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  1. #1

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    Polysulfide Toner Question

    I've been working on a print that I selected for polysulfide toning. My test strip gave me the beautify chocolate brown effect I was after. That was a month or more ago. Today what I got was a washed out, yellow-brown effect (yuk!). Any ideas why? I'm using it as an indirect toner on Ilford MGIV FB. Bleach is a diluted (1+5) potassium ferricyanide bleach. I bleached for 7 minutes and barely got the mid-tones to bleach out. The toner is barely used--3-4 8x10 sheets--but over a month old. Everything is the same except the age of the chemicals. I'm planning on making a new batch of bleach and dilute it 1+2. If that's too strong, I can always dilute more. I'm hoping it isn't the toner because I don't have any more liver of sulfur and won't be getting more any time soon.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  2. #2

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    I don't think bleach part goes bad. I'm using the same one for over a year now. It concerns me that your bleach lost activity though...

    I noticed, the re-developer part, the part that turns the page brown sucks air a lot. So something is oxidizing in there. Still, mine lasted over a year and still going strong. I keep it in an air tight container un-diluted. How are you keeping yours?

    It is my experience that MGIV FB does not tone all that well but the result should be consistent.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    I don't think bleach part goes bad. I'm using the same one for over a year now. It concerns me that your bleach lost activity though...

    I noticed, the re-developer part, the part that turns the page brown sucks air a lot. So something is oxidizing in there. Still, mine lasted over a year and still going strong. I keep it in an air tight container un-diluted. How are you keeping yours?

    It is my experience that MGIV FB does not tone all that well but the result should be consistent.
    I thought bleach lasted a long time, too. I was thinking last night, after I posted, that I could add more bromide to the bleach. Perhaps that is why the bleach was reacting the way it did.

    I store the bleach in an airtight, clear plastic 5 liter bottle. The toner is in an airtight, brown 2 liter glass bottle. I have approximately 1.5 liters of toner in the bottle.

    I've also heard that MGIV FB doesn't tone well, but I have so much of it and I want to use it up before it goes bad. My earlier test print using MGIV FB turned a beautiful chocolate brown. I would like to duplicate that colour.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  4. #4

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    One more thing I thought about....

    I use Photographer's formulary kind. With this particular kit, I make a stock solution of A and B where A is bleach and B is the actual sulfide toner. A is used full strength (not diluted) and used over-and-over where as B is diluted quite thin. I don't know what you are using but are you really supposed to dilute bleach part?

    Also, with my toner, the B solution aggressively sucks air - to a point bottle caves in. I wonder if your's had a leak and oxidized?

    With MGIV, it gets to dark chocolate brown (like you said) but I never saw "light and fluffy" brown tone. I use WT paper for that.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I find that the bleach does lose strength over time, but expect that is due to dilution as the addition of wet prints inevitably adds water.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    One more thing I thought about....

    I use Photographer's formulary kind. With this particular kit, I make a stock solution of A and B where A is bleach and B is the actual sulfide toner. A is used full strength (not diluted) and used over-and-over where as B is diluted quite thin. I don't know what you are using but are you really supposed to dilute bleach part?

    Also, with my toner, the B solution aggressively sucks air - to a point bottle caves in. I wonder if your's had a leak and oxidized?

    With MGIV, it gets to dark chocolate brown (like you said) but I never saw "light and fluffy" brown tone. I use WT paper for that.
    I made my own toner with potassium polysulfide (from PF) and sodium carbonate.

    The bleach is a potassium ferricyanide bleach from a Kodak Sepia II package. I dilute my bleach because I find that at full strength it acts too quickly. I can't control the degree of bleaching. Now that I think about it, the bleach probably is older than the toner. I would have mixed the bleach when I was doing some sepia toning well before my trials with polysulfide toning.

    I don't know if the toner has oxidized. Any ideas what it would look like? I know if it is exhausted, it will turn cloudy. Mine is a little dirty from use, but not cloudy.
    Last edited by walbergb; 07-27-2012 at 12:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  7. #7

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    Thanks Matt. I'm off to the darkroom now. I'm going to make up a fresh batch of bleach. I'll start with a low dilution and dilute further if necessary. I'll let you guys know how things turn out. Thanks for all your input.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  8. #8

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    Made fresh bleach and diluted it 1+2. Bleached four step wedges for 30-60-90-120 seconds. Toned for 10 minutes. Slight difference between 30 & 60 seconds, but nothing after 60. 30 second step wedge slightly more brown in the shadows than 60, which turned out reddish-brown. Did a couple of prints at 60 seconds + 10 minutes toning. Reddish brown colour: better than the washed-out yellow-brown I was getting before. Couldn't duplicate the chocolate brown from an earlier test strip though. Tried adding a little more sodium carbonate to the toner, but it didn't make a difference. Time to stop. I might try again with MGIV FB when I get some more potassium polysulphide and can make fresh toner. In the meantime, I will try direct toning Ilford warmtone.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by walbergb View Post
    In the meantime, I will try direct toning Ilford warmtone.
    You can't go wrong with this combination. I recommend selenium toning first. 1:9 for 3-4 minutes is usually enough depending on the print. It helps keep your blacks so they don't get lost during the polysulfide toning.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Brian. I will try the selenium first.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

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