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  1. #11
    David Allen's Avatar
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    My sequence for more than 30 years that has always delivered consistent results is as follows (i have reference prints that are this old and I have a few customers who have images of mine framed and hanging in their homes that I occasionally visit. No images have any signs of deterioration):

    Develop for 3 minutes

    Water stop-bath (changed after every two prints)

    Fix bath 1

    Fix bath 2

    5 minutes wash in a tray

    Selenium tone

    Hypo clear / wash aid /what is available or self-made

    60 minutes in an efficient archival print washer (currently Martin's super Silverprint Archival Print Washer with dump facility)

    Air dry on fiberglass screens

    I used to mix the Selenium toner with Hypo-clear and then follow with an additional Hypo-clear bath but met a photographic research scientist many years ago at Photokina who pointed out that:

    1. The Hypo-clear mixed in to the Selenium Toner only had a fixed capacity and this would be exhausted long long before the Selenium Toner lost it's effectiveness

    2. Current research (1990?) was that the Hypo-clear impeded the effectiveness of the Selenium Toner thereby requiring much longer toning times

    3. The Hypo-clear in the Selenium Toner did not increase the efficiency of the separate Hypo-clear bath so why add it to the Selenium Toner?

    Martin of Silverprint used to have a very similar sequence on his website but I couldn't find it to cross-reference.

    Going back to OP's original sequence it must be clearly stated that, for archival quality to be reached, you must use Hypo-clear after Selenium toning and then wash for 1 hour.

    p.s I do not any longer live or shop in the UK and have no shares or special interests in Silverprint other than admiration for the many years (plus Goldfinger days of course) of commitment to excellence in B&W photography.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de

  2. #12
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I would like to avoid any risk at all, so I wash thoroughly between fixing and toning. Usually this happens naturally anyway, since I make more than one print at a time. My print washer has 14 slots, and for the most part I don't stop printing until the washer is full. By the time I put the last print into the washer, I can safely go through and tone all the prints, beginning with the first one.
    I actually have some prints that are only eight or nine years old that have selenium toner / fixer stains on them. I'm not sure of the exact cause of this, but it does motivate me to wash the prints well before any toning takes place.

    Of course, if I use sepia toning, my choice is to do that prior to selenium, in which case I have to wash all of the fixer out of the print prior to bleaching. But that's another story.
    "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. #13

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    Here we go again...

    First, there is no reason to wash prints between a (second) fixing bath and the selenium toner provided that the fixer is not acidic. Ansel Adams recommended plain hypo as a second fix and no intermediate wash before the toner. (Haven't we all read all his books here?)

    Yes, transferring prints without an intermediate wash from acidic fixers to selenium toner will result in stains and reduced toner life. Many commercial rapid fixers, however, are not so acidic as to cause problems. I routinely use Ilford Rapid Fix and Hypam as well as Kodak's Rapid Fix without hardener in the weaker print dilution as my second fixing bath and transfer prints directly to the toner. No problems whatsoever in 25 years.

    Stains will result if your prints are not fixed adequately. You can think of your selenium toner as kind of a down-and-dirty residual silver test; if your prints stain when transferred directly from a not-acidic fix to the toner, it means you have not fixed them adequately and should fix better.

    Now, on to the hypo-clear... Both Kodak and Ilford have (and do) recommend mixing the selenium toner with hypo-clear (or wash aid, if you prefer). This used to be standard practice.

    However, since hypo-clearing agents exhaust much more quickly than the selenium toning solution, one would have to either toss a lot of still-active toner out (and the polluting selenium with it!), or, keep track of the prints and, when the hypo clear in the toner was exhausted, mix and use a separate one. Both of these are lousy options.

    I advocate not mixing selenium toner with hypo-clear, and using a separate hypo-clearing bath after the toner (with or without intermediate rinse, which will extend the life of the hypo-clear). Furthermore, I replenish and keep my selenium toning solutions, filtering them before and after use, thereby never having to dump toxic selenium into the environment (water-treatment plants do NOT remove selenium and other heavy metals from the effluent).

    If you must dump selenium toner, do use it to exhaustion and then toss a few scrap prints in to scavenge the remaining selenium. The resulting solution will at least have less toxic selenium in it when you dump it. Better, however, to just keep it and reuse, adding a bit of concentrate from time to time when toning times get too long. I have two gallons that have been going for well over five years. By the way, after using the old toner, hypo-clearing and washing, my prints pass both residual silver and residual hypo tests with flying colors.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com

  4. #14

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    My former procedure was to fix in a non-hardening fixer (standard or rapid), move prints to be toned into a pure sodium thiosulfate bath for 5 minutes, drain the print, and proceed directly to a KRST/hypo clear bath, followed by a good wash. I never washed prints between the pure hypo and toner/hypo clear bath, and I never experienced stains.

    I eventually changed to separate KRST and hypo clear baths. It makes more sense as far as the process goes.

    Peter Gomena

  5. #15
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    A lot of this depends on one's own workflow and needs. I found it best to tone after I had printed several different images over a period of weeks. So all prints were completely fixed, washed and dried -- then I would pick the best to tone (16x20 prints).

    Due to the rapid and drastic color change that I was dealing with (Portriga Rapid), I had to standardize my process to achieve the exact same color, print after print...I wanted the intermediate color where the paper would go from (ugly) warm-green to beautiful rich reddish-brown to (ugly) purple. My needs were different, so my process was different than many people's.

    Prints fully fixed, HCA'd, washed and dried
    Selenium toner mixed with HCA at 1:16 at about 100 to 110F
    Pre-wet prints
    Put print in toner for 30 seconds, drain for 15 seconds, water rinse
    HCA for 3 to 5 minutes
    Wash for 40 minutes

    Vaughn
    Last edited by Vaughn; 08-09-2012 at 01:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    A lot of this depends on one's own workflow and needs. I found it best to tone after I had printed several different images over a period of weeks. So all prints were completely fixed, washed and dried -- then I would pick the best to tone (16x20 prints).

    Due to the rapid and drastic color change that I was dealing with (Portriga Rapid), I had to standardize my process to achieve the exact same color, print after print...I wanted the intermediate color where the paper would go from (ugly) warm-green to beautiful rich reddish-brown to (ugly) purple. My needs were different, so my process was different than many people's.

    Prints fully fixed, HCA'd, washed and dried
    Selenium toner mixed with HCA at 1:16 at about 100 to 110F
    Pre-wet prints
    Put print in toner for 30 seconds, drain for 15 seconds, water rinse
    HCA for 3 to 5 minutes
    Wash for 40 minutes

    Vaughn
    Vaughn,

    I, too, print a lot of prints, wash and dry (no HCA the first time) and then pick the keepers for toning sessions. I give my prints only the first fixing bath and save the second for the toning session.

    My work flow looks like this:

    Pre-soak prints
    Fixing bath two
    Selenium toner (with no intermediate rinse)
    Wash aid (again, no intermediate rinse; although a rinse would increase the capacity of the wash aid some, I don't need it)
    Wash
    Stabilizer (Sistan or equivalent)
    Dry face-up on screens.

    As to your short toning times: First, 30 seconds seems way too short to get reliably even toning. Using a weaker dilution should give the same results but with more controllable, longer, toning times (eliminating that "rapid and drastic color change"). Also, as you tone, selenium gets used up. Prints at the end of a toning session toned for the same time as the first will exhibit less toning. Toning times need to be extended as the toner exhausts. I always work visually, keeping both toned and untoned prints next to the toning tray for comparison.

    And, as I mentioned above, when the toning times get to long, I replenish my toning solution with a bit of the concentrate.

    Maybe that system will work for you?

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com

  7. #17
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Vaughn...
    Maybe that system will work for you?
    Any system that works, works. Mine worked spot on. I did waste selenium as I did not re-use the bath after toning the prints on hand (perhaps 15 prints in 3 oz of KST:48 oz of HCA). Being a fool, I wanted a system that was relatively fool-proof. It was also the technique taught to me by Thomas Joshua Cooper when he was teaching here at the university...so I stuck with a method that worked for me. To be frank -- I have never passed on this technique to students. It does not forgive any sloppiness (both in the original processing of the prints and the toning itself) that most students seem to be in the habit of having.

    I also fixed all prints fully before washing and drying -- I never knew how long it would be until I got around to selenium toning a particular print. I still have some prints I might tone 20+ years down the line . I do not know if such vintage prints would tone the same way as when they were 'fresh'. Toning now, I would probably not use hot toner and just judge the toning progress by eye. I rarely print silver gelatin these days -- carbon prints and platinum prints don't need selenium!

    FWIW...never saw any un-even toning with the 30 seconds toning time. The prints were well soaked in water and perhaps the high temperature of the toning bath helped.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #18

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    Vaughn,

    Yeah, my toning takes place within a month or so of the printing. If I were planning on waiting longer, I'd likely give full fixation.

    But, back to the topic of selenium toning. I encourage replenishment and reuse of toner because of environmental concerns (which were likely not foremost in any of our minds 30 years ago ).

    My replenishment scheme has worked well for me for years, with zero wasted selenium, so it's economical as well. When I started doing this, my concern was that some by-products might build up in the selenium bath that were bad for the prints. However, I routinely test for residual silver and hypo and have had only great results. It seems that whatever silver compounds that remain in the toner end up combining with selenium as well and precipitating out. This is the black particulate matter that I filter out before use.

    So, I'll stick with replenishment till silver gelatin papers are no longer available. Then, I'll likely turn to carbon and platinum like you.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com

  9. #19
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    We have a instructor that claims when one can no longer smell the ammonia in the KST, then it is exhausted -- any truth to this?
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  10. #20
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great feedback here. I really appreciate it.

    I have now done two printing sessions, using a single Ilford Rapid fix (fresh), soaking the prints in water for at least ten minutes (while I clean up the sink) and then straight into Ilford selenium 1:10. The prints are toning beautifully, and it's a definite speed boost to wash once rather than twice.

    Currently trying not to obsess over "hypo-clear" vs. "hypo-eliminator."
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

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