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  1. #1

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    How badly did I screw up?

    I made a batch of polysulphide sepia toner and put in sodium bicarbonate instead of sodium carbonate. Am I SOL, or can I proceed? Do I need to add the sodium carbonate? Can this toner be salvaged?
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  2. #2

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    Everytime I read a post like this one I am reminded of the short story "The Lady Who Put Salt In Her Coffee" by Lucretia P. Hale

    Mrs. Peterkin accidently puts salt in her morning coffee instead of sugar. She goes about asking everyone how to remove the salt from the coffee. Finally she meets a lady from Philadelphia who listens very attentively, and then asks, why not make a fresh cup of coffee?

    Even if you were to add the sodium carbonate now the pH of the solution may not be correct.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 06-08-2012 at 11:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Adding a very small amount of Sodium Hydroxide solution should do the trick. NaHCO3 + NaOH → Na2CO3 + H2O

    You can calculate exactly what's needed from the MWs

    Ian

  4. #4

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    Thanks Gerald. Unfortunately, I don't have enough potassium polysulphide to make another batch. I might as well run a few sheets through and play around with what I've created.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Adding a very small amount of Sodium Hydroxide solution should do the trick. NaHCO3 + NaOH → Na2CO3 + H2O

    You can calculate exactly what's needed from the MWs

    Ian
    I've got sodium hydroxide. What is the MWs? What I made is

    7.5g potassium polysulphide
    2.5g sodium bicarbonate (supposed to be 2.5g sodium carbonate)
    enough water to make 1000ml (I used purified water)
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You need to add 1.2 g of Sodium Hydroxide, you'll then end up with 3.15g of Carbonate but the excess shouldn't make much differance and the toner will be usable :

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Thank you Ian. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  8. #8

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    I had a similar problem a few years ago. I don't tone my photographs prefering a neutral black tone. However, a particular print that I was going to submit to a contest the next day seemed to require a warmer tone. What to do; no brown toner on hand and it' s sunday, and the print must be submited by 9 am the next day.

    Being a chemist I knew that sulfur would would react with sodium hydroxide. So I mixed the two chemicals together and added a drop or two of water. Within a minute the mixture started to turn orange and become warm. I continued stirring the mixure until there no longer seemed to be any additional reaction. The mixture was a deep brown and smelled like polysulfide toner. I diluted the mixture with water and tried a test print. Within a few minutes the print turned a dark chocolate brown. Just the color I wanted. Well I submitted the print, I didn't win the contest but I was happy with the print.

    The reaction produces a complex mixture of sodium polysulfides and sodium sulfite. Probably similar to what is in liver of sulfur. I don't remember the amounts of each chemical but it was around a teaspoonful of each. Sulfur can be obtained from drugstores or garden stores. Anyone wanting to try this should know that the reaction generates a lot of heat. Use only a heat resistant glass container and stirring rod. You should have an ice bath ready to cool the mixture.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9

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    Thanks again, Gerald. Since I'm out of liver of sulphur and I have lots of sodium hydroxide, I just might try the sulphur-sodium hydroxide formula. BTW, I did like your parable
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    You need to add 1.2 g of Sodium Hydroxide, you'll then end up with 3.15g of Carbonate but the excess shouldn't make much differance and the toner will be usable :

    Ian
    1.2g of sodium hydroxide! I thought you said 12g

    Just kidding. I added the 1.2g and got a good range of browns. Since the print was on MG IV FB paper, I used a weak ferricyanide bleach first. Of course, I don't have the correctly formulated toner to compare my results to, but I got the colour shift I wanted. I plan to run a few sheets of MG Warmtone through the toner (no bleaching stage).

    Thanks again for your help.
    Last edited by walbergb; 06-09-2012 at 12:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

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