fresh working solutions they are not doing the job.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 05-15-2012 at 12:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"Charles, how old is the Hypam concentrate? Perhaps it has gone bad, meaning even if you mix fresh working solutions they are not doing the job."
It is fresh out of the bottle.....i use this as a one shot so i go through a lot of fix. Could be a bad batch, never thought of that. Never had this problem till i switched from Forte to Ilford.
lots of good information here...thanks guys
Just increase the time to 2+2 or 3+3 mins, change nothing else, and report back to us! It would be interesting to hear.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
The one-minute recommendation is for fixer 1+4, I see now that Charles is using that dilution (I was assuming he might be using 1+9 as I do...), so, yes, one minute per bath should do the trick, especially if one does not include the drip-time. Same for the pH issue. I was unaware that Ilford recommended going straight from 1+4 Hypam/Rapid Fix to selenium toner. I thought maybe a higher concentration of fixer might have a more acid pH.
Still, the staining Charles is getting sounds like inadequate fixing, for whatever reason, so, making sure the fixer is fresh, being sure not to use it past capacity and even increasing fixing time a bit are reasonable things to try to fix the problem.
I have yet to test the full-strength work flow with residual hypo and residual silver halide tests (thanks hrst, good point), but have done so with the 1+9 dilution and 2 minutes per bath. I'm sure the latter works for me anyway.
Charles, just do a quick clip test to see if your fixer is still active (it does have to be diluted to work correctly, though, so don't test the concentrate!). If film clears in about 30 seconds in fresh fix, your concentrate is just fine.
Agree it does seem like a fixing issue. I just can't figure out what's going wrong based on the info we have so far. Good idea to do the clip test.